Gabriel Vahanian, Professor, Dies at 85; Was Linked to ‘Death of God’ Movement

Gabriel Vahanian, a theologian whose 1961 social critique, “The Death of God: The Culture of Our Post-Christian Era,” gave a name to a seemingly atheistic but widely misunderstood theological movement, died on Aug. 30 at his home in Strasbourg, France. He was 85.

His daughter, Noelle Vahanian, confirmed his death.

Mr. Vahanian, a churchgoing Presbyterian throughout his life, was a professor at Syracuse University when a small literary publisher released “The Death of God,” a scholarly work that took church leaders to task for what he considered the trivialization of Christian teaching in the secular age. It was not an endorsement of Friedrich Nietzsche’s 1880s-era announcement of God’s death. And it received little attention outside university religion departments and periodicals like The Journal of Bible and Religion. (The Journal’s review called it a dense read, but worthwhile. “Books like this must be written and read if Christian solutions are to be found,” it said.)...

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