Maimonides' Cure of Souls: Medieval Precursor of Psychoanalysis

Maimonides' Cure of Souls: Medieval Precursor of Psychoanalysis

by David Bakan, Dan Merkur, David S. Weiss
     
 

ISBN-10: 143842745X

ISBN-13: 9781438427454

Pub. Date: 10/29/2009

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Explores the unacknowledged psychological element in Maimonides’ 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 philosopher’s prescription for the cure of souls and its

Overview

Explores the unacknowledged psychological element in Maimonides’ 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 philosopher’s prescription for the cure of souls and its psychological significance. In the Guide of the Perplexed, Maimonides, who was also a physician, describes the soul’s 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 Maimonides’ psychology, Maimonidean mysticism, his beliefs about prophecy and sexuality, and what is known of Maimonides’ client population. A final chapter discusses Maimonides and Freud, noting that many distinctive features of the cure of souls are shared by Freud’s original formulation of psychoanalysis. Indeed, the many points of convergence suggest Freud’s direct or indirect contact with Maimonides’ legacy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781438427454
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
10/29/2009
Pages:
201
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations

1. The Will to Illness

Aristotelian Premises of Maimonides’ Psychology,
Aristotelian Forms, Actualization, Al-Farabi’s Political
Philosophy, Maimonides’ Behavioral Therapy, Sin
Causes Ignorance, Repentance, Conclusions

2. Worship of the Heart

The Commandments of Monotheistic Beliefs and
Affects, Maimonides’ Curriculum, Maimonides’
Intellectualist Mysticism, The Rational Character of
Maimonides’ Intellectualist Mysticism, The Mystical
Character of Maimonides’ Rationalism, Maimonides’
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,
Conclusions

4. Perplexity and the World to Come

Maimonides’ Esotericism, The World to Come, The
Thirteen Foundational Principles of the Law, The Four
Who Entered Paradise, Monistic Mystical Union,
Conclusions

5. Secrets of the Law

Arayot, The Account of the Beginning, Maimonides on
Sexuality, The Account of the Chariot, Conclusions

6. Maimonides’ Psychotherapy Client Population

7. Convergences of Maimonides and Freud

Freud’s Access to Maimonides, Dream Interpretation,
The Privileged Place of Sexuality, Sociocultural Conflict
Model, Theories of Pathology and Therapy, Psychic
Reality, Understanding on One’s Own, The Unconscious,
Views of Judaism, Prophetic Ambition, Conclusions

References
Index

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