Theologian and psychotherapist Eugen Drewermann is probably the best-selling religious writer in Europe over the past quarter century. The sheer enormity of his principal books - The Cleric (900 pp.), The Structure of Evil (1969 pp.), Faith in Freedom: Depth Psychology and Dogmatics (720), Depth Psychology and Exegesis (2 vols.), and Psychoanalysis and Moral Theology (2 vols.) - has thwarted publication of his works in English translation to date. Drewermann's scathing attack on the clerical mentality, ideology, and culture (The Cleric), based on his psychotherapeutic work with clergy, led to his being silenced by Roman Catholic authorities in 1991 and suspended from the priesthood in 1992. T This is the first full-length introduction to Drewermann in English and includes extensive quotations from his works. Drewermann's primary intuition is that Christianity has done violence to people by using fear as the primary motive for faith-fear of hell, fear of exclusion, fear of God. At the heart of Drewermann's nonviolent interpretation of key Christian beliefs is his analysis of a violent image of God that characterizes traditional interpretations of sin and the cross.
It is this God image, opposed to human desires and self-realisation, that sanctified the killings of millions of peoples in wars declared to be 'just' and legitimated the violent exploitation of nonhuman nature and the aggressive economic exploitation of non-Christian cultures.
Matthias Beier is coordinator of the Doctor of Ministry Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling at Drew Theological School and has a private psychoanalytic practice in New York City. He teaches at both Drew and Fordham Universities.