On the concept of religion in Walter Benjamin's critical theory
Kuhnle, Lee Christian
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"In this dissertation I explore the concept of religion in the philosophy that underlies Walter Benjamin's critical theory. This analysis leads me to suggest two related conclusions: 1) contrary to secularist discourses, Benjamin regards the modern social as being religiously constituted and, 2) Benjamin develops a philosophy of experience, a ""phenomenology,"" in which the religious is an inalienable aspect of experience itself. In developing these two arguments, I challenge the assumption of much of the secondary literature on Benjamin, which maintains that while the religious characterizes aspects of his early works, it is replaced by a Marxian-materialist paradigm in his later writings. Contrary to this gloss, I suggest that Benjamin's writings represent an attempt to synthesize a religious and a Marxian-materialist paradigm."