June 16th, 2015: Guest lecture and workshop by Sabine Döring: “Segen von da und dort / Blessings from here and there”. Concepts of blessing in Hölderlin's poetry

Friedrich Hölderlin's poetry is an important topic at the Institute for Fundamental Theology. With Sabine Doering a voice from literary research fed into the discourse in June 2015. The guest lecture and the deepening seminar on the 10th and the 11th dealt with the blessing (Seg(n)en) appearing “here and there” in Hölderlin's textures.

Having been unable to let go of the German poet ever since her university studies, Sabine Doering is now President of the renowned Hölderlin-Gesellschaft. The professor for German studies (Oldenburg) focuses her current research on concepts of blessing in Hölderlin's poetry. With an outlook shaped by the speech act theory, blessing can thus be described as a performative, reality changing act of speech. In God an extra nos is hence addressed that remains unavailable, contrarily to the magic spell, and therefore assigned to reflexion: “Wenn wir seegnen das Mahl, wen darf ich nennen?” (“If we bless the meal, whom may I name?”). Even though some enlighteners wished to ban the blessing from church, it remains constitutive for Hölderlin's poetry. It might stay questionable whether it may function as an anchor for a Hölderlin-related poetology. But it can hardly be denied that the blessing codetermines the potency of his rhymes, which are sometimes praised with religious fervor. Be it as narrated story (“Er gab ihn mir und seegnet' uns und gieng”), as interpretament (“Und lächelnd neigte sich seegnend herab der Äther”) or as performative (“Was geschieht, es sei alles geseegnet dir”).


Text by Anna Bachofner

(Translation by Natalie Eder)