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Europe and Empire$
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Massimo Cacciari and Alessandro Carrera

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823267163

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823267163.001.0001

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Europe or Christianity

Europe or Christianity

(p.69) 5 Europe or Christianity
Europe and Empire

Massimo Cacciari

, Alessandro Carrera, Massimo Verdicchio
Fordham University Press

Europe does not coincide with Christianity since the notion of Europe as “land of the sunset” predates both Christianity and the Roman Empire, yet Europe is the place where Christianity has triumphed while going through the most radical process of secularization. Nietzsche summed it up with the notion of the death of God, which must be referred to Hegel’s overcoming of religion in the figure of Absolute Knowledge, where God changes into Spirit. Hegel uncovered an atheistic factor in the relationship between Father and Son, which he understood in light of the Master/Slave relationship. A complete withdrawal of God is necessary for man to conquer his freedom (which Jesus promised him). There is no way out of this atheistic outcome unless Christian theology interrogates the paradoxical nature of the Kingdom that is already with us and yet we must pray that it comes. The paradox finds its ultimate symbol in the “logical” impossibility of the Crucifixion, the only place where the Kingdom is revealed. Whatever the Church did after that, and the way it got tangled up with the history of Europe, is witness to the “impossibility” of holding together such a paradoxical message.

Keywords:   Augustine, Christianity, Europe, Hegel, theology of the death of God, theology of paradox

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