Πέμπτη, 29 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

Λ.Κουζελη:Τ. Ιγγλετον ,Μαρξιστής κατά Αθεισμού

Αναδημοσίευση από Βήμα 18/12/11

Μαρξιστής κατά αθεϊσµού


Ο βρετανός λογοτεχνικός κριτικός και θεωρητικός του πολιτισµού Τέρι Ιγκλετον υπερασπίζεται τη χριστιανική πίστη απέναντι στους νεοαθεϊστές


 «Σε µια εποχή που η πολιτική Αριστερά βρίσκεται σε δεινή ανάγκη για καλές ιδέες, ο λόγος της θρησκείας θα µπορούσε να προσφέρει πολύτιµες εναισθητικές γνώσεις για την ανθρώπινη χειραφέτηση» υποστηρίζει ο κριτικός και θεωρητικός του πολιτισµού Τέρι Ιγκλετον. Βρετανός της εργατικής τάξης ο οποίος ανατράφηκε ως κοινός ρωµαιοκαθολικός ιρλανδικής καταγωγής, µε το βιβλίο του Λογική, πίστη και επανάσταση εµφανίζεται ως αυτόκλητος υπερασπιστής της θρησκευτικής πίστης, εν προκειµένω της χριστιανικής, απέναντι στη νέα σχολή ενός µανικού αθεϊσµού, που εντοπίζεται στα πρόσωπα και στα κείµενα του βιολόγου Ρίτσαρντ Ντόκινς και του δηµοσιογράφου Κρίστοφερ Χίτσενς – του διδύµου «Ντίτσκινς», όπως τους αποκαλεί χάριν συντοµίας.

Στη µετανεωτερική εποχή η θρησκεία βρίσκεται παντού σε άνοδο, το ενδιαφέρον όµως είναι ότι ξαναγίνεται δηµόσια και συλλογική και τείνει συχνά να πάρει πολιτική µορφή – φαίνεται πως είναι πάλι έτοιµη να ξεσηκώσει και να σκοτώσει. Κοσµικοί διανοούµενοι τύπου Ντίτσκινς ανασκουµπώθηκαν για να πολεµήσουν αυτό το σκοτεινό, ανορθολογικό πρόσωπο της θρησκείας.

Ο Ιγκλετον δεν αρνείται ότι η θρησκεία έχει υπάρξει µια «βρωµερή ιστορία µισαλλοδοξίας, δεισιδαιµονίας, ευσεβών πόθων και καταπιεστικής ιδεολογίας» και ότι ο χριστιανισµός έχει προδώσει τις επαναστατικές του καταβολές περνώντας από το πλευρό των απόκληρων στο πλευρό ψευδόµενων πολιτικών, διεφθαρµένων τραπεζιτών και φανατικών νεοσυντηρητικών. Εκείνο όµως που πυροδοτεί την πολεµική τού αταλάντευτου µαρξιστή Ιγκλετον είναι το γεγονός ότι οι πολέµιοι του θρησκευτικού φονταµενταλισµού δεν ασκούν καµία κριτική στον παγκόσµιο καπιταλισµό, ο οποίος δηµιουργεί τα αισθήµατα άγχους και ταπείνωσης που τρέφουν τον φονταµενταλισµό. Πολύ βολικά, οι κληρονόµοι του φιλελευθερισµού και του ∆ιαφωτισµού ξεχνούν ότι έχουν επίσης προδώσει τις θεωρητικές τους διακηρύξεις, όπως αποδεικνύουν η βίαιη υπεξαίρεση της ελευθερίας και της δηµοκρατίας στο εξωτερικό, ο ρατσισµός, η αποικιοκρατία, οι ιµπεριαλιστικοί πόλεµοι, η Χιροσίµα, το απαρτχάιντ, η υποταγή στους σκοπούς του εµπορικού κέρδους.

Επιστρατεύοντας στο οπλοστάσιό του θεολόγους, πολιτικούς επιστήµονες, ιστορικούς, φιλοσόφους και λογοτέχνες, από τον Θωµά τον Ακινάτη ως τον Μαρξ, τον Φρόιντ, τον Λακάν, τον Σλάβοϊ Ζίζεκ, τον Τσαρλς Τέιλορ, τον Αλέν Μπαντιού, τον Μίλτον και τον Τόµας Μαν, ο Ιγκλετον τονίζει ότι οι σχέσεις µεταξύ γνώσης και πίστης είναι περίπλοκες, αλλά πρόκειται για δύο διαφορετικά πράγµατα τα οποία δεν παραµερίζουν το ένα το άλλο. Η φανατική θρησκευτική πίστη της µετανεωτερικής εποχής άνθησε ακριβώς επειδή η λογική έγινε υπερβολικά κυριαρχική και εργαλειακή, µε αποτέλεσµα να µην µπορεί να ευδοκιµήσει στο έδαφός της ένα έλλογο είδος πίστης. Αυτός όµως δεν είναι λόγος για να αρνηθούµε την πίστη εξ ολοκλήρου.

Το όραµα του φιλελεύθερου ανθρωπισµού για ελεύθερη και ευτυχή ανάπτυξη της ανθρωπότητας είναι εφικτό, καταλήγει ο Ιγκλετον, µόνο µέσω της αντιµετώπισης του χειρότερου εαυτού µας µέσα από µια διαδικασία αυτοαλλοτρίωσης και ριζικής αναδηµιουργίας, µια διαδικασία, όπως την αποκαλεί χαρακτηριστικά, «τραγικού ανθρωπισµού». Η θρησκεία, εκτιµά ο βρετανός θεωρητικός, θέτει ερωτήµατα για ζωτικά ζητήµατα, για τον θάνατο, τον πόνο, την αγάπη, την αυτοαλλοτρίωση, για τα οποία η σηµερινή κοινωνία και η πολιτική σιωπούν και ο Ιγκλετον αποφασίζει εδώ να κηρύξει το τέλος σε αυτή την «πολιτικά

Συνέντευξη Terry Eagleton για το "Λογική,Πίστη,Επανάσταση"

Αρχική Δημοσίευση :voidmanufacturing.wordpress.com

Literary critic Terry Eagleton discusses his new book, Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate, which argues that “new atheists” like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens “buy their rejection of religion on the cheap.”  He believes that, in these controversies, politics has been an unacknowledged elephant in the room.

Nathan Schneider: Rather than focusing on “believers” or “atheists,” which are typically the categories that we hear about in the new atheist debates, you write about “a version of the Christian gospel relevant to radicals and humanists.”  Who are these people?  Why do you choose to address them?

Terry Eagleton: I wanted to move the arguments beyond the usual, rather narrow circuits in order to bring out the political implications of these arguments about God, which hasn’t been done enough.  We need to put these arguments in a much wider context.  To that extent, in my view, radicals and humanists certainly should be in on the arguments, regardless of what they think about God.  The arguments aren’t just about God or just about religion.

NS: Are you urging people to go to church, or to read the Bible, or simply to acknowledge the historical connections between, say, Marxism and Christianity?

TE: I’m certainly not urging them to go to church.  I’m urging them, I suppose, to read the Bible because it’s very relevant to radical political concerns.  In many ways, I agree with someone like Christopher Hitchens that most religion is fairly hideous and purely ideological.  But I think that Hitchens and Richard Dawkins are gravely one-sided about the issue.  There are other potentials in the gospel and in the Christian tradition which are, or should be, of great interest to radicals, and radicals haven’t sufficiently recognized that.  I’m not trying to convert anybody, but I am trying to show them that there is something here which is in a certain interpretation far more radical than most of the mainstream political discourses that we hear at the moment.


NS: You’re a literary scholar, and you’re talking about religion.  Is religion literature?  Are you proposing that religion become a resource for politics to draw from in the same way as any other literary canon might be?

TE: No, not at all.  I think the whole movement to see religion as literature is a way of diffusing its radical content.  It’s actually a way of evading certain rather unpleasant realities that it insists on confronting us with.  One of the things that happened in the 19th century was that culture — literary and other kinds of culture — tried to stand in for religion, and there was a lot of talk about religion as poetry and religion as myth.  That was an attempt to shy away from some of the more uncomfortable challenges of religion when taken rather more seriously.

NS: And those are the political challenges?

TE: Largely.  Or, if you like, the ethical-political.  They were forgotten, or sidelined, and Christianity in particular became a piece of poetry or a piece of mythology.  There’s a lot of poetry and mythology in the Bible, to be sure, but it interacts with other kinds of elements, and that’s what I was stressing.

NS: Do you think that these traditions need to be radically reinterpreted for the modern, secular world?  Thomas Aquinas is mentioned in your book, but so are — perhaps even more — Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud.  Is the religion you’re defending closer to that of the medieval scholastics or to these more recent figures?

TE: I think that the Christian gospel always stands in need of contemporary reinterpretation.  Theologians have to determine what kind of discourse, what contemporary way of talking, can best articulate its particular concerns.  There should be controversy and debate.  While Marx and Freud and others are relevant to the contemporary interpretation of Christianity, that doesn’t mean one rejects tradition and simply concentrates on the present.  The present is made out of tradition and out of history.  What I’m offering in my book is what I take to be — although it’s couched very often in terms of Marx or Freud or radicalism in general — a fairly traditional interpretation of scripture.

NS: Though of course the Christianity you present doesn’t sound like a lot of the Christianity one hears in the public sphere, especially in the United States.

TE: I think partly that’s because a lot the authentic meanings of the New Testament have become ideologized or mythologized away.  Religion has become a very comfortable ideology for a dollar-worshipping culture.  The scandal of the New Testament — the fact that it backs what America calls the losers, that it thinks the dispossessed will inherit the kingdom of God before the respectable bourgeois — all of that has been replaced, particularly in the States, by an idolatrous version.  I’m presently at a university campus where we proudly proclaim the slogan “God, Country, and Notre Dame.”  I think they have to be told, and indeed I have told them, that God actually takes little interest in countries.  Yahweh is presented in the Jewish Bible as stateless and nationless.  He can’t be used as a totem or fetish in that way.  He slips out of your grasp if you try to do so.  His concern is with universal humanity, not with one particular section of it.  Such ideologies make it very hard to get a traditional version of Christianity across.

NS: There are so many competing claims for supernatural revelation; some people say they adjudicate truth by the Bible, or by papal authority.  How do you know one reliable supernatural tradition from another?

TE: Well, you have to argue about it on the basis of reason, and evidence, and analysis, and historical research.  In that sense, theology is like any other intellectual discipline.  You don’t know intuitively, and you certainly can’t claim to know dogmatically.  You can’t simply, in a sectarian way, assert one tradition over another.  I don’t think there’s any one template, any one set of guidelines, which will magically identity the correct view.  Theology, like any other intellectual discipline, is a potentially endless process of argument.  But that’s not to say that anything goes.

NS: One thing that stood out to me was your reassertion of liberation theology, which, for instance, the current pope repudiated when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  He was concerned that hope for a worldly liberation through revolution would become a substitute for spiritual liberation through Christ.

TE: It would certainly be a big mistake to identify any particular human society with the kingdom of God.  If any liberation theology were doing that, then it would be properly rebuked.  I don’t think that’s why the pope is averse to it; he’s averse to it anyway because of its politics.  It would be a grave mistake to think that we’re talking about the difference between a material revolution and a spiritual one.  That would be the kind of gnosticism, or dualism, which Judaism and Christianity challenge.  A socialist revolution is quite as spiritual as the fight for the kingdom of God is material.


NS: Do you consider yourself a Christian per se, or a person who happens to like and be inspired by Christianity?

TE: I don’t think the pope will consider me a Christian.  I was brought up, of course, a Catholic.  I suppose it was fortunate that around the time of the Vatican Council I encountered, just when I might have rejected a lot of it, a very challenging version of Christianity.  I felt there was no need to reject it on political and intellectual grounds, because it was highly relevant and sophisticated and engaging.  In a sense one doesn’t have much choice about these things.  What I find is that heritage very deeply influences my work, and probably has more so over the last few years.  Quite what my relation to it now is is hard to say.  But that’s just a historical dilemma, a matter of how to understand oneself historically.

NS: When you talk about it being beyond choice — I’ve been interested to see how Richard Dawkins calls himself a “post-Christian atheist” and talks about celebrating Christmas.

TE: I think, actually, he’s a pre-Christian atheist, because he never understood what Christianity is about in the first place!  That would be rather like Madonna calling herself post-Marxist.  You’d have to read him first to be post-him.  As I’ve said before, I think that Dawkins in particular makes such crass mistakes about the kind of claims that Christianity is making.  A lot of the time, he’s either banging at an open door or he’s shooting at a straw target.

NS: You say he emphasizes a “propositional” account of religious faith above a “performative” one.  But how far can one go believing in God performatively, through political acts, before it becomes a proposition?

TE: All performatives imply propositions.  There’s no point in my operating a performative like, say, promising, or cursing, unless I have certain beliefs about the nature of reality: that there is indeed such an institution as promising, that I am able to perform it, and so on.  The performative and the propositional work into each other.  But it is a typically positivist kind of mistake to begin with the propositional, just as it would be for someone trying to analyze a literary text, which is basically a performance.  Somebody who didn’t grasp that would be making a root-and-branch mistake about the kind of thing being confronted.  These new atheists, and, indeed, the great majority of believers, have been conned rather falsely into a positivist or dogmatic theology, into believing that religion consists in signing on for a set of propositions.

NS: Are there political reasons behind this mistake?

TE: Dawkins and I were recently asked to write articles for the front page of the Wall Street Journal, if you can believe it.  I don’t know what the rationale behind this is, or even if it will come off.  I said that I would do so, provided that my last sentence would be, “Jesus Christ would never have been given a column in the Wall Street Journal.”  It is indicative of the strangeness and intensity of this debate that it crops up in the most peculiar places.  It crops up at the very temples of Mammon.  But, you see, I think that’s because these people really do think it’s just about a set of ideas, of propositions.  That’s a pretty comfortable debate.  But the point I try to make when I enter on these forums is that it’s not just that.  It has a strong political subtext.

NS: Back to issues of faith and reason — your position reminds me of Stephen Jay Gould’s model of “non-overlapping magisteria.” Gould himself was not a believer, though he wrote about religion and science, and sometimes he has been accused of having a position that is only possible if you’re not really taking belief seriously.

TE: I think that Gould was right in that particular position.  What is interesting is why it makes people like Dawkins so nervous.  They misinterpret that position to mean that theology doesn’t have to conform to the rules and demands of reason.  Then theologians can say anything they like.  They don’t have to produce evidence, and they don’t have to engage in reasonable argument.  They’re now released from the tenets of science.  Traditionally, this is the Christian heresy known as fideism.  But all kinds of rationalities, theology included, have been non-scientific for a very long time and yet still have to conform to the procedures of reason.  The new atheists think this because they falsely identify the rules of reason with the rules of scientific reason.  Therefore if something is outside the purview of science, it follows for them that it is outside the purview of reason itself.  But that’s a false way of arguing.  Dawkins won’t entertain either the idea that faith must engage reason or that the very idea of what rationality is is to be debated.

NS: The atheists have promoted themselves by wearing big red “A”s on their t-shirts and calling themselves “brights.”  Is there a counter-movement you’d like to begin?  What would you put on the t-shirt?

TE: Rather than simply man the barricades on either side, I’d like to step back and see what’s happening here.  That sort of gesture has to be understood in terms of an American society in which a relatively small coterie of self-consciously enlightened atheists or agnostics are indeed confronted with a massively ideologized religion, which in many respects is very ugly indeed.  What I think is wrong, and what I think is rationalistic, is to cast the argument in terms of intelligence.  It may be that a lot of people who believe that they’re going to be rapt up into heaven are fairly dim creatures.  On the other hand, Europe is full of dim agnostics.  It is a rationalist error to think that your opponents are simply stupid.  That betrays what’s wrong with this particular kind of new atheism: it casts the arguments largely in intellectual and propositional terms and doesn’t see that a great deal else is involved here.

