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God Is Unconscious

God Is Unconscious


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Sailing into New York Harbor, Sigmund Freud stood on the deck and gazed upon a statue that was meant to symbolize someone else's vague notion of freedom. The embryonic field of psychology—so very interested to hear this theory, which excavated the depths of the psyche—anticipated his arrival in America with lamentably eager fanfare. Whether out of hubris or prescience Freud could only whisper, "They don't realize we are bringing them the plague."

It was a theory that undercut our creative justifications for every action and belief, and it suggested our anxious identities are charted by a big Other—one we cannot begin to comprehend. As psychoanalysis undergoes a resurgence of interest within religious studies, political theory, and cultural criticism, its innovative and peculiar claims remain difficult to grasp without any guide for the perplexed. In God Is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis and Theology, Tad DeLay explores the provocative teaching of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and its implications for Christianity. Partly an introductory exposition of Freud, Žižek, and Lacan, and partly an application of psychoanalysis to religion and politics, this book is organized as a theological meditation on an incendiary theory.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498208499
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 02/20/2015
Pages: 164
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Tad DeLay is a PhD student of philosophy of religion at Claremont Graduate University and holds an MA in theology and Biblical studies from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Table of Contents

Foreword Peter Rollins ix

Introduction xiii

Chapter 1 Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real 1

Chapter 2 Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Beyond the Reality Principle 29

Chapter 3 Paradoxes of Law and the Ethics of Psychoanalysis 50

Chapter 4 Psychopathology: Psychosis, Neurosis, and Perversion 62

Chapter 5 The Fool and the Knave 85

Chapter 6 The Four Discourses: Universities, Masters, Hysterics, and Analysts 105

Chapter 7 The Prophet and the Charlatan 127

Bibliography 137

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Slow reading can bear fruits that are inaccessible to those who merely skim an author. DeLay has read Lacan diligently and searchingly, and he has come up with some important insights into the complex relationship of psychoanalysis, religion, and theology. Students of religion will profit from his clear and careful exposition of Lacan's rich and provocative thought. And students of Lacan will come to understand why only theologians can be truly atheistic: Our loyalties for deities come and go, but the true Other is neither in need of defense nor threatened by our disloyalties."

—Ingolf U. Dalferth, Danforth Professor of Philosophy of Religion, Claremont Graduate University

"Tad Delay has bravely explored and mapped the notoriously difficult territory of Lacan that others have only dared to read about second-hand. We should not only salute his courage, but be hugely grateful for the gifts he has returned with in this rich and important book at the bleeding edge of psychoanalysis and theology."

—Kester Brewin, author of After Magic

"God is Unconscious is a brilliant and accessible overview of Lacan's thought, demonstrating how it directly applies to religion and politics. Delay develops an original understanding of perversion, and how it applies to contemporary conservative Christianity. Anyone interested in understanding how religion works in social, political, and psychological terms should read this book."

—Clayton Crockett, Professor and Director of Religious Studies, University of Central Arkansas

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