Resurrecting the Death of God
139 pages
English

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139 pages
English

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Description

In 1966, an infamous Time magazine cover asked "Is God Dead?" and brought the ideas of theologians William Hamilton and Thomas J. J. Altizer to the wider public. In the years that followed, both men suffered professionally and there was no notable increase to the small number of thinkers considered death of God theologians. Meanwhile, Christian fundamentalism staged a striking comeback in the United States. Yet, death of God, or radical, theology has had an ongoing influence on contemporary theology and philosophy. Contributors to this book explore the origins, influence, and legacy of radical theology and go on to take it in new directions. In a time when fundamentalism is the greatest religious temptation, this volume makes the case for the necessity of resurrecting the death of God.
Editor’s Acknowledgments

Introduction: Resurrecting the Death of God
Daniel J. Peterson

I. The Modern Death of God: Origins and Influence

1. The Death of God Revisited: Implications for Today
Rosemary Radford Ruether

2. Is God Dead? Some Aftereffects and Aftershocks of the Holocaust
John K. Roth

3. Altizer: The Religious Theologian, Then and Now
John B. Cobb Jr.

4. God Is Still Dead: Retrieving the Lost Legacy of William Hamilton
G. Michael Zbaraschuk

5. Holocaust, Mysticism, and Liberation after the Death of God: The Significance of Dorothee Soelle
Sarah K. Pinnock

II. The Second Coming of Radical Theology

6. The Death of God and the Politics of Democracy
Jeffrey W. Robbins

7. Extraordinary Ecclesiology: Radical Theology in Practice
Christopher Demuth Rodkey

8. The Death of God, Death, and Resurrection
Clayton Crockett

9. Becoming
Andrew W. Hass

10. Twilight of an Axial God
Lissa McCullough

Afterword
Thomas J. J. Altizer

Contributors
Index

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 11 avril 2014
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781438450476
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1648€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

Resurrecting the Death of God
Resurrecting the
Death of God
THE ORIGINS, INFLUENCE, AND RETURN OF RADICAL THEOLOGY
edited by
DANIEL J. PETERSON and G. MICHAEL ZBARASCHUK
with an afterword by Thomas J. J. Altizer
Published by STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK PRESS Albany
© 2014 State University of New York
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. No part of this book may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.
For information, contact State University of New York Press www.sunypress.edu
Production, Laurie Searl Marketing, Michael Campochiaro
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Resurrecting the death of God: the origins, influence, and return of radical theology / edited by Daniel J. Peterson and G. Michael Zbaraschuk ; afterword by Thomas J. J. Altizer. pages cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4384-5045-2 (hardcover : alk. paper)
1. Death of God theology. I. Peterson, Daniel J., 1972–, editor of compilation.
BT83.5.R47 2014
230'.046—dc23
2013017502
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
And so I ask God to rid me of God.
— Meister Eckhart
Contents
Editor’s Acknowledgments
Introduction: Resurrecting the Death of God
Daniel J. Peterson
I. The Modern Death of God: Origins and Influence
1. The Death of God Revisited: Implications for Today
Rosemary Radford Ruether
2. Is God Dead? Some Aftereffects and Aftershocks of the Holocaust
John K. Roth
3. Altizer: The Religious Theologian, Then and Now
John B. Cobb Jr .
4. God Is Still Dead: Retrieving the Lost Legacy of William Hamilton
G. Michael Zbaraschuk
5. Holocaust, Mysticism, and Liberation after the Death of God: The Significance of Dorothee Soelle
Sarah K. Pinnock
II. The Second Coming of Radical Theology
6. The Death of God and the Politics of Democracy
Jeffrey W. Robbins
7. Extraordinary Ecclesiology: Radical Theology in Practice
Christopher Demuth Rodkey
8. The Death of God, Death, and Resurrection
Clayton Crockett
9. Becoming
Andrew W. Hass
10. Twilight of an Axial God
Lissa McCullough
Afterword
Thomas J. J. Altizer
Contributors
Index
Editors’ Acknowledgments

