Eating the Book: Dietary Rites and the Paternal Function resonates through juxtaposition, yoking the grammar and history of sacred practices to the human act of eating; The intimate action of eating is tethered to “named” foods and sequenced practices, conjoining religious dictates with the subject’s being as founded in symbolization. The Jewish dietary law that requires draining meat of blood to render it Kosher obviously introduces a structural opposition between the raw and the cooked, and between torn food (treif) and carefully cut food. The Kashrut instantiates these practices, not as pragmatic precautions but as sanctified rite.
Exploring the suturing of religious belief with needs and practices of the body, Haddad follows Freud in works such as Totem and Taboo. Through a psychoanalytic scriptural exegesis, one sees, the ascendance of the symbolic origins of subjectivity as foundational within the religious. Giving both the maternal superego and the paternal lineage of the Decalogue its due, believers are commanded to “eat” words in creating a social and sacred covenant sustained the written, the Book.
Well known in France, Eating the Book: Dietary Rites and the Paternal Function, now in its second edition, reflects a year-long dialogue with Jacques Lacan. The author has also written on his personal analysis with Lacan, an experience that changed the course of his interests and career. Numerous books by the author explore the role of religion in psychic life and re-invigorate the interdisciplinary basis of psychoanalysis. A scholar, translator, and clinician, this practicing psychoanalyst has lived in Israel and now resides in Paris, France.
- Kareen Malone
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