In Frankfurt School on Religion [PDF]
First Published: in Gabe – Herrn Rabbiner Dr. Nobel Zum 50. Geburtstag, J. Kauffmann Verlag Frankfurt a. M. in 1921; Source: Leo Löwenthal Schriften. 5 Bände – Band 5: Philosophische Frühschriften, Suhrkamp Verlag Frankfurt am Main, 1987; Translated from German: P. Alexander Schneider; Redaction and Markup: P. Alexander Schneider, @stadtstaat. marxists.org
Editors’ Note: Das Dämonische was originally written in 1920 as a seminar paper for Karl Jaspers’  seminary in Heidelberg. It was mainly dedicated to the second chapter “Weltbilder” in Jaspers’ recently released Psychologie der Weltanschauungen. It was not a mere reproduction of Jaspers’ thought but a philosophical treatise with messianic aspiration. The text reveals many features Löwenthal would maintain during his career such as his relationship to Marxism, to Psychoanalysis, and to a messianic interpretation of the religious. He is also concerned with orienting himself after the leading thinkers of his time such as Bloch and Lukács, but also figures such as Husserl, Goethe, Xenokrates, Kierkegaard, Wilhelm Wundt, and even the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury. Löwenthal is one of the founding members of the Frankfurt School and many of the ideas which would later become influential in creating Critical Theory can already be found here making it not just interesting to those studying Löwenthal or negative philosophy of religion, but the history of Western Marxism as a whole.
The text was first published in 1921 in remembrance of Rabbiner Dr. Nobel’s 50th birthday, one of Löwenthal’s most important mentors. The subsequent Suhrkamp publication is entirely based on this and apart from updating some spelling, changing the German quotation marks to French comillas, and adding real italics where the original couldn’t due to technical limitations remains unchanged. Due to this there were no footnotes for the entire text, let alone for quotes. These were most carefully recreated to the best of our abilities; we also added footnotes to explain certain translation decisions and give more insight into the terminology used in the text most likely alien to the average reader. We tried to orientate ourselves with the translations of authors Löwenthal cited to maintain a coherent vocabulary for those familiar with the English translations of the aforementioned works. When this did not work we tried to find good neologisms and did our best to explain these using footnotes.
This translation would not have been possible without @stadtstaat.
This translation is dedicated in loving memory both to Leo Löwenthal and Helmut Dubiel without whom I would have never had the pleasure of reading, yet alone translating this text.
Read the rest of this entry »