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with Carl Reinhardt in 1941, when he stayed here in Freiburg, I spoke to him about the middle ground between pure philology, which intends to find the real Heraclitus with its philological tools, and the kind of philosophizing that consists in thinking without discipline and thereby assuming too much. Between these two extremes there is a middle ground concerned with the role of the transmission of understanding, of sense as well as interpretation.

With Hippolytus we find not only πῦρ but also ἐκπύρωσις [conflagration], which for him has the meaning of the end of the world. If we now ask what τὰ πάντα, lightning, and also steering mean in Fr. 64, we must at the same time attempt to transfer ourselves into the Greek world with the clarification of these words. So that we can understand Fr. 64 in a genuine manner, I would propose that Fr. 41 be added to it: εἶναι γὰρ ἓν τὸ σοφόν, ἐπίστασθαι γνώμην, ὁτέη ἐκυβέρνησε πάντα διὰ πάντων. Diels translates: "The wise is one thing only, to understand the thoughts that steer everything through everything." Literally translated, πάντα διὰ πάντων means: everything throughout everything. The importance of this saying lies, on the one hand, in ἕν τὸ σοφόν [the wise is one thing only] and, on the other, in πάντα διὰ πάντων. Here above all we must take into view the connection of the beginning and the end of the sentence.

FINK: There is a similar connection, on the one hand between the oneness of the lightning-flash, in the brightness of which the many show themselves in their outline and their articulations, and τὰ πάντα, and, on the other, between the oneness of σοφόν [the wise] and πάντα διὰ πάντων. As Κεραυνός relates to τὰ πάντα, ἕν τὸ σοφόν relates analogously to πάντα διὰ πάντων.

HEIDEGGER: I certainly grant that lightning and ἕν τὸ σοφόν stand in a relation to one another. But there is still more to notice in Fr. 41. In Fr. 64 Heraclitus speaks of τὰ πάντα, in Fr. 41 of πάντα διὰ πάντων. In Parmenides 1/32 we also find a similar phrase: διὰ πάντος πάντα περῶντα. In the phrase πάντα διὰ πάντων, the meaning of διὰ is above all to be questioned. To begin, it means "throughout." But how should we understand "throughout:" topographically, spatially, causally, or how else?

FINK: In Fr. 64 τὰ πάντα does not mean a calm, static multiplicity, but rather a dynamic multiplicity of entities. In τὰ πάντα a kind of movement is thought precisely in the reference back to lightning. In the brightness, specifically the clearing which the lightning bolt tears open, τὰ πάντα flash up and step into appearance. The being moved of τὰ πάντα is also thought in the lighting up of entities in the clearing of lightning.

HEIDEGGER: At first, let us leave aside words like "clearing" and "brightness."


Martin Heidegger (GA 15) Heraclitus Seminars