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The four studies reported in this volume deal with the psychology of religion as studied by the psychoanalytic method. The subject is approached through a consideration of religious ritual, which was chosen as the point of departure because it has already proved a sound starting point for the scientific analysis of religion, the first analytic comprehension of religious phenomena having started from the ceremonies of believers, which Freud has compared with the obsessive acts and religious ceremonials of neurotic persons. Also, the character of action, which is such a marked feature of ritual, may be more profitably investigated psychoanalytically than the ideas, commands, prohibition, dogmas and complicated sentiments, which have later become the chief content of religion.
Four examples of religious ceremonial have been selected, and the author attempts by means of analysis to throw light on the operation of unconscious factors, the mechanisms of affects and the significance of
Ritual: Psychoanalytic Studies. Arch NeurPsych. 1932;28(5):1234–1236. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1932.02240050270022
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