Abstract

This paper elucidates Freud's ambivalent and complex relation to Judaism, tracing it to the "break with tradition" that ran through the center of his father's life. Jacob Freud was a conflicted and transitional figure, with one foot planted in the parochial world of Jewish traditionalism and the other in the cosmopolitan world of European modernity. And he wanted his son to partake of these two legacies in equal degree. But Sigmund found the conflict untenable and chose in favor of science, secularism, and the Enlightenment. The point to be appreciated, however, is that he did not see his choice of the Aufklärung as a simple rejection of the Jewish tradition. Rather, by construing Moses as an Aufklärer, he was able to define his project as an inner transformation of the Jewish tradition so that he could thus be "a godless Jew," thereby confirming both his atheism and his cultural heritage.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1085-7931
Print ISSN
0065-860X
Pages
pp. 139-155
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-20
Open Access
No
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