NS: Do you think that it’s an accident that the most successful of the new atheists, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, come with English accents?

TE: No.  England is a very agnostic society.  It looks with amazement on the behavior of many Americans as far as religion goes.  America, of course, is in all kinds of ways out of line.  It’s still an enormously metaphysical and religious society, while the typical advanced capitalist culture is pretty skeptical.  Advanced capitalist societies do not normally call upon their citizens to believe very much, as long as they roll out of bed and do their work.  They are pretty post-metaphysical.  In a sense, Britain is a post-metaphysical society.  A very small minority of people go to church.  Religion is not part of a public and political discourse in anything like the way it is in the States.  The States is peculiar because it is, on the one hand, the most rampantly capitalist society in history and, on the other, deeply, deeply metaphysical.  Really, those two things are inherently at odds.  Markets are relativizing, pragmatizing, and secularizing.  But to prop them up, to defend them, and to legitimate them, you may need some much more absolute values.  That may be why there are a lot of psycho-spiritual stockbrokers around.


This interview was first published in The Immanent Frame on 17 September 2009; it is reproduced here for educational purposes.

Δευτέρα, 26 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

Badiou: On Christian Eschatology (Via Q Meillassoux)

Πηγή: Metastable Equilibrium

In conclusion, one can wonder about the disconcerting bond between the Badiousian conception of a truth and the Christian conception of the Incarnation. In EE, meditation 21 devoted to Pascal opens on thought 776 (éd. Lafuma): "The history of the Church must properly be called the history of truth". And in fact, one can say that Badiou accords to Pascal to have seized, and with him Pauline Christianity, to which was expressly devoted a book, that which one could call the "genuine proceedings of the truth". Because if Christianity is founded on a fable, according to Badiou, its force comes from having seized if not its contents then at least the real form of any truth: it proceeds by way of a event not demonstrable by a constituted knowledge - the divinity of Christ - of which one would know more than the trace - the testimony of apostles, of evangelists, etc., but its being is already abolished, crucified, and even its body has already disappeared, while the belief starts to emerge that it will have taken place. And the Christian truth is the ensemble of enquiries of fidelities, i.e. their intervention in the Palestinian situation, then Middle-Eastern and Roman, in the light of their having held the place of Christianity. Lastly, universal history, for the Christians, is nothing other than the ensemble of enquiries of the Church-subject over the course of centuries, made of schisms and heresies, therefore of research into the formula and action of a fidelity to the absolute event of man's divine creation. Out the Church, not of history, and not of hello, only the monotonous chaos of passions and perditions.

Badiou is thus here in extreme fidelity... - with the structure, if not the contents - of Christian eschatology. It is by no means the denial of this dream, as it is he who makes of Paul the "founder of universalism": that which seized the first militant nature, and not the erudition, of truth. In this sense it without doubt represents one of the possible evolutions of Marxism, shared since the beginning between critical thought and revolutionary eschatology. A great part of the ex-Marxists renounced eschatology, considering that it was effectively religious residue, a principal source among the promethean disasters of real socialism. The singularity of Badiou seems on the contrary to consist of this: that he isolates from Marxism its eschatologic share, separates it from its pretension, that he considers economic scientificity illusory, and delivers it, burning, on the disseminated subjects of all kinds of struggles, political as well as amorous. With the place of the religious illusion of eschatology dissolved by criticism in the writings of Badiou, eschatology becomes irreligious so that the event can deploy its critical power on the colorless present of our ordinary renouncements.

Ολο το κείμενο εδώ

Γ.Βαρδαβας:Βιβλιοπαρουσίαση του Terry Eagleton, Λογική, Πίστη και Επανάσταση




Ο Terry Eagleton δεν χρειάζεται συστάσεις. Είναι γνωστό ότι πρόκειται για έναν από τους μεγαλύτερους σύγχρονους διανοούμενους. Στο νέο του βιβλίο Λογική Πίστη και Επανάσταση ο Eagleton καθηλώνει τον αναγνώστη όχι μόνο με την αντικειμενικότητα και την ευρυμάθεια του, αλλά κυρίως διότι λέει αλήθειες. Αλήθειες που ενοχλούν εκατέρωθεν (ενθέους και αθέους), αλλά αλήθειες αμείλικτες. Απέναντι σε έναν άκρατο επιστημονικό θετικισμό με έντονο δογματισμό και επιδερμική απλοϊκότητα (τύπου Dawkins) ο Eagleton προτείνει μια ριζοσπαστική ανάγνωση του χριστιανισμού, καταδικάζοντας ταυτόχρονα τη θεσμική του έκφραση για προδοσία έναντι των ριζοσπαστικών του καταβολών. Στη διελκυστίνδα πίστης και επιστήμης παρεμβάλλεται η πολιτική:
Το διακύβευμα εν προκειμένω δεν είναι κάποιο συνετά αναμορφωτικό πρόγραμμα, τύπου έγχυσης καινούργιου κρασιού σε παλιά μπουκάλια, αλλά μια πρωτοποριακή αποκάλυψη του απολύτως νέου – ενός καθεστώτος τόσο επαναστατικού, που υπερβαίνει κάθε εικόνα και λόγο, μιας ηγεμονίας της δικαιοσύνης και της αδελφοσύνης που κατά τους περί τα Ευαγγέλια γράφοντες εντυπωσιάζει ακόμη και σήμερα μέσα σε αυτόν τον χρεοκοπημένο, depasse, ναυαγισμένο κόσμο. Καμία μέση οδός δεν επιτρέπεται εδώ: η επιλογή μεταξύ της δικαιοσύνης και των εξουσιών αυτού του κόσμου δεν μπορεί παρά να είναι ξεκάθαρη και απόλυτη, ζήτημα θεμελιακής σύγκρουσης και αντίθεσης. Εδώ το ζητούμενο είναι ένα κοφτερό σπαθί, όχι ειρήνη, συναίνεση και διαπραγμάτευση. Ο Ιησούς δεν φέρνει ούτε κατά διάνοια σε φιλελεύθερο, κάτι που αναμφίβολα του το κρατάει ο Ντίτσκινς*. Δεν θα γινόταν καλό μέλος επιτροπής. Ούτε θα τα πήγαινε καλά στη Γουόλ Στριτ, όπως δεν τα πήγε καλά με τα γραφεία συναλλάγματος στον ναό της Ιερουσαλήμ. (Eagleton,μν.εργ.,σελ. 45).
Η αναμέτρηση με τη σκέψη του Eagleton δεν θα είναι εύκολη για όσους εμμένουν στις “βεβαιότητες” τους (ένθεοι ή άθεοι, αδιάφορον). Παραθέτουμε ένα “νόστιμο” τμήμα από την κριτική του Eagleton στον Dawkins:
Επειδή η ύπαρξη του κόσμου δεν υπόκειται σε καμία αναγκαιότητα, δεν μπορούμε να συναγάγουμε τους νόμους που τον κυβερνούν από απριορικές αρχές, αλλά πρέπει να κοιτάξουμε το πως λειτουργεί στην πραγματικότητα. Αυτό είναι έργο της επιστήμης. Υπάρχει λοιπόν μια περίεργη σχέση ανάμεσα στο δόγμα της δημιουργίας από το τίποτα και στον επαγγελματικό βίο του Ρίτσαρντ Ντόκινς. Χωρίς τον Θεό ο Ντόκινς θα ήταν άνεργος. Οπότε είναι άκρως αγενές εκ μέρους του το να αμφισβητεί την ύπαρξη του εργοδότη του.
(T. Eagleton, μν. έργον,σελ. 26-27).
Εξαιρετικό ενδιαφέρον παρουσιάζει ο τρόπος που ο Eagleton ορίζει την πίστη:
Οι άνθρωποι καλούνται να μην κάνουν τίποτα περισσότερο από το να αναγνωρίσουν, μέσα από την πράξη της αγαπητικής συγκατάνευσης που ονομάζεται πίστη, το γεγονός ότι ο Θεός είναι με το μέρος τους ό,τι κι αν γίνει. Ο Ιησούς δεν έχει στην πραγματικότητα παρά ελάχιστα πράγματα να πει γύρω από την αμαρτία, αντίθετα με πλήθος φιλοκατήγορων οπαδών του. Η αποστολή του είναι να αποδεχτεί την αδυναμία των ανθρώπων, όχι να τους την τρίψει στη μούρη. (μν. εργ., σελ. 41).
Η εν λόγω ριζοσπαστική “ανάγνωση” του Eagleton δεν σημαίνει ότι αποστασιοποιείται από τις θεμελιακές μαρξιστικές καταβολές του. Στον Πρόλογο του βιβλίου ασκεί σκληρή κριτική στη θρησκεία: “Η θρησκεία έχει επιφέρει ανείπωτη εξαθλίωση στα ανθρώπινα πράγματα. Ως επί το πλείστον έχει υπάρξει μια βρομερή ιστορία μισαλλοδοξίας, δεισιδαιμονίας, ευσεβών πόθων και καταπιεστικής ιδεολογίας” (μν.εργ.,σελ.11). Ωστόσο ασκεί δριμύτατη κριτική και σε όσους επικριτές της  “αγοράζουν την απόρριψη της θρησκείας σε τιμή ευκαιρίας” , ενώ οι ίδιοι “διακατέχονται από τόσο βαθιά άγνοια και προκατάληψη ώστε να συναγωνίζονται τη θρησκεία” (ό.π.).
Ας δούμε τι λέει ο Eagleton περί χριστιανικής αγάπης:
Κατά τη χριστιανική διδασκαλία η αγάπη και η συγχώρεση του Θεού είναι αδίστακτα ανελέητες δυνάμεις, που ξεσπούν βίαια επάνω στην προστατευτική, αυτοεκλογικευτική μικρή μας σφαίρα, διαλύοντας τις συναισθηματικές ψευδαισθήσεις μας και αναποδογυρίζοντας βάναυσα τον κόσμο μας (…)
(…)Αν δεν αγαπάς είσαι νεκρός κι αν αγαπάς θα σε σκοτώσουν. Ορίστε λοιπόν η επαγγελία των παραδείσιων απολαύσεων ή το όπιο των μαζών, η παρηγοριά σας του γλυκού βλέμματος και η ευλάβεια των χλωμών παρειών.(…)
(μν.έργ.,σελ. 43-44)
Είναι τόσο πλούσια η θεματική του βιβλίου που σε κάθε σελίδα του ο αναγνώστης θα βρει κάτι που θα τον ενθουσιάσει, θα τον προβληματίσει ή μπορεί και να τον εκνευρίσει. Έτσι είναι όμως τα μεγάλα έργα. Κλείνοντας τη μικρή αυτή παρουσίαση νομίζουμε ότι αξίζει ο αναγνώστης να δει πως ορίζει ο Eagleton την “οικτρή κατάσταση”(σελ. 46) αλλά και το “μαρτύριο”(σελ. 48).
Σημ.: Οι ανωτέρω επισημάνσεις αφορούν το πρώτο κεφάλαιο του βιβλίου (“Τα αποβράσματα της Γης”, σελ. 17-72). Μια αναλυτική διαπραγμάτευση θα απαιτούσε πάρα πολύ χώρο. Σε τελική ανάλυση, έργα τέτοιας αξίας απαιτούν όχι μόνο την προσοχή, αλλά και την άμεση μετοχή του αναγνώστη στο βαθυστόχαστο περιεχόμενο τους.
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*[Πρόκειται για παιγνιώδη σύμπτυξη των επωνύμων  Ντόκινς-Χίτσενς από το συγγραφέα "χάριν ευκολίας"(μν. έργον, σελ. 19) ].
25-12-2011
Γ.Μ.Βαρδαβάς

Σάββατο, 10 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

Το μυστήριο της οικονομίας :η Οικονομική Θεολογία στον G.Agamben

Τι ειδους ακριβώς είναι επιστημη είναι η οικονομία;Η συζήτηση δεν είναι καινούργια ,και δεν πρόκειται να τελειώσει ποτέ .Το επιδικο της συζήτησης είναι το ίδιο με καθε κοινωνική επιστήμη .Ο παρατηρητής είναι μέρος του αντικειμένου του.Άρα όσο και αν υιοθετηθούν διαδικασίες και πρότυπα ορθολογισμου , θα υπάρχει πάντα ένα μικρο η μεγάλο ποσοστό αβεβαιότητας και σχετικισμου.Χοντρικά οι " δεξιοί " αποδίδουν τις αβεβαιότητες στην ίδια την φύση των σύγχρονων κοινωνιών ενω οι " αριστεροί " στην ιδεολογική φύση των μοντέλων της οικονομίας .Δεν είναι τυχαίο πως εντος αριστεράς αναδύονται οι πιο ριζικές απόψεις κριτικής της πολιτικής οικονομίας που φτάνουν την ολική άρνηση ακόμη και της μαρξιστικης οπτικής  (Badiou).Η συζήτηση μάλλον θα διαρκέσει όσο αυτη για την φύση του φωτοστεφανου.

Ωστόσο υπάρχει και μια ενδιαφέρουσα οπτική , η οποία δεν εξετάζει την οικονομία με βάση ένα κριτήριο επιστημολογικης η ιδεολογικής κατασκευής .Η οπτική αυτή εκκινεί απο το δεδομένο ότι  οικονομία είτε ως κοινωνική επιστήμη ,με αξιώσεις ορθολογισμου, είτε ως υποκειμενική ιδεολογική άσκηση και πρακτική  έχει μια άρθρωση με την εξουσία. Το ερώτημα λοιπον που τίθεται είναι πως, η με οποιοδήποτε τροπο οριζομενη οικονομία, σχετίζεται με την εξουσία και την διακυβέρνηση στις σύγχρονες κοινωνίες.Το ζήτημα δεν τίθεται στο να αποκαλύψουμε  την " διαπλοκή" η την ταξική φύση των καπιταλιστικών σχέσεων οι οποίες εμφανίζονται ως φυσικές ,αλλά στο πως  η οικονομία παραμένει μονίμως ως ένας πόλος σε σχέση και απόσταση απο τη διακυβέρνηση .Η οικονομία σε καμία περίπτωση δεν είναι απλά  " κατω" απο την διακυβέρνηση . Αντανακλά  και σχηματοποιει ταξικές σχέσεις αλλα μονίμως είναι σε μια ένταση με την εξουσία .

Τον προβληματισμό αυτο αναπτύσσει ο G.Agamben στο τριτο μέρος του Homo   Sacer        " Il Regno e la Gloria" .Στο έργο αυτο ο GA προχωρά και εξελίσσει  την θεματολογία της Πολιτικής Θεολογίας προς μια θεματολογία Οικονομικής Θεολογίας .Αν η Πολιτικη Θεολογια στηρίζεται στην θέση οτι οι σύγχρονες πολιτικές έννοιες προέρχονται απο της Θεολογία, η Οικονομική Θεολογία στηριζεται στην θεση ότι η σχέση εξουσίας οικονομίας έχει τη μορφή της τριαδικης υπόστασης του Θεού . Εκκεντρικό θεωρημα ίσως , αλλα για αυτο ο GA αφιερώνει διακόσιες πυκνες σελίδες .

Χοντρικά η εξέταση του GA είναι η ακόλουθη:

Όταν η χριστιανική Θεολογία αναπτύσσει την έννοια της τριαδικης υπόστασης, για να μην περιπέσει ουσιαστικά σε ένα τριθεισμό ,εισάγει εντος θεολογίας μια έννοια εκτός αυτής : την έννοια της αριστοτελικης οικονομίας .Με την εισαγωγή της έννοιας της οικονομίας οι τρεις υποστασεις του θείου συγκροτούνται σε μια δυναμική σχέση .Παράγωγες της τριαδικης υπόστασης είναι οι εννοιες της θειας πρόνοιας και η ανάγκη εισαγωγής της κατηγορίας, του συνόλου  των αγγέλων .

