Gabriel Citron, "Theapathy: On Simply Not Caring About God"

Ray D. Wolfe Postdoctoral Fellowship Lecture

It is almost common knowledge that God raises passions. Often dangerously. The theologian Paul Tillich even embeds this insight into his very definition of ‘God’ as “that which concerns man ultimately”. But this approach obscures a significant and growing phenomenonnamely, those who simply do not care about God, or God-related matters, at all. In fact, it is arguable that one of the key rabbinic terms for ‘heretic’apikoresactually denotes someone who is indifferent towards God rather than someone who denies God’s existence. However, despite the fact that a sizeable number of secularand even of ostensibly religiouspeople seem to fall into this category, English does not yet have a settled word for it. I propose that we call this kind of apathy towards the divine, ‘theapathy’. In this lecture I will draw on examples from the history of Jewish thought in order to explore the nature of theapathy, to examine its rationality and even its possibility, and to highlight some rather surprising ways in which it is a helpful concept in thinking about God and theology.

Gabriel Citron is the Ray D. Wolfe Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Philosophy and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto.

This event is free and open to the public. No registration required. Limited seating.

Date & Time
Monday, March 13, 2017 - 4:00pm

Jackman Humanities Building, Room 100, 170 St. George Street