Moses and Monotheism, Freud's last major book and the only one specifically devoted to a Jewish theme, has proved to be one of the most controversial and enigmatic works in the Freudian canon. Among other things, Freud claims in the book that Moses was an Egyptian, that he derived the notion of monotheism from Egyptian concepts, and that after he introduced monotheism to the Jews he was killed by them. Since these historical and ethnographic assumptions have been generally rejected by biblical scholars, anthropologists, and historians of religion, the book has increasingly been approached psychoanalytically, as a psychological document of Freud's inner life--of his allegedly unresolved Oedipal complex and ambivalence over his Jewish identity. In Freud's Moses a distinguished historian of the Jews brings a new perspective to this puzzling work. Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi argues that while attempts to psychoanalyze Freud's text may be potentially fruitful, they must be preceded by a genuine effort to understand what Freud consciously wanted to convey to his readers. Using both historical and philological analysis, Yerushalmi offers new insights into Freud's intentions in writing Moses and Monotheism. He presents the work as Freud's psychoanalytic history of the Jews, Judaism, and the Jewish psyche--his attempt, under the shadow of Nazism, to discover what has made the Jews what they are. In the process Yerushalmi's eloquent and sensitive exploration of Freud's last work provides a reappraisal of Freud's feelings toward anti-Semitism and the gentile world, his ambivalence about psychoanalysis as a "Jewish" science, his relationship to his father, and above all a new appreciation of the depth and intensity of Freud's identity as a "godless Jew."
The first in-depth look at how postwar thinkers in Egypt mapped the intersections between Islamic discourses and psychoanalytic thought In 1945, psychologist Yusuf Murad introduced an Arabic term borrowed from the medieval Sufi philosopher and mystic Ibn ‘Arabi—al-la-shu‘ur—as a translation for Sigmund Freud’s concept of the unconscious. By the late 1950s, Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams had been translated into Arabic for an eager Egyptian public. In The Arabic Freud, Omnia El Shakry challenges the notion of a strict divide between psychoanalysis and Islam by tracing how postwar thinkers in Egypt blended psychoanalytic theories with concepts from classical Islamic thought in a creative encounter of ethical engagement. Drawing on scholarly writings as well as popular literature on self-healing, El Shakry provides the first in-depth examination of psychoanalysis in Egypt and reveals how a new science of psychology—or “science of the soul,” as it came to be called—was inextricably linked to Islam and mysticism. She explores how Freudian ideas of the unconscious were crucial to the formation of modern discourses of subjectivity in areas as diverse as psychology, Islamic philosophy, and the law. Founding figures of Egyptian psychoanalysis, she shows, debated the temporality of the psyche, mystical states, the sexual drive, and the Oedipus complex, while offering startling insights into the nature of psychic life, ethics, and eros. This provocative and insightful book invites us to rethink the relationship between psychoanalysis and religion in the modern era. Mapping the points of intersection between Islamic discourses and psychoanalytic thought, it illustrates how the Arabic Freud, like psychoanalysis itself, was elaborated across the space of human difference.
Not in the Heavens traces the rise of Jewish secularism through the visionary writers and thinkers who led its development. Spanning the rich history of Judaism from the Bible to today, David Biale shows how the secular tradition these visionaries created is a uniquely Jewish one, and how the emergence of Jewish secularism was not merely a response to modernity but arose from forces long at play within Judaism itself. Biale explores how ancient Hebrew books like Job, Song of Songs, and Esther downplay or even exclude God altogether, and how Spinoza, inspired by medieval Jewish philosophy, recast the biblical God in the role of nature and stripped the Torah of its revelatory status to instead read scripture as a historical and cultural text. Biale examines the influential Jewish thinkers who followed in Spinoza's secularizing footsteps, such as Salomon Maimon, Heinrich Heine, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein. He tells the stories of those who also took their cues from medieval Jewish mysticism in their revolts against tradition, including Hayim Nahman Bialik, Gershom Scholem, and Franz Kafka. And he looks at Zionists like David Ben-Gurion and other secular political thinkers who recast Israel and the Bible in modern terms of race, nationalism, and the state. Not in the Heavens demonstrates how these many Jewish paths to secularism were dependent, in complex and paradoxical ways, on the very religious traditions they were rejecting, and examines the legacy and meaning of Jewish secularism today.
