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

www.ekpyrosispress.com

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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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Islamic Perspective Journal, Vol. 25 Spring 2021, now available.

I am pleased to announce that the Islamic Perspective Journal, Vol. 25, Spring 2021 is now available for download. Islamic Perspective Journal is a bi-annual, peer-reviewed journal, published by the London Academy of Iranian Studies, which includes all articles on all aspects of Islam and Muslims. If you are interested in submitting an essay for consideration in the journal, please email it to Seyed Javad Miri at: seyedjavad@hotmail.com

Also see my discourse on the topic of my essay in this edition of IPJ:

Between Ethno-Nationalism and Pathological Critique: Critical Theory as Critique and Defense of the Western Tradition

Ali Shariati: Legacy and Relevance

On June 17th, 2021, I participated in another global roundtable via Zoom, this time on the Iranian sociologist, Ali Shariati. This event is sponsored by Ekpyrosis Press, a new publishing house dedicated to critical thought in a complacent and apathetical world. My presentation is in Session 2. The videos of the event can be found below:

www.ekpyrosispress.com

Session 1

Ali Shariati: Legacy and Relevance – Session 1 – June 17, 2021

Session 2

Ali Shariati: Legacy and Relevance – Session 2 – June 17, 2021

My Presentation:

My presentation: “Ali Shariati as Revolutionary Islamic Metapolitics.” June 17th, 2021

Is Religion Repressive or Emancipatory: A Global Roundtable Discussion

I am honored to be a presenter and discussant with this esteemed group of critical social theorists, discussing the dialectical nature of religion. My discourse will be on the dialectics of religious fanaticism, wherein I will tackle the one-dimensional understanding of fanaticism from both a psychological and ideological perspective. The video of this discourse will be available soon.

New YouTube Channel

Over the course of the last years, I have built and maintained the Rudolf J. Siebert Audio-Visual Archive, wherein you can find over one hundred videos on the topic of Critical Theory of Religion and Society. Now, am pleased to announce the establishment of a New YouTube Channel dedicated to my own recent lectures, speeches, and discourses. These lectures will cover a variety of issues, including Critical Theory, political philosophy, religion in the modern world, etc. I hope you will enjoy watching my ramblings! The first among many video to come can be found below:

“Between Ethno-nationalism and Pathological Critique: Critical Theory as Critique and Defense of the Western Tradition”

To see more videos, see the link below:

YouTube Channel of Dustin J. Byrd, Ph.D.

I was honored to join an august group of international scholars from the United States, Russia, Germany, Iran, and Singapore to discuss the lasting influence and heritage of Critical Theory. I presented my paper, “Between Ethno-nationalism and Pathological Critique: Critical Theory as Critique and Defense of the Western Tradition,” which I intend to extend into a publishable article in the next month. After the great discussions we had during this event, there is much more to think though, explore, and analyze. Thank you to Seyed Javad Miri and Dmitry Ivanov for facilitating this great event.

New Article on Critical Theory and Authoritarian Populism

I am pleased to announce that an essay I co-authored with Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert and Dr. Michael R. Ott has now been published in Jeremiah Morelock’s edited book, How to Critique Authoritarian Populism: Methodologies of the Frankfurt School. This book has been published by Brill and contains eighteen chapters from a variety of important scholars in the field of Critical Theory, sociology, and political philosophy. Our essay is entitled “Mythology, Enlightenment, and Dialectics: Determinate Negation.” This book will later be published in paperback by Haymarket Books (Chicago).

Link to Brill’s Website: How to Critique Authoritarian Populism

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