Walter Benjamin and Theology

Walter Benjamin and Theology

Walter Benjamin and Theology

Walter Benjamin and Theology

Synopsis

In the Arcades Project, Walter Benjamin writes that his work is "related to theology as blotting pad is related to ink. It is saturated with it." For a thinker so decisive to critical literary, cultural, political, and aesthetic writings over the past half-century, Benjamin's relationship totheological matters has been less observed than it should, even despite a variety of attempts over the last four decades to illuminate the theological elements latent within his eclectic and occasional writings. Such attempts, though undeniably crucial to comprehending his thought, remain in need ofdeepened systematic analysis. In bringing together some of the most renowned experts from both sides of the Atlantic, Walter Benjamin and Theology seeks to establish a new site from which to address both the issue of Benjamin's relationship with theology and all the crucial aspects that Benjaminhimself grappled with when addressing the field and operations of theological inquiry.

Excerpt

In a famous letter written to Max Horkheimer in March 1937, Walter Benjamin describes his philosophy as “something that forbids us to conceive of history as fundamentally atheological, little as it may be granted to us to try to write it with immediately theological concepts.” in The Arcades Project, he writes: “[My work is] related to theology as blotting pad is related to ink. It is saturated with it. Were one to go by the blotter, however, nothing of what is written would remain.” For a thinker so decisive to critical literary, cultural, political, and aesthetic writings over the past half century, Benjamin’s relationship to theological matters has received far less attention than it should have, perhaps due to the many obscure allusions and contradictions that surrounded his taking up this theme throughout his own lifetime. Numerous scholars of Benjamin’s work agree, however, that the time has come to reassess what stake the theological has within his writings, even and especially if such a reassessment prompts us to reconsider what the nature of the theological might even be in the first place.

Connecting the Dots

From the 1970s onward, the writings of Benjamin have known a success that is, in its intensity and diversity, comparable to almost no other postwar philosopher. the number of articles and books that have been published concerning his work has increased steadily for forty years to the . . .

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