Zizek ( The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic? ) thinks that John Caputo and Giorgio Agamben are right to say that Nietzsche’s declaration of the death of God could only turn inside out. According to them ( After the Death of God ), “if there’s no overarching principle, that means science is also one more interpretation . . . if that’s true, then non-scientific ways of thinking about the world, including religious ways, resurface.”

But Zizek despises the vapid, undogmatic, spectral Event that Caputo wants to insert into the space opened by the death of the death of God: “The properly Christian choice,” Zizek says, “is the ‘leap of faith’ by means of which we take the risk to fully engage in a singular instatiation as the Truth embodied, with no ironic distance, no fingers crossed. ‘Christ’ stands for the very singular point excluded by Caputo: a direct short circuit, identity even, between a positive singularity and the divine Event.”

And for that reason, Zizek is happy the Thomas Altizer is back, “repeating the gesture” of 60s radicalism, pushing for a renewed apocalypticism.

Not much to choose between Zizek’s gnosticism and Altizer’s apocalypticism, but it’s good to see Caputo’s pseudo-radicalism eviscerated.

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Articles by Peter J. Leithart