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The Triumph of Religion Hardcover – 6 Sep 2013

3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1 edition (6 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745659896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745659893
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 492,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Jacques Lacan (1901 1981) was one of the twentieth century s most influential thinkers.  His many works include Écrits, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho–analysis and the many other volumes of The Seminars.


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By J. Mann VINE VOICE on 27 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a strange little book - it is less than 100 pages, and the last seven pages are blank.

It contains two entries: "Discourse to Catholics" seems to be some sort of "press conference" given over two days in which Lacan presents a random and difficult talk on the ethics of psychoanalysis. These were lectures open to the public, and in the introduction it says both texts are "part of Lacan's oral work". I certainly didn't find anything in particular that addressed itself to Catholics, although there are occasional references to Freud's atheism.

The second talk appears to be some sort of interview in which Lacan in some way addresses the "Triumph of Religion" - this is not religion in general, or some sort of history of religion, but the only true religion which he first describes as the "Roman" religion - but before you start thinking of offering a sacrifice to Jupiter - he goes on to say "there is one true religion and that is the Christian one" - there is then some discussion of "in the beginning was the Word" - a quote from the beginning of the Gospel of John - and how religion can triumph because "religion, above all the one true religion, is resourceful in ways we cannot begin to suspect" - the idea seems to be science lacks meaning, whereas "[Christians] know quite a bit about meaning, they can give meaning to absolutely anything whatsoever".

I find it impossible to say what these two texts are really about - I'm toying between 2 and 3 stars but perhaps I'll settle on 3, I'm sure Lacan is deliberately obscure - in fact in the interview he admits this and even says he doesn't want to be understood, only read.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'd heard of Lacan and am not entirely unfamiliar with writing on psychology, theology and psychoanalysis. I was looking forward to hearing his views on psychoanalysis, Freud and why he believes religion will triumph over psychoanalysis. Overall, this book was a disappointment, given my starting-point and my expectations.

Both texts ("The Triumph of Religion" is preceded by "A Discourse for Catholics") are records of talks by Lacan for an audience which, one hopes, were familiar with his esoteric vocabulary and shared his framework for allusions (which even seem to fox the translator in the endnotes provided).

I took nothing from the first paper which I had not understood from much more basic texts on the relationaship of psychoanalysis to religion. However, I found 2 gems in the second half, which justified spending the time on what is, after all, a very short text.

Here are the gems, first on what religion can uniquely do and the second on why he is not worried that people don't generally seem to have much time for religion in their current lifestyles:

"It took some time but they (Christians) suddenly realized the windfall science was bringing them. Somebody is going to have to give meaning to all the distressing things science is going to introduce. And they know quite a bit about meaning. They can give meaning to anything whatsoever. A meaning to human life, for example. They are trained to do that. Since the beginning, religion has been all about giving meaning to things that previously were natural."

"... the real to which we gain access with little formulas, the true real, is something else altogether. Up until now, all we have gotten from are gadgets. We send a rocket to the moon, we have television, and so on.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dont be misslead this is not a major publication, it is two lectures given in 1960 and 1974 and published as a single small book first in French in 2005 and English in 2013. Because it is a series of presentations or interviews there is little scholarly support in Lancan's text and so his tendency to generalise is emphasised further than it could be - for example when describing the 'anxiety of scientists', perhaps this is the anxiety of Lancan over an imagined juxtaposition between science and humanity, rather than scientists. Indeed science seems to be used as a straw man to create an intellectual or hypothetical dilemma - is for example the animal world acutely 'indestructible' pp 60. Lucan though is perhapse most interesting when defending the distance, or otherwise, between religion and psychoanalysis.

This book has been popular enough in French for the publisher to offer a translation, it is a good quality book, with crisp paper. As a result it is a nice object, but it's content suffers a great deal for not having an introduction to provide context - what value are these lectures outside of historical descriptions of psychoanalysis? What use might these be to a layperson, what influence did they have and what historical or intellectual contexts influenced his thought. As a result This is disappointing, general and not a good way to approach Lacan or the problems he creates.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I confess that I have little knowledge of psychoanalysis but was interested in ordering this book because of the description in Amazon Vine and my interest in any commentary on religion.

The content of this book consists of 2 lectures and a press conference, notes written up by Jacques-Alain Miller who states that `I have chosen the titles and established the text'. It has then been translated by Bruce Fink. For me, the net result is that most of the text is quite impenetrable and very hard to understand. There are sections that to me make little sense at all and this excludes any technical words or phrases.

This volume will I presume appeal to students of Lacan and his approach to the subject but I cannot recommend it to the general reader.
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