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Psychoanalysis and Faith: Letters of Sigmund Freud and Oskar Pfister.

Louis L. Lunsky, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1965;115(1):113-114. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03860130115037.
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Sigmund Freud, the unrepentant heretic who claimed that religion was the "universal neurosis of mankind," corresponded with Oskar Pfister, a Protestant clergyman for 30 years. This volume contains the correspondence of this 30-year period.

The letters recreate the mood and excitement of this exciting era. The authors candidly describe their feelings about their contemporaries: Jung, Binswanger, Bleuler, Adler, Reik, Abraham, Ferenczi, and Jones. Love, sex, dreams, repression, and transference are lucidly commented upon in their letters.

The most fascinating letters deal with the theme of psychoanalysis and religion in life. Pfister evolved the theme that true religion can be a defense against neurosis. Freud accepted this thesis but minimized it by calling it a rarity. Pfister was not only a perceptive lay analyst but a courageous man. He wrote Illusion of a Future as a reply to Freud's Future of an Illusion. It was not an easy matter to oppose


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