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Chapter Seven: Idols

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Chapter Summary

Focusing on fetishism rather than idolatry, Marx and then Adorno brought about a shift: instead of the signifying link between idol and god characteristic of the critique of idolatry, Marx and Adorno focused on the transferring relation between object produced and the human being who produced it. This chapter unpacks this way of describing Marx's approach to fetishism. By critique of idolatry, the author refers primarily to the polemic found in some biblical texts, although it may also include the more elaborate theological category of idolatry in the later tradition. The critiques of idolatry sought to break that link, arguing that no god exists and that the worshipper stupidly serves a mere object of wood, stone, metal, or perhaps animal or human. The chapter also argues that Latin American liberation theology's appropriation of Marx's idea of fetishism fails to notice the shift Marx brought about.

Keywords: Adorno; biblical texts; fetishism; god; idolatry; Latin American liberation theology; Marx



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