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Music as Secularized Prayer: On Adorno’s Benjaminian Understanding of Music and its Language-Character
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Studies in Faith and Ideologies, Systematic Theology and Studies in World Views.
2018 (English)In: Comparative and Continental Philosophy, ISSN 1757-0638Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this essay I draw attention to conceptual similarities in Walter Benjamin’s and Theodor W. Adorno’s reflection about language, with special attention to Benjamin’s 1916 essay about language as such, including its theological impulses. In Adorno’s case, I concentrate on language theory as it comes forth in relation to his philosophy of music and the supposed language-character of music. I argue that this particular connection between Benjamin and Adorno is largely unexplored in the literature, and I show that their conceptual affinities have far-reaching consequences for a proper understanding of Adorno’s philosophy as a whole. Music is of fundamental importance for Adorno’s critical theory, and this fact points to an intricate entwinement between materialism and theology, stemming from Benjamin’s theory of language. Thinking of music as secularized prayer means to emphasize that music relates to reality in a way that resembles the logic of Benjamin’s understanding of a pre-lapsarian language of divine names.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018.
Keywords [en]
Theodor W. Adorno; Walter Benjamin; music; language; materialism; metaphysics; name; truth; theology
National Category
Religious Studies Philosophy
Research subject
Systematic Theology and Studies in Worldviews
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-377192DOI: 10.1080/17570638.2018.1525020OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-377192DiVA, id: diva2:1289139
Available from: 2019-02-15 Created: 2019-02-15 Last updated: 2019-05-22Bibliographically approved

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Martinson, Mattias

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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