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Hating GodThe Untold Story of Misotheism$
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Bernard Schweizer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199751389

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199751389.001.0001

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Agonistic Misotheism III

Agonistic Misotheism III

Divine Apathy, the Holocaust, and Elie Wiesel’s Wrestling with God

Chapter:
(p.149) Agonistic Misotheism III
Source:
Hating God
Author(s):

Bernard Schweizer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199751389.003.0005

The trajectory of Elie Wiesel’s evolving religious views is the inverse of Rebecca West’s. While West started and ended her life as a misotheist, experiencing a more conventional phase of piety in mid-life, Wiesel was a misotheist only during the middle part of his life. Starting out a devout Hasidic Jew, he lost his affirmative faith during the Holocaust. In his memoir, Night, he dramatized the protest against God in searing words: “I was the accuser, God the accused.” His accusations against God then moved into his novels, which are informed by an existentialist conception of a careless God. Wiesel’s case against God is most clearly stated in The Trial of God: “God is merciless…. He will not prevent me from letting my anger explode.” Wiesel eventually retreated from such radical positions and began to argue instead that God deserves man’s pity not his anger.

Keywords:   agonistic misotheism, protest theology, theodicy, blasphemy, Judaism, Holocaust, madness, mysticism, existentialism, Elie Wiesel

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