The Conspiracy

Was Karl Marx Dreaming of Mashiach?

In a literal sense, no. Karl Marx, philosopher and socialist-extraordinaire, most likely refuted Jewish eschatology — if he was even aware of it at all. In his public writings, Marx seemed more concerned about the role of Jewish people in the capitalist system than with their religious doctrine. And it is these writings that have earned Marx a reputation as an anti-Semite. But regardless of how he felt about Jewish people, it is possible that in constructing his vision of a world free of capitalists, he inadvertently channeled some aspect of his own (hidden) Jewish essence.

Although they converted to Christianity, Marx’s family originally was Jewish. That some remnants of Judaism remained in the recesses of young Karl’s soul is not unthinkable. And as Ernest van den Haag suggested, Marx’s conception of a proletarian revolution and subsequent utopia constituted a “secular promised land.” So in a way, Marx imagined a World to Come. To be sure, it did not include the return of a messiah from the Davidic line. His utopia was economic, not religious. But he envisioned a struggle that eventually ushered in an era of perpetual peace. And his dream shares some similarities with the original Jewish concept.

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