Godhead and the Nothing

SUNY Press
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An eminent theologian argues that nothingness is necessary in order to fully actualize the Godhead. Eminent theologian Thomas J. J. Altizer breaks new ground by exploring the ultimate transfiguration of the Godhead as a question of the Nihil or nothingness and God. The Nihil is essential to the full actualization of the Godhead in that it fully occurs in both a primordial and an apocalyptic sacrifice of the Godhead. Virtually unexplored by philosophical and theological thinking, the Nihil is luminously enacted in the deepest expressions of the imagination, and most clearly and decisively so in the Christian epic tradition. Altizer looks at the works of philosophers and theologians such as Spinoza, Barth, Hegel, Nietzsche, and epic writers such as Dante, Milton, and Blake to ultimately posit a God that is necessarily a dichotomous God.
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About the author

Thomas J. J. Altizer is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is the author of a number of books, including The Contemporary Jesus; History as Apocalypse (both published by SUNY Press); The Genesis of God: A Theological Genealogy; Radical Theology and the Death of God (with William Hamilton); The Self-Embodiment of God; and The Descent Into Hell: A Study of the Radical Reversal of the Christian Consciousness.

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SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 29, 2012
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Religion / Christian Theology / General
Religion / Christian Theology / Systematic
Religion / Christianity / General
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Eligible for Family Library

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 Offers a profound vision of the Christian epic as the site of the modern apocalyptic reenactment of the original apocalypse.
In this series of essays, Thomas J. J. Altizer explores the Christian epic as the site of modern revolutionary apocalyptic reenactments and renewals of the original apocalypse enacted by Jesus Christ and primitive Christianity. Beginning with the pivotal seventeenth-century figures Milton and Spinoza, Altizer analyzes the apocalyptic visions of key figures of modernity, including Blake, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Joyce, often juxtaposing them to surprising and illuminating effect. These revolutionary moments stand in opposition to what Altizer calls the pathological modern counterrevolution that dominates the world today, which is an effect of a new postmodernity and of a progressive dissolution of historical consciousness. Through his analysis of modern apocalyptic moments and thinkers, this book becomes an elegant and accessible guide to Altizer’s own apocalyptic vision and his ultimate project of the total and comprehensive reconstruction of theology.

“This is an indispensable work of closure coming from one of contemporary theology’s most lucid, original, rebellious, provocative, and passionate voices. Altizer’s most central and tenaciously held convictions are distilled into this essential testament.” — William Franke, author of Secular Scriptures: Modern Theological Poetics in the Wake of Dante

“This book is vintage Altizer: a vast and profound vision of the transformations of interiority, conceptions of the world, and the idea/image of God throughout the time of Western culture. Altizer is an incredible and amazing writer and thinker. I found myself stopped dead in my tracks, left to ponder anew everything that I thought I knew. His intuitions and insights are so penetrating and enlightening that they evoke sheer wonder at the marvel of his accomplishment.” — David E. Klemm, coauthor of Religion and the Human Future: An Essay on Theological Humanism
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