Lecture V [160–61]

us, talk and talking customarily belong in the horizon of what is known as speech and speaking. With this assignment of talk to speech, we act as though we knew what speech meant and in what its essence lies. But we are far removed from this knowledge. For this reason we use the word “speech” with all reservations. For it could be that talk and talking and the corresponding λόγος and λέγειν can never be defined by speaking and by speech. This is also, in fact, the case. Already our own speech, whose treasures we scarcely know any longer, clearly attests that talk does not genuinely mean that which we conceive as speech. Still in Middle High German and even earlier, talk rightly meant univocally that which we also still mean when we say: to give someone a talking to, to demand an account, i.e., information, about something, that this person should bring forth what lies before.

Talk and talking do not mean speaking and speech in the sense of an uttering of expressions; talk means precisely that which from early on λέγειν, λόγος means: bringing before, bringing collectively to appearance. The most beautiful testament for this sense of talk and λόγος is at the same time the oldest, which the tradition keeps ready for us. It10 is found in Homer’s Odyssey, first book, verse 56. In all of Homer’s work, the word λόγος only appears in this place and indeed in the plural with two adjectives in the turn of phrase: μαλακοὶ καὶ αἱμύλιοι λόγοι, “mild and charming speech.”11 Αἱμύλιος means charming, captivating, enchanting. The λόγος can have this trait only insofar as it lets something appear which it gathers to itself, draws to itself. To draw is to pull out. He pulls out, suddenly draws, the sword. This sudden drawing [Ziehende] to itself is a pulling out [Entzückende], a carrying away [Entrückende], and therefore something charming [Berückende]. Only insofar as the λόγος by its essence lets something shine forth

10. 〈Text variant from the handwritten addenda to the 2nd typescript:〉 The word λόγος

11. Homer, Homeri Opera, Scriptorum classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis (Oxford / New York: Clarendon Press / Humphrey Milford, n.d.), line 56. Homer, Homeri Opera, vol. 3: Odysseae Libros I–XII Continens, ed. Thomas W. Allen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1950), line 56. English translation: “with soft and flattering words,” Homer, The Odyssey of Homer, trans. Richmond Lattimore (New York: HarperPerennial, 1999), 28.