Explores the unacknowledged psychological element in Maimonidesí work, one which prefigures the latter insights of Freud.
Is Moses Maimonides an unacknowledged ancestor of the psychoanalytic movement? In this book, David Bakan, Dan Merkur, and David S. Weiss look at the great medieval Jewish philosopherís prescription for the cure of souls and its psychological significance. In the Guide of the Perplexed, Maimonides, who was also a physician, describes the soulís illness: when sinners rationalize evil as good, they limit their capacities to reason, imagine, and behave well, which also produces physical symptoms. The cure depends on repentance in love and fear of God that is attained through philosophical knowledge, the interpretation of dreams and visions, and mystical contemplation. The authors look at the Aristotelian background of Maimonidesí psychology, Maimonidean mysticism, his beliefs about prophecy and sexuality, and what is known of Maimonidesí client population. A final chapter discusses Maimonides and Freud, noting that many distinctive features of the cure of souls are shared by Freudís original formulation of psychoanalysis. Indeed, the many points of convergence suggest Freudís direct or indirect contact with Maimonidesí legacy.
--- from the publisher
List of Abbreviations
1. The Will to Illness
Aristotelian Premises of Maimonidesí Psychology,
Aristotelian Forms, Actualization, Al-Farabiís Political
Philosophy, Maimonidesí Behavioral Therapy, Sin
Causes Ignorance, Repentance, Conclusions
2. Worship of the Heart
The Commandments of Monotheistic Beliefs and
Affects, Maimonidesí Curriculum, Maimonidesí
Intellectualist Mysticism, The Rational Character of
Maimonidesí Intellectualist Mysticism, The Mystical
Character of Maimonidesí Rationalism, Maimonidesí
Practice of the Presence of God, The Therapeutic
Effects of Meditation, Conclusions
3. Imagination and the Interpretation of Prophecy
Imagination and Anthropomorphism, Intellectualist
Mysticism and Prophecy, Dreams and Visions of
Prophecy, The Psychology of Imagination, The Place of
Imagination in the Interpretation of Scripture, The
Prophecies of Abraham, Confirmation from Ezekiel,
4. Perplexity and the World to Come
Maimonidesí Esotericism, The World to Come, The
Thirteen Foundational Principles of the Law, The Four
Who Entered Paradise, Monistic Mystical Union,
5. Secrets of the Law
Arayot, The Account of the Beginning, Maimonides on
Sexuality, The Account of the Chariot, Conclusions
6. Maimonidesí Psychotherapy Client Population
7. Convergences of Maimonides and Freud
Freudís Access to Maimonides, Dream Interpretation,
The Privileged Place of Sexuality, Sociocultural Conflict
Model, Theories of Pathology and Therapy, Psychic
Reality, Understanding on Oneís Own, The Unconscious,
Views of Judaism, Prophetic Ambition, Conclusions
About the Authors:
David Bakan (1921-2004) was Professor Emeritus of Psychology at York University and the author of several books, including Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition.
Dan Merkur is Research Reader in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto and a psychoanalyst in private practice in Toronto. He is the author of several books, including Crucified with Christ: Meditations on the Passion, Mystical Death, and the Medieval Invention of Psychotherapy, also published by SUNY Press.
David S. Weiss is President and CEO of Weiss International Ltd. and the author several books, including (with Steven R. Bedard) Contextual Negotiations.