Using Freud's correspondence, this book argues that his Jewishness was in fact a source of energy and pride for him and that he identified with both Jewish and humanist traditions.
Gresser presents an extended analysis of Freud's personal correspondence. Arranged in chronological order, the material conveys a vivid sense of Freud's personal and psychological development. Close reading of Freud's letters, with frequent attention to the original German and its cultural context, allows Gresser to weave a fascinating story of Freud's life and Jewish commitments, as seen through the words of the master himself. The book culminates in an extended discussion of Freud's last and most deliberately Jewish work, Moses and Monotheism. Gresser thus initiates a discussion about modern Jewish identity that will be of interest to anyone concerned about questions of the relationship between tradition and modernity, and between the particular and the universal, that moderns struggle with in the search for authenticity.
Moshe Gresser is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Colgate University.
Gresser weaves an immense amount of specific, detailed information into a fascinating argument that is of great interest to anyone interested in Freud as a person and not just as a thinker. In doing so, the book adds another dimension to the understanding of Freud's connection with Judaism. It pulls together a number of contributory elements in Freud's experience of his own Jewishness and articulates them particularly in connection with his views on religion. I found it fascinating to read. " — W. W. Meissner, Boston Psychoanalytic Institute