The resurrection of Jesus, and our participation in it, is of course foundational for the “comic” vision of Christianity. Barth, however, expresses this in a particularly sharp way, when he describes how the Christian looks back to death and the grave as a past event, and forward to resurrection. The resurrection, in short, shifts the location of death in history, the individual’s life story, and literature. For ancients, death always remains ahead, and is always only what remains ahead - the unavoidable horizon of life and history. If there is life, it is behind. By his resurrection, however, Jesus has conquered death (though it still remains to be conquered), and we can in a real sense look back on it as a defeated foe. Only such a faith can produce the “deep comedy” of Western Christian literature.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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