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Religions 2019, 10(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010040

Historiography and Remembrance: On Walter Benjamin’s Concept of Eingedenken

Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 28 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Modern Jewish Thought)
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Abstract

Engaging with Walter Benjamin’s concept of Eingedenken (remembrance), this article explores the pivotal role that remembrance plays in his attempt to develop a radically new vision of history, temporality, and human agency. Building on his essay “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire” and on his last written text, “Theses on the Philosophy of History”, it will trace how memory and historiography are brought together in a curious fusion of materialist and messianic thinking. Emerging from a critique of modernity and its ideology of progress that is cast as crisis—the practice of remembrance promises a ‘way out’. Many of Benjamin’s secular Marxist critics such as Max Horkheimer and Rolf Tiedemann, however, denied the political significance of Eingedenken—dismissing it as theological or banishing it to the realm of aesthetics. Rejecting this critique, I suggest that the radical ethical aspects of Eingedenken can be grasped only once the theological dimension is embraced in its own right and that it is in precisely this blend of materialist and messianic thought that revolutionary hope may be found. View Full-Text
Keywords: Benjamin; Baudelaire; modernity; progress and catastrophe; materialism and mysticism; remembrance and historiography Benjamin; Baudelaire; modernity; progress and catastrophe; materialism and mysticism; remembrance and historiography
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Bohn, C.O. Historiography and Remembrance: On Walter Benjamin’s Concept of Eingedenken. Religions 2019, 10, 40.

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