Emeritus Professor of Russian
University of California, Davis
Since the 1970s I have been publishing research in a variety of fields in the humanities and social sciences. In 2011 I completed a psychoanalytic study of the Christian sign of the cross - from its origin in gospel narrations of the crucifixion of Jesus to its utilization by perpetrators of the Holocaust. More recently I have been immersed in research about the role Christian believers ascribe to the parents of Jesus as he developed into a charismatic religious leader, and eventually volunteered to sacrifice himself on a Roman cross. What does the grandiose moral masochism of Jesus the so-called Christ have to do with his relationships with his human father, his divine Father ("Abba"), his human mother, and his divinized Mother (the most holy "Mother of God," the "Blessed Virgin Mary")? Canonical scripture offers very little information here, but there are endless troves of relevant material - theology, the visual arts, music, literature, folklore, and so on - which invite psychoanalytic study.