Σύμφωνα με τον GA  η αριστοτελικη οικονομία δεν είναι επιστήμη , αλλα πράξις. Δεν ορίζει ένα δομημένο τομέα έρευνας και ανάλυσης αλλα είναι διεκπεραίωση , διαδικασία ,πράξη.Η οικονομία είναι διαχείριση του οίκου σε  αντιδιαστολή με την πολιτικη που είναι διαχείριση των της πόλης.Αυτη λοιπόν έννοια της οικονομίας εισάγεται στην Θεολογία για να σχηματοποιηθει το δυναμικό πλάσμα του τριαδικου θεού.

Το ενδιαφέρον που αποκαλύπτει ο GΑ ,μεσω μιας ενδελεχούς ιστορικής έρευνας ,είναι ότι αυτή η θεολογική οικονομία " επανεξαγεται " απο την Θεολογία προς την οικονομία των φυσιοκρατών δεκαπέντε αιώνες μετά. Το ιστορικό σχημα είναι περίπου το εξής:

Η Χριστιανικη Θεολογία έχει ανάγκη την έννοια της οικονομίας για να μην παλινδρομησει σε πολυθεϊσμό , την εισάγει στην τριαδικη υπόσταση, και αυτήν την θεολογική  " οικονομία " διαχειρίζονται οι φυσιοκράτες για να  να εξελιξουμε ως τις μέρες μας ως επιστήμη.Για να κατανοήσουμε  λοιπον τις συγχρονες σχέσεις οικονομίας εξουσίας δεν έχουμε παρά να δούμε τις σχέσεις Θεού Υιού στο τριαδικό πλέγμα .

Η σημερινή οικονομία δεν είναι ουτε αυστηρή επιστήμη ούτε  στεγνή πράξη , είναι μυστηριώδης όσο αναλογικά είναι μυστηριώδες το τριαδικό θεολογικο σχήμα το οποίο διαχωρίζει τον Θεό απο τις Πράξεις του.Ο GA προχωρεί ένα βήμα παραπάνω και διακρίνει στις μεγάλες διαμάχες του κατά του Μονοθεισμου μια κρίσιμη  στροφή που επικυρωνει τον θεμελιακό δυϊσμό  ,Θεού και Θείας Οικονομίας η οποία συγκροτεί και το μυστήριο της οικονομίας .Η άναρχη ισότιμη σχέση Θεού Υιου συγκροτεί  ένα πεδίο πράξεων που δεν έχουν γραμμικη σχέση εκπορευσης απο το ένα του Θεού, αλλα αναδύονται εκ θεού ως μια ειδική θεία   τυχαιοτητα . Αυτη την μυστηριώδη  τυχαιοτητα αποκρυσταλλώνει η οικονομία .

Αν στο κλασικό σχήμα της πολιτικής θεολογίας του C Smitt η πολιτική εξουσία προέρχεται , καθρεφτίζεται, αναδύεται ως η μεταφορά του Θεού ,το κράτος έκτακτης ανάγκης ως το θαύμα κλπ κλπ στον G.Agamben η οικονομία αναβιώνει το δυναμικό σχήμα της τριαδικοτητας.Απο εκεί και πέρα αναπτύσσεται μια θεματολογία με εξαιρετική ευρηματικότητα και πρωτοτυπία .πχ όλη η σχετική Θεολογία των Αγγέλων ορίζεται απο τον GA ως η μήτρα μιας σχετικής σύγχρονης εξέτασης της γραφειοκρατία.Καλός ο Weber αλλά για να δούμε και τον Ακινάτη.....Στο ίδιο το βιβλίο του GA διαμορφώνεται με μια άλλη γιγάντια μεταφορά η οποία εξετάζει τις σχέσεις οικονομίας και οψης- θεάματος της εξουσίας , σε αντιστοιχία με τις σχέσεις τριαδικοτητας και δοξολογιας.Αυτο όμως είναι ένα άλλο εκκεντρικό θέμα ,άξιο ενός αλλού μικρού σχολιασμού.


Παρέκβαση : Ο Agamben και η αριστερά

Ο G.Agamben είναι προφανώς ένας απο τους πιο σημαντικούς σύγχρονους πολιτικούς φιλόσοφους με οξύ κριτικό προσανατολισμός.Ωστόσο όντας μαθητής του Heidegger δεν ανήκει τυπικά στο Χεγκελιανο Μαρξιστικο ρεύμα της Αριστεράς.Με μια έννοια η κριτική του είναι εξαιρετικά απαισιόδοξη, σχεδόν αποπνικτική . Το φράγμα αυτο , αυτήν την ορατή απόσταση , αποτυπώνει καθαρά ο διάλογος Negri Agamben όπως διεξάγεται τα τελευταία χρονιά .Είναι προφανώς αδύνατο αυτη η διαμάχη να αποτυπωθεί σε μια γραμμή ωστόσο χοντρικά μπορούμε να πούμε πως αν η " γυμνή ζωή " αποτελεί ένα όριο για τον GA με βάση την έννοια κλειδι του Homo Sacer ,στον ΑΝ η γυμνή ζωή δεν είναι όριο αλλα παραγωγή.Περισσότερα  εδώ .Η σημείωση είναι απαραίτητη για να κατανοηθεί η πολιτικη Θεολογία του GA , και εισαγωγή του όρου της Οικονομικής Θεολογίας . Όπως και σε όλο το έργο του , η κριτική του είναι οξεία , διαβρωτική αλλά οι διέξοδοι που αναδύονται είτε είναι ελάχιστα ορατοί είτε σχεδόν εσχατολογικοί ( πχ Η κοινότητα που έρχεται )

Συνδέσεις:

Πυκνή παρουσιάση του ιδιου του Agamben για το "Il Regno e la Gloria " εδώ

G.Agamben : The Kingdom and the Glory (amazon)




Εικόνα : Dino Valls

Παρασκευή, 2 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

R.Boer:ο Lenin και το οπιο.Περιπέτειες μιας μετάφρασης

In ‘Socialism and Religion’ from 1905, Lenin famously wrote:

Religion is opium of the people [опиум народа, opium naroda]. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image [образ obraz], their demand for a life more or less worthy of man.

This text is of course a direct allusion to Marx’s even more famous observation:

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people [das Opium des Volkes] (Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law: Introduction. In Marx and Engels Collected Works, pp. 175-6).

An initial reading may attribute to Marx’s more elaborate prose a more subtle appreciation of religion – as both expression and protest, as the sigh, heart and soul of oppressed creatures in a heartless, soulless world. And a closer study of the key term, opium, reveals a profound multivalence in Marx’s usage. For opium was both a cheap curse of the poor and a vital medicine, a source of addiction and of inspiration for poets, writers and artists, the basis of colonial exploitation (in the British Empire) and of the economic conditions that allowed Marx and Engels to continue work relatively unmolested, in short, it ranged all the way from blessed medicine to recreational curse. As the left-leaning theologian, Metropolitan Vvedensky said already in Russia in 1925, opium is not merely a drug that dulls the senses, but also a medicine that ‘reduces pain in life and, from this point of view, opium is for us a treasure that keeps on giving, drop by drop’ (in debate with Anatoly Lunacharsky, 21-2 September, 1925). That Marx himself was a regular user of opium increases the complexity of the term in this text. Along with ‘medicines’ such as arsenic and creosote, Marx imbibed opium to deal with his carbuncles, liver problems, toothaches, eye pain, ear aches, bronchial coughs and so on – the multitude of ailments that came with chronic overwork, lack of sleep, chain smoking and endless pots of coffee.

Do we find this multivalence in Lenin’s recasting of the opium metaphor? Marx’s ‘opium of the people [das Opium des Volkes] is directly translated as ‘opium of the people’ [опиум народа, opium naroda]. The usage is the same, with a genitive in Russian. Unfortunately, the English translation in Lenin’s Collected Works renders the phrase in the dative, ‘opium for the people’, thereby producing the sense that religious beliefs are imposed upon people rather than emerging as their own response: religion is no longer of themselves, but has become something devised for them. Such a translation may have been preferred due to Lenin’s swift gloss, ‘a sort of spiritual booze’ [род ду ховной сивухи, rod duhovnoi sivuhi], which seems to reinforce this impression. And does not the next phrase – ‘in which the slaves of capital drown their human image’ – deploy the conventional role of alcohol, in which sorrows are drowned? Religion becomes a bottle of wine, a carton of beer, a flask of vodka, with which one dulls the pain of everyday life.

It is worth noting here that even if Lenin did use the genitive construction (following Marx), in the USSR the dative construction came to dominate. Thus, as Sergey Kozin points out, people mostly used the phrase ‘opium for the people’ rather than ‘opium of the people’ as the standard definition of religion. Perhaps the most famous example is the line from the movie, Twelve Chairs (based on Ilf and Petrov’s satirical novel of the same name from 1928) where the main character keeps greeting his competitor, the Orthodox priest, with the line: ‘How much do you charge for the opium for the people?’

In order to draw us back to the ambivalence embodied in the ‘opium of the people’, we need to consider carefully the rest of Lenin’s description. He introduces two items: ‘human image’ [человеческий образ] and ‘their demand for a life more or less worthy of human beings’ [свои требования на сколько-нибудь достойную человека жизнь]. Both terms – human image and decent human life – wrench the text away from a simple drowning of sorrows.

At first sight these terms seem like alternative ways of saying the same thing. Yet, the fact that they appear side by side introduces a minimal difference between them, one that is exacerbated by the biblical and theological echoes in Lenin’s text. Recall Genesis 1:26, where we find that the human beings are created in the ‘image of God’: ‘Let us make humankind in our image [tselem], according to our likeness’ [demuth]. Here too we find a minimal difference, between image and likeness; here too they seem to speak of the same thing, and yet they are different.

Lenin’s own context was infused with Orthodox theology and it is precisely that tradition which exploits the distinction between the two terms. Thus, while Adam and Eve may have been created in the image of God, being thereby able to participate in the divine life – when they were fully human – sin has blurred and fractured the union of divine and human, resulting in a situation that is less than human, with the unnatural result of death. However, in Orthodox theology after St. Maximus, what went ‘missing’ after enjoying the fruit of the tree was not so much the ‘image’, but the ‘likeness’. Christ’s central task in salvation is thereby not merely a process of restoring the pre-lapsarian state, but rather a new state achieved uniquely in Christ, which was not there with Adam and Eve. That is, beyond the image, one becomes a likeness of God – theosis, or deification. Indeed, theosis actually designates a closer fellowship with God than even the first human beings experienced. Christ may be the second Adam, but he is also more than that, enabling a far greater communion that was initially the case – so much that Christ may well have been incarnated simply for that reason, even without the first stumble.

Is it possible that Lenin, without necessarily evoking the whole economy of salvation, alludes to his complex interplay between image and likeness, with his usage of ‘human image’ and ‘worthy human life’? Our human image may be obscured, drowned, inebriated, blurred – as though one were blind drunk – but even so the demand for a decent life persists. That is, a life worthy of human beings echoes not merely the broken image that runs through Orthodoxy, but especially the restoration to the likeness of God through Christ.

At the same time, Lenin turns this theological heritage of the image and likeness on its head. Rather than staying within the theological framework and asking why it is that human beings are sinful, he accuses the framework itself with creating the problem in the first place. The issue is neither human culpability nor even the deception at the hands of third party, but rather religion itself. Let me put it this way: Lenin unwittingly parleys one tradition of interpretation against another, for the narrative of Genesis 1-3 opens up a third, rarely travelled path of interpretation, in which the one responsible for the Garden of Eden with its two trees – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life – is also thereby responsible for the act that sends the likeness into exile. If God had not created the flawed crystal of the Garden in the first place, the Fall would not have happened, despite its narrative necessity for the rest of the Bible (it would have been a drab story indeed if the first humans had remained in the state of paradisal bliss for page after page). It is a charge that the deity refuses to answer, so keen is he to lay the blame with the human beings and serpent, who are punished as he sees fit. By contrast, Lenin does lay the blame precisely here. Only when that has been addressed may a worthy human life – now a very human ‘likeness’ – be attained.

But what about that famous spiritual booze? Might that not also be a richer metaphor? To begin with, in 1925 the Moscow Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church, Alexander Vvedensky, pointed out that ‘booze’ is a good translation of ‘opium’, which opens Lenin’s phrase up to more ambiguity. But we also need to combine that fact with a greater appreciation of the role of alcohol in Russian culture. Even today, one finds that beer has only recently (2011) been designated an alcoholic drink, although most people continue to think that it is not. Even after this legislation, not much has changed in Russia’s beer-drinking culture except that Medvedev’s ‘police’ increasingly fine youngsters for drinking in public. Two-liter bottles are still available in most shops. And the famed vodka may be bought in bottles that fit comfortably in one’s hand, a necessary feature due to that great Russian tradition in which an opened bottle must be emptied. Italy and France may be fabled as wine cultures, Germany, Scandinavia and Australia as beer cultures, but Russia’s drinking identity is inseparable from vodka. Russians may be admired for their fabled drinking prowess, vodka may be a necessary complement to any long-distance rail travel (as I have found more than once), it may be offered to guests at the moment of arrival (for otherwise the host is unforgivably rude), it may be an inseparable element of the celebration of life, but it is also the focus of age-long concern. One may trace continued efforts to curtail excessive consumption all the way back to Lenin. For example, Krushchev and Breshnev sought in turn to restrict access to vodka with tighter controls, although their efforts pale by comparison to the massive campaign launched by Gorbachev in 1985. And Lenin fumed at troops and grain handlers getting drunk, molesting peasants and stealing grain during the dreadful famines (or rather, during the period of a lack of means to transport grain to areas where it was desperately needed) during the foreign intervention after the Revolution. Nonetheless, vodka was a vital economic product. Already in 1899 in his painstakingly detailed The Development of Capitalism in Russia, Lenin provides graphs and data concerning the rapid growth of distilling industry.

In other words, alcohol is as complex a metaphor as opium, if not more so. It is both spiritual booze and divine vodka: relief for the weary, succour to the oppressed, inescapable social mediator, it is also a source of addiction, dulling of the senses and dissipater of strength and resolve. Religion-as-grog thereby opens up a far greater complexity concerning religion in Lenin’s thought than one may at first

Απο το ιστολόγιο Political Theology

Δευτέρα, 28 Νοεμβρίου 2011

Τι δεν είναι και τι είναι μια Αριστερή Πολιτική Θεολογία





Δεν είναι λόγος περί του ιερού, του θείου, του θεού.
Δεν είναι η πολιτική διαπραγμάτευση των πολιτικών κινημάτων με θρησκευτική προέλευση
Δεν είναι η πολιτική διαπραγμάτευση των κοσμικών και πολιτικών εκφράσεων των επίσημων ή κρατουσών θρησκειών
Δεν είναι κοινωνιολογία των θρησκειών
Είναι η ανάλυση, αναδιαπραγμάτευση, ζητημάτων της αριστεράς με την χρήση εννοιών, συμφραζομένων, παραδειγμάτων , αναλύσεων που προέρχονται από την θεολογία.
Πηγή της αριστερής πολιτικής θεολογίας είναι η θέση πως όλες οι έννοιες της σύγχρονης πολιτικής προέρχονται από την θεολογία (Carl Schmitt)
Πηγή της αριστερής πολιτικής θεολογίας είναι η εκτεταμένη και ζωσα λειτουργία βιβλικών και θεολογικών αναφορών στο έργο των Benjamin,Altusser,Negri,Badiou,Zizek,Bloch, Adorno κλπ
Εικόνα :  Dino Vals

Κυριακή, 27 Νοεμβρίου 2011

Giorgio Agamben on Economic Theology

The Power and the Glory: Giorgio Agamben on Economic Theology
This is a transcript of a talk given by Agamben in Turino on January 11, 2007, continuing the studies of Michel Foucault on the genealogy of governance.

