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On the Psychotheology of Everyday LifeReflections on Freud and Rosenzweig$
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Eric L. Santner

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780226734873

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226734897.001.0001

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Toward an Ethics of Singularity

Toward an Ethics of Singularity

(p.46) CHAPTER THREE Toward an Ethics of Singularity
On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life

Eric L. Santner

University of Chicago Press

One of the “canonical” sites where we might fruitfully explore the intersection of psychoanalysis and theology are the memoirs of Daniel Paul Schreber, the Saxon Supreme Court judge made famous by Sigmund Freud who, in his case study, interpreted the judge's paranoid delusions as fantasmatic elaborations of a homosexual panic. This chapter argues that Schreber's experience of what he referred to as “soul murder” and the cosmic disaster associated with it was grounded in a fundamental impasse in his capacity to metabolize this performative magic, to be inducted into the normative space opened by it. What Schreber discovered is that symbolic investiture includes a kernel of invasiveness, that it can, at least under certain circumstances, introduce into the subject “too much reality.” Schreber's case provides a helpful backdrop for Franz Rosenzweig's The Star of Redemption. In the Star, Rosenzweig talks about death-driven singularity and emphasizes the temporality of the “self-conserving repetition” at the heart of sovereignty and the “performativity” proper to it.

Keywords:   psychoanalysis, theology, Daniel Paul Schreber, Sigmund Freud, Franz Rosenzweig, The Star of Redemption, soul murder, death-driven singularity, sovereignty, performativity

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