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Essay on "The Second Coming" and the Death of God

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Death of God theology is a theological movement dating back to the radical theologians of the 1960s, like Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton, and continuing in a more diverse form in the work of individuals like Slavoj Žižek and John Caputo. The movement can be traced back to the works of G.W.F. Hegel, of whom Thomas Altizers says, "The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) is the first philosophical enactment of the Death of God,” and thinkers like Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Lacan, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, and Derrida and poets like William Blake, Dante, and Milton. Although not having any explicit political commitments, Liberation Theology also acted as an influence on Death of God theology. The thesis of the Death of God theologians is that in some way "God is dead,” whether that be in a literal sense (God died on the cross and stayed dead) or, although not excluding the former, in a symbolic sense (God is dead in our culture). as Altizer says Hegel tried to do, but to accept the finality of the death of God and join together in the community of faithful believers, which is a radically egalitarian community based on love. Using Death of God theology, we can see how “The Second Coming” describes the condition of man in modern life and predicts the eventual rise of postmodernity, or “Anti-Christ”.
The first two lines of the poem,“Turning and turning in the widening gyre\The falcon cannot hear the falconer;”, express a sentiment that Altizer calls “The Dark Knight of the Soul” (a reference to a poem of the same name by St. John of the Cross. “The dark night of the soul” for Altizer has its roots in a distinction made by Kierkegaard between the spheres of Objective Reason and Subjectivity. For Kirkegaard, God was absent in a world w...


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...the 'Death of God': A Continuing Currency?". American Academy of Religion. Montreal, Quebec. 8 November, 2009. Conference Presentation.
Best, Steven, and Douglas Kellner. "Foucault and the Critique of Modernity." Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations. New York: Guilford, 1991. 45-48. Print.
Linscott, Andrew. "Radical Theology and the Death of God." Rev. of Radical Theology and the Death of God, by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton. n.d.: n. pag. About Atheisms & Theologies. Boston University, 2009. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
O'Farrell, Clare. "Key Concepts." Michel-foucault.com. N.p., 30 Oct. 2010. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
Sanders, DaVaun. "Sphinx Meanings." Synonym. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013.
Yeats, William. "The Second Coming." The Norton Introduction to Literature. ed. Spencer Richardson-Jones. 11th ed. New York: Norton. 2013. 1203. Print.



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