Preface (Ludwig Heyde – the Weight of Finitude)


Writing about God is risky business. On the one hand we feel we are saying far more than is possible to say. On the other hand, compared to the richness and depth of the philosophical tradition, our writing seems to lack behind terribly.

Why write at all? What is the motivation? In this book, this is the wonder about the relative absence of God in contemporary philosophy and about the puzzling lack of interest in God in our culture.

It is not possible to step outside of our own time, or to free ourselves from that which appears to be self-evident within it. Were we able to step outside, this would render us unable to think at all. Total insight into how it is that we think like we do, is not available to us. But we can try to take a certain distance from what is going on. Is this not a minimal condition for any search for comprehension?

What follows is an attempt. It is made by developing some experiences of thinking when it attempts to go to its very limit, and questions the ultimate ground of everything that is.

This attempt would not have been possible without the help of several others. I’m thinking about useful suggestions and hints by colleagues, the care with which Jeannine van Dyck, Riny Rijnders, and Anja de Jong prepared the document to be printed, and about the critical openness with which my students in Nijmegen confronted the first sketches [of this book] in lectures.


(Original: Ludwig Heyde, 1995, Het Gewicht van de Eindigheid, Boom: Amsterdam. Translation HvS)