With his radical rupture with Christianity and his view of religion as human projection and self-alienation, Feuerbach is a pioneer for critique. Marx and Engels build on these ideas, they shift the focus to the earthly idols/ideology and aim to make them impossible by a continually renewing critique of historical-material reality. According to them, Feuerbach has taken the first step, but he ignores reality because he does not see practice but only theory as typically human. In Feuerbach’s work, however, there is a sharpening of ideas from The Essence of Religion onwards. According to our close reading, this text can be read as a response to Marx’s criticism and clarification of a critical materialist position. Feuerbach is no longer concerned with God, the immortal soul or metaphysics, but focuses on the living producing humans and their socio-historical world. Precisely because of this shift, he sees that the human sense of dependency is the basis of religion, that the object of this sense of dependency is nature, that religion and especially Christianity consist in a pernicious reversal of the relationship between man and nature. With this analysis he follows in the footsteps of other naturalistic approaches such as, in a certain sense, that of Spinoza. He then relates the reversal in Christian theology (and metaphysics), which expresses itself in various ways, to political rule. The view of human being as objective/God presupposes the humanization of the objective, or, a view of nature as human. But this is the world upside down that leads to political oppression, the dehumanization of people and the destruction of the living environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModernità e critica – Modernity and Critique – Modernité et critique
EditorsRaffaele Carbone
Place of PublicationNapoli/Potenza
PublisherLa città del sole
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)978-88-8292-517-8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Genealogy of the critique
  • historical materialism
  • critique of religion
  • Feuerbach
  • Marx & Engels

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