A Leap of Faith into Moses: Freud’s Invitation to Evenly Suspended Attention

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This chapter argues that Moses and Monotheism invites its readers to approach it in a state of “evenly-suspended attention,” the mindset that Freud recommends his colleagues practice in the therapeutic scene. This method of reading is contrasted with the prominent one in the discipline of literature, namely, close reading. Developed by the Anglo-American New Critics around the time of Moses ’ publication, close reading depends on what Freud terms “deliberate attention.” This chapter further demonstrates that reading Moses in a state of evenly-suspended attention is understood by Freud to require an act of faith in one’s unconscious or internal alterity. It concludes with a call for a reevaluation of what a Freudian or psychoanalytic reading is typically understood to mean in the humanities. That is, while Freud is conventionally thought of as the optimal close reader, Moses suggests otherwise.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFreud and Monotheism
Subtitle of host publicationMoses and the Violent Origins of Religion
EditorsGilad Sharvit , Karen S. Feldman
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherFordham University Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780823280056
ISBN (Print)9780823280025
StatePublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameBerkeley Forum in the Humanities
PublisherFordham University Press

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Psychology


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