Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

The Frankfurt School, Jewish Lives, and Antisemitism


  • Author: Jack Jacobs, John Jay College and the Graduate Center
  • Date Published: September 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521513753

£ 72.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The history of the Frankfurt School cannot be fully told without examining the relationships of Critical Theorists to their Jewish family backgrounds. Jewish matters had significant effects on key figures in the Frankfurt School, including Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Erich Fromm, Leo Lowenthal and Herbert Marcuse. At some points, their Jewish family backgrounds clarify their life paths; at others, these backgrounds help to explain why the leaders of the School stressed the significance of antisemitism. In the post-Second World War era, the differing relationships of Critical Theorists to their Jewish origins illuminate their distinctive stances toward Israel. This book investigates how the Jewish backgrounds of major Critical Theorists, and the ways in which they related to their origins, impacted upon their work, the history of the Frankfurt School, and differences that emerged among them over time.

    • Avoids the Aesopian language used by the critical theorists and the jargon evident in some of the literature on the Frankfurt School, offering both clarity and cogent analysis
    • Based on extensive research conducted in libraries and archives in Europe, Israel, and the United States, and makes use of many important and hitherto unknown or underutilized collections
    • Covers new ground by demonstrating the ways in which Jewish matters impacted the Frankfurt School not only in the Weimar era and in the exile years, but also in the final decades of the lives of the Frankfurt School's founding generation
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    '… The Frankfurt School, Jewish Lives, and Antisemitism is in part biographically based, revealing the essence of thinkers' hearts and lives while avoiding anecdotal trivia … thanks to Jacobs' lucid presentation …' Benjamin Ivry, The Jewish Daily Forward

    'Methodologically, the book does an excellent job; the sources are impressive, the language is clear and easy to read. In short: Jack Jacobs has written a new standard work on the history of the Institute of Social Research, that, at the same time, enriches our view of Jewish history in the twentieth century.' Philipp Lenhard, Bulletin of the Fritz Bauer Institute

    '… an outstanding piece of scholarship … Well documented … and well argued, it is certainly destined to become the main reference for any future research on the questions involved … important and insightful.' Michael Löwy, New Politics

    'Jack Jacobs's The Frankfurt School, Jewish Lives, and Antisemitism is a unique and valuable contribution to the secondary literature on the history of the Institute for Social Research and Critical Theory more generally … He demonstrates a firm command of the dauntingly extensive secondary literature on Critical Theory in both English and German … Even more impressive is the extensive primary source research Jacobs has conducted in a wide variety of archives in Europe, the United States, and Israel.' John Abromeit, The German Quarterly

    'No subsequent discussion … will be able to ignore the wealth of new material he has unearthed, the care and balance of his judgments, and the salutary caution he has exercised in presenting them.' Martin Jay, The German Quarterly

    '… Jacobs succeeds in teaching us something new, and, more importantly, something quite valuable. Not only does his book aim to present Critical Theory in a new light, but it also serves as a superb case study in how politically unaligned members of the German left-wing intelligentsia maneuvered - to borrow the title of George Mosse's book - as 'German Jews beyond Judaism'.' Thomas Wheatland, The German Quarterly

    'To anyone seriously interested in the questions Jacobs raises … his book offers a careful and thought-provoking engagement of the relevant material. Jacobs's style of presentation, I would argue, bears testimony not only to the commonplace wisdom that authors are never entirely in control of their texts, but also to Jacobs's many years of close engagement of Critical Theory and his own deep-seated affinity with its concerns.' Lars Fischer, The German Quarterly

    'Jack Jacobs's The Frankfurt School, Jewish Lives, and Antisemitism will be a major resource for many of us working in Critical Theory. Even-handed, clearly presented, and extensively researched, with seventy-eight pages of footnotes, the book's overarching thesis is both simple and urgent … Jacobs's book offers scholars an enduring resource in future work on the Jewishness of the Frankfurt School …' Joan Braune, Critical Research on Religion

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521513753
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 231 x 150 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Jewish life paths and the Institute of Social Research in the Weimar Republic
    2. The Institute of Social Research and the significance of antisemitism: the exile years
    3. Critical theorists and the state of Israel
    4. Conclusion.

  • Resources for

    The Frankfurt School, Jewish Lives, and Antisemitism

    Jack Jacobs

    General Resources

    Find resources associated with this title

    Type Name Unlocked * Format Size

    Showing of

    Back to top

    This title is supported by one or more locked resources. Access to locked resources is granted exclusively by Cambridge University Press to lecturers whose faculty status has been verified. To gain access to locked resources, lecturers should sign in to or register for a Cambridge user account.

    Please use locked resources responsibly and exercise your professional discretion when choosing how you share these materials with your students. Other lecturers may wish to use locked resources for assessment purposes and their usefulness is undermined when the source files (for example, solution manuals or test banks) are shared online or via social networks.

    Supplementary resources are subject to copyright. Lecturers are permitted to view, print or download these resources for use in their teaching, but may not change them or use them for commercial gain.

    If you are having problems accessing these resources please contact

  • Author

    Jack Jacobs, John Jay College and the Graduate Center
    Jack Jacobs is a Professor of Political Science at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the author of On Socialists and 'the Jewish Question' after Marx (1992) and Bundist Counterculture in Interwar Poland (2009), and the editor of Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100 (2001). Professor Jacobs was a Fulbright Scholar at Tel Aviv University in 1996–7, and was also a Fulbright Scholar at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute in 2009. Dr Jacobs' work has been translated into French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian and Yiddish.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.