Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Watch the Blood-Soaked Old General in Action: Blochian Atheism, Exodus, and Utopia in Doctor Who

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  • Publication: The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture
  • Date: 30:2 (Summer 2018)
  • Author: Casey Aldridge
  • Page: p. 106-119
  • Language: English
  • Abstract: This article reads the eighth series of modern Doctor Who alongside Ernst Bloch’s Atheism in Christianity. Applying Bloch’s motifs of utopianism, God on High, and God of Exodus, it suggests that Doctor Who—and, to a lesser degree, Torchwood: Children of the Earth—presents a narrative that is at once deeply formed by atheist materialism and Christian messianism. Through the character analysis of the Doctor as well as secondary and tertiary characters, this article posits that both the atheist–Christian theology of Bloch and recent turns in Doctor Who fundamentally require the dissolution of all polity and ethical dimensions within religion. Whereas most analyses of the Doctor as a Christ figure examine Doctor Who’s third series, this article does so with a focus on the tendencies toward exodus and liberation present in the eighth series. In doing so, it aims to challenge the assumptions of previous studies that have placed Doctor Who’s atheism in tension with its Christian imagery and to suggest Bloch’s model as a more helpful tool for thinking about the Doctor as a deified protagonist with both atheist and Christian characteristics. This work seeks to consider atheism and theism as forces that can and do exist concurrently in science fiction and Marxist theory, taking shape in a terrain that is neither exclusively Christian nor exclusively atheist and which is made possible through the theoretical vehicles of deification and theodicy.


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  • APA 6th ed.: Aldridge, Casey (30:2 (Summer 2018)). Watch the Blood-Soaked Old General in Action: Blochian Atheism, Exodus, and Utopia in Doctor Who. The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture p. p. 106-119.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Aldridge, Casey. "Watch the Blood-Soaked Old General in Action: Blochian Atheism, Exodus, and Utopia in Doctor Who." The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture [add city] 30:2 (Summer 2018), p. 106-119. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Aldridge, Casey. "Watch the Blood-Soaked Old General in Action: Blochian Atheism, Exodus, and Utopia in Doctor Who." The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, edition, sec., 30:2 (Summer 2018)
  • Turabian: Aldridge, Casey. "Watch the Blood-Soaked Old General in Action: Blochian Atheism, Exodus, and Utopia in Doctor Who." The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, 30:2 (Summer 2018), section, p. 106-119 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Watch the Blood-Soaked Old General in Action: Blochian Atheism, Exodus, and Utopia in Doctor Who | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Watch_the_Blood-Soaked_Old_General_in_Action:_Blochian_Atheism,_Exodus,_and_Utopia_in_Doctor_Who | work=The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture | pages=p. 106-119 | date=30:2 (Summer 2018) | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 February 2020 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Watch the Blood-Soaked Old General in Action: Blochian Atheism, Exodus, and Utopia in Doctor Who | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Watch_the_Blood-Soaked_Old_General_in_Action:_Blochian_Atheism,_Exodus,_and_Utopia_in_Doctor_Who | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 February 2020}}</ref>