In his last years, Otto Rank turned his lifetime of thought and learning toward two of the most difficult topics in human history: religion and the soul. The result was this now-classic work, available in this new, very accessible English translation. Unlike many other intellectuals of the twentieth century, Rank maintains a place for the soul rather than dismissing it as a fantasy. The soul and the beliefs about it, he argues, set forth the foundation for psychology, with its complex analyses of consciousness, self-consciousness, and personality. Rank’s commentary is not limited to beliefs about individual souls but includes ideas about group souls, sometimes encompassing nations or generations. Rank suggests that it is in expression of group beliefs that the idea of the soul attains its greatest power.
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