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.Read more
- 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
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 ForwardSee more reviews
'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
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- 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
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