Sunday, August 14, 2011


One of our lecturers ( who is a very engaging and passionate speaker and, as it turns out, is also an ex-priest) said that "Freud was of Jewish descent, but did not identify as a Jew". It may have flown past the others but I am (of course?) hyper alert almost anytime someone says the word "Jew" (are they going to attack? praise? neutral or disinterested? [sigh of relief] accentuate us? deny us?) mentally argued with it, because of prior readings.

While browsing wikipedia for our modalities assignment, I came across the following in the article on Freud:

"Freud was a "partially assimilated, mostly secular Jew."[12] According to biographer Ernest Jones "Freud's Jewishness contributed greatly to his work and his firm convictions about his findings. Freud often referred to his ability to stand alone, if need be, without wavering or surrendering his intellectual and scientific discoveries, and he attributed this ability to his irreligious but strong Jewish identity in an antisemitic society, whereby he was accustomed to a marginal status and being set aside as different."[13]Freud once described himself as "an author who is ignorant of the language of holy writ, who is completely estranged from the religion of his fathers—as well as from every other religion", but who remains "in his essential nature a Jew, and who has no desire to alter that nature".[14]

I know there are other places (intro to Moses and Monotheism for example??) where Freud makes it abundantly clear that he owns his Jewishness, and sees it as feeding his creativity and vision. So to all those who would prefer that Freud be pried away from his Jewishness and be only of the euphemistic "Jewish descent" here's your rebuttal. But don't worry even if he identified as a Jew you can still own him, and take anything in his thinking you find useful.

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