By Christopher Craig Brittain
Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno (1903-1969), the German sociologist and thinker used to be one of many highbrow leaders of the post-war Frankfurt tuition. This booklet offers and analyzes Adorno’s writings on theology and faith in a transparent and available demeanour. it truly is distinctive at top point undergraduate and postgraduate scholars, and won't presuppose any familiarity with Adorno. The ebook contains a common advent to Adorno’s concept, and examines his courting with the paintings of Walter Benjamin and Jewish theology, his war of words with medical positivism (Karl Popper), and his feedback of the “Culture Industry” and beliefs. All of those issues are explored with cognizance to how they interact with modern debates inside theology. this is often comprehensive through bringing Adorno’s paintings into discussion with significant issues and authors. the amount concludes by means of highlighting a regularly overlooked element of Adorno’s writing—his philosophy of music—and how this aesthetic appreciation of the elegant informs modern theological reflection.
“In advanced and sometimes deeply difficult methods, Adorno’s pondering was once profoundly trained by means of theology. whereas carefully adhering to the prohibition of pictures, he the entire similar argued that theology features a utopian aspiration that no actual serious idea can do with out. This ebook sticks out as essentially the most lucid and complete experiences of the theological strands of Adorno’s considering. within the absence of confession and after the ‘death of god,’ it testifies to the continued philosophical price and relevance of religion.” —Espen Hammer, Temple college
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Extra info for Adorno and Theology (Philosophy and Theology)
26 The assumption that an object, as it presents itself directly to the theorist, represents the truth of its material reality remains, in Adorno’s view, blind to the compulsion of material conditions that shape it. The materialism of a dialectical theory of society must, therefore, remain focused on discerning such influential dynamics. Such a view shapes Adorno’s attitude towards distinctions like reason and myth, secular and sacred, materialism and idealism. In Dialectic of Enlightenment, he argues that efforts to de-mystify thought can unwittingly turn into a form of mystification.
In his view, reason can point beyond the boundaries of existing experience and context, and expand the horizon of human thought beyond the conventions of the status quo. This point will be taken up further below. For the present discussion, it is instructive to remain with the argument in Dialectic of Enlightenment. In the first excursus, which interprets Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, Adorno suggests that Odysseus’ battle against ‘irrational nature’ and myth be understood as a prototype for the development of the rational bourgeois subject.
In his view, the limitations in materialist theory cannot be so easily resolved by the introduction of some mediating concept to mend the rupture between knowledge and matter, subject and object. Adorno argues that the appropriate response to the complexities of materialism is not to seek after some fixed metaphysical or methodological certainty, but is rather to encourage an attentive sensitivity to social suffering, and a commitment to try to bring it to an end. Dialectical materialism is more a practice of thinking oriented towards the utopian goals of happiness and the end of suffering, than it is an ontology of matter or history.