Revolutionary Saints

Heidegger, National Socialism, and Antinomian Politics

By (author) Christopher Rickey

Paperback - £29.95

Publication date:

15 August 2004

Length of book:

312 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271023977

Heidegger's connection with Nazism is well known and has been exhaustively debated. But we need to understand better why Heidegger believed National Socialism to be the best cure for the ills of modern society. In this book Christopher Rickey examines the internal logic of Heidegger's ideas to explain how they led him to become a powerful critic of liberalism and a Nazi supporter.

Key to Rickey's interpretation is the radically antinomian conception of religiosity he finds at the core of Heidegger's challenge to modernity. Heidegger responds to the crisis of modernity with a philosophy attuned to the fundamental need for humans to live with the proper stance toward the divine. Inspired by Lutheran and mystical theology, Heidegger outlines an essentially religious conception of authentic human being. Like his radical Lutheran forerunners, Heidegger politicizes the radical strains of Luther's theology to create a potent revolutionary brew: the revolution of the saints.

Rickey traces out the ways in which these currents fundamentally shape Heidegger's thought: the Lutheran background to his critique of modern science and the technological rationality it spawns; his transformation of Aristotle's prudential conception of practical wisdom into the total revelation of being that lays the basis for revolutionary political action; and his mystical and sectarian understanding of authentic community.

Rickey shows how this political-theological vision forms the basis of Heidegger's concrete political action, and he concludes with an analysis of the fundamental problems this vision poses to our political thinking today.

“A strikingly original interpretation of Heidegger’s politics that explores the religious sources of his idiosyncratic vision of National Socialism.”

—Bernard Yack, University of Wisconsin-Madison