Totem und Tabu
Almost a century after its first publication, “Totem and Tabu”, one of Freud’s major works on culture and religion, has been re-printed and commented in detail. The new edition not only outlines the contemporary context of the work, its reception and Viennese reactions to it. It also addresses the continued relevance of this important, controversial work: It considers the topic of guilt in various religions as historical constructions, thereby rejecting the tendency to derive the complexity of religions from hereditary and natural mental processes. The development of religion is not interpreted as a progressive, evolutionary and target-oriented process; religion is more like a stage for human dramas and spiritual conflicts, i.e. it is ultimately understood as the expression and regulation of instinct in relation to objects.