The Death of God Movement and the Holocaust: Radical Theology Encounters the Shoah

The Death of God Movement and the Holocaust: Radical Theology Encounters the Shoah

The Death of God Movement and the Holocaust: Radical Theology Encounters the Shoah

The Death of God Movement and the Holocaust: Radical Theology Encounters the Shoah

Synopsis

The "Death of God" theologians represented one of the most influential religious movements of the 1960s, a decade in which the discipline of theology underwent revolutionary change. Although they were from different traditions, utilized varied methods of analysis, and focused on culture in distinctive ways, the four religious thinkers who sparked radical theology--Thomas Altizer, William Hamilton, Richard Rubenstein, and Paul Van Buren--all considered the Holocaust as one of the main challenges to the Christian faith. Thirty years later, a symposium organized by the American Academy of Religion revisited the "Death of God" movement by asking these four radical theologians to reflect on how awareness of the Holocaust affected their thinking, not only in the 1960s but also in the 1990s. This edited volume brings together their essays, along with responses by other noted scholars who offer critical commentary on the movement's impact, legacy, and relationship to the Holocaust.

Excerpt

The Holocaust did not end when the Allies liberated the Jewish survivors from Nazi Germany's killing centers and concentration camps in 1945. the consequences of that catastrophic event still shadow the world's moral, political, and religious life.

The Christianity and the Holocaust-Core Issues series explores Christian complicity, indifference, resistance, rescue, and other responses to the Holocaust. Concentrating on core issues such as the Christian roots of antisemitism, the roles played by Christian individuals and groups during the Holocaust, and the institutional reactions of Christians after Auschwitz, the series has a historical focus but addresses current concerns as well.

While many of the series' authors are well-known, established Holocaust scholars, the series also features young writers who will become leaders in the next generation of Holocaust scholarship. As all of the authors study the Holocaust's history, they also assess its impact on Christianity and its implications for the future of the Christian tradition.

The Death of God Movement and the Holocaust explores how Nazi Germany's destruction of the European Jews affected important currents in Christian and Jewish theology. Specifically, in the mid-1960s, four diverse religious thinkers from the United States--Thomas Altizer, William Hamilton, Richard Rubenstein, and Paul van Buren--intensified Friedrich Nietzsche's nineteenth-century claim that "God is dead." Although they represented different traditions, utilized varied methods of analysis, and focused on culture in distinctive ways, the four young Americans were all influence--some more, others less--by the Holocaust, the twentieth century's watershed event.

Their headline-grabbing work--Time's cover story featured it on April 8, 1966--caused a stir in Christian and Jewish circles alike. Thirty years later, a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) revisited the death of God movement by asking the four radical theologians to reflect on the ways in which awareness of the Holocaust affected their thinking not only in the 1960s but also into the late 1990s.

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