Friday, 25 June 2010

William Richardson, SJ

Met William Richardson at lunch. Richardson, great Heidegger scholar, spoke at a Lonergan Workshop a couple of years ago. Was wonderful to hear him: it just poured out of him. Of course, he said at one point: I just don't know what Lonergan means by the pure desire to know.

I asked Richardson about his contacts with Heidegger. He said yes, he had met Heidegger personally, and Heidegger was very good to him, contrary to other people's experience. He also said that he was happy with the new scholarship about the Young Heidegger. Better than all the stuff about his Nazism. I told him I had read the ACPQ issue on Heidegger, and had learnt a lot from it. What's your interest in Heidegger, he asked. I said I just was fascinated by him. I told him I had first begun getting an idea of what Heidegger was about from Walter Biemel's book. He said the book was good, and that Biemel was a charming man.

And where did you study? At the Greg, I said. What was your study of Lonergan? His hermeneutics, I said.

He said years ago, in the 60s, he had given a series of lectures on hermeneutics at BC, and Lonergan was part of the audience. I asked about Heidegger's hermeneutics: that he hardly seems to use the word. Yes, he said, but hermeneutics was underlying all that he did.

Later Misael said to me: You have been dining with an anti-Lonerganian! I said I had no problem. He was very kind. What did you tell him, Misael asked. I said I told him that I loved Lonergan and I loved Heidegger too. As Fred Lawrence had said at the conclusion of the Workshop: we need not be partisans of one thinker or another.

Kerry Cronin said that once Richardson had given a talk, and someone from the back of the audience got up and said: You have understood Heidegger well. That was Heidegger himself.

Richardson is 90, and still productive... Wonderful.

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