From Publishers Weekly
Kristeva (Powers of Horror
) delivers a focused and insightful discussion of religious belief. With material culled from various interviews, articles and lectures, the book is less a unified argument than a sprawling analysis of religion in major psychological and philosophical literature (e.g., Freud, Arendt, Winnicot), fiction (e.g., Proust) and in private life (Kristeva makes wonderful use of Saint Teresa of Avila's writings) underscored by her claim that sharable knowledge of the inner religious experience is possible and could develop into an important field of discourse. Kristeva provides neither an attack on nor a support of religious belief; her interest is in drawing other disciplines into the discussion. She uses psychoanalytic techniques to comprehend religious experience, the clash of religions, notions of genius, theories of suffering and sexuality and the debt modern humanism owes to Christianity's emphasis on self-questioning. Compelling and remarkable for its staunch unwillingness to take sides, this book sets forth Kristeva's most sustained treatment of religion in a format that will interest both scholars and anyone looking for an accessible introduction to her methods and preoccupations. (Oct.)
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Nowhere else does Julia Kristeva provide such a sustained treatment of her views on religion. Kristeva scholars and students will find this book an indispensable text.
(Noelle McAfee, George Mason University)
A focused and insightful discussion of religious belief... compelling and remarkable.
In this book, Julia Kristeva analyzes various pressing issues of our time, including the crisis in the Middle East, terrorism, depression, anorexia, and addiction, along with a general crisis of meaning. With her customary brilliance, she argues that belief and faith make it possible to speak but also to question. Provocatively, she describes a vein of Christianity and Catholicism that open up rather than close down that infinite questioning, which she maintains is necessary to delay the death drive. Here, Kristeva uses her incisive psychoanalytic acumen to diagnose the 'culture wars' and the 'clash of religions' that threaten world peace.
(Kelly Oliver, Vanderbilt University, and editor of The Portable Kristeva
A helpful commentary and introduction to Kristeva's major work over the last two decades... recommended.
Readers... will be exposed to an impressive... crystallization of [Kristeva's] religious and psychoanalytic thought.
(Elaine P. Zicker Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature