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Halpern, J.R. (1999). Freud's Intrapsychic use of the Jewish Culture and Religion. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(4):1191-1212.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(4):1191-1212

Freud's Intrapsychic use of the Jewish Culture and Religion

Janice R. Halpern

Freud's attitudes about Jewish culture and Jewish religion were diametrically opposed. If one examines his approaches to these two aspects of Judaism together, one can discern an emotionally split quality. The intensity of his feelings about his Jewishness, and the ways he characterized the culture and religion, suggest that his attitudes towards them had their source in an unconscious conflict.

Freud's relationship with his father was ambivalent, and included disappointments incidentally related to his father's Jewishness. Using the defense mechanism of splitting of representations, Freud projected his ambivalent feelings for his father onto his Judaism, splitting it into loved and hated halves. In his characterizations of Jewish culture and religion, one can discern both his disappointment in his father and his longing to regain the idealized father.

Moses and Monotheism shows most clearly this splitting of representations. In it Freud invented two Gods, two Moseses, and two Jewish peoples. Freud's unconscious intention in the book may have been to deal with his ambivalence for his father through the medium of dealing with his Judaism.

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