Thomas Sheehan is Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University. (December 2001)

A Normal Nazi

“People haven’t been very nice to me.” Martin Heidegger, September 18, 1969 In 1987 Victor Farías’s Heidegger et le nazisme dropped like a bomb on the quiet chapel where Heidegger’s disciples were gathered, and blew the place to bits. The myth Heidegger had concocted after the war—that he …

Heidegger and the Nazis

“The spiritual strength of the West fails, its structure crumbles, this moribund semblance of a culture caves in and drags all powers into confusion, suffocating them in madness…. “Whether or not this will happen depends on one thing: whether we [Germans], as a historical-spiritual people, will ourselves again.” —Martin Heidegger …

Revolution in the Church

The dismantling of traditional Roman Catholic theology, by Catholics themselves, is by now a fait accompli. In their most vigorous intellectual renaissance since the high Middle Ages, Catholic theologians and exegetes have awakened from a long hibernation and in scarcely two decades have marshaled the most advanced scriptural scholarship—until recently …

The Dream of Karl Rahner

The task of the modern era was the realization and humanization of God—the transformation…of theology into anthropology. —Ludwig Feuerbach Karl Rahner, who will be seventy-eight years old in March, is, I think, the most brilliant Catholic theologian since Thomas Aquinas. During the last forty years this German Jesuit priest …

Italy: Terror on the Right

Bologna, August 2, 1980. It was a hot Saturday morning, the first weekend of Italy’s traditional holiday month, and thousands of vacationers jostled their way to and from the trains in Bologna’s central railroad station. In the midst of that noisy crowd someone stopped midway between the second-class waiting room …

Caveat Lector: The New Heidegger

Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote that “philosophers were hired by the comfortable classes to prove that everything is all right.” But Martin Heidegger, at least for a while, seemed to be the rare exception. In the late 1920s, when German philosophy meant either Edmund Husserl’s rarified analyses of pure consciousness …

Quo Vadis, Wojtyla?

“…Professor Hans Küng, in his writings, has departed from the integral truth of Catholic faith, and therefore he can no longer be considered a Catholic theologian nor function as such in a teaching role.” Declaration on…Hans Küng promulgated by Pope John Paul II December 18, 1979 “What should …

Paris: Moses and Polytheism

“Almost two thousand years, and no new god!” Nietzsche, The Antichrist Voltaire said that if God did not exist, man would have to invent Him. If we are to believe the French press, 1979 may be remembered as the year when two very different Parisian intellectuals applied for their …

Italy: Behind the Ski Mask

In Rome, on the morning of May 3, while tourists sipped cappuccino in nearby Piazza Navona, a well-dressed young woman entered the regional head-quarters of the Christian Democratic Party, distracted an armed guard with a question, and, suddenly joined by a dozen other Red Brigadists, held the office at gunpoint.