Primary Readings

There are some readings to go along with this course. The TIME magazine article ‘Is God Dead?’, and four essays from the book Radical Theology and the Death of God. Click the links to get the article and the book.

Secondary Readings

There are a number of supplementary readings that will be useful for people who want to delve deeper. Below I’ve included a number of links to key works.

The first is called The Theology of Altizer, and is available free online. This was a book edited by John Cobb in 1970 and offers a series of critical essays on Altizer, along with his responses. The most important essay in the book is Cobb’s contribution. Many of the other contributions aren’t really that great.

The second link is to a more recently work called Resurrecting the Death of God that has a number of essays that look back on the hight of the movement in the 1960’s. Of particular interest is the Introduction.

The third book is very expensive. It’s called The Palgrave Handbook of Radical Theology. If you do get it, I’d stick to reading section 1, and parts of section 2.

The next recommendation is Radical Theology: A Vision for Change by Jeffery Robbins. This is a brilliant academic treatment of the movement by one of the leading contemporary thinkers in the movement.

Katherine-Sarah Moodies Radical Theology and the Emerging Christianity is one of the only texts to offer an in-depth and extensive exploration of Radical Theology in relation to my own work. This is a brilliant academic text.

Christopher Rodkey is not only one of the leading commentators on Radical Theology, he is also someone who preaches and practices the event of the movement. In the following works, he shows how Radical Theology looks when preached from the pulpit.

Below are some other notable works.

Video Material

Shortly after the explosion of interest in Radical Theology, this documentary was made. It’s obviously very old, but offers another insight into the controversy of the time.

Altizer was a very reclusive figure, and was largely sidelined by the academy. So there is very little audio/visual material on the internet. But I did find this extended interview, which was released a couple of months before Altizer passed away. I don’t know much about who made the video, but the woman interviewing Altizer is Lissa McCullough, who was a close friend of Altizer, and one of the leading experts in his thought.

The Dialectics of God

Radical Theology represents one of the most innovative, provocative and fertile theological movements of the 20th century. While the ideas behind the movement had long been discussed within the academy, it burst onto the public stage in a dramatic way in the 1960’s. This was facilitated by two important publications. The first was a famous TIME magazine article entitled 'Is God Dead' from 1966, and the second was a book by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton, published the same year, called Radical Theology and the Death of God

While the movement these two thinkers helped pioneer, exploded onto the public scene in a spectacular fashion, it disappeared almost as quickly. Hamilton never really established himself as an important theologian, and Altizer - a troubled and prophetic individual - was largely sidelined by the academy. He quickly fell into obscurity, becoming a John the Baptist figure. Crying out in the wilderness about the coming of world-historical event. 

Altizer continued to write provocative, difficult and innovative work right up to his death last year. But most of this work has gone unappreciated. The question remains as to whether he will have a mere footnote in the intellectual life of the 20th century, or eventually be hailed as one of its most prophetic and innovative children.

In this five part course, I’ll be introducing this movement, exploring its subsequent development and looking at its relation to pyrotheology.

Reading: Is God Dead?

bonus video

Here is a lecture I gave called Mapping Pyrotheology that draws some connections between the material in this course and the theory and technology of Pyrotheology. In particular, I give some examples of the type of Kierkegaardian dialectics mentioned by William Hamilton.