Select Page


Summary: This essay aims to revisit and reframe the question that Freud saw as the starting point of Moses and Monotheism, a question posed to Arnold Zweig in 1934: “how [have] the Jews … come to be what they are[?]” While diverging from Freud in many ways, the essay ventures a new answer in the context in which he sought his own: not just the enduring mystery of “the origin of monotheism among the Jews” (the ostensible subject of Freud’s study) but more particularly how that origin and the historical path emanating from it can only be grasped through the lens provided by psychoanalytically- informed inquiry. That said, even as the essay’s central argument is premised on reaffirming the notion that a cultural trauma stands at the origin of Jewish monotheism, it rejects Freud’s specific claim that the traumatic event was the murder of Moses. Thus, although it retains Freud’s foundational position that Judaic-monotheistic faith must be understood not simply in terms of a body of doctrines and practices but more fundamentally in terms of powerful unconscious elements, it explicitly shifts away from the idea that made it conceptually possible for Freud to complete and publish Moses and Monotheism – Ernst Sellin’s reconstruction of a biblical tradition that Moses had been murdered sometime during the period of the people’s wandering in the desert after their exodus from Egypt. In so challenging the very premise of Freud’s psychoanalytically- grounded argument about the origins of Jewish monotheism, the essay also attempts to realign his concept of an originary cultural trauma with something other than his historically unsubstantiated reconstructions of the Mosaic-Exodus period. In short, the essay aims to show that the originary trauma has a verifiable time and place in documented Jewish history: the Babylonian Exile. Just as important, this time and place (and their aftermath) are directly related to how monotheism has come to be understood in Judaism and beyond, a tradition that is inextricably linked to the final emergence of Torah sometime in the mid- to late-fifth century BCE.

In the Names of the Father: God in Lacan, judaic of christian?

This essay challenges the widespread notion that Lacanian psychoanalysis represents a ‘Christianising’ of psychoanalysis. It argues that Lacanian psychoanalysis brings to psychoanalysis a broadly “Averroist” attitude towards religion which develops out of and transcends Freud’s position in Totem and Taboo. For Lacan, religious texts are an invaluable source of pre-psychoanalytic insight or another regal road into the champ Freudien: the dynamic of human beings’ desire, in its co-conformity with language and Law. The text focuses on trying to decipher the missing content of the Names of the Father seminar: the seminar that “does not exist” (Miller, 2006) beyond its opening, esoteric and dramatic session. The force of doing this will be to show how much, and how fundamental, the things are that Lacan thinks the bible, and the first Abrahamic monotheism in particular, can teach us about human subjectivity and the instance of the Law that shapes it – insights which go to explain Freud’s unmistakable attachment, despite himself, to the civilizational importance of his fathers.

Freud and the Lodge “Wien” of the B’nai B’rith. On the Modernity of the Reflections on Jewish Identity

What are the characteristics of the Jewish identity when it is not inscribed in religious tradition? Reviewing the history of the international B’nai B’rith and Freud’s activities in the lodge “Wien”, his Jewishness and his Jewish identity are discussed in reference to (i) the goals of the B’nai B’rith “Wien” and its place in the traditions of the Enlightenment and of Jewish humanism as formulated by S. Ehrmann; (ii) the way in which Freud’s Jewish identity was perceived by his fellow brothers, E. Hitschmann and E. Braun. It is argued that Freud’s own perception of his Jewish ness matches with Braun’s, as well as with Ehrmann’s, view.