Mission statement: Gather information on Heidegger's way of thinking and share it with other scholars.

TL;DR Web site started in 1995. Evolves with web technology. Keeps growing. Send me new content! Post links to Ereignis on social media+ to help others find this web site.


My high school in the late 1970s, a boarding school in Sussex, decided to expand its library. It corralled some volunteers to process new books and run the library. I was able to order any book I was curious about. I read Camus's Outsider, then ordered what was available from him, and Sartre. I read the Russell and Durant stories of philosophy, and decided existentialism was the best explanation for the world I found myself in.

After high school I kept reading Sartre and associates, but his 1950s turn to dialectics didn't work for me. I noticed anecdotes where philosophy students would seek out Sartre in his café, ask him about the existentialist position on Plato's cave or Aristotle's metaphysics, and Sartre would tell them to read Heidegger, who had figured that all out. Sartre, in his philosophical writings of the 1940s, had indicated Heidegger's importance to Sartre's existentialism. So I decided to read Heidegger.

I went to college in the early 1980s and studied aeronautical engineering. The first quarter I was introduced to computers, taking the required FORTRAN programming class; writing programs on punch cards, to run on the university mainframe. Engineering classes involved writing programs to solve maths problems. I got hired as a research assistant at a lab and wrote programs there until I completed my masters. I then moved to San Francisco, encountered personal computers, taught myself how to program in C, and started a career in software engineering.

In 1995, I was working for a start-up in the Bay Area, writing workflow software for SUN workstations and Windows PCs, when I read an article in Unix Review about the web; an introduction to HTML and HTTP. I downloaded, and got the Mosaic browser and Windows web server running on Windows. I decided I needed to learn how to write web sites and I wanted people to use my web site to ensure it worked.

At first I thought I'd create a web site on my favorite band, but it already had a few web sites, and so did my next favorite band. Maybe I should do a philosophy web site? At the time, Yahoo was the table of contents for the web. Looking under Humanities|Philosophy I found three links; a Rajneesh website and two Ayn Rand websites. The field was wide open. I didn't want to do anything too wide ranging, so I decided to do a web site on a single philosopher. I was interested in Wittgenstein and Heidegger. I had a few more Heidegger books and I was on the Heidegger email list. I decided to create a Heidegger web site.

I needed a server to host the web site, as I didn't want to maintain the hardware myself. A colleague at work had their web page hosted on webcom.com, so I opened an account and got my home page working on the internet.


In 1995, searching the web for "Heidegger" returned less than 200 links. Most were random people with that last name in Austria and Germany. Five of the links were to documents about Martin Heidegger that might be of interest. I also knew about some documents on open FTP servers that had been shared on the Heidegger email list. So I created a web page, Ereignis.html, with the links to actual Heidegger pages on the web, and got Yahoo to link to it.

On Ereignis I asked for links to additional Heidegger pages. I started adding new links regularly. In those days I would query the search engines for new Heidegger web pages and there would be a few new ones every week. After a few years it grew to many new pages a day, to hundreds, thousands, to too many to count.

On the Heidegger email list, it was customary to include bibliographic details when citing a passage. To avoid repeating that info, I created a bibliography page with the Heidegger books I had. When posting a citation on the email list I could simply include the URL to a citation's entry on the books page.

One of the first criticisms of the web site was: "links are fine, but a Heidegger page needs more content." I added the chronology and some introductory material. After a few years the Wikipedia article became a better introduction to Heidegger, and I removed duplicated content from Ereignis. In a sense Ereignis is what you need to know about Heidegger after you've exhausted the encyclopedia article.

The early years

The first website had 10 megabytes of space. That was enough space for the web site's pages and pictures but it meant it couldn't host papers and other documents.

Shortly after Ereignis started, publishers started contacting me and sending me review copies of new Heidegger books. That lasted about a decade — I was receiving several Heidegger books every month at the peak — and then it petered out as publishers' margins were squeezed. Reading those books greatly expanded my understanding of Heidegger.

I added more content to the site — the Gesamtausgabe page and pages about Greek fragments. For a while I added pages of links for different categories (e.g. Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Early, Late), but that was too much work, not that helpful, so I stopped updating them, and eventually removed category pages, although I still update a page with links to videos about Heidegger. I interviewed a few philosophy professors for the web site in the early days.

Book links to Amazon

When Amazon started their associates program I joined and linked the books in the bibliography to Amazon. I received about $10 a month in commission from Amazon for several years, which nicely balanced the monthly web site rent on webcom.com. After a few years people learned to go Amazon directly for books and the commissions dwindled. I still maintain the links because the book previews on Amazon can be useful.

