1st Edition

Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Jewish Thought Answering a Question with More Questions

Edited By Libby Henik, Lewis Aron Copyright 2024
    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    Demonstrating the connections between contemporary psychoanalysis, Jewish thought and Jewish history, this volume is a significant contribution to the traditions of dialogue, debate and change-within-continuity that epitomize these disciplines.

    The authors of this volume explore the cross-disciplinary connections between psychoanalysis and Jewish thought, while seeking out the resonance of new meanings, to exemplify the uncanny similarities that exist between ancient Rabbinic methods of interpretation and contemporary psychoanalytic theory and methodology, particularly the centrality of the question and the deconstruction of narrative. In doing so, this collaboration addresses the bi-directional influence between, and the relevance of, the Jewish interpretive tradition and psychoanalysis to provide readers with renewed insight into key topics such as Biblical text and midrash, religious traditions, trauma, gender, history, clinical work and the legacies of the Holocaust on psychoanalytic theory.

    Creating an intimate environment for interdisciplinary dialogue, this is an essential book for students, scholars and clinicians alike, who seek to understand the continued significance of the multiple connections between psychoanalysis and Jewish thought.

    Introduction and Chapter Summaries

    Part 1: Clinical Presentation 

    1. "You are Requested to Raise Your Eyes and See": The Reconstruction of Religious and Psychoanalytic Belief During the Analytic Encounter 

    Mitchel Becker

    2. God at an Impasse: Devotion, Social Justice and the Psychoanalytic Subject 

    Sue Grand

    3. This Bread Is Not My Body: Biblical Manna as a Psychoanalytic Paradigm 

    Moshe Halevi Spero

    4. God's Influence on My Psychoanalytic Vision and Values  

    Lewis Aron

    Part 2: Biblical Commentary 

    5. In the Beginning, There Was ... Envy 

    Libby Henik

    6. The Unthinkable Satanic: A Psychoanalytic Insight into the Shofar as Sympton 

    Rabbi Aton Holzer

    7. Abraham Bound and Unbound: The Akedah  

    Avivah Zornberg

    Part 3: Historical Content 

    8. Trauma, Gender and the Stories of Jewish Women: The Other Within 

    Jill Salberg

    9. Fearing the Theoretical Other: The Legacy of Kohut's Erasure of the Analyst's Trauma 

    Ilene Philipson

    10. Give Me Permission to Remember: Judith S. Kestenberg and the Memory of the Holocaust 

    Klara Naszkowska

    11. Freud's Moses, Schoenberg's Moses: Two Expressions of Trauma

    Pamela Cooper-White


    Libby Henik is a graduate of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work (Yeshiva University) and the American Institute for Psychoanalysis (Karen Horney Psychoanalytic Center).

    Lewis Aron was director of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and served as president of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association.

    ‘Lew Aron’s and Libby Henik’s previous two volumes in the Answering a Question with a Question series have provided a vital set of materials linking psychoanalysis and Jewish thought. In this new collection, dedicated to Aron and including a self-reflective chapter by him, debates produced by this linkage are advanced in a gripping and fertile way. Structured across three areas - clinical presentation, biblical commentary, and historical content – the book is an essential contribution to the literature on religion and psychoanalysis, with a profound Jewish twist: interpretation is never-ending and our deepest concerns can always be made the topic of a new set of questions.’

    Stephen Frosh, Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London

    ‘This is a beautiful, rich, and theoretically complex book. Dedicated to the memory of Lew Aron, the contributors explore the links between Jewish and psychoanalytic thought. Its contributors, many world-renowned scholars, address a multiplicity of overlapping issues organized around the threads of Judaism and psychoanalysis.’

    Joyce Slochower, NYU Postdoctoral Program

    ‘The third volume in this important series continues to illustrate the mutuality of influence between Judaism and psychoanalysis - how they encounter, inform and transform each other.’

    Seth Aronson, Psy.D., Director of Training, Training and Supervising Analyst, William Alanson White Institute; Faculty, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah 

    ‘In this third volume of the series, traditions dedicated to upsetting facile representations of the human condition, Judaism and Psychoanalysis, are once again creatively and unabashedly brought together. From this conversation emerges an abundance of riches for the reader–with deep implications on our ethical, clinical, historical, political and theoretical approaches and ideas. The authors should be applauded for bringing us such powerful and dimensional ways of formulating ourselves drawing from the wealth of these traditions.’

    David Goodman, Boston College

    ‘My encounter with Libby Henik’s new book—the next volume in a series that she co-wrote and edited with my late friend and colleague Lew Aron—has been a beautiful discovery for me. Each of the chapters has a tantalizing frame in which one gets the feeling of "just let me read a little more…" But it was my reading of Libby Henik’s own introduction that left me thinking, "Oh my God I have to take a closer look at this." Outwardly about the fundamental similarities of psychoanalytic and Jewish modes of thought, the introduction is itself an example of thinking about the creation and elaboration of our own minds, within ourselves and within relationships, in a way that is extraordinarily profound, beautifully expressed, and anchored in self-evident experience.’

    Jonathan H. Slavin, Ph.D., Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School: Adjunct Clinical Professor, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York University; Former President, Division of Psychoanalysis (39), American Psychological Association; Founding President, Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis