10 November 2022

The Soul of Soulless Conditions: Marxists on Christianity, Christians on Marxism

"Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.” --Karl Marx

Although Marxists and Christians have found plenty of reasons to be mutually suspicious, prominent voices in both historical communities explored creative ways of relating to one another, politically and ideologically, throughout the 20th century and beyond. Through dialogical exchanges, party documents, revolutions, organizing, and theological reflection, important questions were raised, if not always solved. Were the first Christians communists? Does materialism disqualify Christians from Marxist analysis? Can Marxist political parties accommodate Christian believers, and how far can Christians go in participating in Marxist revolutions?

This class will explore these questions by reading several Marxists on Christianity (e.g. Lenin, Luxemburg, Castro) and several Christians on Marxism (e.g. McCabe, Soelle, West) to better understand where these perspectives found points of agreement and disagreement. Because neither Marxism nor Christianity are entirely unified traditions of thought, the selection of authors will aim to represent at least some of this diversity, although privileging voices that made an effort to bring these two discourses closer together in some way. Reading these traditions together, we will try to uncover how Christianity contributes to the soul of soulless conditions, and also what it might mean to embody that soul in the flesh of political organization.

ICS 132902 / 232902 S23
Intensive, June 12 - July 19, 2023
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Mondays & Wednesdays, 7 pm - 9 pm ET

(MWS, MA, PhD)

Enrolment Notes:
To register for this course, email academic-registrar@icscanada.edu. Last date to register June 9, 2023. Maximum enrolment of nine (9) students. ICS reserves the right to decline registrations.

*Attention TST students: if you are interested in taking this course for credit, you must petition your college of registration to count the course credit toward your degree program.