Goodman (Boston College) and Reineke (Univ. of Northern Iowa) have assembled a fine collection of essays related to the pioneering work of psychoanalyst Ana-Maria Rizzuto, whose book The Birth of the Living God (1981) transformed the way psychoanalysis approached the topic of religion. The present collection of six essays is in many ways an homage to that book's empirical and clinical interrogation of how representations of God are elaborated over the life-span. Each essay explores a different facet of Rizzuto's contribution to the psychology of religion, considering such topics as atheism, the healing factor in psychotherapy, the therapeutic use of metaphor, and the maternal matrix. A discussion by Rizzuto follows each essay, lending the collection a fresh dialogic dimension. These essays will serve as the best commentary on Rizzuto's important work to date, and will provide clinicians and scholars with material for further speculation on the relationship between psychoanalysis and religion. The interdisciplinary nature of the collection will serve as a model for future scholarship in the fields of religious studies, psychology, and psychotherapy.
Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.
The book is a model of how to advance important discussions not in lockstep, but with gracious respect when people differ, as several commentators do with parts of Rizzuto's thought and work. The first two chapters are extremely useful introductions to the wide applications of Rizzuto's work. . . . this is a valuable and insightful book with skillfully presented material. The editors and contributors are to be congratulated.
The present volume, a Festschrift honoring Rizzuto’s continuing influence, is well worth reading in and of itself . . . . one of the real gifts of this volume is Rizzuto’s own responses to each chapter. Rizzuto answers the questions raised by the various authors, sometimes in considerable detail, offering up-to-date definitional and conceptual clarifications directly from Rizzuto’s own ongoing work. All of the insights offered in this volume have continuing relevance for the practice of spiritual care today, perhaps even moreso in the pluralistic and interfaith context where much spiritual care is practiced.