Over the last few decades, vibrant debates regarding post-secularism have found inspiration and provocation in the works of Sigmund Freud. A new interest in the interconnection of psychoanalysis, religion and political theory has emerged, allowing Freud’s illuminating examination of the religious and mystical practices in “Obsessive Neurosis and Religious Practices,” and the exegesis of the origins of ethics in religion in Totem and Taboo, to gain currency in recent debates on modernity. In that context, the pivotal role of Freud’s masterpiece, Moses and Monotheism, is widely recognized.
Freud and Monotheism brings together fundamental new contributions to discourses on Freud and Moses, as well as new research at the intersections of theology, political theory, and history in Freud’s psychoanalytic work. Highlighting the broad impact of Moses and Monotheism across the humanities, the contributors hail from such diverse disciplines as philosophy, comparative literature, cultural studies, German studies, Jewish studies and psychoanalysis.
Jan Assmann and Richard Bernstein, whose books pioneered the earlier debate that initiated the Freud and Moses discourse, seize the opportunity to revisit and revise their groundbreaking work. Gabriele Schwab, Gilad Sharvit, Karen Feldman, and Yael Segalovitz engage with the idiosyncratic, eccentric and fertile nature of the book as a Sp?tstil, and explore radical interpretations of Freud’s literary practice, theory of religion and therapeutic practice. Ronald Hendel offers an alternative history for the Mosaic discourse within the biblical text, Catherine Malabou reconnects Freud’s theory of psychic phylogenesis in Moses and Monotheism to new findings in modern biology and Willi Goetschel relocates Freud in the tradition of works on history that begins with Heine, while Joel Whitebook offers important criticisms of Freud’s main argument about the advance in intellectuality that Freud attributes to Judaism.
There really is nothing new about anti-Semitism in the age of today’s white ethno-nationalism. Freud and Montheism brings the debate about Sigmund Freud’s last work on the origins of antisemitism up to the present day. Gilad Sharvit and Karen Feldman have compiled a brilliant selection of essays examining the historical and philosophical underpinnings of Moses and Monotheism by the leading specialists on this complex and eternally engaging text. They illustrate quite well the complexity of understanding anti-Semitism from the standpoint of the victim of the Nazis in the 1940s or of the alt-right today. A must add to any library on the history of anti-Semitism.
— Sander Gilman, Emory University
About the Authors:
Karen S. Feldman is Associate Professor of German at the University of California, Berkeley. She is author of Binding Words: Conscience and Rhetoric in Hobbes, Hegel and Heidegger (Northwestern UP).
Gilad Sharvit is a Townsend Fellow at the Townsend Center for the Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley.
Willi Goetschel is Professor of German and Philosophy at the University of Toronto.
Catherine Malabou, holder of Visiting Chairs in numerous North American universities, currently teaches philosophy at the CRMEP (Center for Research in Modern European Philosophy) at Kingston University (UK) . The most recent of her books are, with Judith Butler, You Will Be My Body for Me (forthcoming in English), and Changing Difference: The Feminine in Philosophy.