Scholars have argued that a better grasp of the historical roots of intolerance—of patterns of ethnic, religious, and national enmity—will help people throughout the world to establish a genuine “ecumenical” framework for living with difference. Several notable efforts in this regard have traced the origins of the most extreme forms of ethnic, national, and religious antagonism to the emergence of monotheism in the West. This book reads Sigmund Freud under the influence of Franz Rosenzweig—and vice versa—to offer an ethical conception of ordinary or “everyday” life implied by both men. It proposes that the ethics at the core of both psychoanalysis and the Judeo-Christian tradition (as interpreted by Rosenzweig) is an ethics pertaining to one's answerability to his neighbor-with-an-unconscious. It also claims that it is precisely this sort of answerability that is at the heart of a person's very aliveness to the world. The various ways in which that aliveness comes to be assumed—or refused—frame what the book calls the psychotheology of everyday life.
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