Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Religion, PhD


School of Religion

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Roland Faber

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Philip Clayton

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Oona Eisenstadt

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Jeremy D. Fackenthal


This dissertation examines the problem of coming to terms with the past in post-World War II Germany in the wake of the Holocaust by examining the philosophical critiques of Theodor Adorno and Eric Voegelin. It then extends these critiques into the ongoing discussion of post-Holocaust philosophy and theology, while introducing the speculative philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead as a helpful and appropriate means for continuing metaphysical reflection and perceiving the influence of the past upon the present and future in post-Holocaust discourse. This dissertation suggests, alongside Adorno and Voegelin, that finally coming to terms with the past proves much more dangerous than helpful. Instead, the focus should remain on remembering and reflecting critically upon the deleterious past of the Holocaust in order to avoid forgetfulness or effacement of the past. Whitehead's philosophy provides a metaphysical means for considering how the past remains with us in the present and into the future. Out of this injunction to remember comes a theology of remembrance, which draws heavily from Walter Benjamin's writing on weak messianism and inverse theology. The final focus of the dissertation is the development of a Christian theology of remembrance that requires Christians to rethink theology in light of the Holocaust.