By Giorgio Agamben

"The Power and the Glory", Giorgio Agamben, 11th B.N. Ganguli Memorial Lecture, CSDS, 11th January 2007.

Editor's Note: I have not adjusted the obvious misspellings and errors in this transcription.


This investigation concerns the reasons and modalities through which power has taken in western societies the form of an economy. That is to say, of a government of man and things. So we must speak about power in general as about a peculiar form of power, the modern form of power, that is to say, government. Of course I will therefore have to carry on Michel Foucault's enquiries in the genealogy of governance.

As you probably know, starting from the midst of the 70ies, Foucault began to work on what he called „le gouvernement des hommes". But – so I will not carry on, but continue his research – but I will also try to locate them, to dislocate them in a different context. Foucault once wrote that his historical investigations were only the shadow of his theoretical questioning of the present. And I completely share this point of view and also for me – the historical investigations I have to do – are just the shadow cast from y interrogation of the present. And – in my case – this shadow becomes longer. And reaches back to the very beginning of christian theology.

I will try to show that two paradigms derive from christian theology, from early christian theology: Political Theology, which grounds in the one god, the transcendence of sovereign power and – and this is the new thing – the economical theology which bases itself on the notion of an oikonomia, an economy conceived as an immanent order, domestic and not properly political, of both human and divine life. The first paradigm is juridical, or juridico-political, and will give rise to the modern theory of sovereignty, the second one is managerial and will lead to modern biopolitics up to the present domination of economy and management over all aspects of social life.

The starting point of my investigations was the amazing discovery of the essential role played by the greek term oikonomia, economy, in the strategy of the theologians, who in the second century of the christian era elaborated the doctrine of trinity.

You know that the greek term oikonomia means the administration of the oikos, the house, and thus Aristotle can write that economy differs from politics in the same way as the oikos, the house, differs from the polis, the city. And that is why in the aristotelian tradition, there is a sharp opposition between economy and politics. From a greek point of view, politics cannot be reduced to an economy.

According to Aristotle, Economy is a non-epistemic paradigm, something that is not a science, an episteme, but a praxis, which implies decisions and measures that can be understood only in relation to a given situation and a given problem. So the best translation of the greek term is therefore „management". And – by the way – this is a translation that you can find in the authoritative greek-english dictionary published by Henry Liddel who was the father of Alice, - a little girl so tenderly loved and immortalized by Lewis Carroll. Yes. The most authoritative dictionary comes from the Father of Alice.

Now, why did christians theologians need this term, Economy? It is quite simple. Just when the trinitarian doctrine begins to be developed, the theologians had to cope with a strong resistance within the church of a group of reasonable people called the „monarchians", that is to say the partisans of the government of one, who thought – and there were probably right – the introduction of the god of three persons, simply meant falling back to polytheism.

Oikonomia, Economy, is the concept by means of which theologians tried to reconcile the god, the unity with the Trinity. Their argument was roughly – simplified like that – the following: God, as far as his substance or being is concerned, is absolutely one. But – as for his oikonomia, his economy, that is to say the way he manages the divine house and life, - he is three.

Just as the master of the house – this was the argument – can share administration with the son or with other persons, without loosing the unity of his power, in the same way, god can trust the management of the world and the salvation of man to his son, the Christ. St. Paul in his letters, had spoken, referring to redemption, of an economy of the mystery of the salvation. Now, Theologians such as Irenaeus, Hipolitus, and Tertullian reverse this expression, this is a very important strategic reversal, and speak referring to the trinity, of a mystery of the economy. So it's not god's being that is mysterious, it is his economy, his action, his activity is mysterious. And they distinguished in this sense two logoi, two discourses: The ontological discourse, concerned god's being, and the economical discourse which refers to god's action, to the way he manages t he government of the world and the mystery of salvation.

You see, the Trinity was introduced not in the beginning, not as a metaphysical doctrine, as it became later after the great church council, but as an economy, as a managerial device. The hypothesis I am trying to suggest is that this mystery of the economy has functioned as the hidden ontological paradigm of modern governance. So I will use Theology in order to better understand government. I am proposing a return to theology not at all, I will just use theology to better understand governance.

I can not bother you here with the detailed reconstruction I had to do of this doctrine, which kept the church fathers busy for centuries, - I will just attempt to summarize a few points, the main results of my investigation.

So first of all: Which kind of activity, which kind of praxis is the oikonomia, the economy? What is the inner structure of an act of governance? Of the divine management? And why is something such as a government of man possible? Let my analyze this and I will propose five points which resume which summarize in a way the results from my research.

The first point could be called the paradox of divine anarchy. As we saw now, the doctrine of the divine economy was produced in order to safe Monotheism, but it ended up introducing into god a split, a division between being and action, ontology and economy. I mean that god's action, god's economy, according to the fathers, has no foundation in its being, is this sense, as they said literally, an anarchical mystery, - arché in greek means: Beginning, foundation. God's economy has no foundation, has no beginning, is completely independent from God's being.

In this, it becomes perfectly clear, we try to understand the meaning in this perspective of the great controversy on Aryanism, that so deeply divided the church between the fourth and the sixth century. Why was the fight so merciless and long-lasting? I think it altered also the profane Paradigm, the emperor took position.

What was on stake in that debate – I will not enter t he theological details – the most important point in the debate, was the anarchical character – that is to say without arché, without foundation without beginning - of the son, of the Christ. Aryus, he became after an heretical, maintained that Christ, the son, which was the logos, the word and the action of god, was grounded in the father, was not anarchical like the father, but he had his beginning and foundation in the father. The prevailing doctrine which became then the orthodoxy, stated firmly that the son, the Christ, is anarchos, without beginning or foundation, exactly like father. So Christ is completely independent, it is a divine figure, without beginning or foundation in the father.

This thesis of the anarchy of the Christ is perhaps the most ominous Inheritance that christian theology bequeaths to modernity. Why? Because it implies that language and action – as the divine language and the divine action – had no foundation in being, are in this sense anarchical. This means that the classical greek ontology with its idea of a substantial link between being and logos, being and language, but also between being and praxis, action, is ruined forever. Any attempt, since that moment to found language on being is doomed to fail.

You know according to Aristotle, for instance, god moved the world the heavens, but he didn't move them because he wanted this: His being coincided with the action. So the christian fathers completely reversed this point of view. God's actions has nothing to do with god's being. This inheritance we have to cope with, because if then: action has no foundation in being, - politics, ethics become extremely problematic. Moreover, it is precisely because being and action are both anarchical in this sense, precisely fort hat reason, something such as a government – the word government comes from the greek kybernetes, which mean the Pilot of a ship, to guide the ship. So precisely because being and action are both anarchical, a government becomes possible and even necessary. It is the groundless and anarchical paradigm of human action that makes it possible to govern this action. If being and action were the same we couldn't govern the action.

Butt his means as a consequence, oikonomia, that is to say governance is essentially anarchical, that there is a secret solidarity between government and anarchy. There is a government only because the elements that constitute this government are anarchical, groundless. When one of the main characters in Pasolini's film „Salò" says the only real anarchy is the anarchy of power and Walter Benjamin writes that there is nothing so anarchical as the bourgeois order, their statements have to be taken extremely seriously.

So. There is a Solidarity between governance and anarchy. So this was the first point. I am trying to analyze the structure of an act of governance. This was the first point.

The second point – I will call it – the Kingdom and the government, that is to say the double structure of government. So one of the points that was to have impact on the western culture is the strategic conjunction of this doctrine of the divine economy with theories of providence, that is to say of the divine government of the world. Providence just means the divine government.

The coming together of these two paradigms, which have different origins, providence comes from greek-stoic philosophy etc. is a really accomplished by Clement of Alexandria at the end of the second century. And trough to the end of the 17th century almost without interruption it has given rise to an incredible amount of philosophical and theological literature Perhaps providence is the subjects on which philosophers and theologians have written the most. Providence means – as you probably know – that god is constantly busy governing the world. And if he would stop for a single instance, then the world would collapse.

This is the theological basis of providence. But how does providence, how does this divine government of the world, function? So, since the beginning, this was a very, very important point, we see that providence is conceived as a double or bipolar machine. This is constant. Since the beginning of the Theory we have a double structure. God does not govern the world directly in all details up to the last small animal, or insect or sparrow, as the gospel says, but God governs the world through universal principles. Theologians distinguish therefore between a general providence which establishes the universal laws, the universal and transcendent laws. And the first causes and they call this ordinatio, ordering order, and then a special providence that is entrusted to the angels or to the mechanisms of immanent and secondary causes and they will call this execution, executio, So the machine of the divine government is a general law and execution.

No matter how theologians conceive the relationship between the two poles, in any case, the bipolar structure must be present. If they are completely divided, no government is possible. There would be on the one hand side an almighty sovereign who is effectively impotent, and on the other, the chaotic mess of the particular acts of interventions of governance. A government is possible only if the two aspects are coordinated in a bipolar machine. So I will define government when you will have the coordination of these two elements. General law and an execution, general providence and particular providence.

In the tradition of political philosophy one could say that this double structure is expressed in the old formula: The king reigns, but he doesn't govern. That is an old dictum, which already founds in the 16th century. In differentiation of modern democracy we have to think in the division in legislative or sovereign power which acts always through universal laws and principles and executive power which carries out in detail the general principle. I think that it is very amazing that the first time we find this vocabulary ordinatio and executio, order and execution, is in theology and not in political theory. We are here many, many centuries before that political theory articulates this. You will see that one of the discoveries of my investigations is t hat the vocabulary of public administration is strongly linked to theologic or religious. In this very case, it is very clear: ordinatio and executio.

So I would say the history of western politics is precisely the history of the various changing articulations, also conflicts, naturally, of this two poles of power. Reign and Government. Sovereignty and Economy. The father and the sun. Law and Order. Law and Police, one could say.

But his bipolar character must be there and remains there up to the end. Today we could say that the act of government or execution has the primacy, it is clear, the crisis of parliamentary and legislative power is evident everywhere. It is like dead, legislative power doesn't exist anymore in europe or the united states, an absolute primacy of government. But anyway – even in this case – both poles are there: So one pole can prevail on the other, like now it is the case for government and executive power, but nevertheless they must be there, otherwise no government, there is another form of power.

So the third point I am calling the paradigm of collateral damage. In the history of the doctrine of providence, the most prominent aporie is perhaps the problem of evil which will engage the theologians for centuries. If god governs the world and if god's economy is necessary the most perfect one, how can we explain evil in all is aspects? Natural catastrophes, ,moral crimes etc... So this problem really kept busy philosophers and theologians for centuries. And the attempt to find a solution to this Aporia resulted in the invention of a paradigm that is perhaps the most significant theological legacy of the contemporary theory of governance. The argument was the following: God in his providence establishes general laws which are always good. Evil results from this laws as a collateral effect. The criteria is really absolutely literary this: providence, as a collateral effect, as a side effect of the divine government of the world. So the evil is just a side effect of the good government. Thus from general laws of the movements of the bodies and of the warming of earth, it rains, which is very good, but as a collateral effect you might have rain fall where it should not have fallen. So this would be just a collateral effect of a good thing.

Alexander of Aphrodisia, who was a late Aristotelian Commentator around the second century after Christ, expounded this theory in four, which is particularly relevant for our purpose: God, theos, cannot bother himself with details, therefore each act of the divine world government is directed to a primary and general end, but just as the head of the house divided the food for his family, feeds also as a side effect the little animals, the worms and the birds who live in the house, in the same way, every general act of divine providence will result in side-effects which can be positive. Then you have the paradigm of Liberalism, or negative. Alexander argues – this is a very important point – that collateral effects are not accidental but define the very structure of the act of governance. Neither general nor particular, neither intentional nor casual, neither foreseen nor unforeseen, neither reign or government, the collateral effect is the way in which the divine government becomes effective, which providence realizes itself. And only therefore can the governmental machine, which only moves on the horizon on two separate levels, general and particular, only as a side-effect, the machine can become operative.

When today, military strategies give the name collateral damages or in french bavure to the calculated effects of military interventions which can result in the destruction of cities, and in human causalities, they unwillingly develop this very old theological paradigm. But – if our hypothesis is correct – also in this case, the collateral effect is not something secondary or something casual but defines the very essence of an act of governance. There are no casualties in the act of governance. Because the act aims to collateral effects. In a way the american military says: We killed one thousand persons. This was just a collateral effect of an actually good act. We have to reverse: It is t rue, but the collateral effect is the way which the act of government is realized.

So that is another one. The fourth point is point which already Michel Foucault has emphasized. The character which defines the government of the world is t hat providence cannot be simply an act of force and violence, which abolishes and subdues the free will of the governed ones. The main character of divine government is t hat it works through the very nature of the creature, such that – as a 17th century french theologian, Bossuet, puts it – god makes the world as if god where absent from it. This is incredibly intelligent. God governs the creatures as if they freely governed themselves. A quote – because that is just an extreme formulation of a very old theologian theory – god allows us to be as if we could be on our own. God allows to be a man what is a man, a body what is a body, thought what is thought, necessary what is necessary and free what is free. So this is an incredibly sophisticated fiction, this subtle economy of power according to which god in order to govern absolutely must act as if the creature where governing themselves, strongly influenced authors such as Rousseau. Rousseau was deeply influenced by a french theorist of providence, Malebranche, who is one who invented the theory of volonté general, general will. And in this way, especially through Rousseau, this idea became the theologian paradigm of modern democratic theory according to which the governed govern themselves.

So the fifth and last point. That has to do with the vicarious character of the governmental power. Governmental Power is essentially a vicarious power. In which sense? In the eschatological messianic kingdom of which Paul speaks in the first Letter to the Corinthians Christ receives his power from the father and will therefore after subduing all earthly power return the kingdom to him. Paul says it exactly like that: The son will reign until the moment he destroys all earthly power, then he will give back the power to the father. The messianic power of christ seems thus to be a vicarious power, executed in the name of the father.

But we saw that in the trinitarian economy each divine person and especially the sun is anarchical, has no foundation in the father. The intra-trinitarian relation between the father and the sun can be considered in this sense as the theological paradigm of the intrinsically vicarious character of governmental power. Trinitarian Economy is t the expression of an anarchical power which moves to and through the divine persons according to an essentially vicarious paradigm. There is no way to assign to one person the original foundation of power. Power has a trinitarian form, it circulates vicariously in this form.

And this is why the supreme sovereign power in the history of western politics presents itself as vicarious. You probably know that history of western politics, especially the moment of the struggle between he pope and the emperor. Both powers, both the emperor and the pope, claimed for themselves the title of vicarious christi, vicarious dei, vicar of Christ, vicar of god: So the emperor says: I am the vicar of good. And the pope says: No. I am the vicar of god.

But more deeply this is also why in western public law, the source of power is in its last resort impossible to describe, and moves always in circles between for instance - a very important point – constitutive and constituted power. Sovereignty and execution, legislation and police. In the end it is impossible to describe also to find a real responsibility to someone. Because the power has a deeply vicarious structure. So you will never see who in the last end has the power. It moves always in dialectics between the two poles. In it is especially true to understand this very important character of the body of political theory the difference between constitutive and constituted power. They also move in circles. Apparently constitutive power is founded by constituent power, but when you try to grasp it, you will see that there is a continuous dialectical movement between the two powers. Because governmental power is essentially vicarious.

