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The essay still preoccupies Marx commentators today. Some see it as testimony to the messianic core of the Marxist program.
The not only failed to fit the picture Marx drew, but also developed their own brand of “Bundist” socialism, which entertained more messianic elements than Marxism ever did (Traverso 1997, 60-76).
Secondly, the centrality of the Jewish question in Marx’s analysis of the sophistry of the political state draws the attention to a persistent tension in leftist thought between cultural identities and social interests.
From that perspective, Marx’s remarks on Jews were merely illustrations of a more general point, or as Marx states: the sophistry of the state is “not personal” (Marx 1843a, 154).
However, it seems that more than a simple illustration of a philosophical point is going on in Marx’s poisonous remarks, such as his claim that “the Jew has emancipated himself in a Jewish manner, not only because he has acquired financial power, but also because, through him and also apart from him, money has become a world power and the practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of the Christian nations.” (Marx 1843, 170).
Marx proposed to “break with the theological formulation of the question” (Marx 1843a, 169) and to understand the Jewish question as an expression of the “general question of the time”, namely the relation between political and human emancipation (Marx 1843a, 149; see Peled 1992).
Political emancipation, expressed first of all in the separation of Church and State, makes religion an instance of “the spirit of ” (Marx 1843a, 155).
However, the reference of Lazare to two poles of Jewish involvement in capitalism points to another interpretation of Marx’s “Zur Judenfrage”, as a manifestation of leftist antisemitism (and in so far as Marx had adopted this position, a symptom of Jewish self-hate). “Charles Fourier on the Jewish Question.” Jewish Social Studies 8 (4): 245-266.
Especially in the final part of the essay, in which he claimed to reveal “the actual, worldly Jew, not the ” (Marx 1843, 174). “From Theology to Sociology: Bruno Bauer and Karl Marx on the Question of Jewish Emancipation.” History of Political Thought 13 (3): 463-485.
Reminiscent of contemporary arguments against dual nationality and of the suspicion that Muslims in Western Europe would give priority to the Quran over the constitution, Bauer argued that Jewish emancipation is a sham, because Jews would be unable to prefer the state laws over their own Covenant without giving up their Jewishness.
Marx criticized Bauer for presenting a theological argument, differentiating between Jews and Christians, yet failing to reflect on the notion of ‘political emancipation’ as the separation between a public sphere of the state, and a private sphere of civil society.