The Freud Museum

Events Archive

24 June 2014

Freud and the Jewish Hermeneutical Tradition

Matthew Del Nevo

David Bakan wrote a ground-breaking book entitled Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition in 1958.  Despite the fact that Freud always asserted science and reason as hallmarks of psychoanalysis, the links Bakan makes between Freud’s theories of the dream and of sexuality – so novel in pre-War Vienna – and Kabbalistic hermeneutics, are unforced. This talk connects Bakan’s early conjectures and explorations with the recent more detailed and elaborate work of Eliot R. Wolfson in kabbalistic hermeneutics and poetic imagination.  Religious hermeneutics were there in Freud’s inception of psychoanalysis, and in our age, which has seen not the phasing out but rather a return to religion, literacy in these matters remains crucial.

Matthew Del Nevo grew up in Oxford, England. After studying Applied Social Sciences at a Polytechnic, he moved to Jerusalem working as an art therapist with physically and intellectually disabled people and studied Creative Writing at the Bezalel Foundation. Finding Israel a bit intense after a few years Matthew emigrated to Australia in 1986 and undertook theological studies at the University of Sydney, completing a Bachelor of Divinity (Hons) and later a Ph.D. on Edmond Jabès' poetic and philosophical writings, which are in the area of post-Holocaust literature and thought about the absence and presence of God. Matthew has worked in Sydney College of Divinity since 2001, a consortium of colleges. He is currently Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Catholic Institute of Sydney, a Pontifical faculty, where he lectures in philosophical psychology and philosophy of culture and modern continental philosophy. He is also Academic Dean of the Institute. Matthew is author of a number of books, the latest being Art Music (2013) and The Metaphysics of Night (2014). 

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