Biblical monotheism under suspicion of violence

The return of wrath semantics as a challenge to the Christian word of God

Again, biblical monotheism has been under suspicion of violence for some years now. Recently, Anglo-American advocates of a new atheism argued that the god of biblical tradition could be characterised as a "bloodthirsty monster" (R. Dawkins). Even though there is, in fact, no denomination to such a God who has been constructed by selective treatment of the biblical Scripture, it is undisputed that, from the Book of Genesis to the Apocalypse of John, there are passages narratively staging the wrath of the jealous God or poetically showing the dark sides of God.  Even though Peter Sloterdijk in his experiment "Anger and time" offensively brings into focus biblical semantics of anger and jealousy, as well as fantasies of retaliation in Christian thought, this offensive legacy of biblical monotheism has so far been marginalised and replaced by a discourse of love in systematic theology.

Against this background, the task is to develop a critical appropriation of the offensive speech of the wrath of God, to discuss the suspicion of violence, and at the same time to connect biblical passages about the wrath of god with those about the love of God in a systematical theological way. The mediation attempts of the theological tradition (Lactantius, Origen, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Daniel F. E. Schleiermacher, etc.) are to be included in the current discourse on religion, which until now has been dominated by non-theological figures.

Preliminary work

  • Monotheismus unter Gewaltverdacht: Themenheft der Internationalen KatholischenZeitschrift Communio 2003
  • Der Atheismus als Purgatorium des Glaubens. Selbstgerechtigkeit und Eiferertum sind aufallen Seiten zu finden, in: Neue Zürcher Zeitung vom 13./14. September 2008 (Nr. 214), S. B 4 (Beilage Literatur und Kunst)
  • Der Zorn Gottes - die andere Seite der Liebe. Dogmatische Anmerkungen zur Wiederkehr eines verdrängten Motivs, in: Theologie und Philosophie 130 (2008), S. 385-409