already at its beginning, was determined through theology—away from inceptual thinking. For the gods and the godly of the ancient Greek world are not suitable for a theology, even when we take this designation very broadly and understand it not only as the rational explanation and ordering of doctrines belonging to a given ‘religion.’ Th ere is, aft er all, no Greek ‘religion.’ Th e word religio and its concerns are essentially Roman. Because there [14] is no Greek ‘religion,’ there is also no Greek ‘theology.’

However, the fact that the essential nearness of the gods to the thinker Heraclitus has its own essence is expressed in the second story. Specifi cally, the goddess Artemis is named here. One would perhaps like to contend that the mentioning of Artemis is in no way characteristic of Heraclitus the thinker, but rather is characteristic of Heraclitus the Ἐφέσιος : for since ancient times, there was a sanctuary of Artemis in Ephesus. It still stood in the late-Greek period when Paul, while on his mission, preached there to the Ephesians. During an Ephesian uprising against Paul’s Christian preaching, the chant μεγάλη ἡ Ἄρτεμις τῶν Ἐφεσίων rang for two long hours.4

But the question remains whether, taken by itself, the historiographical explanation that the Artemision was a popular cause of the Ephesians can at all grasp and express the truth. It remains to be asked whether the goddess Artemis was only mentioned in the report about Heraclitus because Heraclitus was an Ephesian, or whether the thinking of this thinker in relation to this goddess is in tune with what this thinker had to think as an inceptual thinker of the Greeks.

We state the following, and for the moment only in the form of a supposition: Artemis is the goddess of the thinker Heraclitus, and not merely the goddess of the Ephesians. But she is the goddess of the thinker because she is the goddess of what the thinker has to think.

Who is Artemis? It would be presumptuous if we thought that we could respond to this question by means of some observations about ‘mythology.’ Here, the only possible and, indeed, necessary response takes the form of a responsibility that entails the historical decision regarding whether or not we choose to safeguard the ‘essence’ of this goddess and the Greek realm of gods as something having- been. Whether the forms of the gods still amuse us in a ‘literary-poetic’ [15] sense, or whether we explain them in mythological/historiographical terms, amounts to the same. In both cases, they are only the objects of our ‘lived- experience,’ which turns out in one case as moving and sentimental, and in the other as stiff and boring. It is an entirely diff erent question, however, whether the concealed essence of the history to which we belong is compelled, from out of an essential need, into a dialogue with what was, to the Greeks, their θεοί . Th e proper answer to the questions ‘Who is Artemis?’ and ‘Who is Zeus?’ conceals itself still in our history to come, insofar as it alone responds to the having-been.



4 Cf. The Acts of the Apostles, XIX, 34.


Two stories concerning Heraclitus    9