Maimonides' Cure of Souls: Medieval Precursor of Psychoanalysis, by D. Bakan, D. Merkur, and D. Weiss. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2009. 183 pp. $35.00. This book is fascinating. For those of us for whom the study of Maimonides has been rooted in history of thought or in systematic philosophy and theology, this book provides a psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic reading of Maimonides. And, for those of us for whom the study of Freud has been rooted in history of psychoanalysis, this book provides an insight into an important source for some of Freud's most radical ideas. It is Merkur's continuation of the work of Bakan, who died before its completion. The choice of Maimonides was a good one for several reasons. First, Maimonides' The Eight Chapters, his work on psychology, and his The Guide for the Perplexed existed in translations in Freud's time. Second, Maimonides was a "cultural hero" for assimilating Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who read Maimonides as a "scientist" and "rationalist," creating for themselves a kind of "Jewish Kant." Third, as a modern "cultural hero," Maimonides was almost surely the subject of lectures and conferences at the Vienna lodge of B'nai
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2011
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