The Birth of the Living God - A Psychoanalytic Study by Ana-Maria Rizzuto - review by Eleanore Armstrong

Eleanore Armstrong

God the Father

The Birth of the Living God - A Psychoanalytic Study


UChicagoPress 256pp £22.47 order from our bookshop

Dr. Rizzuto’s book is a study of the formation of the God representation and its modification and uses during the entire course of life. She differs from Freud in that she finds this representation is affected by the child’s relationship not only with his real father but also with his mother and other significant early objects. Instead she develops his argument of 1914. that ‘all of (the child’s) later choices of friendship and love follow upon the basis of memory traces left behind by these first prototypes.’ The God image is concocted ‘out of this matrix of facts and fantasies, wishes, hopes and fears, in the exchanges with these incredible beings called parents’. (p.7).

Her findings are based on the use of a projective technique consisting of parallel questionnaires - one with questions about the parents, the other with questions about God - the aim being to reveal internalised object relations as well as the relationship with God. This information is interpreted in relation

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