The desire to “resurrect” death of God theology began as a conversation between the editors of this volume in a coffeehouse on the edge of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, where they were, at the time, colleagues in the Department of Religion. Books lined the walls of the coffeehouse, including some that were donated by retired professors of the university. One of those books was Radical Theology and the Death of God , published in 1966 by William Hamilton and Thomas J. J. Altizer, which one of the editors picked up on a whim and read. This text contributed greatly to the theological controversy over God’s death that briefly swept the nation in the middle of the 1960s thanks, in large part, to Time magazine. Upon discussing Radical Theology and the Death of God it became evident to both editors that the topic, though theologians and philosophers were still discussing it “underground,” had to be raised up for broader consideration.
Since then, great effort has gone into the production of this volume. We, the editors, would like to thank the following accordingly: first, all of our contributing authors for their historical perspective (in the case of our incredibly generous and encouraging veteran scholars who looked back to the origins of radical theology and assessed its significance) as well as their innovative efforts to take radical theology in new directions (as evident in our contributors more recent to the conversation). We are especially grateful to Thomas J. J. Altizer, who not only contributed to the volume by writing its afterword but also provided invaluable suggestions with regard to the volume’s content.
Beyond those who contributed to the volume directly, we would like to thank Patricia Killen, formerly of Pacific Lutheran University, for her critical suggestions at the outset of this project as well as Catherine Keller of Drew University for her referrals with regard to potential contributors to our collection. We are also grateful for the encouragement we have received from our colleagues at our respective academic institutions (Pacific Lutheran University and Seattle University/Matteo Ricci College) as well as the various Lutheran congregations in the Seattle-Tacoma, who entertained presentations by the editors (Daniel Peterson in particular) on reconsidering radical theology as an option for contemporary faith, especially Hope Lutheran Church and Pastor Dan Wilson of Enumclaw along with Agnus Dei Lutheran Church and member Donald Heinz of Gig Harbor.
A word of gratitude, finally, goes to the State University of New York Press and senior acquisitions editor Nancy Ellegate for giving us the opportunity to make this volume available. We would also like to thank our families for their support throughout this process, especially (for Michael Zbaraschuk) Lisa, Ana, and Elizabeth Zbaraschuk and (for Daniel Peterson) his parents, Jim and Olga Peterson, and brother, Brian Peterson.
I NTRODUCTION
Resurrecting the Death of God

D ANIEL J. P ETERSON

Now that it has been agreed that the first American coming of the death of God in [the twentieth] century was either a media event or a mildly useful emetic, it is now time—in these apocalyptic days—to examine [its] second coming.
—William Hamilton, Reading Moby-Dick and Other Essays
Nineteen sixty-six was a difficult year for God. A small group of young theologians, Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton prominent among them, had arrived at a conclusion about God’s existence that would incite enormous controversy across America. God was dead, they told John Elson of Time magazine, and in scorching red letters cast across the dark cover of what would become one of its best-selling issues, Time shared the prospect with the country. 1 The response was fierce. Altizer received death threats and nearly lost his position at Emory University. Hamilton was less fortunate. Colgate Rochester Divinity School mysteriously “removed” his chair of theology. 2 Other theologians, perhaps afraid of the backlash, denied their affiliation with the “movement” that Altizer and Hamilton had spearheaded. By the end of the decade, both theologians found themselves teaching not only at other universities but also in a different field entirely. The controversy they started was apparently over. The death of God was dead.
Many commentators have no doubt characterized the death of God or radical theology as little more than a creation of the media, a fad of its time, or a blip on the radar screen of twentieth-century theology. 3 In 1969, only three years after the uproar began, Time magazine was already asking, “Whatever became of the death of God?” Some, including the theologian Langdon Gilkey, acknowledged that as a “catch phrase” the phenomenon had come and gone even though its constructive value had lasting implications. Others more hostile to the idea of God’s death, or theothanatology , were quick, as Doris Donnelly reported, “to dismiss the movement as both irreverent and irrelevant.” 4 By 1976, just ten years after Time had brought radical theology to the nation’s attention, one journalist for the Richmond Times Dispatch concluded that “for millions of Americans in the pews, God never died.” 5 Most people were still attending church. Conservative Christianity, the reporter added, was actually experiencing a revival. Today this way of reading death of God theology and its impact continues: “God is back!” we hear. The secularization thesis was wrong. The news of “God’s demise was premature.” 6 Reports of the Almighty’s death, various keepers of the American sanctuary insist, have been grossly exaggerated.
Careful observers of contemporary culture would have to concur: the first decade of the new millennium was witness to an almost unprecedented resurgence of religion, at least in its fundamentalist forms. 7 Megachurches thrive. Christian radio bombards America with preaching that calls for the “personal acceptance” of Jesus Christ, and popular ministers ranging from Joel Osteen to Rick Warren reach millions of people through television, the internet, and other forms of media. Even the appearance of the new atheism and with it a plea to reject faith in the name of reason presupposes the ubiquity of belief. To say, then, that “religion is making a comeback” as the New York Times did in 1997, would now be passé. 8 Religion at the dawn of the third millennium has arrived, and it is big business. As John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge confirm, “The world of megachurches, ‘pastorpreneurs,’ and house churches is booming at home and abroad.” 9
Of course, the success of “pastorpreneurs” and house churches, much less the noisy gong and clanging cymbal of the modern megachurch, tells us nothing about the existence or nonexistence of God. What it does illustrate is that sociocultural circumstances have changed significantly in the span of merely four or five decades. Today the death of God is no longer the “cultural fact” it ostensibly was for some Americans just after the middle of the twentieth century. Times are different. Western evangelical faith in God, the kind that sanct

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