Godhead and the Nothing

By Thomas J. J. Altizer

Subjects: Religion
Paperback : 9780791457962, 179 pages, July 2003
Hardcover : 9780791457955, 179 pages, July 2003

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Table of contents


1. The Name of God

2. Primordial Sacrifice

3. Primordial Evil

4. Evil and Nothingness

5. Evil and the Godhead

6. The Genesis of Evil

7. The Transfiguration of Evil

8. The Self-Saving of God

9. The Absolute Abyss

10. The Body of Abyss


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.

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.