Now Available: The Frankfurt School and the Dialectics of Religion – Translating Critical Faith into Critical Theory

I’m please to announce that my latest book on the Frankfurt School’s dialectical approach to Abrahamic religions is now available. The book was published by Ekpyrosis Press, a new publishing house dedicated to dialectical and critical thought. Below is the description of the book:

In his book, The Frankfurt School and the Dialectics of Religion: Translating Critical Faith into Critical Theory, I argue that at the core of the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory resides a secularized theology. Unlike their predecessors, especially Feuerbach, Marx, Lenin, Freud, and Nietzsche, who argued for an abstract negation of religion, the first generation of Critical Theorists followed Hegel’s logic and attempted to rescue and preserve the revolutionary, emancipatory, and liberational aspects of religion in their own secular non-conformist philosophy. They saw in both Judaism and Christianity certain conceptual and semantic elements that could be enlisted into their struggle for a future reconciled society, one beyond the slaughterbench of history. In order to rescue religion, theological concepts had to go through a process of translation, wherein such materials migrate from the depth of the religious mythos into publicly accessible reasoning, thus making the revolutionary impulse of prophetic religion accessible to the secular world. I also argue that this translation of religion remains relevant to today’s post-secular societies, especially in regard to religious Muslims attempting to find their place in Western countries, which are often hostile to religion and religiosity. Examining the strengths and weaknesses of Habermas’ “translation proviso,” he argues that both religious and secular citizens of the West can learn from the Frankfurt School’s dialectical approach to religion in order to find a space wherein both religious faith and secular reason can not only co-exist, but can also join together in the process of creating a more reconciled future society.

ISBN (Hardcover): 978-1-7350576-3-7 $39.00 (332 pages) Hardcover

ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-7350576-2-0 $28.00 (332 pages) Paperback

Praise for The Frankfurt School and the Dialectics of Religion:

Dustin J. Byrd’s book, The Frankfurt School and the Dialectics of Religion: Translating Critical Faith into Critical Theory, is a comprehensive examination of Horkheimer, Adorno, Löwenthal, and Benjamin’s critical rescue and emancipation of the utopian, transcendent, and non-conforming aspects of Abrahamic religion. Like Hegel before him, Dr. Byrd not only reveals the dialectics of history as expressed in the work of the Frankfurt School, but also determinately negates them in his own work on Islam and Muslims. One cannot find a better expression and expansion of the Critical Theory of Religion today.

~ Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert, Emeritus Professor of Religion and Society at Western Michigan University

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Now Available: The Critique of Religion and Religion’s Critique: On Dialectical Religiology (Brill 2020)

The Critique of Religion and Religion’s Critique: On Dialectical Religiology

Series: Studies in Critical Social Sciences, Volume: 165

In The Critique of Religion and Religion’s Critique: On Dialectical Religiology, Dustin J. Byrd compiles numerous essays honouring the life and work of the Critical Theorist, Rudolf J. Siebert. His “dialectical religiology,” rooted in the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, especially Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Leo Löwenthal, and Jürgen Habermas, is both a theory and method of understanding religion’s critique of modernity and modernity’s critique of religion. Born out of the Enlightenment and its most important thinkers, i.e. Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, religion is understood to be dialectical in nature. It contains within it both revolutionary and emancipatory elements, but also reactionary and regressive elements, which perpetuate mankind’s continual debasement, enslavement, and oppression. Thus, religion by nature is conflicted within itself and thus stands against itself. Dialectical Religiology attempts to rescue those elements of religion from the dustbin of history and reintroduce them into society via their determinate negation. As such, it attempts to resolve the social, political, theological, and philosophical antagonisms that plague the modern world, in hopes of producing a more peaceful, justice-filled, equal, and reconciled society. The contributors to this book recognize the tremendous contributions of Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert in the fields of philosophy, sociology, history, and theology, and have profited from his long career. This book attempts to honour that life and work.

Contributors include: Edmund Arens, Gregory Baum, Francis Brassard, Dustin J. Byrd, Denis R. Janz, Gottfried Küenzlen, Mislav Kukoč, Michael, R. Ott, Rudolf J. Siebert, Hans K. Weitensteiner, and Brian C. Wilson.


Paperback is now available through Haymarket Books

Link to Haymarket Books: The Critique of Religion and Religion’s Critique: On Dialectical Religiology

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Ekpyrosis Press: A New Publishing House with a Dialectical Mission

Ekpyrosis Press is a new academic press dedicated to publishing books and articles that advance the following three principles:

  1. Know Thyself (γνῶθι σεαυτόν): Ekpyrosis Press is engaged in a rediscovery and revivification of Western thought, rooted in the three seedbed societies: Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome. This is especially important in the face of growing nationalism, which seeks to use Western heritage as a weapon against other peoples. The West is strongest when it knows itself; it does not fear others when it does.
  2. Inter-civilizational Discourse: Ekpyrosis Press is dedicated to engaging in robust discourses with other civilizations, including the Muslim World, with the practical intent to lessen misunderstandings, hatred, and war.
  3. The Hopeless (Die Hoffnungslosen): Ekpyrosis Press is dedicated to the defense of the hopeless and the marginalized in Western and Resten societies. Strength does not flow from barbarity, rather it is a feature of solidarity with those who find themselves the victims of the slaughter bench of history.

