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The New InquisitionsHeretic-Hunting and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Totalitarianism$
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Arthur Versluis

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306378

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306378.001.0001

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Theodor Adorno and the “Occult”

Theodor Adorno and the “Occult”

(p.94) (p.95) 10 Theodor Adorno and the “Occult”
The New Inquisitions

Arthur Versluis

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the works of German sociologist and philosopher Theodor Adorno in relation to the emergence of modern totalitarianism. It suggests that irrationalism was a significant theme of Adorno's works, especially as manifested in what he termed the occult or occultism. It explains that Adorno's attacks on what he believed to be occultism represent an anti-esotericism of the left that is almost a mirror reflection of the Inquisitorial tendency that we often see operating on the political right. He believed that Nazism represented an eruption of antirational or irrational forces in society, which he believed to the contributing conditions for anti-Semitism and Nazi authoritarianism.

Keywords:   Theodor Adorno, totalitarianism, irrationalism, occultism, anti-esotericism, Nazism, anti-Semitism

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