The Influence of Freud's Hermeneutic of Suspicion on the Writings of Juan Segundo

Volume 10
Spring 1982
The Influence of Freud's Hermeneutic of Suspicion on the Writings of Juan Segundo

In 1970, Paul Ricoeur published his book, Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation. In this book Ricoeur attempted a deeper interpretation of Freud's analysis of individual and cultural psychic transformation. The fundamental insight offered by Ricoeur was that a much richer reading of Freud is obtained by regarding psychoanalysis as an unmasking, demystifying hermeneutic of suspicion rather than as the traditional reading of psychoanalysis would suggest, a system of energetics without hermeneutics. Ricoeur's insight was adopted by Juan Segundo, who made this idea of a "hermeneutic of suspicion" the basis of his theological method. In this article, the author describes some of the essential features of that method in order to show its dependence on Freud's analysis of psychic and cultural transformation. Such a description of the foundation of Segundo's method should afford a better insight into the whole thrust of liberation theology and its insistence that the primary task of theology today is to develop a critical awareness of the false consciousness, the alienation and domination of our times which keeps the oppressed enslaved and prevents the evolution of a new humanity and a new society. In the last section of this article, the author argues that even though Segundo's theology tends toward secularism, nevertheless, by its affirmation of the ultimate significance of our lives in this world, it has been an occasion of undeniable enrichment of contemporary theological ferment, and as such merits the openness on the part of other forms of theology that makes dialogue possible.

Dr. J.G. O'Donnell
28 - 34
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