To learn more about Ekpyrosis Press, as well as to see our forthcoming titles, please visit us through the below link:

Ekpyrosis Press

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The Frankfurt School and the Dialectics of Religion – Conversation with Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert

On March 1st, I had the opportunity to sit down with the Critical Theorist, Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert, to discuss the Frankfurt School’s attempt to rescue religion and the enlightenment through the determinate negation of religion. Unlike their immediate predecessors, including Feuerbach, Marx, Lenin, Nietzsche, and Freud, who thought religion had to be abstractly negated from society, the first generation of Critical Theorists – especially Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin, Fromm, Löwenthal – saw something in religion worthy of being rescued. Such semantic and semiotic elements were consequently translated into post-metaphysical language via social and political philosophy, wherein they played essential parts of Critical Theory. Check out our discussion on YouTube:

The Frankfurt School and the Dialectics of Religion – A conversation with Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert

“Pope Benedict XVI: From the Third Reich to the Papacy”

I was happy to join my doktorvater, Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert, in an introspective discussion about Joseph Ratzinger, i.e., Pope Benedict XVI. Siebert and Ratzinger’s lives paralleled in many ways: they were born in the same year; they both grew up in the Third Reich; they both attended the Hitler Youth; they both were drafted into the Luftwaffenhelfer and later the Wehrmacht; they were both imprisoned in Prisoner-of-War camps; they both were deemed “anti-Nazis” by the Allied forces, and they both attended Catholic seminary. However, Siebert chose not to be ordained, and opted for the life of a layman in academia – primarily in the United States, whereas Ratzinger chose a life in academia within the Roman Catholic Church, and later was elected as the 265th Pontiff.

Social Theory and the Fundamental Challenges to Humanity

On December 17th, I took part in an online seminar with other members of the Institute for Critical Social Theory on the topic of “Social Theory and the Fundamental Challenges to Humanity,” wherein we discussed issues such as global climate change, war, political-economic injustice, miscarriages of justice, and the question: Will there even be an 22nd century. I was joined by Seyed Javad Miri (Iran), Michael Naughton (UK), Mehdi Shariati (US), and Rudolf J. Siebert (US). This event was also sponsored by Ekpyrosis Press.

Social Theory and the Fundamental Challenges to Humanity – Institute for Critical Social Theory

“Freud and the Frankfurt School,” a conversation with Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert

On December 14th, I had the distinct pleasure to discuss the role and history of Freudian psychoanalysis in the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory, with the critical theorist, Rudolf J. Siebert. The conversation can be viewed on the Ekpyrosis Press YouTube channel, as well as the Institute for Critical Social Theory’s YouTube channel. It is also archived in the Rudolf J. Siebert Audio-Visual Archive on YouTube.

“Freud and the Frankfurt School,” with Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert.

New Book: “Syed Hussein Alatas and Critical Social Theory: Decolonizing the Captive Mind.”

I’m pleased to announce that Seyed Javad Miri and my latest co-edited book has been released by Brill. It includes 19 chapters on the Malay Sociologist, Syed Hussein Alatas, who remains relatively unknown in the West but is a giant in Eastern sociology. We attempt to remedy this deficiency by expanding on his corpus of work, especially on the issue of the “captive mind,” the problem of corruption, and the demythologization of the non-Western nativity.

In my chapter, I focus on using the tools of psychoanalysis and political psychology to further develop Alatas’ idea of the captive mind.

In a year, the paperback version will be published by Haymarket Books in Chicago.

Here is the link to Brill’s hardcover book: Syed Hussein Alatas and Critical Social Theory: Decolonizing the Captive Mind.

Call for Papers: “Alexander Dugin and the Future of Russia: Eurasianism, Political Philosophy, and the Search for a Civilization-State”

Ideas are returning to our world. And the main battle from now on unfolds between them. Between the Russian Idea, the Catechon, the Orthodox Civilization, and the world of the Western Antichrist, coming at us. It is not us Russians who need Ukraine. It is Christ who needs it. And that is why we are there. And that is why we are not leaving.” ~ Alexander Dugin

Dustin J. Byrd, Ph.D. and Seyed Javad Miri, Ph.D., the director and co-director of the Institute for Critical Social Theory, would like to invite qualified scholars in the fields of political philosophy, political science, sociology, political psychology, religious studies, political theology, critical theory, Russian/Slavic Studies and related fields to submit abstracts for an upcoming book project on the Neo-Eurasianist Russian philosopher, Alexander Dugin. This book is intended to be a critical interrogation of Dugin and his work. We intend to secure a leading academic publisher for this project. If you are interested in joining this project, please see the official Call for Papers below:

The Katechon and the Apocalypse

My latest article entitled, “The Russian Restrainer of the Apocalypse: The Katechon in St. Paul, Carl Schmitt, and Alexander Dugin,” is now available in the latest edition of the journal, Islamic Perspective (Vol. 27, Spring 2022). This article was the basis of my presentation at the annual Critical Theory conference at Loyola University in Rome, Italy, this past May.

Islamic Perspective: Vol. 27, Spring 2022.

Dustin J. Byrd speaks on Russian philosopher, Alexander Dugin, and his influence in Russia’s war on Ukraine

On May 11th, 2022, I had the distinct honor to join numerous other scholars discussing “Global Perspectives on War and Crisis,” as it relates to Russia’s war on Ukraine. My presentation was predominately about the Russian philosopher, Alexander Dugin, and the influence of his political ideology on Putin’s war.

“Global Perspectives on War and Crisis” – May 11, 2022

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