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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces some main lines of Jacques Lacan’s interpretation of religion and divinity, which differs significantly from Freud’s critique. Orienting ourselves with respect to what Lacan calls das Ding, the enigmatic desire of the Other, it is possible to sketch a Lacanian analysis of religion parallel to that offered by Kant in Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone. The difference is that where Kant looked to find in religious representations, especially those of Christianity, the underlying dynamics of pure rationality and of a morality founded upon it, Lacan discerns the very structure of subjectivity and its relation to the unknown Other. New perspectives are thereby opened up on a whole series of problems, including the unconscious dynamics of enjoyment, practices of sacrifice, the structural differences between various religions, and Christian doctrines of incarnation, love, and mystical unknowing.

Keywords: Lacan, Real, Imaginary, Symbolic, the Other, das Ding, paternal metaphor, sacrifice, sexuation, mysticism

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