Visionary utopian thinker finds the atheist core of the bible. In recent years religious faith has come under much scrutiny from secular progressives. Fear of a rise in Islamic and Christian fundamentalism has prompted numerous attacks on the belief in God which make no attempt to understand its source. In this long unavailable book, Ernst Bloch provides an original historical examination of Christianity in an attempt to find its social roots. He pursues a detailed study of the Bible and its long standing fascination for 'ordinary and unimportant' people. In the Bible stories' promise of utopia and their antagonism to authority, Bloch locates the appeal to the oppressed - the desire 'to transcend without transcendence'. Through a lyrical yet close and nuanced analysis he explores the tensions within the text that promote atheism, against the authoritarian metaphysical theism imposed on it by priest interpreters. At the Bible's heart he finds a heretical core and claims, paradoxically, that a good Christian must necessarily be an atheist.
Ernst Bloch (1885-1977) is one of the most important German Marxist thinkers of the twentieth century and one of the great theorists of utopia. An associate of Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht and Theodor Adorno, his works include The Principle of Hope, Spirit of Utopia and Traces.