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My new (old) book available on Freud’s critique of religion December 4, 2007

Posted by cnchapman in Philosophy, Psychology.

In 1988-89, I wrote a book-length text on Freud’s theory and criticism of religion, when I was studying at Harvard University. A brief version of the thesis was published in 1997 (Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 20:1), but I never found a chance to update the entire work sufficiently to publish it with a typical academic publisher.

The main argument, which is still insufficiently recognized in discussion of Freud’s ideas on religion, is that Freud’s criticism continued to use his early psychoanalytic ideas that were later amended. If one views religion through his later psychoanalytic theory of anxiety, not all religious behavior would have to be viewed negatively. I demonstrate this through consideration of the modern theology of Paul Tillich.

Rather than let the manuscript languish, my author friend Greg Spira convinced me to make it available through the publisher Lulu. I’m also posting the PDF here for free. I recommend getting the printed version, since I think it’s easier to read. Either way, I hope it provides something of interest until I’m finally able to revise and bring it up to date.

Print version:

PDF text:
Freud, Religion, and Anxiety: How Freud’s Critique of Religion Neglected His Advances in Psychoanalytic Theory



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