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1. The noun “essence” comes from the verb “esse”, “to be”, and was formed as if from the present participle, like “be-ing”. In German the word for essence, Wesen, is both verb and noun. As verb it means to occur, happen, prevail. For Heidegger, for example, the Wesen, der Wahrheit (essence of truth) goes beyond the “usual concept of Wesen (essence)” (Vom Wesen der Wahrheit, 3rd ed., 1954, p. 27), and is identical with the Walten des Geheimnisses (dominance of mystery) (ibid., p. 24). Behind this stands the Wahrheit des Wesens (the truth of essence), where Wesen, essence, is being thought o…

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Joh.-Baptist Lotz, “Essence”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 21 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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