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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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

To Rome to Discuss the Katechon and the Antichrist – then to Full Professor!

On May 18th, I had the distinct honor to present my work, “A Culture cannot survive without Strong Gods,” wherein I discussed the New Testament’s notion of the Katechon, or “restrainer” of the Antichrist, and its extension into political theology. The paper was entitled, “He who restrains the Apocalypse: The Katechon in St. Paul, Carl Schmitt, and Alexander Dugin,” and it will be published later in the journal Islamic Perspective. This paper was especially important as it relates to how Russia’s current war on Ukraine is seen through apocalyptic and eschatological lenses, via the Russian philosopher, Alexander Dugin – the founder of Neo-Eurasianism and the “Fourth Political Theory.” I was joined by my dear friends Mlado Ivanovic of Northern Michigan University, Jeremiah Morelock of Boston College, and Panayota Gournari of Boston University. The 14th annual Critical Theory conference was held at Loyola University John Felice Center in Rome, Italy.

Soon after I returned to Kalamazoo from Rome, I was informed that the Board of Trustees at Olivet College had unanimously voted to confer the status of full professor on me. That’s awesome news. I started teaching as an adjunct at Olivet College in 2004, started my tenure track in 2008, and after being an Assistant and Associate Professor, I’m now Full professor! Good feeling, for sure.

On my way to the Critical Theory conference in Rome to speak about the Katechon as understood by St. Paul, Carl Schmitt, and Alexander Dugin.

New Publication: “Palingenetic Ultra-Nationalist Christianity: History, Identity, and the Falsity of Peripeteic Dialectics”

I am happy to report that my latest article, written for the Polish journal Praktyka Teoretyczna, has now been released. I am honored to have been published with the other esteemed scholars who contributed to this edition of the journal, entitled, “Latency of the Crisis,” and edited by Felipe Ziotti Narita and Jeremiah Morelock. My article can be found below:

On January 23rd, 2022, I participated in a discourse on the topic of Weltschmerz, or “world pain,” and its pervasiveness throughout the modern world. I was joined by my colleagues Seyed Javad Miri, Toraj Gilbert Moradi, Mehdi Shariati, and Rudolf J. Siebert. The video is below:

Below is my presentation in the “Weltschmerz: A Discourse on a Global Condition” roundtable event:

“Ali Shariati and Post-Colonial/Critical Social Theory” – Roundtable Discourse

I was honored to join several other scholars of Ali Shariati in a discussion of Shariati’s life and work. This roundtable convened in remembrance of Shariati’ premature death in 1975, just a four years before the Iranian revolution, which he contributed to. In my presentation, I talked about Shariati’s dialectics of religion, especially as it relates to the Hassan model of religious quietism vs. the Hussain model of religious activism. This modeling of Shi’i emancipatory activism is based on my book, “Ayatollah Khomeini and the Anatomy of the Islamic Revolution in Iran: Towards a Theory of Prophetic Charisma,” which was published by University Press of America. The entire discourse can be found in the two links below, as well as my excerpted presentation.

The presenters included: Sayed Hasan Akhlaq (USA), Dustin J. Byrd, (USA), Seyed Javad Miri (Iran), Michael Naughton (UK), Mehdi Shariati (USA), Esmaeil Zeiny (Malaysia)

“Ali Shariati and Post-Colonial/Critical Social Theory – Part 1”
“Ali Shariati and Post-Colonial/Critical Social Theory – Part 2”
Dustin J. Byrd: “Ali Shariati’s Dialectics of Religion”

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