Social Theory and the Premise of all Criticism: Max Horkheimer on Religion

Christopher Brittain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This essay examines the fragmentary writings of Max Horkheimer on religion. It demonstrates that Horkheimer was consistently drawn to refection on religion throughout his life in response to limitations he perceived within Marxist theory and practice. While he agreed with Marx that the “criticism of religion is the premise of all criticism,” he did not think that “the criticism of religion has been largely complete.” As he struggled to overcome the dogmatism he saw in the Marxism of his age, and in the dominance of scientific method, Horkheimer looked to religion as a site in which one encountered a negative concept of truth, and a substantive moral longing for justice. The essay concludes by exploring two critical evaluations of Hokheimer's perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-168
Number of pages16
JournalCritical Sociology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • critical theory
  • Horkheimer
  • religion


Dive into the research topics of 'Social Theory and the Premise of all Criticism: Max Horkheimer on Religion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this