Depth and the Void

Tillich and Žižek via Schelling
  • Clayton Crockett
Part of the Radical Theologies book series (RADT)


In his Preface to The Gospel of Christian Atheism, Thomas J. J. Altizer proclaims his appreciation of Tillich. He writes, “Among twentieth-century theologians, it was Tillich alone who made possible a way to a truly contemporary theology.”1 Altizer, the important death of God theologian, claims that while he has had to disagree with Tillich’s conclusions: nevertheless, “I do so with the conviction that they are not yet radical enough, and with the memory of Tillich ’s words to me that the real Tillich is the radical Tillich.”2 This is a strange statement by Altizer. Tillich ’s manifest theological conclusions are not radical enough, and yet the “real” Tillich is the radical Tillich, and this is reportedly from Tillich himself.


Socialist Decision Symbolic Order Absolute Identity Dialectical Relation Positive Philosophy 
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  1. 3.
    See for example Jacques Lacan, “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of Its Power.” In Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006), 525: “it must be posited that, as a characteristic of an animal at the mercy of language, man’s desire is the Other’s desire.”Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See my discussion of Tillich in connection with Schelling, Lacan, and Žižek in Clayton Crockett, Interstices of the Sublime: Theology and Psychoanalytic Theory (New York: Fordham University Press, 2007), chapters 6 and 7.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Wilhelm Pauck and Marion Pauck, Paul Tillich: His Life & Thought, Volume I: Life (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), 51.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Paul Tillich, The Construction of the History of Religion in Schelling’s Positive Philosophy: Its Presuppositions and Principles, trans. Victor Nuovo (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1974), 52.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    Slavoj Žižek, “The Abyss of Freedom.” In The Abyss of Freedom/Ages of the World, ed. Slavoj Žižek and F. W. J. von Schelling (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997), 34.Google Scholar
  6. See also F. W. J. Schelling, The Ages of the World: (Fragment) From the Handwritten Remains, Third Version (c.1815), trans. Jason M. Wirth (Albany: SUNY Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  7. Two excellent contemporary studies of Schelling in English are Jason M. Wirth, The Conspiracy of Life: Meditations on Schelling and His Time (Albany: SUNY Press, 2003),Google Scholar
  8. and Daniel Whistler, Schelling’s Theory of Symbolic Language: Forming the System of Identity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). Finally, Saitya Brata Das is developing an important interpretation of Schelling in relation to the theme of political theology.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 20.
    F. W.J. Schelling, “Stuttgart Seminars (1810).” In Idealism and the Endgame of Theory: Three Essays by F.W.J. Schelling, trans, and ed. Thomas Pfau (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994), 195–268 (quote 200).Google Scholar
  10. 27.
    Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 190–191 (emphasis Deleuze’s).Google Scholar
  11. 32.
    See Adrian Johnston, Žižek’s Ontology: A Transcendental Materialist Theory of Subjectivity (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2008).Google Scholar
  12. 33.
    Slavoj Žižek, The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters (London: Verso, 1996), 37.Google Scholar
  13. 40.
    See Alain Badiou, Being and Event, trans. Oliver Feltham (London: Continuum, 2005), 65.Google Scholar
  14. 41.
    See Slavoj Žižek, Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism (London: Verso, 2012). This monumental work on Hegel is striking insofar as it includes no serious engagement with Schelling, although it does engage Fichte, mainly through the interpretation of Dieter Heinrich (see chapter 3, “Fichte’s Choice”). Perhaps here Žižek’s Hegelianism has swallowed up his Schellingianism, which has always been a more minor aspect of Zizek’s oeuvre.Google Scholar
  15. 42.
    Slavoj Žižek, The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003), 91.Google Scholar
  16. 45.
    Slavoj Žižek and Boris Gundevic, God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2012), 157.Google Scholar

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© Russell Re Manning 2015

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  • Clayton Crockett

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