Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism

Bernard Schweizer, Author
Bernard Schweizer, Oxford Univ., $29.95 (367p) ISBN 978-0-19-975138-9
Reviewed on: 10/11/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-282-77606-7
Hardcover - 257 pages - 978-0-19-978134-8
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Schweizer, an associate professor of English at Long Island University (see InProfile in this issue), dissects the contemporary guard of angry atheists (Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris et al.) by placing the phenomenon in historical and literary context to show roots and development. He likes the term "misotheism" to capture the virulence of the god-haters and draws mostly from misotheists from 1800 onward, though he looks at the book of Job. Most god-haters (including Shelley, Camus, and Zora Neale Hurston, whose inclusion might surprise some) have used literature to articulate and disguise their briefs against a divinity they blame for suffering, catastrophe, and/or mass slaughter. Schweizer's textual readings are close and careful. Some figures he concentrates on are less than compelling choices; nobody reads Swinburne anymore except graduate students of English. This book provides a useful reminder that a long history of cursing God precedes the present vogue—and society has not yet collapsed from the corrosive effects of angry atheism. (Nov.)
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