Introduction Gabriel Vahanian: From the Death of God to Wording and Worlding

  • Gabriel Vahanian
Part of the Radical Theologies book series (RADT)


To understand and engage with the theology of Gabriel Vahanian we should begin by considering the four quotes that sit as signposts at the start of The Death of God, the book that brought him to international acclaim. They are worth reproducing (in fact it is necessary to reproduce them as a reminder) because these themes will regularly reappear throughout the next 50 years in Vahanian’s writing. This is because in using such quotes Vahanian is locating himself in a particular legacy, a particular European legacy that came, paradoxically, to be most fully expressed in America. The quotes are:

When Zarathustra was alone he said to his heart: “Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not heard of it, that God is dead!”

Thus Spake Zarathustra

Friederich Nietzsche

To kill God is to become god oneself; it is to realize already on this earth the eternal life of which the Gospel speaks.

The Myth of Sisyphus

Albert Camus

The god that can be pointed out is an idol, and the religiosity that makes an outward show is an imperfect form of religiosity.

Concluding Unscientific Postscript

Soren Kierkegaard

The most dreadful sort of blasphemy is that of which “Christendom” is guilty: transforming the God of Spirit into… ludicrous twaddle. And the stupidest divine worship, more stupid than anything that is or was to be found in paganism, more stupid than worshipping a stone, an ox, an insect, more stupid that all that is—to worship under the name of God … a twaddler.

Attack Upon Christendom

Soren Kierkegaard


Radical Mutation Christian Faith Natural Theology Christian Tradition Ultimate Concern 
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  1. 1.
    Gabriel Vahanian, “The Empty Cradle,” Theology Today 13 (January 1957), p. 521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 7.
    Gabriel Vahanian, “Biblical Symbolism and Man’s Religious Quest,” The Journal of Religion 38, no. 4 (October 1958), p.226. Originally published as Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith ( New York: Harper, 1957 ), p. 16.Google Scholar
  3. 23.
    Gabriel Vahanian, The Death of God: The Culture of Our Post-Christian Era (New York: George Braziller, 1961), p. xxxiiGoogle Scholar
  4. 25.
    Gabriel Vahanian, “Introduction,” in Karl Barth, The Faith of the Church, ed. Jean-Louis Louba, trans. Gabriel Vahanian (New York: Meridian Books, 1958 ), p. 7.Google Scholar
  5. 43.
    Gabriel Vahanian, “From Karl Barth to Theology,” Social Research 41, no. 2 (Summer 1974), p. 265.Google Scholar
  6. 84.
    Gabriel Vahanian, Wait without Idols (New York: George Braziller, 1964), p. xii.Google Scholar
  7. 93.
    Gabriel Vahanian, No Other God (New York: George Braziller, 1966), p. xii.Google Scholar
  8. 112.
    Clayton Crockett, “Foreword,” in Gabriel Vahnanian, Anonymous God: An Essay on Not Dreading Words, trans. Noëlle Vahanian (1989; repr., Aurora, CO: Davies Group Publishers, 2002), p. xi.Google Scholar

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© Gabriel Vahanian 2014

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  • Gabriel Vahanian

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