Jews and the American Soul: Human Nature in the Twentieth Century

Jews and the American Soul: Human Nature in the Twentieth Century

by Andrew R. Heinze
Pub. Date:
Princeton University Press
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Jews and the American Soul: Human Nature in the Twentieth Century

What do Joyce Brothers and Sigmund Freud, Rabbi Harold Kushner and philosopher Martin Buber have in common? They belong to a group of pivotal and highly influential Jewish thinkers who altered the face of modern America in ways few people recognize.

So argues Andrew Heinze, who reveals in rich and unprecedented detail the extent to which Jewish values, often in tense interaction with an established Christian consensus, shaped the country's psychological and spiritual vocabulary.

Jews and the American Soul is the first book to recognize the central role Jews and Jewish values have played in shaping American ideas of the inner life. It overturns the widely shared assumption that modern ideas of human nature derived simply from the nation's Protestant heritage.

Heinze marshals a rich array of evidence to show how individuals ranging from Erich Fromm to Ann Landers changed the way Americans think about mind and soul. The book shows us the many ways that Jewish thinkers influenced everything from the human potential movement and pop psychology to secular spirituality. It also provides fascinating new interpretations of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Western views of the psyche; the clash among Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish moral sensibilities in America; the origins and evolution of America's psychological and therapeutic culture; the role of Jewish women as American public moralists, and more. A must-read for anyone interested in the contribution of Jews and Jewish culture to modern America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691127750
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 10/16/2006
Pages: 456
Sales rank: 844,025
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Acknowledgments xiii

INTRODUCTION: Jews and the American Soul 1

PART I. One Nation under Stress, Divisible: Jewish Immigrants and the National Psyche

CHAPTER 1: Jews and the Psychodynamics of American Life 11

PART II. The Moral Universe of the Jews

CHAPTER 2: Benjamin Franklin in Hebrew: The Musar Sage of Philadelphia 39

CHAPTER 3: Jews and the Crisis of the Psyche 50

CHAPTER 4: Freud and Adler: The Rise of Jewish Psychoanalytic Moralism 64

PART III. Jewish Morality and the Psychological Shift of American Culture ,1890-1945

CHAPTER 5: Popular Psychology: The Great American Synthesis of Religion and Science 87

CHAPTER 6: Jewish Psychological Evangelism: A Collective Biography of the First Generation 103

CHAPTER 7: The Moronic Immigrant and the Neurotic Jew: Jews and American Perceptions of Intelligence, Personality, and Race 140

CHAPTER 8: The Specter of the Mob: Jews and the Battle for the American Unconscious 165

PART IV. Peace of Mind: Judaism and the Therapeutic Polemics of Postwar America

CHAPTER 9: Rabbi Liebman and the Psychic Pain of the World War II Generation 195

CHAPTER 10: Peace of Mind :A New Jewish Gospel of Love 217

CHAPTER 11: Clare Boothe Luce and the Catholic-Jewish Clash over Freud in America 241

PART V. Jews and the American Search for Meaning, 1950-2000

CHAPTER 12: Jews and the Creation of American Humanism 261

CHAPTER 13: Joyce Brothers: The Jewish Woman as Psychologist of Suburban America 295

CHAPTER 14: Holocaust, Hasidism, Suffering, Redemption 321

Conclusion 349

Notes 353

Index 419

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