Enowning blog ~ 2000s (retired)

For about a decade in the 2000s I ran a blog called Enowning. By that point there was more new Heidegger content than I could link to from Ereignis, so I started a blog for content that wasn't significant enough for Ereignis, but might still be entertaining to some.

When social media came along, traffic dropped off on the blog. I decided to concentrate on adding content to Ereignis.

The Shadow of Heidegger

On the Enowning blog I translated a page from José Pablo Feinmann's roman à clef La Sombra de Heidegger every week. Start reading it here.


When Ereignis started it's URL (http://webcom.com/~paf/Ereignis.html) included the host company's domain name. After a few years, Webcom was bought by a larger company. That happened a few times. Some times Ereignis would get a new URL. Usually the web site would get more disk space with each new plan.

One of the host company migrations moved to a plan that required the website have its own domain name. I was delighted that beyng.com was available. The heidegger and ereignis, .com and .net, domain names had long been taken by cosmetics and event firms.


In the 1990s, most of the devices running web browsers didn't support Greek characters. Where devices did support Greek fonts, they did so in unique ways that didn't work on other devices. In order to display Greek on web pages I created picture files for each character, with the different diacritics, and inserted those pictures into web pages.

In the early 2000s devices were upgraded with Unicode so that all characters work on all devices.

Run code on the edge

In addition to displaying content to a large audience, the web also supports computation, doing things. Data can be processed on the web server or on the browser. Since the mid-1990s, since the Netscape browser, web pages could include JavaScript code, which would be interpreted in the browser.

I wrote a few JavaScript applications for the web site in the 2010s. The used Google frameworks (AngularJS, Angular 5) to navigate around in documents.

It is more efficient to process data in the browser than doing so on the server because the server needs to be kept up-and-running, ready to respond whenever it gets a request for new processed data. The browser only processes data when the user is actively using it. Running code in the browser pushes data processing to the edge of the network. It is more energy efficient.

In the late-2010s browsers began to support a new way to run code in the browser called WebAssembly. Once all the popular browsers supported WebAssembly I started writing applications for the web site in C#, and compiling them to WebAssembly using a technology called Blazor.

Automate content creation

With over 100 volumes in the collected edition and new papers published every week, there's a lot of content to process. It makes sense to automate the repetitive processes where possible. Over the years I've written tools C#, PowerShell, and Python to format content into HTML files and make corrections across multiple files.

Automate deployments

Several years ago I moved all the source code and data for the web site into Git repositories in the cloud. In addition to having all the files backup-up somewhere, storing files in repositories makes it possible for multiple people to work on and update a text.

I also automated the building of apps for the web site in the cloud. After a code change is committed, a new version is built automatically. After building, the new app is automatically deployed to the web site. Builds and deploys are managed in Azure DevOps.

Adding Content
Get the best quality texts available online and improve them.
Convert to HTML

Many documents online are in PDF files which are intended to be printed in specific dimensions. Some document files are in wordprocessor (e.g., Word) format. Convert document content to HTML files which will adapt to a device's dimensions.

Fix OCR errors

Many online documents were scanned from printed paper. A few might not contain the digital text - the pictures in the file reproduce the paper on a screen, but there's no text to search or copy-paste from. Those need to be OCR'd to extract the text from the images.

Many online documents were scanned and OCR'd but have mistakes. Some OCR program confuse 'l' with '1', or 'ü' with 'ii', or convert Greek into Roman characters.

Spell check

Find mistakes in texts produced by OCRing scans. There are also occasional typos in the original text. These makes it difficult to search the text with confidence. Fix them.

Tools for the web site
Gesamtausgabe GA App
Database in the cloud ~2015 (retired)

I took info on the Gesamtausgabe volumes and put it in a relational database (SQL Server), and added information about the English translations and translators. I wrote a web application (ASP.NET MVC) to browse, search, and display the info. I hosted the database and web application in the cloud (Azure) so that it would be always on.

At the time I had a free account with Azure. With that account, Azure would put the database to sleep after 15 minutes of in activity. The database took a minute to wake up. That meant the web site worked quickly, once the database was up and running, but if someone was the first user in the last fifteen minutes, they would have to wait a minute for the web site to respond.

GA App

This app hosts the same information as the previous database in the cloud app, but all the processing is done in the browser. The information that used to be in the database is now downloaded into the browser and then processed locally. The app is written in Blazor.

Apps for texts

Seminars will typically cover several essays and chapters from books. PDFs of the texts are distributed, but they are of varying quality. Some PDFs are unsearchable. Some are oriented inconsistently or one long scroll. Participants struggle to follow the text on their devices.