These are the five characters with which I try to define an act of governance: You would have understood it if I would have located my study of the genealogy of governance in a theologian context, because there, the peculiar bipolar of governmental power is perfectly aided. One of the main results of my investigation is t hat the history of western politics is the history of the crossing and the intertwining of two divided and yet unseperatable paradigms. Reign and government, Kingdom and governance, the father and the son, Sovereignty and economy, law and order, legitimacy and legality.

And we can now better understand why the fundamental problem of western public law has the form how to ground government in sovereignty, how to ground order in law, economical practice in juridical patterns. Legality in legitimacy. Very big problem in political theory.

Modern democracy can be seen from this perspective as a desperate attempt to link in a stable structure the two anarchical poles of the machine. But this is precisely why democracy is so fragile. Always exhilarating between a lack and an excess of government, always looking for an holy spirit or an charismatic principle that could be able to hold together the anarchic powers that it has inherited from christian theology. With few exceptions, modern political scientists and political philosophers fail to confront the two both poles of the governmental machine. Beginning with Rousseau modern theory began to consider sovereignty as the central political category and to reduce government to executive power. As a result, political philosophy, and this is especially true fort he democratic tradition, fails to understand the real nature of government and focusses instead on universal problems such as Law, State, Sovereignty. What my investigation has shown is t that on the contrary the real problem – the secret core of politics – is neither sovereignty nor law, it is government. It is not the king, but rather the minister, it is not god, but rather the angels, it is not law but rather the police and the state of exception. Or, more precisely: It is the governmental machine that function through the complicated system of relations that binds this two poles together.

Lenin and Theology by R.Boer

Αναδημοσίευση :Stalinsmoustache.wordpress.com

Some way to go yet with my reading of Lenin’s Collected Works (vol. 8 done, 37 to go), but a preliminary chapte routline for the book.
The juxtaposition of Lenin and theology is intended to be as arresting and as productive as Althusser’s linking (1971) of Lenin and philosophy. I explore not only the complex and contradictory engagements with religion in Lenin’s collected works, engagements that are far more extensive than expected, but also explore possible contributions Lenin may make to theology.
Ch. 1. Spiritual Booze and Freedom of Religion
This chapter focuses on Lenin’s explicit statements on religion, including ‘Socialism and Religion’ and ‘The Attitude of the Worker’s Party to Religion’ and ‘Classes and Parties in their Attitude to Religion and the Church’ (Vols 10 and 15). Here we find Lenin tied up in a series of contradictions: religion may be an idealist and reactionary curse, but to oppose it is a red herring; atheism may be a natural position for socialists, but one should embrace a comrade who is also a believer; one may oppose religion on class terms, but atheism should not become a doctrinaire platform, for the party holds to radical freedom of conscience and religion. These contradictions provide alternative windows into the issues of church and state, and religion, society and revolution.
Ch. 2. God-Builders
A major feature of Lenin’s writings, especially Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (vol 14), is his critical engagement with the ‘God-builders’ – also called ‘otzovists’, ‘ultamists’ and ‘Machists’. Rather than pursuing links between Orthodoxy and Marxism (‘God-seekers’), God-builders held up early Christianity as a model of collective living and encouraged the spiritual elements within Marxism itself, focusing on the elevation of science, human achievement and collectivity. This chapter assesses Lenin’s long and perhaps futile struggle – akin to Marx’s struggle with utopian socialists – to minimise the God-builders’ influence on the revolution.
Ch. 3. Lenin, the Gospels and What Is to Be Done?
This chapter analyses the way the sayings and parables of Jesus lace one of Lenin’s key works from 1902, What Is To Be Done? Not only do we find extended deployments of parables such as those of the Tares and Wheat or of the Sower, or of sayings concerning the light under a bushel or the log in one’s own eye, but Lenin also develops his own parables, as with the parable of the door or the forest. In the process the Gospels themselves become radicalised.
Ch. 4. Miracles Can Happen
Among Lenin’s favoured turns of phrase were ‘miracles can happen’ and ‘Lo! A miracle’. In dealing with such usage, this chapter turns to a capillary analysis, concerned with unconscious undercurrents of Lenin’s thought revealed through his linguistic usage. In this case, ‘miracle’ may be regarded as the theological mode of speaking about revolution, especially if Pascal’s deployment of miracle and Alain Badiou’s theory of the event (via his engagement with Pascal) are brought into play.
Ch. 5. Revolutionary Prophet
Continuing the capillary analysis of the previous chapter, here I explore Lenin’s widespread usage of ‘prophet’ and ‘prophecy’. Rather than arguing for an unwitting theological underlay to his thought, my argument investigates Lenin’s place in the long interplay of revolutionary prophecy in both Marxism (and other radical traditions) and Christianity.
Ch. 6. Venerating Lenin
This chapter shifts gear, investigating the personality cult that grew around Lenin through the slogan, ‘Lenin Lives’ (via an engagement with Tumarkin’s flawed book). Despite his own opposition to the personality cult, Lenin’s embalmment, the erection of a cubist tomb at the foot of the Kremlin, and the tradition of viewing his preserved body all became part of such a cult. Rather than facile comparisons with religious ritual, this chapter analyses both the necessity and problems of venerating Lenin.
Ch. 7. Lenin, Althusser and Theology
The book closes by asking what contribution Lenin may make to theology. I begin by using Althusser’s famous essay, ‘Lenin and Philosophy’, to pursue the ‘unthought’ of both Althusser’s and Lenin’s intersections with theology. Not only was Althusser’s work saturated by theology, even after he turned from his explicit theological writings to Marxism, but in this essay he mentions religion on every second page. And given that religion belongs to the same category as philosophy (idealism), then Lenin’s reflections on philosophy apply just as much to theology. In particular, I make use of Althusser’s three categories to explore Lenin’s contribution to theology: Lenin’s philosophical/theological theses; Lenin and philosophical/theological practice; partisanship in philosophy/theology.
A place is still needed for discussions of anti-Semitism and Zionism, especially via engagements with Marx and Bauer in On the Jewish Question, as well as a treatment of Lenin and Hegel.

Τετάρτη, 23 Νοεμβρίου 2011

A.Negri:Ιωβ και εργασιακή θεωρία της Αξίας


Το 1983 ο A.Negri ευρίσκεται στον τέταρτο χρόνο της φυλάκισης του.Ακριβώς αυτή τη χρονιά αποφασίζει να ασχοληθεί με τον Ιωβ και να γράψει ένα απο τα πιο σημαντικά συγχρονα κείμενα πολιτικής θεολογίας της αριστεράς: Il lavoro di Giobbe (η εργασία του Ιωβ).

Ίσως δεν ειναι άσχετο ότι ο ΑΝ τελέιωσε καθολικό γυμνάσιο και ότι οι πρώτες του πολιτικές αναζητήσεις έγιναν στο πλαίσιο της καθολικής οργάνωσης νεολαίας  "Gioventú Italiana di Azione Cattolica (GIAC)".Ακόμη δεν πρέπει να παραβλεψουμε ότι τελικά η τροφοδοτρια πηγή της τριλογιας που ξεκινήσε με την "Αυτοκρατορία " δεν είναι παρά το θεμελιακό Savage Anomaly το οποίο εξετάζει διεξοδικά την Σπινοζικη πολιτιολογεία, γραμμένο την ίδια περίοδο.Η φυλακή λοιπόν στρέφει τον ΑΝ στην Βίβλο και την Θεολογία της Ολλανδικής Αναγέννησης.

Στο Il lavoro di Giobbe (ildj) γίνεται στην ουσία μια γιγαντιαία μεταφορά ένας αναλογικος συλλογισμος ,ο οποίος συνδέει την εξαντληση της εργασιακής Θεωρίας της αξίας του Μαρξ με την σχέση Ιωβ Θεού.Το κουβάρι φαίνεται εκκεντρικό και για αυτο ερεθιστικό ,αλλά ας προσπαθήσουμε να το ξετυλιξουμε.

Ήδη μερικά χρονιά πριν, απο το Marx beyond Marx,  ο ΑΝ θεωρεί ότι η κλασσική ανάγνωση της εργασιακής Θεωρίας της αξίας δεν μπορεί να βοηθήσει στην κατανόηση του φαινομένου της εκμεταλευσης της μισθωτής εργασίας.Στην κλασσικη ανάγνωση ,η θεωρία αναλύει ότι η μοναδική πηγή κέρδους είναι η απλήρωτη κατανάλωση εργατικής δύναμης η οποία αναφέρεται στην συνολική αναπαραγωγή του εργάτη ,η οποία δεν είναι απλά απλήρωτη εργασία ,αλλα απλήρωτη αναπαραγωγή.Η ημέρα τεμαχιζεται σε εργασία και αναπαραγωγή και ο μισθός αναπληρώνει μόνο την εργασία . Στις πρώτες αναλύσεις του ΑΝ ,ο τεμαχισμος αυτός αμφισβητείται καθώς η εργασία - παραγωγή έχει επεκταθεί πλέον στο σύνολο της ημέρας η παραγωγή πλέον είναι ο ίδιος ο βιος του εργάτη ο οποίος δεν παράγει οσο εργαζεται αλλα ουσιαστικά είναι ο ίδιος μια ασυνεχης παραγωγή , ένας "τόπος " όπου οι παραγωγικές δυνάμεις επενδύονται ως εάν ο ίδιος να είναι ένα εργοστάσιο παραγωγής μιας υποκειμενικοτητας.

 Η θεωρία του ΑΝ  , όπως την αποτυπωσαμε χοντρικά, εξελίχθηκε στο μεταγενέστερο έργο του, και συνεχίζει να αμφισβητείται σοβαρά .Το θέμα δεν είναι αυτή καθ´εαυτή η θεωρία .Το ζήτημα είναι ότι αυτή κωδικοποιειται ως μια αδυνατοτητα στοιχειώδους υπολογισμού της εκμεταλευσης , ως ένα κλάσμα παραγωγής αναπαραγωγής .Η θεωρία του ΑΝ καταστατικά στηριζεται σε μια μη αλγοριθμικη φύση και αποτύπωση του φαινομένου της εκμεταλευσης .

Η μη αλγεβρικη αποτύπωση της εκμεταλευσης επαγωγικα οδηγει στην κατανόηση της μη εκμεταλευτικης κοινωνίας ,ως μη " υπολογιστικά" δίκαιης. Η κομμουνιστική κοινωνία δεν αναστρεφει μια εξίσωση που αποδιδει ένα μείον στην εργασία , δεν εξισώνει τα στοιχεία ενός κλασματος, δεν εξισορροπει ένα ασταθες υδραυλικό σύστημα ,η κομμουνιστική κοινωνια είναι πέραν της δικαιοσύνης της μαθηματικης ισότητας.

Αυτο το στοιχείο της μη υπολογιστικης αποκατάστασης της εργασίας ,αυτο το ακατανόητο στοιχείο υπέρβασης της μαθηματικης ανισότητας μέσω μιας σχέσης πέραν της ισότητας και ανισότητας, βρίσκει ο ΑΝ στον μύθο του Ιωβ

Για όσους δεν θυμούνται ο Ιωβ υποφέρει να πανδεινα ως μια δοκιμασία πίστης και υπομονής .Ωστόσο ενώ η πρώτη αναγνωση βλέπει το στοιχείο της υπομονής , ο ΑΝ αναδεικνύει μέσω μιας εξαντλητικης λογοτεχνικης ανάγνωσης ,το στοιχείο της υπέρβασης του δουναι λαβειν.

Η σχέση Ιωβ Θεού δεν απορρυθμιζεται για να ρυθμιστει ,δεν αποσυντονιζεται για να συντονιστεί, αλλα συνεχώς εκφράζει μια μη διαλεκτική ζευξη,όπου τελικά ο πλεονασματικος πόλος είναι ο Ιωβ και όχι ο Θεός.

Στην μη διαλεκτική αυτή σχέση ο Ιωβ είναι ο δημιουργός ο παραγωγός ,ο οποίος τελικά υπερβαίνει την απλή εξισορρόπηση , για να δημιουργήσει ενεργητικά  μια νέα οικειοποιηση του Θεού.

Η γιγαντιαία μεταφορά είναι προφανής :

Όσο στον κομμουνισμού όσο και στον Ιωβ δεν έχουμε αποκατάσταση μιας δικαιοσύνης ,αλλα μια υπέρβαση της διακριτικής.

Το ενδιαφέρον στο βιβλιο αυτο είναι οτι ,ο Αν για να θεμελιώσει τη μεταφορά αυτή καταβυθιζεται κυριολεκτικά στο βιβλίο κείμενο,αναδεικνυει λογοτεχνικά και σημασιολογικα στοιχεία απαρατήρητα στην συμβατική Θεολογία της " υπομονής" .

Πρόκειται για μια φρέσκια αριστερή βιβλική μελέτη ,μια αριστερή πολιτική Θεολογία 
Δεν είναι βέβαια απαρατηρητο οτι ο αποπνικτικος οικονομισμος της εποχής ο οποίος επικρατεί και εντος αριστεράς , ουσιαστικά έχει υποβιβάζει την πλευρά αυτη του μεγάλου φιλοσόφου της εποχής A.Negri.

A.Negri The labor of Job .Bayard 2002

Σάββατο, 19 Νοεμβρίου 2011

Με τον Papadimos ή τους Αναλυτές;

Ονομάζω “Papadimos” ( Παπαντάιμος) την σημερινή κατάσταση της κυβέρνησης, της κυριαρχίας , των πραγμάτων γενικά.
Papadimos δεν είναι το όνομα του πρωθυπουργού  αλλά το όνομα της κατάστασης.
Τα χαρακτηριστικά του Papadimos είναι:
Ένα εκατομμύριο άνεργοι, ενάμιση εκατομμύριο υποαπασχολούμενοι, απουσία οποιασδήποτε βεβαιότητας, και η συμβολική ισχυρή παρουσία στην κυβέρνηση αυθεντικών εκφραστών της λαικο-παλαιο-χουντο δεξιάς.
Ονομάζω «Αναλυτές» όλους όσους έχουν μια λογική ή λογικοφανή εξήγηση γιατί φτάσαμε ως εδώ.
Στον όρο «Αναλυτές» περιλαμβάνονται, κόμματα, δημοσιογράφοι, τηλεοράσεις, ραδιόφωνα, ιστολόγια, κλπ .
Με όρους πολιτικής θεολογίας ο  «Papadimos» ανήκει στην τάξη του Θεού και των Αγγέλων , και οι «Αναλυτές» στην τάξη των θεολόγων.
Η διαφορά τους είναι θεμελιακή, δογματική
Ο «Papadimos» κυριαρχεί, διαμορφώνει καταστάσεις λογικές ή παράλογες (θαύματα) οι «Αναλυτές» θεολογούν δηλαδή εκ των υστέρων μπορούν να εξηγήσουν τα πάντα. Οι «Αναλυτές» μπορούν να εξηγήσουν γιατί τα θαύματα, τα ακατανόητα αλλά πάντα εκ των υστέρων ,              ότι ο « Papadimos» έκανε , θα κάνει , σκέπτεται επιτρέπει.
Το πρόβλημα είναι το εξής:
Η Ελληνική κοινωνία δεν αντέχει τα αφόρητα διλλήματα. Αφού με παμπόνηρο τρόπο μέσω της άρρητης συναίνεσης απέρριψε ένα τέτοιο δίλλημα ( το δημοψήφισμα ΓΑΠ) , ξαναβρίσκει μπροστά της  ένα νέο πιο αφόρητο και οξύ δίλλημα σε νέα μορφή
Με τον «Papadimos» ή τους «Αναλυτές» ;
Το δίλλημα είναι αφόρητο γιατί είναι στρεβλό, ανυπόστατο
Αντί του «Papadimos» χρειάζεται «Anti Papadimos» .
Με όρους της αριστερής πολιτικής θεολογίας του G.Agamben (1)το θείο αποδιοργανώνεται με την βεβήλωση, όχι με την εκκοσμίκευση.
Εδώ το δίλλημα γίνεται ανάμεσα σε ανόμοια , ανισότιμα, άσχετα .Οι «Αναλυτές» μπορούν μόνο εκ των υστέρων να μιλήσουν, για κάτι που γίνεται σχεδόν θαυματουργικά.
Αυτή την ανισορροπία , αυτό το απίθανο δίλλημα θα το πληρώσουμε πολύ ακριβά, γιατί οι θεολόγοι έρχονται και παρέρχονται ενώ οι  Θεϊκές κυριαρχίες παραμένουν αιωνίως

(1) G.Agamben :Βεβηλώσεις Αγρα 2005

Παρασκευή, 11 Νοεμβρίου 2011

Μαρξισμός και Θρησκεία:Πλήρης κατάλογος παραπομπών

Πηγή:Stalin's Moustach

Marxism and Religion: Annotated Reading List

The following collection begins with Marx, drawing occasionally on joint works with Engels, before focusing in the last two sections on Engels’s life-long interest in religion.

