Freud argued that religions originate in the unconscious needs, longings and fantasies of human minds. His work has served to highlight how any analysis of religion must explore mental life, both the cognitive and the unconscious. Freud on Religion examines Freud’s complex understanding of religious belief and practice.
The book brings together contemporary psychoanalytic theory and case material from Freud’s clinical practice to illustrate how the operations of the unconscious mind support various forms of religious belief, from mainstream to occult. Freud on Religion offers a new way of understanding Freud’s thinking and demonstrates how valuable psychoanalysis is for the study of religion.
"After decades of the so-called 'Freud Wars,' a book occasionally appears that gives one hope that we are entering a new, more balanced phase of psychoanalytic thinking about religion. Freud on Religion provides a clear introduction to basic psychoanalytic themes and treats striking subjects that earlier theorists would not touch, all the while maintaining that mature balance that comes with the rational eye of the seasoned scholar and the intuitive ear of the experienced analyst working together. The result is a joy to read." – Jeffrey J. Kripal, Rice University
"Freud may well have taken issue with Richard Dawkin’s fundamentalist brand of atheism, but Hewitt shows the genuine contribution that Freud’s approach to religion has in regard of contemporary science. Freud on Religion is essential reading for all those exploring Freud’s treatments of religion and its intersection with contemporary science." – Marcus Pound, Durham University
Marsha Aileen Hewitt is Professor of Social Ethics and Religion at Trinity College, University of Toronto and a psychoanalyst in private practice. Her books include From Theology to Social Theory: Juan Luis Segundo and the Theology of Liberation and Critical Theory of Religion: A Feminist Perspective.
Introduction: Freud and the Psychoanalytic Study of Religion
1. Psychoanalysis as a Critical Theory of Religion
2. ‘The Mind is Its Own Place, and in Itself / Can Make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven’
3. Crime, Punishment and the Return of the Repressed: The Triumph of the Intellectual and Moral Mind
4. Telepathy and the ‘Occult’ Unconscious
5. What’s Love Got to Do With It?: New Psycho-mythologies