The intellectual inquiries of Moishe Postone unfolded, as everyone’s do, from knowledge-forming interests. Some of these came in complex ways from his family and childhood. He chose not to follow his father into a rabbinical career, but his scholarly pursuits were informed both by Judaismand by anti- Semitism—and clearly by scholarship. He also came to participate in what we might consider one of the most important secular extensions of Talmudic commentary, seeking to read Marx ever more deeply, in ways more adequate for our age, and in dialogue with other great thinkers of modernity like Freud, Durkheim, and Weber. As Talmudic scholars endlessly unfold meaning deemed already present in the Torah, Moishe studied Marx’s texts in pursuit of a theory that could make sense of the 1960s–70s crisis—and today’s—as well as of enduring patterns in capitalism and of the possibilities for emancipation. The project of reconstructing social theory through a deeper reading of Marx and especially his mature analyses of capitalism became Moishe’s life’s work.1 His reading, writing, and teaching were of course closely linked.2 And they were globally influential.
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