Banned by the Freud institute in Vienna, this controversial lecture became Edward Said's final book. Using an impressive array of material from literature, archaeology and social theory, Said explores the profound implications of monotheism for Middle East politics. Freud and the Non- European reveals Said's abiding interest in the psychoanalyst's work, proposing that Freud's assumption that Moses was an Egyptian undermines any simple ascription of a pure identity, and that identity itself cannot be thought or worked through without the recognition of its inherent limits. Such an unresolved, nuanced sense of identity, he argues, might have formed (or might still form) the basis for a new understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. 'Thought-provoking and addresses complex issues surrounding a work composed near the end of Freud's lifetime . an intriguing critique of Freud's work that is complemented by Rose's commentary' Multicultural Review 'Undeniably brilliant." Times Literary Supplement 'My pre-eminent book of the year' Tom Paulin, Guardian, Books of the Year 2003 'The voice of the late Edward Said can still be heard in all its trenchant vitality' Marina Warner, Irish Times Books of the Year 2003
As inequality widens in all sectors of contemporary society, we must ask: is psychoanalysis too white and well-to-do to be relevant to social, economic, and racial justice struggles? Are its ideas and practices too alien for people of color? Can it help us understand why systems of oppression are so stable and how oppression becomes internalized? In A People’s Historyof Psychoanalysis: From Freud to Liberation Psychology, Daniel José Gaztambide reviews the oft-forgotten history of social justice in psychoanalysis. Starting with the work of Sigmund Freud and the first generation of left-leaning psychoanalysts, Gaztambide traces a series of interrelated psychoanalytic ideas and social justice movements that culminated in the work of Frantz Fanon, Paulo Freire, and Ignacio Martín-Baró. Through this intellectual genealogy, Gaztambide presents a psychoanalytically informed theory of race, class, and internalized oppression that resulted from the intertwined efforts of psychoanalysts and racial justice advocates over the course of generations and gave rise to liberation psychology. This book is recommended for students and scholars engaged in political activism, critical pedagogy, and clinical work.
"If Freud turns to literature to describe traumatic experience, it is because literature, like psychoanalysis, is interested in the complex relation between knowing and not knowing, and it is at this specific point at which knowing and not knowing intersect that the psychoanalytic theory of traumatic experience and the language of literature meet."—from the Introduction In Unclaimed Experience, Cathy Caruth proposes that in the "widespread and bewildering experience of trauma" in our century—both in its occurrence and in our attempt to understand it—we can recognize the possibility of a history no longer based on simple models of straightforward experience and reference. Through the notion of trauma, she contends, we come to a new understanding that permits history to arise where immediate understanding is impossible. In her wide-ranging discussion, Caruth engages Freud's theory of trauma as outlined in Moses and Monotheism and Beyond the Pleasure Principle; the notion of reference and the figure of the falling body in de Man, Kleist, and Kant; the narratives of personal catastrophe in Hiroshima mon amour; and the traumatic address in Lecompte's reinterpretation of Freud's narrative of the dream of the burning child. -- Robert Jay Lifton, M.D., author of Hiroshima in America and The Protean Self
In 1938 the 'father of Psychoanalysis' Sigmund Freud found himself an exile in London, a victim of Nazi persecution. But Britain's religious freedom at last gave Freud the opportunity to complete a work he had withheld from the public during his time in Catholic Vienna - a study on the biblical Moses and the origins of Judaism. 'Moses and Monotheism' was published in August 1938 to a storm of criticism. Freud announced that Moses, the man who led the Israelites out of Egypt, was not a Hebrew, but instead an Egyptian Prince and a follower of Akhenaten - the 'Heretic Pharaoh' who had tried and failed to force upon the Egyptians his own form of Monotheism. Freud claimed that, angered by the strict laws Moses tried to impose, the Hebrews had eventually murdered their Egyptian saviour. But 'Moses and Monotheism' is much more than an early example of 'alternative history'. Freud saw Moses' insistence on an invisible God as a defining moment in history, freeing mankind from the world of matter. It meant that "sensory perception was given second place to what may be called an abstract idea - a triumph of intellectuality over sensuality," an intellectual emancipation that allowed for a flowering of human potential in both the arts and science.
"New Perspectives on Freud's Moses and Monotheism" presents some of the most important current scholarship on 'Moses and Monotheism'. The essays in this volume offer new perspectives on Freud's perception of Judaism, of collective trauma and collective repression, national violence, gender issues, hermeneutic enigmas, religious configurations, questions of representation, and constructions of truth, while exploring the relevance of 'Moses and Monotheism' in diverse fields - from Jewish Studies, Psychoanalysis, History, and Egyptology to Literature, Musicology, and Art.