Redemption and Utopia: Jewish Libertarian Thought in Central Europe
Description: Towards the end of the 19th century, there appeared in Central Europe a generation of Jewish intellectuals whose work was to mark modern culture. Drawing at once on the traditions of German Romanticism and Jewish messianism, their thought was organized around the cabbalistic idea of the "tikkoun": redemption. Redemption and Utopia uses the concept of "elective affinity" to explain the surprising community of spirit that existed between redemptive messianic religious thought and the wide variety of radical secular utopian beliefs held by this important group of intellectuals. The author outlines the circumstances that produced this unusual combination of religious and non-religious thought and illuminates the common assumptions that united such seemingly disparage figures as Martin Buber, Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Georg Lukacs.
Review: "Lowy explores in this remarkable study ... a generation of Central European Jewish intellectuals of an antiauthoritarian political orientation who left a considerable mark on 20th-century radical thought... As Lowy's subtle and profound book reminds us, their legacy is a rich one." - American Historical Review
Author Biography: Michael Lowy is Research Director of Sociology at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris. He is the author of numerous books, including George Lukacs: From Romanticism to Bolshevism, The Politics of Combined and Uneven Development: The Theory of Permanent Revolution, Marxism in Latin America, The War of the Gods: Religion and Politics in Latin America and Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin's 'On the Concept of History'.