Psychoanalysis of Anti-Semitism I: A Christian Disease?
It is clear from the history rehearsed in the previous chapters that the Jewish connection with psychoanalysis is more than just a historical accident. The conditions under which psychoanalysis arose were strongly marked by shifts in modern identity generally, and Jewish identity specifically, occurring at the end of the nineteenth century in Europe. As well as determining the make-up of the early psycho-analytic movement, the marginalised and ambiguous status of Jewish identity lent psychoanalysis acuity of perception, a sharp, ironic and iconoclastic interpretive facility. Whilst this proved to be an immensely creative legacy, the price of this Jewish heritage was also great. It meant that anti-Semitism was programmed into the new discipline: psychoanalysis always embodied the mixed pride and prejudice of being a ‘Jewish science’, provoking erratic emotions amongst its adherents and opponents, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. This ‘virus’, carried by psychoanalysis throughout its early history, burst into activity in Germany when the Nazis came to power, with effects that have been visible ever since.
KeywordsJewish Community Jewish Identity Sibling Rivalry Jewish Heritage Nazi Period
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