Maimonides' Cure of Souls: Medieval Precursor of Psychoanalysis

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Explores the unacknowledged psychological element in Maimonides’ work, one which prefigures the latter insights of Freud.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book is fascinating … So much has been written on Maimonides and so much has been written on Freud. This book is a definite contribution to that effort.” — Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies

“…a genuine collaborative effort.” — H-Net Reviews (H-Judaic)

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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)

Meet the Author

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 a Ph.D. Psychologist and a rabbi. He is the President of Weiss International, a leadership consulting firm; an Affiliate Professor at the University of Toronto; and the author of several books, including Beyond the Walls of Conflict.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xv

List of Abbreviations xvii

1 The Will to Illness 1

Aristotelian Premises of Maimonides' Psychology

Aristotelian Forms


Al-Farabi's Political Philosophy

Maimonides' Behavioral Therapy

Sin Causes Ignorance



2 Worship of the Heart 25

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


3 Imagination and the Interpretation of Prophecy 49

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 73

Maimonides' 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 97


The Account of the Beginning

Maimonides on Sexuality

The Account of the Chariot


6 Maimonides' Psychotherapy Client Population 127

7 Convergences of Maimonides and Freud 137

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


References 167

Index 179

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