By Thomas J. J. Altizer (auth.)
This ebook is an enormous breakthrough in radical theology through a sustained and inventive problem to traditional and orthodox pondering at the Trinity. Altizer offers a thorough rethinking of the apocalyptic trinity and recovers the apocalyptic Jesus of Hegel, Blake, and Nietzsche.
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Additional resources for The Apocalyptic Trinity
Here, both a Gnostic and a Neoplatonic temptation were extraordinarily powerful, one only fully overcome by the evolution of the doctrine of the Trinity, as here a triadic Godhead is finally known as Godhead itself, one truly other than an undifferentiated Godhead, and truly other by way of its very triadic identity. Only by way of that triadic identity is Godhead itself an absolute act or activity, an activity or energy or life proceeding from the eternal processions of the Godhead—processions that, while fully equal to each other, are nevertheless truly distinct from each other— and only that distinction of the processions or persons from each other makes possible the actuality of absolute act.
Only in the actuality of the “labor” of pure negativity are the modes of Spirit isolated and apart, a labor occurring only through the absolute opposition of these modes of Spirit; but in the apocalypse that has already dawned, the three modes of Spirit are one mode, or rather this dawning actuality openly makes manifest the certainty of an apocalyptic Spirit in which each mode of the Godhead is indistinguishable from the other. If only because apocalyptic thinking is so extraordinarily elusive in the contemporary world, there is little if any recognition that Hegel’s 22 The Apocalyptic Trinity modalistic thinking is an apocalyptic thinking, and just as only the advent of the final age of Spirit makes possible a pure understanding of either Being-in-itself or Being-for-itself, only the advent of an apocalyptic Being in-and-for-itself makes possible an understanding of the absolute opposition between Being-foritself and Being-in-itself, an opposition not only between a pure immanence and a pure transcendence, but an opposition that is the ultimate ground of everything that we have known and realized as consciousness and history.
At no other point is Christianity so purely and so totally dogmatic, just as nowhere else does Christianity more fully unveil itself as a uniquely dogmatic religion, one going far beyond all other dogmatic expressions, unless these are reborn in modern totalitarianism. Only when we understand the doctrine of the Trinity as the fullest doctrinal expression of pure dogma can we understand the ultimacy of the rebellions against it; no other Christian doctrine is so purely dogmatic, none so far beyond every possible interior realization, none that is so totally pure mystery and pure mystery alone, a mystery inseparable from an absolute authority more The Offense of the Trinity 33 comprehensively embodied in Christianity than in any other movement or tradition in world history.