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Frosh, S. (2001). Freud and Jewish Dreaming. Psychoanal. Hist., 3(1):18-27.

(2001). Psychoanalysis and History, 3(1):18-27

Freud and Jewish Dreaming

Stephen Frosh

Prophecy and the Jewish Dream

It is with The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud 1900) that psychoanalysis comes into possession of its distinct voice, the voice of the unconscious and the voice of Freud's personality. Freud stamps his authority on his material; he shows how it all fits together, he solves the secret of dreams, he knows what only prophets know. And from this arises a movement of believers, a body of knowers, those who, because of Freud, can see, can interpret and understand.

The conventional religious imagery of this description is one which derives directly from a conscious strategy of identification adopted by Freud himself. This strategy produces an authorial position which is consciously masculine, unquestioned as such throughout the text, and which also allows Freud to write himself into a connection with his Jewish cultural heritage, so that he becomes a new prophet—secular, maybe, but walking firmly in the footsteps of Old Testament heroes. It seems clear that both these impulses are of great importance to Freud. The question of masculinity, first of all, is one which arises for him in the context of his attempt to work through his relationship with his father. Freud himself is absolutely explicit about the significance of this strand. In the Preface to the Second Edition, he writes:

This book has a further subjective significance for me personally—a significance which I only grasped after I had completed it. It was, I found, a portion of my own self-analysis, my reaction to my father's death—that is to say, to the most important event, the most poignant loss, of a man's life. (Freud 1900, p.

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