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Hating GodThe Untold Story of Misotheism$
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Bernard Schweizer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199751389

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199751389.001.0001

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Agonistic Misotheism I

Agonistic Misotheism I

Faith, Doubt, and Zora Neale Hurston’s Resistance to God

Chapter:
(p.103) Agonistic Misotheism I
Source:
Hating God
Author(s):

Bernard Schweizer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199751389.003.0003

Contrasting Swinburne’s carefree misotheistic candor, Zora Neal Hurston remained cryptic about her conflicted relationship with God. Partly because she was black and female, readers tend to overlook indications of misotheism, even when they seem plain. Few, if any, critics have taken the words “all gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason” in Their Eyes Were Watching God as potentially targeting Yahweh as well as any other gods. Instead, critics have either ignored such passages in her work or tried to explain them away. This chapter offers fresh readings of Hurston’s acclaimed works, and it draws on private writings, letters, and memoirs to fill in the picture of Hurston’s latent misotheism. Finally, the author reveals a surprising web of concealed references to writers ranging from Epicurus to Proudhon and Nietzsche, to bolster his claim that Hurston was indeed as hostile to God as the thinkers who influenced her.

Keywords:   agonistic misotheism, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Jonah’s Gourd Vine, Moses Man of the Mountain, Dust Tracks on the Road, Nietzsche, Epicurus, Anarchism, Deism, Zora Neal Hurston

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