Agonistic Misotheism III

Bernard Schweizer

in Hating God

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199751389
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894864 | DOI:
Agonistic Misotheism III

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The trajectory of Elie Wiesel’s evolving religious views is the inverse of Rebecca West’s. While West started and ended her life as a misotheist, experiencing a more conventional phase of piety in mid-life, Wiesel was a misotheist only during the middle part of his life. Starting out a devout Hasidic Jew, he lost his affirmative faith during the Holocaust. In his memoir, Night, he dramatized the protest against God in searing words: “I was the accuser, God the accused.” His accusations against God then moved into his novels, which are informed by an existentialist conception of a careless God. Wiesel’s case against God is most clearly stated in The Trial of God: “God is merciless…. He will not prevent me from letting my anger explode.” Wiesel eventually retreated from such radical positions and began to argue instead that God deserves man’s pity not his anger.

Keywords: agonistic misotheism; protest theology; theodicy; blasphemy; Judaism; Holocaust; madness; mysticism; existentialism; Elie Wiesel

Chapter.  9640 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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