Kisiel, Theodore J(oseph) 1930-

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KISIEL, Theodore J(oseph) 1930-


Born October 30, 1930, in Brackenridge, PA; married, 1963; children: two. Education: University of Pittsburgh, B.S., 1952; Duquesne University, M.A., 1961, Ph.D., 1962.


Office—Department of Philosophy, Northern Illinois University, 1425 West Lincoln Hwy., De Kalb, IL 60115-2825. E-mail—[email protected].


Armour Research Foundation, research metallurgist, 1952-53; Westinghouse Atomic Power Division, nuclear engineer, 1953-58; Canisius College, assistant professor of philosophy, 1963-69; Northern Illinois University, professor of philosophy, 1969—, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation senior fellow of philosophy, 1970-71, 1974, 1981-82, Presidential research professor, 1998-2002. Z für Allegmeine Wissenschaftstheorie, educational adviser, 1971; visiting professor of philosophy, Northwestern University, 1973-74, and Duquesne University, 1975; American Council Learned Societies research fellow of philosophy, 1977-78; German Academic Exchange Service senior fellow in philosophy, 1983, 1993; Fulbright research fellow of philosophy, 1984-85; Fulbright professor to Bochum, Germany, 1989.


Deutsche Schillergesellschaft, American Association of University Professors.


National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) translation grant, 1981-83; NEH travel to collections grant, 1984, 1987; Inter Nationes' translation award, 1985.


(Compiler, with Joseph J. Kockelmans) Phenomenology and the Natural Sciences: Essays and Translations, Northwestern University Press (Evanston, IL), 1970.

(Translator) Martin Heidegger, History of the Concept of Time, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1985.

The Genesis of Heidegger's "Being and Time," University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1993.

(Editor with John van Buren) Reading Heidegger from the Start: Essays in His Earliest Thought, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1994.

Heidegger's Way of Thought: Critical and Interpretative Signposts, edited by Alfred Denker and Marion Heinz, Continuum (New York, NY), 2002.

Translator of works in German; contributor of chapters to books, including Explorations in Phenomenology, 1973, and Hermeneutic Phenomenology, 1988; contributor to scholarly journals, including Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, New Ideas in Psychology, Human Studies, Philosophy Today, and International Journal of Philosophical Studies.


Philosophy professor and scholar Theodore J. Kisiel is considered an authority on the twentieth-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger, having translated his major work, History of theConcept of Time, and having written about and studied Heidegger for some forty years. A longtime professor at Northern Illinois University, Kisiel's research interests are metaphysics, phenomenology, the history of philosophy, and the hermeneutics of natural science.

In The Genesis of Heidegger's "Being and Time," the author spent ten years researching European archives and studying Heidegger's private letters to provide a detailed account of the philosopher's life and thought from his 1915 dissertation through the three drafts of his highly complex Being and Time, which is considered the most influential work by a Continental European philosopher of the twentieth century. Kisiel's book is divided into three sections: "The Breakthrough to the Topic," "Confronting the Ontological Tradition," and "Three Drafts of Being and Time." Kisiel follows Heidegger through his conversion to Christianity, his studies of the biblical New Testament as well as the works of Aristotle and Kant, his work with his mentor Edmund Husserl, and his final efforts to establish philosophy as a strict science. Soon after the publication of Sein und Zeit (Being and Time), Heidegger abandoned the strict-science approach.

David Gordon, in Library Journal, described Kisiel's book as "indispensable to scholars and students of Heidegger." H. N. Tuttle, in Choice praised the work as "a mine" of information about Heidegger. In the Review of Metaphysics, Daniel O. Dahlstrom wrote that Kisiel's work "provides to date the most authoritative and comprehensive account of the development of Heidegger's thought toward the 'failed project' of Sein und Zeit." Dahlstrom added, "Indefatigably researched and richly nuanced, Kisiel's study provides a trenchant sketch of Heidegger's path to SZ that no serious scholar of Heidegger's thought can afford to neglect." Dahlstrom also praised Kisiel's addition of thorough appendices and called his footnotes "a veritable Gold-grube of illuminating historical detail."

