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The Enticements Of Karl Kautsky

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the troubled use of unreliable ancient texts like the Bible for the sake of historical reconstruction, an issue that is still very much at the centre of biblical scholarship. If they are chronically unreliable sources, then what historical use do they have? At this point, the chapter brings Karl Kautsky into conversation with a major current debate in biblical scholarship over this issue. It engages critically with Kautsky's reconstruction, seeking out both problems and insights that are still pertinent today. Third, the chapter picks up an argument that is shared with Kautsky's sometime friend and comrade, Rosa Luxemburg: if early Christianity was a communist movement, then what sort of communism was it? Although Kautsky is far more interested in historical reconstruction, he shares an interest in the utopian possibilities of Christianity, albeit without Bloch's irrepressible enthusiasm.

Keywords: biblical scholarship; Christian communism; Karl Kautsky



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