chapter  1
10 Pages

Indications

Less well known are two further references to Laozi. First, we learn from Petzet that Heidegger quoted a large part of Jan Ulenbrook’s translation of Chapter 47 of the Laozi in a letter to Ernst Jünger (P 182/191). Petzet does not, however, note that Heidegger departs from Ulenbrook’s translation8 in the fourth line of his citation and apparently gives his own version at this point: instead of Ulenbrook’s ‘seeing the way of heaven’ he writes ‘seeing the whole of heaven’, thereby eliminating the word ‘way’ (dao). The rendition is thus in part an Ulenbrook-Heidegger version. Second, there is a similar instance in Heidegger’s letter to Hsiao of 9 October 1947 (reproduced in HAT 102). Here Heidegger paraphrases Hsiao’s translation of Chapter 15 of the Laozi, which runs:

Who is able to make still and gradually clarify what is muddy? Who is able to move and gradually animate what is at rest? (EMH 127)d

At Heidegger’s request, Hsiao had earlier made a calligraphy of these lines for him.