In a lengthy review for the International Philosophical Quarterly, John van Buren wrote: "For years readers of Heidegger have waited for this remarkable book about the vast but largely unknown scriptorium of Heidegger's early lecture course manuscripts, essays, and books which eclectically drew upon such diverse traditions as medieval mysticism and Neo-Kantianism, Luther and Husserl, and Aristotle and St. Paul, and which dealt with such portentous themes as the 'haecceity' of being, the end of philosophy, the 'it worlds' of the world, and the event (Ereignis) of lived experience." Van Buren noted that Kisiel's book contains an "astonishing wealth of data" that promises "to revolutionize our understanding of Heidegger."

Kisiel was coeditor of and a contributor to Reading Heidegger from the Start, a collection of twenty-two essays on Heidegger's early writings, including lectures the philosopher gave from 1919 until Sein und Zeit was published in 1927. Miles Groth, in the Review of Metaphysics, observed that Hans-Georg Gadamer's remembrances of Heidegger on the tenth anniversary of his death are "surely one of the highlights of the collection" because it gives the reader insight into Heidegger's lexicon. Groth found the "most remarkable contribution" to be Franco Volpi's essay, "Being and Time: A 'Translation' of the Nicomachean Ethics?" Groth concluded that the editors have largely "spared the reader further examples of the American cult of Heidegger." He wrote, "Thanks to these essays and the publication of his early lecture courses, an appreciation of Heidegger's thinking can only deepen."

2002's Heidegger's Way of Thought is a compilation of Kisiel's nine most important essays on Heidegger and provides a companion volume to Genesis of Heidegger's "Being and Time." The essays begin with a discussion of Heidegger's alignment with Nazi philosophy and continue through his early lectures, his debt to the philosopher Emil Lask, his association with and break from Husserl, his move toward hermeneutics, and his association with National Socialism. Kisiel also critically discusses the Gesamtausgabe (collected edition) of Heidegger's writings. There is an essay on Joan Stambaugh's translation of Being and Time and final essays on the genesis of this masterful work.

Henry L. Carrigan, Jr., in Library Journal, recommended the book for academic libraries only, saying readers must be acquainted with Heidegger and have "a substantial philosophical vocabulary." Richard Polt, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, praised Kisiel's inclusion of an index and the introduction to his translation of History of the Concept of Time, which he was not allowed to add to the translation because of Gesamtausgabe editorial policies. Polt commented, "These items alone make this volume very valuable." Polt found that some passages in the essays reveal Kisiel's "predilection for packing his sentences with conceptual connections and etymologicial allusions at the price of clarity." However, he wrote: "At their best, both Kisiel and Heidegger … enable apparently familiar phenomena to become surprising and fresh." Polt recommended the book to "all Heidegger connoisseurs and anyone who wishes to become one."



Choice, June, 1994, H. N. Tuttle, review of The Genesis of Heidegger's "Being and Time," p. 1596.

International Philosophical Quarterly, December, 1995, John van Buren, review of The Genesis of Heidegger's "Being and Time," pp. 483-489.

Library Journal, March 1, 1994, David Gordon, review of The Genesis of Heidegger's "Being and Time," p. 90; October 15, 2002, Henry L. Carrigan, Jr., review of Heidegger's Way of Thought: Critical and Interpretative Signposts, p. 76.

Review of Metaphysics, June, 1995, Daniel O. Dahlstrom, review of The Genesis of Heidegger's "Being and Time," p. 902; September, 1996, Miles Groth, review of Reading Heidegger from the Start: Essays on His Earliest Thought, p. 162.


Northern Illinois University Department of Philosophy Faculty Web site, (April 2, 2003), "Theodore Kisiel."

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, (February 7, 2003), Richard Polt, review of Heidegger's Way of Thought.

University of California Press Web site, (April 2, 2003).*