Some links connected with Ernst Bloch and his "Atheism in Christianity"

I'm finding my encounter with Bloch on this vacation very helpful and stimulating so, just in case you might, here are some links.

Here's a link to an essay that might encourage folk to think further about Bloch's position:

Here's a link to a Guardian review by Nicholas Lezard:

Here's the publisher's page:

And, finally, here's notification of an event about Bloch and "Atheism in Christianity" at Birckbeck College in October:


Yewtree said…
Interesting articles.

In the first one, the author states that "In the interpretations of the Old Testament and the Gospel, Bloch traces the evolution from an unemancipated, servile, god-fearing man, completely submitted to fate, on to a man who identifies himself completely with god." Sounds a bit like the Orthodox doctrine of theosis.

The only problem with Bloch's thought (at least as outlined here) is that it assumes a choice only between Christianity and atheism. If the realisation of the eschaton / Utopia / the Omega Point is the goal, then mainstream Christianity lacks the techniques to raise the consciousness of individuals to contribute to the raising of the collective consciousness (which is what I have always assumed is the purpose of the spiritual journey).
Good to hear from you Yewtree.

One of the many interesting things about Bloch is that although he explores seriously the ideas of Freud and Jung he does not think they are right. Vis-a-vis your comment speaking of a collective unconscious - Bloch did not think much of it saying that:

"it purports to be 'the five-hundred-thousand-year-old shaft beneath the few thousand years of civilization', particularly beneath the few years of individual life. In this basic ground there is not only nothing new, but what it contains is decidedly primeval; everything new is ipso facto without value, in fact hostile to value; according to Jung and Klages, the only thing that is new today is the destruction of instinct, the undermining of the ancient basic ground of the imagination by the intellect" (Principle of Hope, Vol. 1 p. 61).

Bloch added that "Jung's collective unconscious flows thicker in witch-crazes than in pure reason" (ibid).

However, in your comment you add "raising the level" to the collective unconscious. Now, whilst Bloch clearly rejects the idea of the collective unconscious' existence, because he had at the heart of his thinking the idea of the 'not-yet-conscious' there was the related thought that we were always in the making - in the process of 'becoming' which is a kind of 'raising-the-level'. We, all of us, are not yet what we might be and in that space - the not-yet - he locates genuine hope which can encourage individuals to work better together for concrete, Utopian ends.

I think Bloch would agree with your thought that traditional Christianity (at least when it is understood as a final expression and doctrine) is adequate to the task of creating a better world. But what he finds attractive about the whole Judaeo-Christian tradition (i.e. the Biblical texts) is that they contain within them a radical counter narrative that not only resists any codification into a final doctrine but also sets up a model of revolutionary open-ended hopeful living that will always challenge the fixing and finishing of life - Jesus is the model of a person who lived that counter-revolutionary life - a true Son of Man. Consequently Bloch's thought represents a rebellion against the Lordly/creator conception of God because it assumes a pre-existent, eternal perfection - something which allows nothing really new to enter into the world. This dominating and, strangely uncreative God (for all 'his' status as a creator) is why Bloch points us to the idea of the God of Exodus - a 'God' who walks with us, with whom we fight, argue and struggle, and who by so doing encourages us into genuine freedom, hope, and into the making of a world with genuinely NEW insights and ways of being.

As you read this please do remember that I'm not a Bloch scholar - just a first-time although I hope, careful, reader.