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§237 [368-369]


237. Belief and truth


What is meant here is not its particular form as membership in a "denomination" but, instead, the essence of belief, grasped on the basis of the essence of truth.

To believe: to deem true. In this sense, it means to appropriate what is "true," no matter how that is given and how it can be taken over. In this broad sense: to concur.

The deeming true will change according to what is true in each case (and wholly and above all according to truth itself and its essence).

Belief, especially in its open or tacit opposition to knowledge, means deeming true that which withdraws from knowledge in the sense of explanatory insight (for example: to "believe" a report whose "truth" cannot be verified but which is vouched for by informants and witnesses). It becomes clear even in this case: the belief, in its essentiality, depends on the respective mode of knowledge opposed to it.

Belief: deeming true that which utterly withdraws from all knowledge. But what does knowledge mean here? Which is the authentic knowledge? The one that knows the essence of truth and is consequently first determined, in the turning, out of this essence itself.

If the essence of truth is the clearing for the self -concealing of beyng, then knowledge is an abiding in this clearing of concealment and is thus the basic relation to the self-concealing of beyng and to beyng itself.

This knowledge is then not deeming true just something or other that happens to be true or even something preeminently true; instead, it is originally an abiding in the essence of truth.

This knowledge, essential knowledge, is then more original than any belief, for the latter is merely concerned with something true; therefore, if belief is ever to escape utter blindness, it must indeed necessarily know what it means to be true and to be a truth!

Essential knowledge is an abiding in the essence. What is supposed to be expressed thereby is the fact that such knowledge is not a mere representation of an encounter; it is persistence within the bursting forth of a projection which, in the very opening up, comes to know the abyss that bears it.

Hence, if "knowing" is taken in the previous sense of representing, possessing representations, then essential knowing is obviously not a "knowing" but a "believing." Yet this word then takes on quite a different sense, no longer that of deeming true, whereby truth is confusedly enough already known, but the sense of an abiding in the truth. This, as projective, is always a questioning, indeed the original


Contributions to Philosophy (of the Event) (GA 65) by Martin Heidegger