Excerpt from Thomas J.J. Altizer’s Godhead and the Nothing

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While Spinoza’s thinking dissolves all possible chaos and nothingness more purely than does any other thinking, it nevertheless calls forth a pure passivity which is its very opposite. The ancient prophets could know this passivity as apostasy, a rebellion against Yahweh, but a rebellion against Yahweh which at bottom is a submission to the world, and it is the very reversal of that rebellion which is obedience to Yahweh, an obedience only possible by way of a dissolution of all submission to everything but Yahweh and Yahweh alone. Spinoza was the first thinker to understand this obedience philosophically, and he could understand this obedience as a pure activity which is the very opposite of all possible passivity, and a pure activity which is the very actualization of God. For the totality which Spinoza knows as God is a totality that the ancient prophets could enact as absolute call, and just as this absolute call is an absolute disenactment of every other call, Spinoza’s thinking of the totality of God is a pure dissolution or disenactment of every previous thinking of God. Thereby Spinoza is our purest iconoclastic thinker, and therefore a truly prophetic thinker. He is most purely a prophetic thinker in his very thinking of God, and if that is the thinking of a pure and absolute act or activity which is act or activity alone, one wholly dissolving every possible teleology or final causation, it is precisely thereby a rebirth or renewal of an ancient prophetic oracle which shattered all primordial worlds, thereby shattering everything that the ancient world could know as power or cause. Hegel could know Spinoza’s God or absolute substance as a purely negative abyss, one dissolving every possible subject or subjectivity and doing so in the first philosophical thinking in history to effect a pure and actual negation of the subject or center of thinking itself. Could we not say that the ancient prophets enacted a pure negation of the “subject” upon their horizon, drawing forth that “subject” as a purely negative abyss, a purely negative abyss in absolute opposition to that absolute abyss which is now named as Yahweh? Perhaps abyss is a true name of Spinoza’s “God,” even as it is of that uniquely modern epiphany of God which Hegel could know as “beingin-itself” or the “Bad Infinite.” If it is not until the advent of the modern world that abyss is purely and actually thought, and not until then that abyss is imaginatively fully envisioned, this, too, can be understood as a rebirth or renewal of ancient prophecy, but now a prophecy inseparable from actuality itself. Do we hear God in our abyss? Must we hear God in knowing and realizing an absolute abyss? Is an absolute abyss possible apart from a realization of God, and a realization of the very voice of God, a voice that is a pure and absolute abyss, one whose realization silences every other voice, or silences every voice that is not the voice of abyss?


stumbled upon on r/radicalchristianity

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