Book Series Studia Traditionis Theologiae, vol. 43

'My God, my God, why have you abandoned me'

The Experience of God’s Withdrawal in Late Antique Exegesis, Christology and Ascetic Literature

Evaggelos Bartzis

  • Pages: 217 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2021

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59360-9
  • Paperback
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59361-6
  • E-book
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Dr Evaggelos Bartzis obtained his BA in Theology at the University of Athens, Greece and completed his doctoral research at Durham University, UK. He is an independent researcher who teaches Religious Education and History in a private school, and also a private tutor teaching English to Students of Other Languages (ESOL).


The motif of Gods turning away his face still matters in theology as a direct aftermath of the horrors that the world experienced during WWII and also in the wake of the promotion of an excessive reading of theology, called kenotic. It even appears in unexpected places with no discernible association to the historical development of the Christian doctrine (Caputo, Žižek and C.S.Lewis).
This book provides a historical supplement to current approaches and explores the way that late antique theology laid out the theoretical substratum on which modern approaches could anchor themselves. It presents the nuanced ways in which the motif of divine abandonment developed in late antiquity, displays the various threads of thought that theology pursued in different contexts (exegesis, Christology and ascetic desert literature), and raises three points:
- the extent to which parallel lines were drawn in late antique theology between the experiences of the bride in the Song of Songs, Jesus on the cross and the early ascetics;
- the normativeness of divine abandonment in early Christian thought and its association to sinfulness;
- the possibility that late antique theology had introduced a Jesus-like ‘kind’ of abandonment.