What does Walter Benjamin’s work suggest about religion and the methods of studying it? This special issue of The Journal for Cultural and Religious Studies (JCRT) offers new perspectives on Benjamin and religion. Many studies consider Benjamin’s engagement with Judaism. Others, fewer in number, consider the role of Christianity, usually framed as theology, in his work. A third area of research been the religious dimensions of Benjamin’s modernity.
But few studies have situated Benjamin’s work in current discussions of religion. In spite of his fragmentary and diverse writings, there is no question that religion and many other related categories, including tradition, the profane, metaphysics, magic, and, famously, messianism, played a very important role in his work from the very earliest years until his death in 1940. But the scope of Benjamin‘s religious imagination goes far beyond his explicit mentions of religion.
The goal of this special issue of JCRT is to expand conversations about Benjamin and religion for scholars of Benjamin and religion alike.