Critical Theory and the Question of Secularization

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* Book: Peter E Gordon Migrants in the Profane: Critical Theory and the Question of Secularization. Yale University Press, 2020


Review by Hans G Despain:

"Gordon decisively demonstrates that critical theory remains urgently relevant. Theological concepts, not as new dogmas but as a dialectical icepick clinging to the frozen empty social tundra, may provide normative strongholds to help navigate the emptiness of secular culture and the confusion of modern politics. The twenty-first century has been riddled in catastrophe, three economic global crises, a pandemic, an environmental cataclysm, and trade and military wars. The normative deficit persists, the haphazard happenings of history warn of real dystopia. The Frankfurt School tradition provides penetrating cultural criticisms. Gordon has accomplished a dialogue between reason and faith. He contends that theology provides normative insights without violating the proviso that theological values can be subjected to criticism. In the spirit of Horkheimer, the dialogue between reason and faith helps address the normative deficit generative of capitalism and its cultural industry. Peter E. Gordon’s migration into the profane with critical theory offers a very promising new normative beginning."