The Restriction of Being • 139

We will begin to demonstrate the inner connection between λόγος and φύσις in the inception of Western philosophy with an interpretation of Heraclitus.

Among the most ancient Greek thinkers, it is Heraclitus who was subjected to the most fundamentally un-Greek misinterpretation in the course of Western history, and who nevertheless in more recent times has provided the strongest impulses toward redisclosing what is authentically Greek. Each of the two friends Hegel and Hölderlin stands under the great and fruitful spell of Heraclitus in his own way, with the difference that Hegel looks backward and closes off, while Hölderlin gazes forward and opens up. Nietzsche has yet another Heraclitus. To be sure, Nietzsche fell prey to the commonplace and untrue opposition of Parmenides to Heraclitus. This is one of the essential reasons [97|135] why his metaphysics never found its way to the decisive question, although Nietzsche did reconceive the great age of the inception of Greek Dasein in its entirety in a way that is surpassed only by Hölderlin.

But it was Christianity that first misinterpreted Heraclitus. The misinterpretation already began with the early church fathers. Hegel still stands in this line. Heraclitus’s teaching on logos is taken as a predecessor of the logos mentioned in the New Testament, in the prologue to the Gospel of John. The logos is Christ. Now, since Heraclitus already speaks of the logos, the Greeks arrived at the very doorstep of absolute truth, namely, the revealed truth of Christianity. In a book that came my way a few days ago, we can read: “With the actual appearance of truth in the form of the God-man, the Greek thinkers’ philosophical knowledge of the rule of logos over all beings was validated. This confirmation and validation is the basis for the classical status of Greek philosophy.”27

27. The quote is from Karl Buchheim, Wahrheit und Geschichte: Zur Begegnung von Glaube und Wissenschaft (Leipzig: J. Hegner, 1935). Buchheim (1889–1982) was a liberal historian who opposed the Nazis and played a role after the war in founding new parties in the emerging democracy, most notably the Christian Democratic Union.

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