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Sacred Order/Social Order

The Jew of Culture: Freud, Moses, and Modernity
Philip Rieff. Edited by Kenneth S. Piver. Edited by Gideon Lewis-Kraus and Arnold M. Eisen. Introduction by Arnold M. Eisen

BUY Cloth · 264 pp. · 5.5 × 8.5 · ISBN 9780813927060 · $79.50 · May 2008

Philip Rieff earned recognition as one of the most profound social theorists of culture and authority of the twentieth century. Through such works as Freud: The Mind of the Moralist and The Triumph of the Therapeutic, he proved himself an incisive interpreter of Freud and his legacy. His work now culminates with the long-awaited trilogy Sacred Order/Social Order, a three-volume work on social theory and contemporary culture.

Arnold Eisen chose the selections for the final volume of the trilogy in consultation with Philip Rieff. All of the selections bear on the nature of the "Jew of culture." Rieff explicitly and consistently identified with this ideal-type, named for the first time in Fellow Teachers, and crucial in one form or another to everything he wrote. For the rest of Rieff’s long career, "Jew of culture" would serve as foil, countertype, corrective, and adversary to the "therapeutics" who represented both Rieff’s analysands and his antagonists. The purpose of this collection of Rieff’s writings, undertaken at his suggestion, is to trace the evolution of the "Jew of culture" over the course of his work. In doing so we gain particular insight into his distinctive theory of society and the self; we also come to better understand the theorist.


Philip Rieff (1922-2006) was one of the finest minds of his generation...the strength of these volumes lies in the detail and remarkable range of the material he marshalls and in his extraordinary hermeneutic daring.

Charles Turner, University of Warwick · British Journal of Sociology

About the Author(s): 

Philip Rieff (1922–2006), Benjamin Franklin Professor of Sociology and University Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, was the author of the classic works Freud: The Mind of the Moralist, The Triumph of the Therapeutic, and Fellow Teachers and the editor of The Collected Papers of Sigmund Freud. Kenneth S. Piver is a psychiatrist in private practice in San Diego, California. Arnold M. Eisen is Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and is a leading scholar of contemporary Judaism. Gideon Lewis-Kraus is a critic and journalist who has written for Slate, Bookforum, and the New York Times Book Review.

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