The Limits of Immanence and Knowledge in the Mirror of Christian and Islamic Conceptions of Atheism

This lecture considers the relationship between Nietzsche’s Christian form of atheism and Ibn Al-Rawandy’s criticism of prophecy, arguing that the latter constitutes a form of Islamic atheism, and that both the Christian and Islamic forms call into question the temporal break between religion and atheism (often assumed to be unproblematically secular).

Both Nietzsche’s statement that “God is dead” and the theological argument that “God does not exist” assume that modern conceptions of atheism are fully emancipated from theology, its language and its logic. This lecture inquires into the temporal presumptions of this account of an historical break, showing that the temporality upon which the break relies is itself derived from Christian sources, and that atheism may best be regarded as a mere negation of revelation. Something similar happens in the work of Ibn Al-Rawandy, establishing the basis for a critical approach to both Christian and Islamic forms of atheism.

Abed Azzam completed BA & MA studies in the fields of psychology and social anthropology in 1995 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and received his Ph.D. from the Cohn Institute for History and Philosophy of Sciences and Ideas (2005). Between the years 2002-2006, he was a fellow at Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen, the Freie Universität and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. His areas of specialization and interest include continental philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of history, secularization, Arabic-Islamic philosophy and cultural studies. He is currently completing his book, Nietzsche versus Paul: A Reading of Dionysus under the Guise of Christianity.