Freud's religion: Oedipus and Moses

Religious Studies 34 (2):135-149 (1998)
"Moses and Monotheism" is Freud's last book on religion. It was published in its entirety only after his flight from Nazi-occupied Vienna. Moses is perhaps Freud's most controversial book on religion. It is both an apology and a curse. It is a critique of traditional Judaism (by way of an Oedipal analysis of a deified Moses), a defence of a modern humanistic Judaism (a Judaism of moral and intellectual values), and a bitter critique of Christianity (a religion not of the Father but of the sons, a failed religion, which expresses its failure in anti-Semitism). A defiant and rebellious book, one might say, one in which an old man rises to meet his fate and does so with surprising wilfulness and vigour. But Moses also reveals a dogmatic Freud defending a critique of religion that is intellectually flawed and politically misdirected
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