The Johannine Christianity of Albert Camus

Wayne Cristaudo

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Taking its cue from the rather strange book by the Protestant Minister Mumma Albert Camus and the Minister, which claims that shortly before he died Camus wished to be baptised, this paper reopens the case of Camus and Christianity. All Camus' public pronouncements on Christianity indicate he had more differences with Christians than common interests – although there had always been Christians who saw a fellow spirit in Camus, not least in his depiction of Christian fanatics. Moreover, Camus himself insisted upon the need for a pagan revival, and he tended to represent Christians, along with Marxists, as metaphysically obsessed with the future at the expense of life here and now. This paper argues that Camus' representation of paganism was more mythic than real, and that his writing is far more in keeping with what the Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig, picking up on Schelling's term, called Johannine Christianity. Such a form of Christianity, whose founding father is Goethe, is a post-Protestant, ‘wall-less’, non-institutional, symbol-less faith in hope that remains true to the command to love the neighbour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-161
Number of pages17
JournalCulture, Theory and Critique
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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