Violent God-Image: An Introduction to the Work of Eugen Drewermann

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Theologian and psychotherapist Eugen Drewermann has been the most significant, the most prolific, and the best-selling theological writer in the German language over the past quarter century. Drewermann shows that religion, including Christianity, turbans violent mentally, spiritually, and even physically if it uses fear as a motive for faith— fear of exclusion from the group, fear of hell, and fear of God. At the heart of Drewermann's nonviolent interpretation of key Christian beliefs is his analysis of a ...

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Overview

Theologian and psychotherapist Eugen Drewermann has been the most significant, the most prolific, and the best-selling theological writer in the German language over the past quarter century. Drewermann shows that religion, including Christianity, turbans violent mentally, spiritually, and even physically if it uses fear as a motive for faith— fear of exclusion from the group, fear of hell, and fear of God. At the heart of Drewermann's nonviolent interpretation of key Christian beliefs is his analysis of a violent image of God that characterizes traditional interpretations of sin and the cross. It is this God-image, opposed to human desires and self-realization, that sanctified the killings of millions of peoples in wars declared to be "just" and legitimated the violent exploitation of nonhuman nature and the aggressive economic exploitation of non-Christian cultures.

The sheer enormity of Drewermann's principal books has thwarted publication of his works in English translation to date. His empathic critique of the clerical mentality, ideology, and culture (The Cleric), based on his psychotherapeutic work with clergy, led to his being silenced by Roman Catholic authorities in 1991 and suspended from the priesthood in 1992. This is the first full-length introduction to Drewermann in English and includes extensive quotations from his works.

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Editorial Reviews

Review of Biblical Literature
"This first full-length volume in English on the thought of Eugen Drewermann is a welcome and long-overdue introduction to the groundbreaking work of the most prolific theological writer in the German language over the past twenty years.... We are indebted to Beier for undertaking a translation task only a native German speaker could accomplish, given the complexity and technicality of Drewermann’s prose."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826415844
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 4/30/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthias Beier is coordinator of the Doctor of Ministry Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling at Drew Theological School and has a private psychoanalytic practice in New York City. He teaches at both Drew and Fordham Universities.

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Table of Contents

Nazi Germany and a violent God-image 3
Spiritual and psychological nonviolence 10
Eugen Drewermann - glimpse of the public figure 13
The work of Eugen Drewermann - a Trojan horse 19
Ch. 1 Fear, evil, and the origins of a violent God-image 23
Historical context : the banality of evil and the impotence of Christianity 23
Fear and the origin of a violent God-image 33
Results of the exegetical analysis of Genesis 3 and 4:1-16 34
The serpent 37
From harmony with God to a heteronomous God-image 38
The deadly effects of human sacrifice for the divine : Genesis 4:1-16 45
Results of the psychoanalytic analysis of Genesis 3 and 4:1-16 47
Universal images of the psyche? 47
Sin as a neurosis before God 51
A bird's-eye view of the psychoanalytic interpretation of Genesis 2-11 55
Genesis 3 in psychoanalytic perspective 59
Genesis 4:1-16 in psychoanalytic perspective 87
Results of the philosophical and theological interpretation of Genesis 3 and 4:1-16 90
Philosophical analysis of the structure of "sin" as universal and the result of free choice 91
The fall in an analysis of Dasein 96
Genesis 4:1-16 in existential-philosophical perspective 106
Theological interpretation of Genesis 3 and 4:1-16 108
Faith as trust : the alternative to sin as fear 119
An existential proof of God and the reality of psychic images 124
Ch. 2 War, Christianity, and the destruction of inner and outer nature : effects of a violent God-image 131
Fear, trust, and the importance of psychic images 131
Fear, war, and God 135
Roots of war - from struggle for survival to fears of the spirit 137
The confusion of religion with ethics 145
War and Christianity, or : belligerent consequences of a violent God-image 152
A religious solution for the problem of war 186
Ch. 3 Recovering the nonviolent God-image of Jesus : working through a sadomasochistic interpretation of the cross 209
Violent God-image and sacrificial religion 212
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the redemption from a violent God-image 219
Jesus facing the cross : the end of fear 220
The historical Jesus and a typological reading of history 226
The symbol of the cross and the redemption from a violent God-image 244
Ch. 4 Analyzing the clergy-ideal of the Roman Catholic Church 273
Diagnosis 280
Etiology 292
Development through psychological stages, or : psychoGenesis of the evangelical counsels 300
Poverty and oral conflicts 302
Obedience and anal conflicts 304
Chastity and oedipal conflicts 311
Therapeutic treatment suggestions 320
The spiritual value of the evangelical counsels 323
Religious reorientation and reform of the education of the clergy 325
App. 1 Drewermann in America 335
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2004

    A fascinating read!

    This is tough but what a rewarding read! Finally a book that not only touches on so many existential questions but offers an explanation and a road map to how humans, with the help of psychoanalysis, can free themselves of anxieties and existential fears through understanding how they first fell under the bondage of fear. This fascinating analysis of a violent God image is a must read for any serious thinker.

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