Charisma by Philip Rieff
The Gift of Grace, and How It Has Been Taken Away from Us (Vintage)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



From the profoundly influential social theorist Philip Rieff comes a posthumously published analysis of the deepest level of crisis in our culture.According to Rieff, the contemporary notion of charisma-the personal magnetism of political leaders or movie stars-is a tragic misunderstanding of a profoundly important concept. Charisma originally meant religious grace and authority transferred through divine inspiration, before it evolved into little more than a form of celebrity stripped of moral considerations. Rieff argues that without morality, the gift of grace becomes indistinguishable from the gift of evil and devolves into a license to destroy in the name of faith or ideology. Offering brilliant interpretations of Kierkegaard, Weber, Kafka, Nietzsche, and Freud, Rieff shows how certain thinkers attacked the very possibility of faith and genuine charisma and helped prepare the way for a therapeutic culture in which it is impossible to recognize anything as sacred.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Philip Rieff

See more books from this Author
Philip Rieff, Benjamin Franklin Professor of Sociology and University Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, is author of the classic works Freud: The Mind of the Moralist, The Triumph of the Therapeutic, and Fellow Teachers and the editor of The Collected Papers of Sigmund Freud. Rieff died in July 2006.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published December 10, 2008 by Vintage. 288 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Charisma

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

Philip Rieff argues for a revival of the ancient concept of charisma.

Mar 04 2007 | Read Full Review of Charisma: The Gift of Grace, ...

Book Forum

The fons et origo of Rieffian thought, the key to all his mythologies, is his masterful first book, Freud, the glorious byproduct of Rieff's labors as the general editor of the Freud papers and one of the most lucid interpretations of a major thinker ever written.

Apr 19 2014 | Read Full Review of Charisma: The Gift of Grace, ...


Rieff analyzed this process through the lens of charisma, a concept that united his theological interest in the meaning of faith with his sociological interest in what constituted authority.

Feb 20 2007 | Read Full Review of Charisma: The Gift of Grace, ...

Reader Rating for Charisma

An aggregated and normalized score based on 8 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review