From Religion as Presence (1922)

  • Asher D. Biemann


[N]ow that we have examined the various attempts to make religion a function of some spiritual domain—now that we have examined these attempts and rejected them1—we shall, so to speak, begin at the beginning. Now that we have established the “No,” we can begin at the beginning to inquire about the “Yes,” as if we had not even spoken of all that. And, in an ultimate sense, if it were not for this very specific moment in time, we would not have had to speak of it. But on this new stretch of the way that we want to walk together, some of you will, I suspect, find the going hard or less comfortable—not because the things that we now have to discuss are getting more complicated but, rather, precisely because they are simpler. So simple are they, in fact, that a certain conceptuality, a certain philosophical terminology that has become firmly set in most people’s heads, conflicts with them, and if I proceed one step at a time I fear that many of you will ask, out of this conceptuality, how what I am going to say relates to this or that. I should therefore like to request that insofar as possible, you refrain from juxtaposing what I have to say to ready-made, traditional formulations and, instead, that you juxtapose it only to your self-experience, to what you know from yourself about these things, and forget other formulations as much as possible. Do not start out by assuming that a particular philosophical formulation is right, but suspend judgment on it completely for the time being and ask yourself, starting from the very beginning, what these things actually mean, as if there were no terminology and no formulation at all.


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© Asher D. Biemann 2002

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  • Asher D. Biemann

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