Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: You can request more content in your language…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Would you like more of PEP’s content in your own language? We encourage you to talk with your country’s Psychoanalytic Journals and tell them about PEP Web.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Gay, V.P. (1975). Psychopathology and Ritual: Freud's Essay “Obsessive Actions and Religious Practises”. Psychoanal. Rev., 62(3):493-507.
    

(1975). Psychoanalytic Review, 62(3):493-507

Psychopathology and Ritual: Freud's Essay “Obsessive Actions and Religious Practises”

Volney Patrick Gay, M.A.

I began doing research for this paper with the goal of examining Freud's understanding of the role the superego plays in the development and practice of religious life. Specifically, I was interested in exploring Freud's early formulations of the superego, and I hoped to trace how the later well-known equations of religious practice with certain neurotic mechanisms developed in his thought. For example, in The Future of an Illusion Freud makes this comparison:

Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one.19a

However, in rereading Freud's first published comments on similarities between religious acts and obsessional neurosis,8 I was surprised to find that, while the rhetorical tone of the essay fully supports identifying the two phenomena, the actual argument and concepts which Freud employs do not. In contrast, then, to Freud's stated conclusions and the usual reading of this essay, I shall suggest that a closer reading of the actual metapsychological terms which Freud uses reveals that the contrainstinctual mechanisms which he says underlie religious acts and obsessional neurosis are not identical. His analysis of the two phenomena does not support his famous conclusion that

One might describe neurosis as individual religiosity and religion as a universal obsessional neurosis.8a

In

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.