Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aesthetics: Rethinking Religion through the Arts

Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aesthetics: Rethinking Religion through the Arts

Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aesthetics: Rethinking Religion through the Arts

Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aesthetics: Rethinking Religion through the Arts

Synopsis

Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aestheticsis an innovative and creative attempt to unsettle and reconceive the key concepts of religious studies through a reading with, and against, Walter Benjamin. Constructing what he calls an "allegorical aesthetics," Plate sifts through Benjamin's writings showing how his concepts of art, allegory, and experience undo traditionally stabilizing religious concepts such as myth, symbol, memory, narrative, creation, and redemption.

Excerpt

“Plate thinks with and not only about Benjamin, constellating a scintillating aesthetics of the senses, of their material public and their 'working art.' With its kabbalistic oscillation of 'dispersion' and 'assemblage', Benjamin's concept of allegory is itself allegorized by Plate. The map of literary, poststructructuralist and feminist theories of language is itself worth the cost of the book, which will be (darkly) illumining not just for readers of Benjamin but for all who read religion and its creations bodily.”

-Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology,
Drew University and author of Face of the Deep: A
Theology of Becoming

“Though there is a substantial body of criticism that would disagree, Professor Plate's engaging book reminds us that Benjamin did not so much abandon aesthetics, or simply relegate it to authoritarian politics, but redeemed it with the help of its Greek sources in perception and sensation. Plate persuasively argues that, like Messianic religion, which Benjamin translated into its material (and even revolutionary) social bases, the aesthetic returns in Benjamin's writing to the realm of the senses, where it reveals its connection to both religious practice and a utopian sensus communis.”

-Vincent P. Pecora, University of California, Los Angeles

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