The Genesis of Horror in the Face of the Deep
Keywords:Keller, Beal, monsters, monstrous, chaos theory, order, complexity, Job, Leviathan, tehom, tehomaphilia, tehophany, chaosmos
This article reads between two recent explorations of the relationship between religion, chaos, and the monstrous: Catherine Keller’s Face of the Deep and Author's Religion and Its Monsters. Both are oriented toward the edge of chaos and order; both see the primordial and chaotic as generative; both pursue monstrous mythological figures as divine personifications of primordial chaos; both find a deep theological ambivalences in Christian and Jewish tradition with regard to the monstrous, chaotic divine; both are critical of theological and cultural tendencies to demonize chaos and the monstrous; and finally, both read the divine speech from the whirlwind in the book of Job as a revelation of divine chaos. But whereas one sees it as a call for laughter, a chaotic life-affirming laughter with Leviathan in the face of the deep, the other sees it as an incarnation of theological horror, leaving Job and the reader overwhelmed and out-monstered by God. Must it be one way or the other? Can laughter and horror coincide in the face of the deep?
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