In this thesis I have conducted a study of the Internalization of God in the context of war. I have built the study around four individuals: Etty Hillesum, Minor White, Christian Boltanski, and Elie Wiesel. I looked at each one separately, - allotting one chapter to each. Etty Hillesum, who willingly went to Westerbork and died in Auschwitz three years later in 1943, wrote a number of diaries which are now compiled in the book An Interrupted Life. Minor White, who served in World War II, was a photographer who concentrated on undermining the conceptual with his photography and poetry. Christian Boltanski is an internationally known mixed media artist who deals primarily with the concept of identity and memory. Elie Wiesel survived the Holocaust as a young boy and has written a number of books since then. He focuses on the questioning of God and of our perspective of God. In these chapters I discussed the background of these individuals, the influence war had on their orientation toward God and religion, and their work, whether it be art or writing. Each one moved from a doctrine oriented perspective of religion to an internalization of God. Each underwent a reorientation towards the anticonceptual, that which cannot be named; each sought to pose questions, not answers. In each case, war was a primary catalyst for this reorientation. War acts to strip the human of all securities, both physically and mentally. In this way each were laid bare and made vulnerable and this vulnerability caused each to ask fundamental questions and challenge both humankind in general and themselves. I then looked at the effect this reorientation from answer to question had on their lifestyles, perspective of war and perspective of others. In my conclusion I accumulated those questions and turned them to the reader as well as myself, not in hopes to answer them but rather to emphasize the importance of questions over answers.


Kammer, III, Charles L.


Religious Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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