The Religious and Romantic Origins of Psychoanalysis: Individuation and Integration in Post-Freudian Theory / Edition 1

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This book considers the cultural and religious sources of contemporary psychoanalytic theories of the development of the self, and demonstrates that they are distinctively Western cultural constructions that tell a story in terms of a narrative pattern derived from biblical and Neoplatonic sources. Thus, religious themes and values still influence how modern psychologists make sense of the human condition, and Dr. Kirschner raises provocative questions about the status of psychoanalytic theories as knowledge and as science.

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Kirschner makes an important and original contribution to the literature on religion, modernity, and contemporary psychoanalysis." Religious Studies Review

"A truly illuminating work. Through careful and sophisticated historical analysis, Kirschner entirely recasts our understanding of contemporary developmental theory, revealing the suppressed and very significant subtext." Kenneth J. Gergen, Swarthmore College

"A fascinating and ground-breaking book. Kirschner makes clear how the developmental narrative of psychoanalysis owes as much to our biblical and Romantic traditions as to observations from consulting room and nursery. She also makes us wonder about the stand alone truth of these observations and the extent to which they have been unwittingly infiltrated by Western cultural values. Could it be that its many links to the Zeitgeist help to explain the enduring popularity of psychoanalysis?" Donald P. Spence, Professor of Psychiatry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Jersey

"In the tradition of Philip Rieff's Triumph of the Therapeutic, Kirschner shows how current trends in psychoanalysis are rooted in the wider cultural context. But where Rieff emphasized the discontinuities between traditional and modern views of the therapeutic, Kirschner brings to light the deep continuities in our interpretation of life's aims. This remarkable book will be of value not just to professionals in the field, but to anyone who cares about the quest for the good life in our world." Charles Guignon, Professor of Philosophy, University of Vermont

"Kirschner brilliantly traces the origins of the psychoanalytic story of development to its Biblical origins." R. Shilkret, Choice

"Kirschner's presentation reflects broad scholarship in history, literature, psychology and religion....Kirschner makes contemporary psychoanalytic theory accessible in a new and powerful way—for its practitioners, as well as for those who stand outside the discipline." E. James Lieberman, Bulletin of the History of Medicine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521555609
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2010
  • Series: Cambridge Cultural Social Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 254
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Toward a cultural genealogy of psychoanalytic developmental psychology; 2. The assenting ego: Anglo-American values in contemporary psychoanalytic developmental psychology; 3. The developmental narrative: the design of psychological history; 4. Theological sources of the idea of development; 5. The Christian mystical narrative: Neoplatonism and Christian mysticism; 6. Jacob Boehme: towards worldly mysticism; 7. Romantic thought: from worldly mysticism to natural supernaturalism; 8. Personal supernaturalism: the cultural genealogy of the psychoanalytic developmental narrative; Conclusion.

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