Luria, Schelling, and Freud: From Zimzum to the Oedipus Complex

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In contrast to previous attempts to establish a direct relation between Freud and Kabbalah, this article argues for an indirect relationship mediated by way of Schelling’s philosophy. My claim is that Freud’s Oedipus complex partly originated in Schelling’s idea of God’s contraction, which he arguably derived from the Lurianic doctrine of zimzum. Furthermore, in thinking of the oedipal complex, and of repression more generally, as a late development of the Lurianic and Schellingian imagination of what I call “productive negativity,” I suggest that an important conceptual horizon is opened for the Freudian concept, one that transcends the widespread but narrow formulation of repression as a retroactive and regressive mental mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-261
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Brill Academic Publishers. All rights reserved.


  • Freud
  • Lurianic Kabbalah
  • Oedipus complex
  • Schelling
  • ground (Grund)
  • repression
  • zimzum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Religious studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Luria, Schelling, and Freud: From Zimzum to the Oedipus Complex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this