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Cormac Gallagher – What can we Learn From Freud‘s Critique of Religion


Issue 47 (Summer 2011)


This paper was given at the conference in All Hallows on 10  June 2011.1 It deals with the influences on Freud‘s often neglected religious formation and his own subjective tendency towards religious superstition. This forms the background to his seminal 1907 analogy of obsessional neurosis as a private religion and religion as a universal obsessional neurosis.


Keywords: Freud‘s rabbinical  family tradition; Charcot on hysteria and medieval witch trials; obsessional neurosis; superstition; spiritualism and the occult. 




The revelations in the recent Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne reports of widespread cruelty and sexual perversity in religious institutions caring for young people, and among individual priests, nuns and brothers, has shaken our complacency about the positive psychological benefits of religion and invites us to a reconsideration of Sigmund Freud‘s more critical assessment of religious subjectivity and in particular his analogy between religion and obsessional neurosis. …

What can we Learn From Freud‘s Critique of Religion

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