This paper engages Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood (1952) in the theological debate of the radical “death-of-God” movement and examines how the novel serves as a critique of religious secularism in the America of the 1950s. O’Connor describes her protagonist in the novel, Hazel Motes, as a Christian malgré lui; that is, a Christian despite himself. Hazel vociferously proclaims to be an unbeliever and even starts a seemingly blasphemous “Church Without Christ.” However, Hazel’s church is the least secularized among the competing churches in the novel. In the end, moreover, it is his unbelief that conversely helps him reach spiritual elevation. Hazel’s incongruous conduct and belief contribute to the comic effect of the novel and also confuse many readers. This paper, informed by the radical theological movement, “death-of-God,” in the 1960s, argues that Hazel’s Church Without Christ represents a radical theology so extreme that it is turned inside out. Drawing on Gabriel Vahanian’s theological ideas, this paper sees Wise Blood as a critique of religious secularism, in which capitalism is sacralized and Christianity secularized.
KEYWORDS: Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood, secularism, death-of-God theology, Gabriel Vahanian
本篇論文將芙蘭納里‧奧康納的《智血》置入「上帝已死」的激進神學辯論中；筆者藉此檢視《智血》為奧康納對1950 年代美國宗教世俗化的批判。奧康納描述小說主角黑澤爾‧莫茲為「身不由己的基督徒」（a Christian malgré lui)。 儘管莫茲堅稱自己非信徒，甚至開創了帶有宗教褻瀆意味的「沒有耶穌的新教」，但是他的教會卻是小說中最不世俗化的教派。更重要的是，在小說結尾，莫茲正是因為他的無信仰而得到精神上的救贖。莫茲表裡不一的行徑與信仰為小說製造戲謔的一面，但也對讀者造成詮釋上的困惑。藉由 1960年代激進的「上帝已死」神學辯論，本文主張莫茲的「沒有耶穌的新教」象徵一種激進神學─一種過於極端乃至於徹底倒轉的神學。援引蓋布里爾‧馬赫尼（Gabriel Vahanian）的神學觀，本文視《智血》為奧康納對美國宗教世俗化以及資本主義神聖化的批判。