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Ancient Religious Wisdom, Spirituality and Psychoanalysis

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http://sir.sagepub.com/ Religieuses

Religion/Sciences

Studies in

http://sir.sagepub.com/content/35/2/355.citation

The online version of this article can be found at:

DOI: 10.1177/000842980603500220

Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 2006 35: 355

Eleanor Pontoriero

2003. 212 p

Spirituality and Psychoanalysis : Paul Marcus Wesport, CT: Praeger,

Comptes rendus / Reviews of books: Ancient Religious Wisdom,

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The Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion

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355

cism » (155-470) ; Eric Ormsby, The faith of pharaoh : A disputed question in Islamic

theology » (471-489) ; Bernd Radtke, «The eight rules ofJunayd : A general

overview of the genesis and development of Islamic dervish orders » (490-502) ;

Shafique N. Virani, « Synlphony of gnosis : A self-definition of the Ismaili ginân tradition

» (503-521) ; Ahmad R Moussavi, « The attitude of the &dquo;ulaln£&dquo; towards the

government in nineteenth-century Iran » (522-537) ; Mehdi Mohaghegh, « Traditional

philosophy in Iran with reference to modern trends » (538-541) ; Bert G. Fragner,

« Traces of modernisation and Westernisation ? Some comparative considerations

concerning late Bukhâran chronicles » (542-558).

Une lecture assidue de ces articles permettra d'entrevoir les intérêts très vari[s

des différents chercheurs qui ont c6toy[ Hermann Landolt sur des chemins sinueux

qu'il fallait sans cesse défricher pour mieux apprécier la pluralité des idées aussi bien

philosophiques que soufies.

Diane Steigerwald

Department of Religious Studies, California State University (Long Beach)

Diane Steigerwald

Department of Religious Studies, California State University (Long Beach)

Ancient Religious Wisdom, Spirituality and Psychoanalysis

Paul Marcus

Wesport, CT: Praeger, 2003. 212 p.

and selt-transcendence . Marcus argues that psychoanalysis de-spiritualizes the person

in its reduction of the transcendent dimension to materialism and &dquo;scientifism&dquo; (2).

The aim of his inquiry is to expose the limitations of psychoanalysis to enable the psychoanalyst

to be &dquo;a secular minister of souls&dquo; (197).

Marcus prefaces his exploration of the wisdom traditions by exposing his assumptions

and point of departure. He begins by stating that &dquo;the spiritual quest&dquo; is the primary

motivation intrinsic to the human condition. The position Marcus takes has a

profound resonance with what the psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl,

says of the will to meaning. For both, religiosity is that component of being human

that facilitates psychological and biological well-being. Marcus cites Frankl's definition

of spirituality as the underlying motivation of all human activity, which is &dquo;man's

search for meaning&dquo; (196). By taking this view, Marcus exposes the limitations of

Freudian psychoanalysis, namely, the reduction of spirituality to an immature orientation

toward the world and life with others.

Classic Freudian texts that analyse religion, essentially define it in negative terms.

In The Future of an Illusion religion is defined as an obsessional neurosis grounded in

infantile wish fulfilment (I.e., the need for a parental deity) and entails &dquo;a delusional

remoulding of reality&dquo; to accommodate views about an afterlife as well as compensation

for human suffering and injustice. Freud's analysis of religion is a preface to his

other classic text, Civilization and its Discontents. In this text, Freud isolates the psycho-

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356

and individual conscience.

'

Marcus explores the potential of religion to facilitate mature psychological development.

Marcus argues that the most important aspects of religion must be re-framed

in terms of ethics, namely, &dquo;what it means to be a human being as we move through

the life cycle; that is, how does one create the 'good

...

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