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

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

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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 is the first philosophical enactment of the Death of God,” (Altizer) and thinkers like Nietzsche, Lacan, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, and Derrida and poets like William Blake. 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). Using Death of God theology, we can see how “The Second Coming” by William Yeats describes the condition of man in the wake of the death of God 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 Night 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 (Linscott). For Kirkegaard, God was absent in a world which was bound up in objectivity, rationalism, empiricism, etc. which meant that it took an act of subjective will to reach God and acquire Truth. That act of subjective will is called “the leap of faith” by Kirkegaard. Altizer tells us that this leap is no longer possible in modernity since the death or abse...


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...eory: 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.
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, and Walter Arnold Kaufmann. "Section 125: The Madman." The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs. New York: Vintage, 1974. N. pag. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
O'Farrell, Clare. "Key Concepts." Michel-foucault.com. N.p., 30 Oct. 2010. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
Yeats, William. "The Second Coming." The Norton Introduction to Literature. ed. Spencer Richardson-Jones. 11th ed. New York: Norton. 2013. 1203. Print.
Zondervan NIV Study Bible. Fully rev. ed. Kenneth L. Barker, gen. ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002. Print.

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

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