Thomas J. J. Altizer

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Thomas Jonathan Jackson Altizer (May 28, 1927 – November 28, 2018) was a radical theologian who incorporated Friedrich Nietzsche's conception of the "death of God" into his teachings.


  • Theology is now called to listen fully to the world, even if such a listening demands a turning away from the church's witness to Christ.
    • The Gospel of Christian Atheism (1966), Preface
  • No suffering can be foreign to a Christian, not even the anguish that comes with the loss of God.
    • The Gospel of Christian Atheism (1966), p. 23
  • If Protestant theology has reached the point where it is closed to the challenge of atheism, then it has ceased to be the intellectual vanguard of Christianity.
    • Toward a New Christianity (1967), p. 7
  • What is most needed today is a fundamental theological thinking, one centered upon the Godhead itself, and centered upon that which is most challenging or most offensive in the Godhead, one which has truly been veiled in the modern world, except by our most revolutionary thinkers and visionaries. If we allow Blake and Nietzsche to be paradigmatic of those revolutionaries, nowhere else does such a centering upon God or the Godhead occur, although a full parallel to this occurs in Spinoza and Hegel; but the language of Hegel and Spinoza is not actually offensive, or not in its immediate impact, whereas the language of Nietzsche and Blake is the most purely offensive language which has ever been inscribed. Above all this is true of the theological language of Blake and Nietzsche, but here a theological language is a truly universal language, one occurring in every domain, and occurring as that absolute No which is the origin of every repression and every darkness, and a darkness which is finally the darkness of God, or the darkness of that Godhead which is beyond “God.” Only Nietzsche and Blake know a wholly fallen Godhead, a Godhead which is an absolutely alien Nihil, but the full reversal of that Nihil is apocalypse itself, an apocalypse which is an absolute joy, and Blake and Nietzsche are those very writers who have most evoked that joy.
    • Godhead and the Nothing (2003), Preface

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