My solution is to convert the PDF pages to HTML and write a small app to navigate quickly through the pages. I've done that for the texts of several seminars and book groups that I've attended. I wrote the first app in JavaScript in the early 2010s, and have it as a template to create new apps for texts. The app is very simple and runs in the browser using an AngularJS library (obsolete, but still works).

Extract text from PDF

An easy way to get text from a PDF is to open the PDF in an application and copy-paste into an HTML file. That can get tedious if you want more than a few pages. It may be quicker to write a program to extract all the pages from a PDF and write them to HTML files.

Volpi App

I translated Franco Volpi's Heidegger e Aristotele into English. I wrote an Angular 5 app to navigate through the book, switch to the original Italian text, customize translation choices. A few years ago I rewrote it as a Blazor app.

The Fourfold App

All the pages from Andrew Mitchell's book are in an Angular 5 app. I wrote this for a seminar on the Fourfold with Andrew that I hosted in Redmond in 2017. We used this app and essay specific apps in the seminar. We were in a conference room with multiple monitors so everyone could follow the texts on screen and only one person needed to navigate.

Being and Time App

This includes the first hundred or so pages from the M&R translation of Being and Time, and then gaps begin to appear. Users can switch to the corresponding Sein und Zeit page, or to Tom Sheehan's paraphrastic translation. Also supports Greek terms dialog.

Introduction to Metaphysics App

This Blazor app has the pages from the most recent translation, can switch to the German, includes additional related texts, and the UI for help with Greek terms. I wrote this for a reading on Discord during Covid.

GASelis Gesamtausgabe Page App

A Blazor app for viewing GA pages. This contains the Greek glossary dialog that the book app above use.

Making content findable
Search Engines

There are slightly more than 30,000 pages on beyng.com. Their quality varies, some were created direct from OCRing physical media. More than 5000 pages have been manually edited. Indexes of those files are submitted to Google and Bing in files called sitemaps. I send them to the search engines regularly to let them know which pages have been updated and need re-indexing. Google and Bing both have both chosen to index around 3,000 pages because the pages don't carry their ads from their networks and the pages don't contain the key words that advertisers are paying to display their ads next to. On the other hand, bots (ChatGPT, etc.), appear to read everything on the web site.

95% of new search engine traffic on beyng.com comes from Google. The other 5% is split between Bing, DuckDuckGo (uses Bing index), Yandex, and Baidu.

Search on the web site

Ereignis currently has a Google search box that searches pages on beyng.com, the Heidegger Circle web site, and the Enowning blog (retired). For several years Ereignis also had a Bing search box, but Bing required more maintenance, and wasn't popular enough, so I removed the Bing search box.

In the late 2010s I built a search engine for beyng.com in the Azure cloud, and ran it for a few years, while the cloud cost were covered. I also experimented with a third party service that indexed all the pages, and worked very nicely. The problem with both is that the cost of the search engine was an order of magnitude higher than the cost of the rest of the web site.

The Ongoing Plan
Add links to new online papers

Add links to URLs that people email me. Search for new papers regularly.

Host papers on beyng.com. Most people prefer to manage their own papers online (Academia.edu is a popular host), but I can publish documents directly on beyng.com when that's more convenient.

Find online the highest quality Heidegger texts, and papers about them, and improve them

Turn them into HTML that will format itself on most devices. Hyperlink to the citations. Correct mistakes – mainly OCR infelicities.

Add HTML pages for citations. This is how most pages from books get added to the web site.

Monitor what pages users are looking for, and prioritize adding and improving those pages.

Find the highest quality papers about Heidegger online, and improve them

Convert to HTML. Correct mistakes.

Maintain information

Keep information on Gesamtausgabe and translations updated. Update hyperlinks when their URLs change.

Prepare information for seminars and reading groups

Have texts ready-to-hand so everyone can think and not struggle with the text. High quality content that can be searched with confidence. Easy to navigate. Everyone can watch a single projection of text. Map to pagination in popular print publications.

Static files versus web server

The Ereignis web site has always been hosted on a file server. It is only a collection of files that your browser can fetch. To update content I upload files to the file server.

A more sophisticated web site would be able to generate web pages in response to user queries, like run searches or chatbots.

The challenge is that a dynamic web server requires roughly an order of magnitude more resources than static files. A web server costs more and requires maintenance. A static web site will keep running so long as the hardware doesn't fail.

Future Plans


Questions? Comments? Send them to info(at)beyng.com.

Created 2024/2/19
Last updated 2024/3/14