In search of Atheism: Benjamin and Nietzsche on secularity and occult theologies

James Martel


DOI: https://doi.org/10.15691/0718-5448Vol2Iss2a294
Full text
PDF

Resumen

In this article, I argue that atheism is different from secularism. Secularism is based on a faux elimination of theology which effectively preserves that theology in the guise of overcoming it. To achieve atheism (a term that I draw from the work of Maria Aristodemou), I argue that one needs to directly confront the theological element in order to come to terms with it. In this essay I look at how two political theological thinkers, Nietzsche and Benjamin, accomplish this. Nie-tzsche accomplishes atheism via his thesis of the “death of God,” a death that is not always literal but which creates a space for human life that is not determined by theological terms. Benjamin does the same thing with his idea that God vacates divine powers of judgment and determination in order to allow an atheistic space where human beings can engage in their own self-determination (even as the notion of God remains to challenge any would be human spokespersons for that role). I ultimately argue that atheism and anarchism are related concepts based not just on a rejection of certain forms of theology and all forms of archism, but also in terms of the way they allow a posi-tive and undetermined human response.

Martel J. In search of Atheism: Benjamin and Nietzsche on secularity and occult theologies. Síntesis, Rev filos.. 2020;2(2): 150-175. Disponible en: doi:10.15691/0718-5448Vol2Iss2a294 [Accessed 4 Aug. 2021].
Martel, J. (2020). In search of Atheism: Benjamin and Nietzsche on secularity and occult theologies. Síntesis. Revista de Filosofía, 2(2), 150-175. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.15691/0718-5448Vol2Iss2a294

Referencias


Alter, Robert. 1991. Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin and Scholem. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Aristodemou, Maria. 2014. Law, Psychoanalysis, Society: Taking the Unconscious Seriously. London: Routledge.

Asad, Talal. 2003. Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Asad, Talal / Brown, Wendy / Butler, Judith/ Mahmood, Saba. 2013. Is Critique Secular?: Blasphemy, Injury and Free Speech. New York: Fordham Uni-versity Press.

Benjamin, Andrew. 2013. Working with Walter Benjamin. Edinburgh: Edin-burgh University Press.

Benjamin, Walter. 1996. “Franz Kafka: on the Tenth Anniversary of his Death”. In Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings Vol. 2, 1927-1934, editors Michael W. Jennings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Benjamin, Walter. 1996. “The Meaning of Time in the Moral Universe”. In Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Vol 1. 1913-1926, editors Marcus Bullock, Michael W. Jennings. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Chabbert, Marie. 2018. “On Becoming Secular: Gilles Deleuze and the Death of God”. Working Papers in the Humanities 12: 50-59.

Cohn, Jesse. 2011. “’Don’t Trust Anybody, Not Even Us’: Kafka’s Realism as Anarchist Modernism”. Studies in 20th and 21st Century Literature 35-2.

Connolly, William. 2002. Neuropolitics: Thinking, Culture, Speed. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Connolly, William. 2011. A World of Becoming. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Connolly, William. 1999. Why I Am Not a Secularist. Minneapolis, MN: Univer-sity of Minnesota Press.

Connolly, William. 2011. “Some Theses on Secularism”. Cultural Anthropolo-gy 26: 648–56.

Critchley, Simon. 2014. The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology. New York: Verso.

Deleuze, Gilles. 1983. Nietzsche and Philosophy. New York: Columbia Univer-sity Press.

Derrida, Jacques. 1983. “Plato’s Pharmacy”. In Derrida, Jacques. Dissemination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Girard, René. 1988. “The Founding Murder in the Work of Friedrich Nie-tzsche”. In Violence and Truth: On the Work of René Girard, edited and with introduction by Paul Dumouchel. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Heidegger, Martin. 2002. “Nietzsche’s Word: ‘God is Dead’”. In Heidegger: Off the Beaten Track. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kafka, Franz. 1998. The Castle. New York: Schocken Books.

Kantorowicz, Ernst. 1957. The Kings Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Politi-cal Theology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Mangabeira Unger, Roberto. 2016. The Religion of the Future. New York: Verso Press.

Mahmood, Saba. 2015. Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Re-port. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Moses, Stéphane. 1999. “Gershom Scholem’s Reading of Kafka: Literary Criti-cism and Kabbalah”. New German Critique 77 (Special Issue on German-Jewish Religious Thought):149-167.

Newman, Saul. Political Theology: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1956. The Genealogy of Moral. New York: Doubleday.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1969. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. New York: Penguin.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1974. The Gay Science. New York: Vintage Book.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1993. Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is. New York: Penguin.

Sanín-Restrepo, Ricardo. 2016. Decolonizing Democracy: Power in a Solid State. New York: Rowman & Littlefied.

Scholem, Gershom (editor). 1992. The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Watkin, Christopher. 2011. Difficult Atheism: Post-Theological Thinking in Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy and Quentin Meillassoux. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Weber, Max. 1985. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. London: Allen and Unwin.


Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.


Copyright (c) 2020 James Martel

Licencia de Creative Commons
Este obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-CompartirIgual 4.0 Internacional.