Reflecting on a question posed to the author by the poet Gerrit Lansing concerning a possible soteriological dimension of Paul Celan's thought, this essay argues for Celan as a radically secular figure—revolutionary both politically and poetically—whose Jewishness was and remained an absolute for him, without this, however, having led to a retro-assimilation within a, or any, religious or theological stance. Using certain core images of Celan's poetry—his doors—and thinking their metaphoricity and polysemanticism through with the help of the painter Irving Petlin's series of works inspired by and reflecting on Celan's doors, the essay, after examining a range of critical takes on Celan—by the likes of Otto Pöggeler, George Steiner, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jean Bollack, and others—comes to the conclusion that probably the only salvific quality for Celan lay in the act of writing itself, and was thus not a transcendental reach.

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