1. Preliminary

The first item shows that Marx had, like most gymnasium students, studied religion and the history of the church:
1835,    Certificate of Maturity for Pupil of the Gymnasium in Trier 1835, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 643-4. Available at Marxists.org: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/letters/misc/1835-mat.htm.
But he also had to sit a final examination, in which one of the six essays required him to write a piece of biblical interpretation:
Marx, Karl. 1835, ‘The Union of Believers with Christ According to John 15:1-14, Showing Its Basis and Essence, Its Absolute Necessity, and Its Effects’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 636-9. Available at Marxists.org: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1837-pre/marx/1835chris.htm.
By the time Marx began working as editor of the Rheinsche Zeitung in the early 1840s, he found that he needed to response to the overwhelmingly theological nature of public debate, writing a piece in which many of the later elements of his thoughts on religion were first expressed – church and state, fetishism, philosophy and theology.
Marx, Karl. 1842, ‘The Leading Article in No. 179 of the Kölnische Zeitung’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 184-202. Available at Marxists.org: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/07/10.htm.
He had also come into contact with a very Christian communism espoused by Weitling, Cabet and others:
Marx, Karl. 1844, ‘Letters from the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 142-3. Available at Marxists.org: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/letters/deutsch-fransosische-letters.htm.

2. Bruno Bauer

Marx had a complex relationship with the Young Hegelians, forging his arguments in response to theirs, especially in light of the overwhelmingly theological nature of public debate in the 1830s and 1840s. The longest and most significant relationship was with Bruno Bauer, the biblical critic and radical political writer, who first taught Marx the biblical book of Isaiah at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin.
1841, Leaving Certificate from Berlin University 1841, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 703-4. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/letters/misc/1841-cb.htm.
Marx’s PhD thesis on Epicurus shows the strong influence of Bauer, but it also marks an effort to outflank theological debate by going back well before theology itself emerged. Who better than the pre-Socratic materialist, Epicurus?
Mark, Karl. 1839, Notebooks on Epicurean Philosophy in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 423-5, 442–58, 487–8, 493–506 – from the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th notebooks. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/notebook/index.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1840–1, Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature with an Appendix in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 33-8, 73, 102-5. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/dr-theses/ch01.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/dr-theses/ch02.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/dr-theses/ch08.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/dr-theses/appendix.htm.
Bauer and Marx planned a number of projects together, such as a journal of atheism, and a two volume work on Hegel and theology. At this time, Marx publically defended his collaborator.
Marx, Karl. 1842, ‘Yet Another Word on Bruno Bauer and the Akademische Lehrfreiheit by Dr. O.F. Gruppe, Berlin, 1842’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 211-14. Available at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/11/16.htm.
Part of this collaborative project involved what is now a lost, extensive but incomplete manuscript called ‘On Christian Art’. Marx’s inability to complete the manuscript led to Bauer publishing his part of the first book on his own (Die Posaune des jungsten Gerichts über Hegel den Atheisten und Antichristen: Ein Ultimatum, Leipzig: Otto Wigand, 1841). Marx sought another publisher, Arnold Ruge, to whom he wrote on a number of occasions concerning the ever-growing manuscript on Christian art.
Marx, Karl. 1842, ‘To Arnold Ruge in Dresden, March 5, 1842’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 382-3. Available at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/letters/42_03_05.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1842, ‘To Arnold Ruge in Dresden, March 20, 1842’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 383-6. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/letters/42_03_20.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1842, ‘To Arnold Ruge in Dresden, April 27, 1842’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 387-8. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/letters/42_04_23.htm. NB: the date on the online version is incorrect.
Marx, Karl. 1843, ‘To Arnold Ruge in Dresden, March 13, 1843’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 398-400. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/letters/43_03_13.htm.
The friendship was becoming estranged, until at last the break became public with Marx’s polemical response to Bauer’s Zur Judenfrage (1843) and follow-up article, ‘Die Fähigkeit der heutigen Juden und Christen, frei zu werden’ (1843). Marx found Bauer’s argument, that the basis of freedom is a thoroughly secular state and the release from the false universal of religion, a reinforcement of the deeper logic of the ‘Christian state’.
Marx, Karl. 1844, On the Jewish Question in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 146-74. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/index.htm.
The polemic against Bauer continued, in letters and in sections of longer pieces.
Marx, Karl. 1844, ‘To Ludwig Feuerbach in Bruckberg, Paris, August 11, 1844’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 354-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/letters/44_08_11.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1844, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 326-7. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Economic-Philosophic-Manuscripts-1844.pdf.
Marx, Karl. 1857, ‘Marx to Engels in Manchester, London, 10 January 1857’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 40, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983, pp. 89-91.
It came to head once again in the most sustained argument against Bauer in the first joint work with Engels. Marx argues that for all his espousal of atheism and of radical politics through biblical criticism, Bauer remains a theologian.
Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels 1845, The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 78-143. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/holy-family/ch06.htm.
By contrast, in the next joint work, Bauer receives far less attention, for the key arguments against Bauer had already been made.
Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. 1845–6, The German Ideology: Critique of Modern German Philosophy According to Its Representatives Feuerbach, B. Bauer and Stirner, and of German Socialism According to Its various Prophets in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 5, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976, pp. 94-116. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch02.htm.
Yet this fierce polemic was by no means the end of the relationship, for Marx and Engels continued to keep up with Bauer’s prolific writing, and Bauer visited Marx when in London.
Marx, Karl. 1855, ‘Marx to Engels in Manchester, London, 14 December 1855’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 39, Moscow: Progress Publishers, p. 466. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1855/letters/55_12_14.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1856, ‘Marx to Engels in Manchester, London, 18 January 1856’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 40, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983, p. 4.
Marx, Karl. 1856, ‘Marx to Engels in Manchester, London, 12 February 1856’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 40, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983, p. 11.

3. Max Stirner

Like Bauer, the engagement with Max Stirner (a pseudonym for Kaspar Schmidt) was deeply polemical. Unlike Bauer, it was relatively brief and intense. Yet the neglected and endless pages on Stirner in The German Ideology are vital for understanding the genesis of historical materialism. Stirner sought to recast the history of the world by means of the individual ego, which thereby becomes the lever of history (using the human Jesus as a signal example). Marx and Engels are drawn to respond on one topic after another – money, labour, class and so on – so that they begin to formulate the first rough outline of historical materialism. In the second draft of The German Ideology, the more substantial sections were moved to the opening part of the book on Feuerbach.
Stirner, Max. 2005 [1845], The Ego and His Own: The Case of the Individual Against Authority, translated by Steven T. Byington, Mineola, New York: Dover Publications. Available at http://flag.blackened.net/daver/anarchism/stirner/theego0.html.
Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels Marx. 1845–6, The German Ideology: Critique of Modern German Philosophy According to Its Representatives Feuerbach, B. Bauer and Stirner, and of German Socialism According to Its various Prophets in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 5, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976, pp. 117-452. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch03.htm.

4. Ludwig Feuerbach

In contrast to the polemic directed Bauer and Stirner, the approach to Feuerbach was far more positive. In his early letters to Feuerbach, Marx cannot find enough praise for Feuerbach.
Marx, Karl 1843, ‘To Ludwig Feuerbach in Bruckberg, Kreuznach, October 3, 1843’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 349-51.
Marx, Karl. 1844, ‘To Ludwig Feuerbach in Bruckberg, Paris, August 11, 1844’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 354-7.
Feuerbach’s famous inversion, concerning the projection of the gods by human beings, becomes the moment when the criticism of religion is complete – although Marx does not miss the dialectical point that the criticism of religion is the premise of all criticism.
Marx, Karl. 1844, ‘Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law: Introduction’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 175-87. Available at Marxists.org: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm.
But Marx would soon make his crucial move beyond Feuerbach, arguing that Feuerbach had gone only halfway, focusing on religious alienation. The real task remained, namely to deal with alienation here on earth, with its material conditions.
Marx, Karl. 1844, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 297. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Economic-Philosophic-Manuscripts-1844.pdf.
Marx, Karl. 1845, Theses on Feuerbach, Volume 5, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976, pp. 3-8. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/original.htm.
Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels 1845–6, The German Ideology: Critique of Modern German Philosophy According to Its Representatives Feuerbach, B. Bauer and Stirner, and of German Socialism According to Its various Prophets in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 5, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976, pp. 23-30, 35-7, 38-41. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01a.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1867, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume I in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 35, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1996, p. 375, n. 2. Available as ‘note 4’ at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch15.htm#S1.
Marx was, however, not averse to availing himself of slightly odd arguments, mentioning the work of a certain Daumer, who argued that early Christians did indeed – as the Romans alleged – slaughter human beings and eat them during the Eucharist.
Marx, Karl. 1847, ‘Minutes of Marx’s report to the London German Workers’ Educational Society on November 30, 1847’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 6, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976, pp. 630-1. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/11/30.htm.
Engels too would follow a similar path to Feuerbach, moving from the assumption that Feuerbach had said the last word on religion, providing thereby the philosophical basis of communism …
Engels, Friedrich 1844, ‘The Condition of England: Past and Present by Thomas Carlyle, London, 1843’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 461-6. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/df-jahrbucher/carlyle.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1844–5, ‘Rapid Progress of Communism in Germany’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 235-6. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/11/09.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1845, ‘Feuerbach’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 5, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976, pp. 11-14. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/feuerbach.htm.
… to finding Feuerbach’s contribution important but limited.
Engels, Friedrich. 1886, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 26, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1990, pp. 353-98. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1886/ludwig-feuerbach/index.htm.

a. On Opium

Perhaps the most well-known slogan of Marx is that religion is ‘the opium of the people’. Yet, the image is quite ambivalent, for opium was perceived as both a common medicine and source of poetic inspiration, and, especially towards the end of the nineteenth century, as a social curse. It was both vital economically for the British Empire and yet it led to some of the worst elements of colonialism. Marx himself used opium as a medicine for his many ailments, as Jenny points in a letter to Engels.
Marx, Jenny (senior) 1857, ‘Jenny Marx to Engels in Manchester, London, about 12 April 1857’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 40, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983, p. 563. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/letters/jenny/57_04_12.htm.
For an excellent study of the ambivalence of the opium metaphor an dthe implications for Marx’s statements on religion, see:
McKinnon, Andrew M. 2006, ‘Opium as Dialectics of Religion: Metaphor, Expression and Protest’ in Marx, Critical Theory, and Religion: A Critique of Rational Choice, edited by Warren S. Goldstein, Leiden: Brill, pp. 11-30.

b. Marx and Luther

A rarely acknowledged feature of Marx’s engagements with religion is his almost uniformly positive appreciation of Luther, the monk who inaugurated the German revolution, albeit inadequately.
Marx, Karl. 1844, ‘Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law: Introduction’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 182-3. Available at Marxists.org: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm.
Marx’s frequent citations, whether in jest or in serious economic analysis, are always appreciative, for Marx found Luther’s economic criticisms very pertinent.
Marx, Karl.1856, ‘Marx to Engels in Manchester, London, 5 March 1856’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 40, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983, p. 21. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1856/letters/56_03_05.htm.
Marx, Karl.1859, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 29, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987, pp. 364, 448–9. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/ch02_3.htm#hoard.
Marx, Karl. 1861–3, Economic Manuscript of 1861-63 (Continuation): A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 32, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, pp. 531–41. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1863/theories-surplus-value/add3.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1866, ‘Marx to François Lafargue in Bordeaux, London, 12 November 1866’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987, p. 334. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1866/letters/66_11_12.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1867, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume I in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 35, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1996, pp. 146, 203, 314, 588–9, 741. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/index.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1869, ‘Marx to Eleanor Marx in Paris, London, 26 April 1869’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 43, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1988, pp. 270-1.
Marx, Karl. 1894, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume III in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 37, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1998, pp. 329, 345, 391–2, 594, 605–6, 889. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch24.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch36.htm.

5. Marx, Hegel and the State

Marx’s detailed notes on Hegel indicate the depth of both the influence of Hegel and the need for Marx to step beyond him. Here Marx argues that Hegel’s theory of the state suffers a similar problem to theology, indeed that Hegel’s argument is itself deeply theological:  he begins with theology and thereby projects from sensuous human beings a world spirit or abstract thought which becomes a great over-riding force of history with its own existence and power. Marx suggests that Hegel’s dialectic begins with the estranged and abstracted infinite thought, its negation becomes the negation of the infinite and the positing of real, sensuous existence, and the negation of the negation is nothing less than the reassertion of the absolute and the banishment of sensuous existence
Marx, Karl. 1843, Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 3-129, especially pages 24, 26, 28-31, 33, 39, 46-8, 79, 83, 86, 88-91, 101-3. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/index.htm.
Greater clarity of Marx’s argument may be found in both a note from the Kreuznach notebooks and, a little later, the section on Hegel in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts.
Marx, Karl. 1843, ‘A Passage from the Kreuznach Notebooks of 1843’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 130. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/07/kreu.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1844, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 326-46. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/hegel.htm.
At the same time, Marx was writing on the question of the ‘Christian state’ promoted by Friedrich Wilhelm IV, arguing at first that theology, as an other-worldly concern, should have nothing to do with the worldly concerns of the state.
Marx, Karl. 1843, ‘Comments on the Latest Prussian Censorship Instruction’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 109-31, especially pp. 116-22. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/02/10.htm.
Soon, however, he would make a far more interesting dialectical argument: the secular state is in fact an attempt to resolve the contradictions of the ‘Christian state’, so much so that the secular state embodies those contradictions and is therefore the ultimate expression of the ‘Christian state’.
Marx, Karl. 1844, On the Jewish Question in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 156-8. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/index.htm.
Engels makes a very similar argument in a delightful piece on Friedrich Wilhelm IV, outlining the impossible contradictions of a ‘Christian state’.
Engels, Friedrich. 1843, ‘Frederick William IV, King of Prussia’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 360-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/10/king-prussia.htm.
Or indeed the English constitution:
Engels, Friedrich. 1844, ‘The Condition of England II: The English Constitution’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 499-504. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/condition-england/ch02.htm.
We find a similar line in the later Communist Manifesto: in the bourgeois revolution of the eighteenth century, Christian values became those of liberty and freedom of conscience.
Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. 1848, The Manifesto of the Communist Party in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 6, Moscow: Progress Publishers, pp. 503-4. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm.
Similar issues continue to appear in works through to the early 1990s.
Marx, Karl. 1844, ‘Critical Marginal Notes on the Article “The King of Prussia and Social Reform. By A Prussian”’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 189-206. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/08/07.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1865, ‘Marx to Hermann Jung in London, London, 20 November 1865’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987, p. 200. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1865/letters/65_11_20a.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1866, ‘Instructions for the Delegates of the Provisional General Council. The Different Questions’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 20, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1985, p. 194. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1866/08/instructions.htm.
Marx, Karl, and Engels, Friedrich. 1848, ‘Demands of the Communist Party in Germany’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 7, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, p. 4. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/03/24.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1891, ‘A Critique of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 27, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1990, p. 229. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1891/06/29.htm.

a. On grace

A thread in these discussions concerns grace (Gnade), which may be read as the theological form of revolution, as the basis for the ‘social principles of Christianity’, or as the justification for the pure arbitrariness of the Prussian king, who is appointed ‘by the grace of God’ (a phrase found on Marx’s passport).
Marx, Karl. 1847, ‘The Communism of the Rheinischer Beobachter’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 6, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976, pp. 220-34, especially p. 231. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/09/12.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1861, ‘Marx’s Passport, 1861’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 41, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1985, between pp. 330-1.
Marx, Karl. 1843, Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 24–6, 35–6, 51–2. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/index.htm.
And then, many instances of polemical emphasis on the Prussian king’s favourite phrase, ‘by the grace of God’:
Marx, Karl. 1848, ‘Reply of the King of Prussia to the Delegation of the National Assembly’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 7, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, p. 474. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/10/19a.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1848, ‘Reply of Frederick William IV to the Delegation of the Civic Militia’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 7, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, pp. 476-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/10/20.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1848, ‘Counter-Revolution in Berlin’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 8, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, p. 16. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/11/12.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1848, ‘Second Stage of the Counter-Revolution’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 8, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, p. 134. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/12/07a.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1849, ‘Montesquieu LVI’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 8, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, pp. 262-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1849/01/21.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1849, ‘The Trial of the Rhenish District Committee of Democrats’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 8, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, pp. 323-39. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1849/02/25.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1849, ‘Three New Bills’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 9, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, pp. 50 and 54. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1849/03/13b.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1849, ‘The New Prussian Constitution’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 9, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, p. 430. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1849/05/13.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1849, ‘The Summary Suppression of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 9, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, pp. 451-4. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1849/05/19c.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1856, ‘The Right Divine of the Hohenzollerns’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 15, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1986, p. 157. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1856/12/13.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1858, ‘Affairs in Prussia (2)’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 16, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1980, p. 126.
Marx, Karl. 1858, ‘The King of Prussia’s Insanity (2)’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 16, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1980, p. 66.
Marx, Karl, and Engels, Friedrich. 1848, ‘German Professorial Baseness’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 8, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, pp. 106-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/11/30b.htm.
Marx, Karl, and Engels, Friedrich. 1849, ‘Vienna and Frankfurt’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 9, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, pp. 48-9. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1849/03/13.htm.
Engels, Friedrich, 1873, ‘The Republic in Spain’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 23, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1988, p. 419.
Engels, Friedrich. 1849, ‘The Comedy with the Imperial Crown’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 9, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, p. 194. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1849/04/04f.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1849, ‘The Revolutionary Uprising in the Palatinate and Baden’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 9, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, p. 475. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1849/06/03.htm.
So much so that God’s love even diverted a bullet intended for his breast:
Marx, Karl. 1844, ‘Illustrations of the Latest Exercise in Cabinet Style of Frederick William IV’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 209-10. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/08/15.htm.

6. Fetishism

Perhaps the most interesting and complex engagement with a religious idea in Marx’s work is that of fetishism. He first encountered the term while reading, in its German translation, Charles de Brosses’s Du culte des dieux fétiches ou Parallèle de l’ancienne religion de l’Égypte (1760). De Brosses deployed a term that had arisen from Portuguese encounters on the African west coast in order to produce a wide-ranging theory of religion, using that material in order to reconstruct the religion of ancient Egypt.
Marx, Karl. 1842, ‘Exzerpte aus Charles de Brosses: Ueber den Dienst der Fetischengötter’, in Marx Engels Gesamtausgabe, Volume 4:1, Berlin: Dietz, 1976.
For very useful background, see also:
Pietz, William 1985, ‘The Problem of the Fetish I’, Res: Anthopology and Aesthetics 9: 5-17.

a. Idols and Fetishes

Significantly, de Brosses made heavy use of biblical material as ‘evidence’ of ancient Egyptian religion, especially the biblical texts on idolatry, which were now subsumed under the new category of fetishism. Marx’s most extensive religious usage of fetishism seems to have taken place in the lost manuscript On Christian Art. However, we can find various elements of his approach to fetishism in a number of other publications at the time.
Marx, Karl. 1842, ‘The Leading Article in No. 179 of the Kölnische Zeitung’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 189. Available at Marxists.org: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/07/10.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1842, ‘Proceedings of the Sixth Rhine Province Assembly. First Article: Debates on Freedom of the Press and Publication of the Proceedings of the Assembly of the Estates’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 169. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/free-press/ch05.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1842, ‘Proceedings of the Sixth Rhine Province Assembly. Third Article: Debates on the Law on Thefts of Wood’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 262-3. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/10/25.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1842, ‘To Arnold Ruge in Dresden, March 20, 1842’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 384. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/letters/42_03_20.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1844, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 312. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/needs.htm.
Marx continued to make use of the specifically religious dimension of fetishism throughout his writings, most notably in the notes on John Lubbock, made in the early 1880s.
Marx, Karl. 1853, ‘The Future Results of British Rule in India’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 12, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1979, p. 222. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1853/07/22.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1859, ‘A Historic Parallel’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 16, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1980, p. 273.
Marx, Karl. 1894, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume III in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 37, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1998, p. 817. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch48.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1880–2, The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx, edited by Lawrence Krader, Assen: Van Gorcum, 1974, pp. 335-51.

b. On Moloch

The Ethnological Notebooks also show that Marx never forgot the insight he acquired from de Brosses, namely, that the category of idolatry may be subsumed under and thereby be transformed by the category of fetishism. In that light, both he and Engels deploy a favoured biblical motif, the god Moloch, known for demanding child sacrifice – an apt image of the myriad modes of exploitation.
Marx, Karl. 1845, ‘Draft of an Article on Friedrich List’s Book Das Nationale System der Politischen Oekonomie’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 266. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/03/list.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1855, ‘Agitation Against Prussia. – A Day of Fasting’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 14, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1980, p. 95.
Marx, Karl. 1859, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 29, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987, p. 294. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/ch01a.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/Marx_Contribution_to_the_Critique_of_Political_Economy.pdf.
Marx, Karl. 1864, ‘Inaugural Address of the Working Men’s International Association’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 20, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1985, pp. 10-11. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1864/10/27.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1882, ‘Marx to Engels in London, Algiers, 8 April (Saturday) 1882’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 46, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1992, p. 234.
Marx, Karl, Engels, Friedrich. 1845, The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 21. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/holy-family/ch04.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/Marx_The_Holy_Family.pdf.
Marx, Karl, Engels, Friedrich. 1848, ‘The Civic Militia Bill’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 7, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977, p. 264. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/07/21b.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1846, The Condition of the Working-Class in England in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 474. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/condition-working-class/ch08.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/condition-working-class-england.pdf.
Engels, Friedrich. 1893, ‘Engels to Natalie Liebknecht in Berlin, London, 1 December 1893’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 50, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 2004, p. 234.

c. Economics

Yet Marx did not rest content with religious fetishism, seeking to expand and reshape the term in an economic direction. So we find it used in order to explain the alienation of labour:
Marx, Karl. 1844, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 272-9, 304-6, 325-6. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/labour.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/power.htm; and the whole at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Economic-Philosophic-Manuscripts-1844.pdf.
Marx, Karl. 1857–8, Outlines of the Critique of Political Economy (Rough Draft of 1857-58) [Second Instalment] in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 29, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987, pp. 209-10. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/.
Or the mediatory role of money:
Marx, Karl. 1844, ‘Comments on James Mill, Élémens d’économie politique’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 211-13. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/james-mill/.
Marx, Karl. 1857–8, Economic Manuscripts of 1857-58 (First Version of Capital) [Grundrisse] in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 28, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1986, pp. 154-64, 257. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch04.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch06.htm.
Or as the key to the commodity-form:
Marx, Karl. 1867, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume I in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 35, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1996, pp. 81-94, 142-3, 639. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm#S4; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch03.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch25.htm.
Finally, in the extraordinary Economic Manuscripts of 1861-63, Marx expands this economic sense of fetishism to include all the abstractions from the real, social process of labour, such as the capitalist as a personification of capital, the productive powers of capital, use value and exchange value, the application of forces of nature and science, the products of labour in form of machinery, wealth and so on. They confront the worker as alien, objective presences in advance that rule over him. In short, capital itself becomes a power before which the worker is powerless: all these items ‘stand on their hind legs vis-à-vis the worker and confront him as capital’. Indeed, just like the commodity-form, capital ‘becomes a very mysterious being’. It is not for nothing that Marx writes of the ‘religion of everyday life’.
Marx, Karl. 1861–3, Economic Manuscript of 1861-63 (Continuation): A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 32, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, p. 492-4. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1863/theories-surplus-value/add3.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1861–3, Economic Manuscripts of 1861-63 (Conclusion): A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 34, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1994, pp. 121-5; 457-61. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1861/economic/ch38.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1864/economic/ch02b.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1894, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume III in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 37, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1998, p. 817. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch48.htm.

d. Roman Catholicism and Protestantism

A minor note that anticipates Weber in some respects is Marx’s repeated observation that whereas the external forms of Roman-Catholicism are appropriate for a monetary system, Protestantism is the appropriate reflex of the internalised world of credit and commodities. As with some of his key ideas, Marx picked this suggestion up from Engels’s early comment that Adam Smith was the ‘economic Luther’.
Engels, Friedrich. 1844, ‘Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 422. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/df-jahrbucher/outlines.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1844, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 290-1. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/epm/3rd.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1867, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume I in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 35, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1996, p. 90. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1894, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume III in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 37, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1998, p. 587. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch35.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1868, ‘Synopsis of, Volume One of Capital by Karl Marx’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 20, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1985, p. 267. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/1868-syn/ch01.htm.

7. Engels’s Biblical Temptations

In contrast to Marx, who never seems to have had a religious commitment, Engels’s was a devout and sincere Reformed (Calvinist) Christian. With must angst and struggle, he gradually turned away from his faith, although he maintained a lively interest in Christianity, eventually coming to terms with close to the end of his life with a thoroughly intriguing argument.

a. Reformed Faith

Engels was born and baptised into a sincere and devout Reformed (Calvinist) family.
Birth Certificate of Friedrich Engels, Barmen, December 5, 1820: Extract from the Barmen Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages 1820, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 577.
Baptism Certificate of Friedrich Engels: Extract from the Baptism Register of the Elberfeld Reformed Evangelical Parish 1821, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 580.
He shared the same faith as his parents, not without devotion, as a poem written when he was 16 suggests.
Engels, Friedrich. 1837, ‘Poem, Probably Written Early in 1837’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 555-6. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1837-pre/engels/37poem.htm.
And the church was so much a part of their lives that it would appear in the lively letters between Engels, while he was in Bremen, and his sister, Marie.
Engels, Friedrich. 1838, ‘To Marie Engels in Barmen, end of December 1838’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 403-4. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1838/letters/38_12_31.htm.
Yet he was not without his questions, contrary views, strength of opinion, so much so that his parents worry about him, while at the same time opening a small window into a pious and rowdy home (five children).
Engels, Friedrich (senior). 1835, ‘Friedrich Engels Senior to His Wife Elise in Hamm, Barmen, August 27, 1835’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 581-3.
Engels, Friedrich (senior). 1842, ‘Friedrich Engels Senior to Karl Snethlage in Berlin, Barmen, October 5, 1842’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 586-7.
This critical edge shows up the youthful writings of his late teens and early twenties. Published in magazines and newspapers under pseudonyms (at least initially), they lambast the pietism of his home town, Elberfeld (Wuppertal, when Barmen is included as a twin town), and manifestations of conservative Christianity wider afield.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘Letters from Wuppertal’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 7-25. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/03/telegraph.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘From Elberfeld’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 30-1. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/11/elberfeld.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1840, ‘Joel Jacoby’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 63-5. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1840/04/jacoby.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1840, ‘Landscapes’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 95-101. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1840/07/landscapes.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1840, ‘Siegfried’s Native Town’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 132-6. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1840/12/siegfried.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1842, ‘Polemic Against Leo’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 281-3. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/06/10.htm.
Later, after the 1848 revolutions and the issuing of a warrant for Engels’s arrest, his mother wrote to him, attempting to call him back to the fold of the faithful.
Engels, Elisabeth 1848, ‘Elisabeth Engels to Frederick Engels in Brussels, Barmen after 4 October 1848’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 38, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1982, pp. 540-1.
Engels, Elisabeth. 1848, ‘Elisabeth Engels to Frederick Engels in Berne, Barmen, 5 December 1848’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 38, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1982, pp. 543-6.
As Engels was to put to Conrad Schmidt many years later: he had to come to terms with his own ‘pious ultra-reactionary family’.
Engels, Friedrich. 1892, ‘Engels to Conrad Schmidt in Zurich, London, 12 September 1892’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 49, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 2001, pp. 525-8, especially p. 527. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1892/letters/92_09_12.htm.
See also:
Engels, Friedrich. 1844–5, ‘Rapid Progress of Communism in Germany’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 231. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/11/09.htm.

b. Krummacher

A crucial figure who influenced Engels deeply was F. W. Krummacher, head minister of the Reformed parish in Elberfeld and thereby the youthful Engels’s own minister. Engels finds Krummacher simultaneously unbearable and fascinating, an affront to reason and yet persuasive, an apparent reactionary who partially conceals a potentially more radical streak. These contradictions in Engels’s response to Krummacher were to characterise his approach to Christianity.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘From Elberfeld’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 30-1. Available from http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/11/elberfeld.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘F.W. Krummacher’s Sermon on Joshua’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 28-9. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/05/telegraph.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Wilhelm Graeber in Berlin, Bremen, about April 28-30, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 442-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_04_30.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1840, ‘Two Sermons by F.W. Krummacher’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 121-2. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1840/09/sermons.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1840, ‘Reports from Bremen: Rationalism and Pietism’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 126-30. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1840/10/bremen.htm#249.
Engels, Friedrich. 1840, ‘Reports from Bremen: Theatre. Publishing Festival’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 102-6. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1840/07/bremen.htm#181.
Engels, Friedrich. 1840, ‘Reports from Bremen: Ecclesiastical Controversy’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 155-60. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/01/bremen.htm#14.

