Continental Philosophy Review 55 (1):35-53 (2022)

Abstract
This article retrieves Freud’s Paul as a forgotten predecessor and untapped critic of the “return to Paul” in contemporary political theology and continental philosophy. Given that Sigmund Freud published Moses and Monotheism in 1939 having barely escaped from Vienna, the text’s reception has justly been dominated by the question of Freud’s identification with Moses and the relationship between psychoanalysis and Judaism. However, I argue that this narrow focus has obscured the more fundamental problem of the connection between religion and Freud’s enigmatic notion of “historical truth,” which he works out not through Moses but through Saint Paul. To do so, I first show how Freud’s genealogy of monotheism is modeled on the pathogenesis of hysterical symptoms. I then trace how Freud deepens his investigation into the etiology of symptom-formation until he arrives at the notion of historical truth and the archaic heritage that transmits it. Lastly, I demonstrate that Freud presents himself less as a Pauline figure than he does Paul as a proto-analyst. Through this staging, I contend that Freud parochializes the claims of Christianity as symptomatic of a more archaic historical truth that psychoanalysis alone is able to access. Freud’s Paul demonstrates that it is not a question of whether but how ostensibly modern secular discourses inherit the theological traditions in which they are imbedded. Reading Freud as a philosopher of religion ultimately offers an indictment of any philosophy or emancipatory politics naively modeled on theological universalism.
Keywords Freud  Psychoanalysis  Moses  Paul  Pathogenesis  Historical truth  Political theology
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11007-021-09545-w
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,091
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Ontogeny and Phylogeny.Stephen Jay Gould - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (4):652-653.
The Future of an Illusion.Sigmund Freud - 1927 - Broadview Press.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Ricœur's Freud.Richard J. Bernstein - 2013 - Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies 4 (1):130-139.
Freud's Religion: Oedipus and Moses.R. Z. Friedman - 1998 - Religious Studies 34 (2):135-149.
The Cambridge Companion to Freud.Jerome Neu - 1991 - University of Chicago Press.
Freud's Doctrine of Fear and Anxiety.Paul Joseph Gibbs - 1994 - Dissertation, University of Cincinnati
The Kernel of Truth in Freud.Philip Lawton - 1991 - University Press of Amer.
Freud, la Philosophie Et les Philosophes.Paul-Laurent Assoun - 1976 - Presses Universitaires de France.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2021-03-29

Total views
10 ( #899,562 of 2,506,103 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #102,795 of 2,506,103 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes