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The Dogma of Christ: And Other Essays on Religion, Psychology and Culture (Routledge Classics) Paperback – 29 Jul 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (29 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415289998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415289993
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'The problems - individual, social, and methodological - that Fromm addresses in his various writings are, if anything, more serious and urgent today, hence the timeliness of this welcome Routledge Classics edition.' - David M. Wulff, Wheaton College, Massachusetts

About the Author

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) Psychoanalyst and author, Fromm is arguably one of the most outstanding figures of 20th Century humanism

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lark TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great early work by the author of The Fear of Freedom (Routledge Classics), The Sane Society (Routledge Classics) and To Have or to be?, which features the characteristic blending of philosophy, religion, psychology and social criticism for which he has gathered a following.

The book has a very clear contents and a comprehensive index making it accessible to browsing and skimming or a more indepth read. In addition to the original work there is a 2004 preface written by Jeremy Carrette which, counter to the trend in most of the introductions or prefaces composed for the Routledge Classics range, seriously condemns neo-liberalism and contextualises Fromm's work as an early opponent of these trends. Its interesting that while The Sane Society (Routledge Classics) has been enthusiastically taken up by the opponents of neo-liberal trends and The Fear of Freedom (Routledge Classics) taken up by all political quarters, this work has been largely overlooked.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By pat neale on 27 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The summary as written on line prepared one for this book. No great surprises. Enjoyable to read if this is your taste in literature
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Feb 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ever wondered why the religion of an obscure Jewish sect grew and grew to envelop the world?

Fromm traces its origins as a reaction to a very real oppression undertaken by the Jewish aristocracy and Roman Imperialists and looks at it from a psychological perspective. Although couched in Freud which he later rejeced this piece of writing is an absolute must for anyone interested in religion, psychology, psychotherapy, history of ideas, history or just the human condition.

Fromm has undertaken the impossible and made the Bible come alive, not through digging into the physical ruins but the memory banks. Drawing on Freud and Marx he has undertaken a geneological unearthing that is fascinating and incendary.

This is how all history should be viewed, as a battle between ideas, fought thrugh economics and psychologies instead of the sterile mundane consumption of facts. Fromm has taken the critical stance of the Franfurt School and rewoven the magical insights.

The other essays written later also brim with more ideas than has been churned out in universities over the past 30 years.

Going backwards into the past will deliver the future because modernity has hit the buffers of the cul de sac.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
an Marxian / Freudian interpretation of Christianity 2 Oct 2009
By T. C. Hood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fromm writes very clearly. He develops an argument that early Christian interpretations of Christ rested on seeing Jesus as a man who through his suffering became equal to God. This hopeful view allowed the exploited peasant classes who were dominated by the Pharisees, the Roman occupation and the Herodians to have some hope for the future given the projected immanent triumphant return promised in the gospels and in the teaching of Paul. As time passed and persons outside of the Jews homeland became adherents, the views of Christ changed and Christ was seen as created at the same time as God and equal to God. Fromm interprets this change as a way of substituting for the emperor worship common at the time and yet supporting the state. Religion becomes more spiritual with emphasis on the guilt of the individual that can only be alleviated by the agents of the church. Christianity changes from a revolutionary movement to a movement supporting the political system by the time of Constantine. This view of Christianity should be compared to Rodney Stark's, THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY which offers a dramatically different interpretation of the same historical period.
AN EARLY (1930) ESSAY OF FROMM'S, AND SEVERAL MUCH LATER ONES 30 May 2013
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Erich Seligmann Fromm (1900-1980) was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist; in Europe, he was associated with the Frankfurt School. He wrote many other books such as Escape from Freedom, Psychoanalysis and Religion, The Art of Loving, Beyond the Chains of Illusion, The Revolution of Hope, You Shall Be as Gods, Greatness and Limitations of Freud's Thought, etc. [NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 1962 226-page Doubeday paperback edition.]

He wrote in the Foreword to this 1963 collection, "While most of the essays in this volume have been written during the last ten years, the longest paper, 'The Dogma of Christ,' first appeared in German in 1930... I myself was very hesitant to reissue this early example of my thought... First of all, it was written in a period when I was a strict Freudian... Furthermore, I one-sidedly stressed ... the social function of religion as a substitute for real satisfaction and as a means for social control... today I would emphasize the view... that the history of religion reflects the history of man's spiritual evolution... The main emphasis of this study is the analysis of the socioeconomic situation of the social groups which accepted and transmitted Christian teaching; it is only on the basis of this analysis that a psychoanalytic interpretation is attempted." (Pg. vii-ix)

He says in the title essay, "Our purpose here is to understand the change in certain contents of consciousness as expressed in the theological ideas as a result of a change in unconscious processes. Accordingly, just as we have done with regard to the methodological problem, we propose to deal briefly with the most important findings of psychoanalysis as they touch upon our question." (Pg. 10-11) He adds, "The aim will be to understand dogma on the basis of a study of people, not people on the basis of a study of dogma. We shall attempt, therefore, first to describe the total situation of the social class from which the early Christian faith originated, and to understand the psychological meaning of this faith in terms of the total psychic situation of these people. We shall then show how different the mentality of the people was at a later period." (Pg. 21)

He observes that "We see thus that the concept of Jesus held by the early [Christian] community was that he was a man chosen by God and elevated by him as a 'messiah,' and later as 'Son of God.'" (Pg. 45) He adds, "The belief that a man is elevated to a god was an expression of the unconscious impulse of hostility to the father that was present in these masses... The early Christian adoptionist belief was born of the masses; it was an expression of their revolutionary tendencies... This explains why in such an extraordinarily rapid time it became the religion also of the oppressed pagan masses..." (Pg. 51)

But later, "The revolutionary situation which had prevailed until the second century had disappeared... the Middle Ages began to develop... The new Christianity came under the leadership of the ruling class. The new dogma of Jesus was created and formulated by this ruling group and its intellectual representatives, not by the masses. The decisive element was the change from the idea of man becoming God to that of God becoming man." (Pg. 65) He concludes, "Catholicism signified the disguised return to the religion of the Great Mother who had been defeated by Yahweh. Only Protestantism turned back to the father-god. It stands at the beginning of a social epoch that permits an active attitude on the part of the masses in contrast to the passively infantile attitude of the Middle Ages." (Pg. 95)

Even though Fromm later changed his mind on some of these ideas, this is still a fascinating collection of his writings on religion, and is helpful to show how his thought evolved over time.
AN EARLY (1930) ESSAY OF FROMM'S, AND SEVERAL MUCH LATER ONES 30 May 2013
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Erich Seligmann Fromm (1900-1980) was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist; in Europe, he was associated with the Frankfurt School. He wrote many other books such as Escape from Freedom, Psychoanalysis and Religion, The Art of Loving, Beyond the Chains of Illusion, The Revolution of Hope, You Shall Be as Gods, Greatness and Limitations of Freud's Thought, etc. [NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 1962 226-page Doubeday paperback edition.]

He wrote in the Foreword to this 1963 collection, "While most of the essays in this volume have been written during the last ten years, the longest paper, 'The Dogma of Christ,' first appeared in German in 1930... I myself was very hesitant to reissue this early example of my thought... First of all, it was written in a period when I was a strict Freudian... Furthermore, I one-sidedly stressed ... the social function of religion as a substitute for real satisfaction and as a means for social control... today I would emphasize the view... that the history of religion reflects the history of man's spiritual evolution... The main emphasis of this study is the analysis of the socioeconomic situation of the social groups which accepted and transmitted Christian teaching; it is only on the basis of this analysis that a psychoanalytic interpretation is attempted." (Pg. vii-ix)

He says in the title essay, "Our purpose here is to understand the change in certain contents of consciousness as expressed in the theological ideas as a result of a change in unconscious processes. Accordingly, just as we have done with regard to the methodological problem, we propose to deal briefly with the most important findings of psychoanalysis as they touch upon our question." (Pg. 10-11) He adds, "The aim will be to understand dogma on the basis of a study of people, not people on the basis of a study of dogma. We shall attempt, therefore, first to describe the total situation of the social class from which the early Christian faith originated, and to understand the psychological meaning of this faith in terms of the total psychic situation of these people. We shall then show how different the mentality of the people was at a later period." (Pg. 21)

He observes that "We see thus that the concept of Jesus held by the early [Christian] community was that he was a man chosen by God and elevated by him as a 'messiah,' and later as 'Son of God.'" (Pg. 45) He adds, "The belief that a man is elevated to a god was an expression of the unconscious impulse of hostility to the father that was present in these masses... The early Christian adoptionist belief was born of the masses; it was an expression of their revolutionary tendencies... This explains why in such an extraordinarily rapid time it became the religion also of the oppressed pagan masses..." (Pg. 51)

But later, "The revolutionary situation which had prevailed until the second century had disappeared... the Middle Ages began to develop... The new Christianity came under the leadership of the ruling class. The new dogma of Jesus was created and formulated by this ruling group and its intellectual representatives, not by the masses. The decisive element was the change from the idea of man becoming God to that of God becoming man." (Pg. 65) He concludes, "Catholicism signified the disguised return to the religion of the Great Mother who had been defeated by Yahweh. Only Protestantism turned back to the father-god. It stands at the beginning of a social epoch that permits an active attitude on the part of the masses in contrast to the passively infantile attitude of the Middle Ages." (Pg. 95)

Even though Fromm later changed his mind on some of these ideas, this is still a fascinating collection of his writings on religion, and is helpful to show how his thought evolved over time.
AN EARLY (1930) ESSAY OF FROMM'S, AND SEVERAL MUCH LATER ONES 30 May 2013
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Erich Seligmann Fromm (1900-1980) was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist; in Europe, he was associated with the Frankfurt School. He wrote many other books such as Escape from Freedom, Psychoanalysis and Religion, The Art of Loving, Beyond the Chains of Illusion, The Revolution of Hope, You Shall Be as Gods, Greatness and Limitations of Freud's Thought, etc.

He wrote in the Foreword to this 1963 collection, "While most of the essays in this volume have been written during the last ten years, the longest paper, 'The Dogma of Christ,' first appeared in German in 1930... I myself was very hesitant to reissue this early example of my thought... First of all, it was written in a period when I was a strict Freudian... Furthermore, I one-sidedly stressed ... the social function of religion as a substitute for real satisfaction and as a means for social control... today I would emphasize the view... that the history of religion reflects the history of man's spiritual evolution... The main emphasis of this study is the analysis of the socioeconomic situation of the social groups which accepted and transmitted Christian teaching; it is only on the basis of this analysis that a psychoanalytic interpretation is attempted." (Pg. vii-ix)

He says in the title essay, "Our purpose here is to understand the change in certain contents of consciousness as expressed in the theological ideas as a result of a change in unconscious processes. Accordingly, just as we have done with regard to the methodological problem, we propose to deal briefly with the most important findings of psychoanalysis as they touch upon our question." (Pg. 10-11) He adds, "The aim will be to understand dogma on the basis of a study of people, not people on the basis of a study of dogma. We shall attempt, therefore, first to describe the total situation of the social class from which the early Christian faith originated, and to understand the psychological meaning of this faith in terms of the total psychic situation of these people. We shall then show how different the mentality of the people was at a later period." (Pg. 21)

He observes that "We see thus that the concept of Jesus held by the early [Christian] community was that he was a man chosen by God and elevated by him as a 'messiah,' and later as 'Son of God.'" (Pg. 45) He adds, "The belief that a man is elevated to a god was an expression of the unconscious impulse of hostility to the father that was present in these masses... The early Christian adoptionist belief was born of the masses; it was an expression of their revolutionary tendencies... This explains why in such an extraordinarily rapid time it became the religion also of the oppressed pagan masses..." (Pg. 51)

But later, "The revolutionary situation which had prevailed until the second century had disappeared... the Middle Ages began to develop... The new Christianity came under the leadership of the ruling class. The new dogma of Jesus was created and formulated by this ruling group and its intellectual representatives, not by the masses. The decisive element was the change from the idea of man becoming God to that of God becoming man." (Pg. 65) He concludes, "Catholicism signified the disguised return to the religion of the Great Mother who had been defeated by Yahweh. Only Protestantism turned back to the father-god. It stands at the beginning of a social epoch that permits an active attitude on the part of the masses in contrast to the passively infantile attitude of the Middle Ages." (Pg. 95)

Even though Fromm later changed his mind on some of these ideas, this is still a fascinating collection of his writings on religion, and is helpful to show how his thought evolved over time.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
AN EARLY (1930) ESSAY OF FROMM'S, AND SEVERAL MUCH LATER ONES 30 May 2013
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Erich Seligmann Fromm (1900-1980) was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist; in Europe, he was associated with the Frankfurt School. He wrote many other books such as Escape from Freedom, Psychoanalysis and Religion, The Art of Loving, Beyond the Chains of Illusion, The Revolution of Hope, You Shall Be as Gods, Greatness and Limitations of Freud's Thought, etc. [NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 1962 226-page Doubeday paperback edition.]

He wrote in the Foreword to this 1963 collection, "While most of the essays in this volume have been written during the last ten years, the longest paper, 'The Dogma of Christ,' first appeared in German in 1930... I myself was very hesitant to reissue this early example of my thought... First of all, it was written in a period when I was a strict Freudian... Furthermore, I one-sidedly stressed ... the social function of religion as a substitute for real satisfaction and as a means for social control... today I would emphasize the view... that the history of religion reflects the history of man's spiritual evolution... The main emphasis of this study is the analysis of the socioeconomic situation of the social groups which accepted and transmitted Christian teaching; it is only on the basis of this analysis that a psychoanalytic interpretation is attempted." (Pg. vii-ix)

He says in the title essay, "Our purpose here is to understand the change in certain contents of consciousness as expressed in the theological ideas as a result of a change in unconscious processes. Accordingly, just as we have done with regard to the methodological problem, we propose to deal briefly with the most important findings of psychoanalysis as they touch upon our question." (Pg. 10-11) He adds, "The aim will be to understand dogma on the basis of a study of people, not people on the basis of a study of dogma. We shall attempt, therefore, first to describe the total situation of the social class from which the early Christian faith originated, and to understand the psychological meaning of this faith in terms of the total psychic situation of these people. We shall then show how different the mentality of the people was at a later period." (Pg. 21)

He observes that "We see thus that the concept of Jesus held by the early [Christian] community was that he was a man chosen by God and elevated by him as a 'messiah,' and later as 'Son of God.'" (Pg. 45) He adds, "The belief that a man is elevated to a god was an expression of the unconscious impulse of hostility to the father that was present in these masses... The early Christian adoptionist belief was born of the masses; it was an expression of their revolutionary tendencies... This explains why in such an extraordinarily rapid time it became the religion also of the oppressed pagan masses..." (Pg. 51)

But later, "The revolutionary situation which had prevailed until the second century had disappeared... the Middle Ages began to develop... The new Christianity came under the leadership of the ruling class. The new dogma of Jesus was created and formulated by this ruling group and its intellectual representatives, not by the masses. The decisive element was the change from the idea of man becoming God to that of God becoming man." (Pg. 65) He concludes, "Catholicism signified the disguised return to the religion of the Great Mother who had been defeated by Yahweh. Only Protestantism turned back to the father-god. It stands at the beginning of a social epoch that permits an active attitude on the part of the masses in contrast to the passively infantile attitude of the Middle Ages." (Pg. 95)

Even though Fromm later changed his mind on some of these ideas, this is still a fascinating collection of his writings on religion, and is helpful to show how his thought evolved over time.
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