c. Biblical Debates

Contradictions also become a vital issue in what was the most crucial territory for the young Engels, the Bible. Reading the latest biblical criticism – David Strauss, Bruno Bauer – as well as the work of other Young Hegelians, Engels found his Reformed assumptions challenged and reshaped. All of which revealed in the extensive correspondence with his close friends and ministers in the church, the Graeber brothers.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Friedrich Graeber, Bremen, February 19, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 414-17. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_02_19.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Friedrich Graeber, Bremen, April 8, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 420-3. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_04_08.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Friedrich Graeber in Berlin, Bremen, about April 23-May 1, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 425-37. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_04_23.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Wilhelm Graeber in Berlin, Bremen, about April 28-30, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 442-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_04_30.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Friedrich Graeber in Berlin, Bremen, June 15, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. pp. 453-6. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_06_15.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, To Friedrich Graeber in Berlin, Bremen, July 12-27, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 457-63. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_07_12.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Wilhelm Graeber in Berlin, Bremen, July 30, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 464-9. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_07_30.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Wilhelm Graeber in Berlin, Bremen, October 8, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 471-4. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_10_08.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Friedrich Graeber, Bremen, October 29, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 476-81. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_10_29.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Wilhelm Graeber in Berlin, Bremen, November 13-20, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 481-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_11_13.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839–40, ‘To Friedrich Graeber in Berlin, Bremen, December 9, 1839 – February 5, 1840’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 487-93. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_12_09.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1840, ‘To Wilhelm Graeber in Barmen, Bremen, November 20, 1840’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 513-16. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1840/letters/40_11_20.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1841, ‘To Friedrich Graeber, February 22, 1841’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 525-8. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/letters/41_02_22.htm.
The Bible was never far from his mind, with other texts from the time reflecting his intense interest in matters biblical. One is a commentary on Karl Gutzkow’s play, König Saul, and the other a rather good poem which illustrates the closely interwoven nature of biblical, theological and political debates in the German states.
Engels, Friedrich. 1840, ‘Modern Literary Life’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 73-80. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1840/03/literary.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1842, The Insolently Threatened Yet Miraculously Rescued Bible or: The Triumph of Faith, To Wit, the Terrible, Yet True and Salutary History of the Erstwhile Licentiate Bruno Bauer; How the Same, Seduced by the Devil, Fallen from the True Faith, Became Chief Devil, and Was Well and Truly Ousted in the End: A Christian Epic in Four Cantos in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 313-51. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/cantos/index.htm.
Over the following years, Engels would maintain his interest in matters biblical, commenting to Marx from time to time on debates, new developments, the latest book he had read – such Ernst Renan’s The Antichrist or Rev. Charles Foster’s The Historical Geography of Arabia and the relationship between Hebrews and Arabs.
Engels, Friedrich. 1844, ‘Engels to Marx in Paris, Barmen, 19 November 1844’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 38, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1982, pp. 9-14. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/letters/44_11_19.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1845, ‘Engels to Marx in Brussels, Barmen, 17 March 1845’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 38, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1982, pp. 26-30. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/letters/45_03_17.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1873, ‘Note on a review of E. Renan’s l’Antéchrist’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 23, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1988, p. 452. Available at
And the discussion over ancient Hebrews, Arabs and Persians:
Engels, Friedrich. 1853, ‘Engels to Marx in London, Manchester, before 28 May 1853’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 39, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983, pp. 325-8. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1853/letters/53_05_28.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1853, ‘Marx to Engels in Manchester, London, 2 June 1853’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 39, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983, pp. 332-4. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1853/letters/53_06_02.htm.
Engels, Friedrich, 1853, ‘Engels to Marx in London, Manchester, 6 June 1853, evening’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 39, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983, pp. 339-42. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1853/letters/53_06_06.htm.

d. Schelling

Back in the early 1840s, a young Engels was undertaking the obligatory military service in Berlin. The work was not onerous, so Engels availed himself of the opportunity to join in with the Young Hegelians meeting in Hippel Cafe, as well as attend the lectures of Schelling. Called back from retirement by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV (and his advisors) to refute Hegel, Schelling delivered a series of well-attended inaugural lectures in Berlin. Engels’s wrote, still under pseudonym, three pieces: one a collection of lecture notes with commentary, another a more sustained criticism, and the third a satire, written in the voice of a pious champion of Schelling.
Engels, Friedrich. 1841, Schelling on Hegel in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 181-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/anti-schelling/ch01.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1842, Schelling and Revelation: Critique of the Latest Attempt of Reaction Against the Free Philosophy in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 189-240. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/anti-schelling/ch02.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1842, Schelling, Philosopher in Christ, or the Transfiguration of Worldly Wisdom into Divine Wisdom: For Believing Christians Who Do Not Know the Language of Philosophy in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 241-64. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/anti-schelling/ch06.htm.
See also:
Engels, Friedrich. 1843, ‘Progress of Social Reform on the Continent’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 404-5. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/10/23.htm.

8. Revelation and Revolution

The developments that may be traced in the previous section, especially an awareness of contradictions in the Bible and in Christianity, would lead to a profound sense of the political ambivalence of Christianity in the thought of Engels.

a. Revelation

The path to that ambivalence passes through Engels’s fascination with the biblical book of Revelation. However, lest we think that here at last is concrete evidence that Marxism is merely a secularised Judaeo-Christian eschatology, Engels’s engagements with Revelation are distinctly not apocalyptic. The themes of Revelation may be deployed playfully among friends, as critical satire, and in order to express a profound sense of change in his own life – usually in terms of the effect of the new, free thought.
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘To Friedrich Graeber, Bremen, February 19, 1839’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 414-17, especially p. 414. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/letters/39_02_19.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1840, ‘Requiem for the German Adelszeitung’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 66-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1840/04/requiem.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1841, ‘To Friedrich Graeber, February 22, 1841’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 525-8, especially p. 527. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/letters/41_02_22.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1842, The Insolently Threatened Yet Miraculously Rescued Bible or: The Triumph of Faith, To Wit, the Terrible, Yet True and Salutary History of the Erstwhile Licentiate Bruno Bauer; How the Same, Seduced by the Devil, Fallen from the True Faith, Became Chief Devil, and Was Well and Truly Ousted in the End: A Christian Epic in Four Cantos in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 313-51, especially pp. 344-51. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1842/cantos/ch04.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1842, Schelling and Revelation: Critique of the Latest Attempt of Reaction Against the Free Philosophy in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 238-40. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/anti-schelling/ch05.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1844, ‘Engels to Marx in Paris, Barmen, 19 November 1844’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 38, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1982, p. 13. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/letters/44_11_19.htm.
Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels 1845, The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 210-11. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/holy-family/ch09.htm.
Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels 1845–6, The German Ideology: Critique of Modern German Philosophy According to Its Representatives Feuerbach, B. Bauer and Stirner, and of German Socialism According to Its various Prophets in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 5, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976, pp. 272-301. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch03g.htm#c.1.2.3.
Later, Engels would return to the book of Revelation, but now through an appreciation of Bruno Bauer’s critical work on the text. The biblical book becomes a historical window into earliest Christianity, with none of the usual beliefs and structures associated. It presents a group of Jews (not Christians) who believed the end would come soon. There is no Trinity, for Jesus is subordinate to God, and certainly no Holy Spirit. There is no doctrine of original sin, no baptism or sacrament of communion, no justification by faith, no elaborate story of the death and resurrection of Christ, and no religion of love. This position would become the basis for Engels’s argument concerning the revolutionary origins of Christianity.
Engels, Friedrich. 1883, ‘The Book of Revelation’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 26, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1990, pp. 112-17. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/subject/religion/book-revelations.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1882, ‘Bruno Bauer and Early Christianity’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 24, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, pp. 427-35. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1882/05/bauer.htm.

b. Atheism

However, before indicating the readings for that position, it is worth recalling that Engels maintained – in his later life – a staunch, materialist atheism, finding the church and religion in general quite reactionary and rejoicing in the advance of atheism among the working class. The texts are almost endless.
Engels, Friedrich. 1843, ‘Letters from London’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 385-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/05/16.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1843, ‘Progress of Social Reform on the Continent’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 404-6. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/10/23.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1844, ‘The Condition of England: Past and Present by Thomas Carlyle, London, 1843’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 444-68, especially pp. 444-6, 450, 461-6. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/df-jahrbucher/carlyle.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1844, ‘The Condition of England. I. The Eighteenth Century’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 469–76, 486. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/condition-england/ch01.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1844, ‘The Condition of England II: The English Constitution’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 501-4, 510-12. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/condition-england/ch02.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1844, ‘Parsonocracy in Prussia’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 523. Available at
Engels, Friedrich. 1844, ‘Continental Socialism’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 212. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/05/16.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1845, ‘“Young Germany” in Switzerland (Conspiracy Against Church and State)’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 651-3. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/09/20.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1846, The Condition of the Working-Class in England in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 408-12, 421, 556, 569. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/condition-working-class/ch07.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/condition-working-class/ch12.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/condition-working-class/ch13.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1874-5, ‘Refugee Literature’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 24, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, pp. 15-16. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1874/06/26.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1876-7, ‘From Engels Preparatory Writings for Anti-Dühring’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 25, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987, pp. 591–3, 603–7.
Engels, Friedrich. 1877-8, Anti-Dühring: Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revolution in Science in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 25, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987, pp. 16, 22, 26, 40–1, 62, 67–8, 79, 86, 93–9, 125–6, 130, 144, 232, 244, 300–4. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/cw/volume25/index.htm; specific relevant sections at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/introduction.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch02.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch05.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch07.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch08.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch11.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch13.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch22.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch23.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch27.htm.
Engels, Friedrich.1873-82a, Dialectics of Nature in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 25, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987, pp. 318–20, 325, 423, 474, 480–1, 498–500, 551–2, 565. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/index.htm; specific relevant sections at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch01.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch06.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch07a.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch07c.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch07f.htm; http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch07f.htm#physics.
Engels, Friedrich. 1881, ‘Draft for the Speech over the Grave of Jenny Marx’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 24, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, pp. 419-21.
Engels, Friedrich. 1884, ‘Engels to Eduard Bernstein in Zurich, London, July 1884’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 47, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1995, p. 173.
Engels, Friedrich. 1886, ‘Engels to Florence Kelley-Wischnewetsky in Zurich, London, 25 February 1886’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 47, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1995, p. 416.
Engels, Friedrich. 1886, ‘Engels to Friedrich Adolphe Sorge in Hoboken, 16-17 September 1886’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 47, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1995, p. 491. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1886/letters/86_09_16.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1886, ‘Engels to Friedrich Adolphe Sorge in Hoboken, London, 29 November 1886’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 47, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1995, p. 533. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1886/letters/86_11_29.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1889, ‘The Ruhr Miners’ Strike of 1889’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 26, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1990, p. 539. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1889/06/01.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1890, ‘Engels to Conrad Schmidt in Berlin, London, 27 October 1890’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 49, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 2001, pp. 57-65, especially pp. 61-2. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1890/letters/90_10_27a.htm.
See also:
Marx, Karl. 1855, ‘Anti-Church Movement. – Demonstration in Hyde Park’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 14, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1980, pp. 302-7. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1855/06/25.htm.
Marx, Karl. 1855, ‘Agitation over the Tightening-Up of Sunday Observance’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 14, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1980, pp. 323-7.
Marx, Karl. 1879, ‘Account of Karl Marx’s Interview with the Chicago Tribune Correspondent’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 24, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, pp. 568-79. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/bio/media/marx/79_01_05.htm.

c. Revolutionary (and Reactionary) Religion

By far the most significant dimension of Engels’s dealings with Christianity is the way he could both castigate it for being thoroughly reactionary and argue for its deep-seated revolutionary tendencies. On the reactionary side, we find the following texts:
Engels, Friedrich. 1839, ‘Letters from Wuppertal’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works Volume 2, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 13-15. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1839/03/telegraph.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1845, ‘Description of Recently Founded Communist Colonies Still in Existence’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 4, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 214-28, especially p. 215. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/10/15.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1872, ‘The Congress of Sonvillier and the International’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 23, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1988, p. 67.
Engels, Friedrich. 1880, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 24, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, p. 287. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/Engels_Socialism_Utopian_and_Scientific.pdf.
It is worth remembering that atheism was, quite deliberately, never an official platform of the International.
Marx, Karl. 1868, ‘Remarks on the Programme and Rules of the International Alliance of Socialist Democracy’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 21, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1985, p. 208. Available at http://www.marxists.org/history/international/iwma/documents/1868/iasd-comment.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1871, ‘Account of Engels’s Speech on Mazzini’s Attitude Towards the International’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 22, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1986, p. 608.
Engels, Friedrich. 1871, ‘On the Progress of the International Working Men’s Association in Italy and Spain’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 23, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1988, p. 28.
Engels, Friedrich. 1871, ‘Engels to Carlo Cafiero in Barletta, London, 1-3 July 1871’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 44, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, p. 164.
More often, however, Engels explored the revolutionary history and potential of Christianity, noting this feature already in the early 1840s.
Engels, Friedrich. 1843, ‘Progress of Social Reform on the Continent’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 392-408. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/10/23.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1843, ‘Letters from London’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, p. 380. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/05/16.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1846, ‘Engels to the Communist Correspondence Committee in Brussels, Paris, 23 October 1846’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 38, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1982, p. 84. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1846/letters/46_10_23c.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1867, ‘Engels to Ludwig Kugelmann in Hanover, Manchester, 8 and 20 November 1867’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987, p. 467. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867/letters/67_11_20.htm.
Marx, Karl, and Engels, Friedrich. 1850, ‘Reviews from the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. Politisch-Ökonomische Revue No. 2’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 10, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1978, pp. 241-6. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850/02/daumer.htm.
By the time he came to write his influential piece on Müntzer and the Peasant War, Engels tried to argue that the theological language was merely an outer garment for a radically secular political message.
Engels, Friedrich. 1850, The Peasant War in Germany in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 10, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1978, pp. 397-482. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850/peasant-war-germany/index.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1870, ‘Preface to the Second Edition of The Peasant War in Germany’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 21, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1985, pp. 93-100. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850/peasant-war-germany/ch0a.htm.
Yet he was also moving to the point that Christianity itself has a revolutionary core, and that its first emergence was thoroughly revolutionary – so much so that one can find many parallels with the early socialist movement (splits, persecution, struggle for cohesion and so on).
Engels, Friedrich. 1873, ‘Engels to August Bebel in Hubertusburg, London, 20 June 1873’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 44, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, p. 514. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1873/letters/73_06_20.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1882, ‘Bruno Bauer and Early Christianity’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 24, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, pp. 427-35. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1882/05/bauer.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1884, ‘On the Peasant War’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 26, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1990, pp. 554-5.
Engels, Friedrich. 1892, ‘Engels to Karl Kautsky in Stuttgart, London, 1 February 1892’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 49, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 2001, pp. 342-3.
Engels, Friedrich. 1894, ‘Engels to Karl Kautsky in Stuttgart, London, 26 June 1894’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 50, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 2004, p. 314. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894/letters/94_06_26.htm.
Engels, Friedrich. 1894, ‘Engels to Karl Kautsky in Stuttgart, London, 16 July 1894’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 50, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 2004, p. 321.
Engels, Friedrich. 1894, ‘Engels to Karl Kautsky in Stuttgart, London, 28 July 1894’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 50, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 2004, pp. 328-30.
Until at last, not long before he died, Engels published a long study that had been on his mind for almost fifty years. In it he argued that Christianity was revolutionary, that its followers came from among the oppressed and downtrodden classes, that it faced insurmountable problems, that the socialist movement might learn a lesson or two, that it simultaneously overturned the ancient world and offered an other-worldly redemption while doing so. As a teaser he offered an outline of his argument in his introduction to a reissue of Marx’s The Class Struggles in France:
It is now, almost to the year, sixteen centuries since a dangerous party of overthrow was likewise active in the Roman empire. It undermined religion and all the foundations of the state; it flatly denied that Caesar’s will was the supreme law; it was without a fatherland, was international; it spread over the whole empire, from Gaul to Asia, and beyond the frontiers of the empire. It had long carried on seditious activities underground in secret; for a considerable time, however, it had felt itself strong enough to come out into the open. This party of overthrow, which was known by the name of Christians.
Engels, Friedrich. 1894–5, ‘Introduction to Karl Marx’s The Class Struggles in France’, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 27, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1990, p. 523. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1895/03/06.htm.
There followed the whole argument.
Engels, Friedrich. 1894–5, On the History of Early Christianity in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 27, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1990, pp. 445-69. Available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894/early-christianity/index.htm