Does Dialectic of Enlightenment Rest on Religious Foundations?

  • Rüdiger Bittner

The text of Dialectic of Enlightenment is studded with words of religious origin. We find talk of guilt, of ban, of expiation and reconciliation and, especially prominently, of Unheil – a word that preserves a religious meaning thanks to its evident relation to ‘Heil’ (‘salvation’).1 Horkheimer and Adorno use this vocabulary frequently and with emphasis, and nota bene, they use it in their own name, not only where they lend their voice to mythical or religious thought. Question then: is this talk rhetoric, or is it substantial?


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Rüdiger Bittner

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