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Fishman, G.G. (1984). American Imago, XXXVII. 1980: Early American Puritanism: The Language of Its Religion. Michael D. Reed. Pp. 278-333.. Psychoanal Q., 53:337-338.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago, XXXVII. 1980: Early American Puritanism: The Language of Its Religion. Michael D. Reed. Pp. 278-333.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:337-338

American Imago, XXXVII. 1980: Early American Puritanism: The Language of Its Religion. Michael D. Reed. Pp. 278-333.

George G. Fishman

Reed's thesis is that Puritanism, in several senses of the word, contains the pressure of oedipal struggle. For example, the religion in its American form made the formerly distant, whimsical God of the Calvinists more reachable via the idea of the covenant of grace. Rather than passively suffer a preordained fate, man could enter a contract with God, the terms of which were binding on both parties. The author notes that the writings on the covenant began to presuppose God's essence and therefore were barely disguised attempts to displace or destroy his majesty and transcendence. Similarly, the concept of regeneration, or the effort to graft oneself onto Christ, is analyzed as a disguised attempt to competitively replace God. The possession of heaven is speculated to be latent reference to the capture of the oedipal mother. Reed's grasp of Puritan history is commanding. The same cannot be said of his understanding of contemporary psychoanalysis. The arguments are

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force-fitted to his texts. Many other explanations, involving early symbiosis, separation-individuation, narcissistic integrity, etc., might be invoked here as appropriately as oedipal issues.

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Article Citation

Fishman, G.G. (1984). American Imago, XXXVII. 1980. Psychoanal. Q., 53:337-338

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