My dissertation, Nietzsche's Death of God as a Physiological Event, investigates the meaning of Nietzsche's famous declaration, "God is dead." Nietzsche repeatedly insists that his philosophical inquiry into humanity is physiologically grounded: the human being is an embodied human being. I ask how we can read the crisis of God's death as a crisis of bodies, where "bodies" are understood, in a kind of proto-Freudian way, as constellations of drives. I read the death of God as a moment in which the drives structures that we are become threatened with an unraveling that results from the expiration of the ordering of drives that had been provided by Christianity. The death of God is thus both a moment of great opportunity and a great catastrophe. Throughout the dissertation, I argue that both the terms in which Nietzsche articulates this crisis and the spiritual possibilities opened by it are more imbued with Christian residues than Nietzsche cares to acknowledge.
I'm joining the Marty Center Seminar at the tail end of my dissertation writing, as I'm currently writing the very last chapter. Working with such a diverse array of scholars of religion has allowed me to think about how to present my dissertation as a book project - how to present my findings as intellectually interesting to someone who isn't exactly like me. Beyond the ways in which the Marty experience is helping me professionally, though, it has also been one of the most pleasurable things I've done in an academic setting. There is an atmosphere of great collegiality among the leadership, senior fellows, and junior fellows. I've never participated in any other workshop setting in which participants have given so much time and thought to the work being presented.