1st Edition

The Secret Symmetry of Maimonides and Freud

By Nathan Szajnberg Copyright 2023
    110 Pages
    by Routledge

    110 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Secret Symmetry of Maimonides and Freud presents the parallels between The Guide of the Perplexed and The Interpretation of Dreams, considering how Maimonides might be perceived as anticipating Freud’s much later work.

    The Secret Symmetry of Maimonides and Freud suggests that humankind has secrets to hide and does so by using common mechanisms and embedding revealing hints for the benefit of the true reader. Using a psychoanalytic approach in tandem with literary criticism and an in-depth assessment of Judaica, Szajnberg demonstrates the similarities between these two towering Jewish intellectual pillars. Using concepts of esoteric literature from the Torah and later texts, this book analyses their ideas on concealing and revealing to gain a renewed perspective on Freud’s view of dreams. Throughout, Szajnberg articulates the challenges of reading translated works and how we can address the pitfalls in such translations.

    The book is a vital read for psychoanalysts in training and practice, as well as those interested in Judaica, the history of ideas, and early medieval studies.

    Acknowledgements  Preface- Rambam and Freud: a Secret Symmetry  1. Introduction- Maimonides' Guide of The Perplexed as a Medieval Precursor to Freud's Interpretation of Dreams  2. Rambam: B'reishit ("In the Beginning"; or "At the Head")  3. Mishnah Torah: Precedence for The Guide מורה נבוכים; Historical Context.  4. Guide  5. The Exoteric and Esoteric of Freud's Dream Book  6. Denouement: Rambam's Perplexing Moreh and Freud's Perplexing Dream


    Nathan Szajnberg is a training analyst and retired Sigmund Freud Professor of Psychoanalysis at The Hebrew University, Israel. Szajnberg was born in Germany, grew up in Rochester, NY, and attended the College and Medical School at the University of Chicago, USA. His residencies include pediatrics, general, and child psychiatry, and he completed his psychoanalytic training at the St. Louis Institute, USA. He lives in Palo Alto with his wife and four children.

    "Once one starts reading one wonders at the depth and meaning of the connection between these two wise souls. They enrich and add to each other across seven hundred years, bringing to light how past and present interact, opening dimensions and possibilities of being in our ongoing search and growth. A stimulating and healing contribution that keeps giving, at once awakening and restoring."

    Michael Eigen, Author of 'The Challenge of Being Human' 'Contact with the Depths', 'Faith'.

     "Nathan Szajnberg has recognized a stunning link between 12th century Physician-Rabbi and a 19-20th century physician-psychologist. Each one found the cipher that aids understanding of esoteric narratives that enhance our lives. The story of discovery was a task of a lifetime revealing Szajnberg's genius: seeing connections across his career and across centuries. The volume exposes another connection among the three that represents the revival of Aristotilean thought that promotes the cultivation of Reason. A great story for anyone who loves scholarship!'

    Theodore Shapiro, MD. Emeritus Professor, Weil Cornell Medicine. Editor Jnl. American Psychoanalytic Assoc. (1983 - 1992)

    "Studying Freud- and especially some of the key chapters of the "Interpretation of Dreams"- is not easy reading, but it is enriching reading. This work in particular requires that we re-read every page, sometimes even every paragraph in order to fully grasp the depth of what Freud reveals about the workings of the mind through his understanding of the dream work and of the importance of discovering that which is hidden in the dream in order to better understand ourselves. This is, of course, also very true of reading Maimonedes "Mishneh Torah" as the close study of this text allows the reader to grasp hidden meanings that can enlighten, just as the interpretation of a dream can inform the dreamer of that which was hiterhto unknown. This scholarly and well-referenced book is also about studying and not just reading; every page gives us new facts, makes new connections, and brings to light hidden connections, mechanisms and associations, thus showing a continuity in mental processes from the past to the present. Nathan Szajnberg takes us on a distinctive voyage of discvoery; by the end of his book, the reader is left with a sense of awe and pleasure at how much has been learned"

    Dr Edward Nersessian, Training and supervising psychoanalyst at New York Psychoanalytic Institute, Clincical Professor of Psychiatry Weil Cornell Medical college, Director for The Helix Center for Multidisciplinary Studies.

    "Szajnberg has a brillaint talent for exposing latent relationships between Freud's dream theory and Jewish mysticism. He shows Maimonides as a brilliant dialectician whose use of simile and metaphor exposed latent relationships. Following the author's integrative expository talent is an exposure to wisdom and an intellectual treat"

    Peter Loewenberg, Professor Emeritus, UCLA.

    "This unique book is outstanding, being written by Dr Nathan Szajnberg, training analyst and former Freud Professor of Psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Szajnberg was born in Germany, studied Medicine at the University of Chicago and studied psychoanalysis at the St. Louis Institute… He brings forth a deciphering in the face of six chapters on the secret symmetry between Freud’s thoughts… and the Rambam (Maimonides) of the 12th Century."

    Ofra Eshel, Ph.D., Israel Psychoanalytic Institute, Israel.