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The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconsciousby Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
Synopses & Reviews
From one of the most innovative and acclaimed biblical commentators at work today, here is a revolutionary analysis of the intersection between religion and psychoanalysis in the stories of the men and women of the Bible.
For centuries scholars and rabbis have wrestled with the biblical narrative, attempting to answer the questions that arise from a plain reading of the text. In The Murmuring Deep, Avivah Zornberg informs her literary analysis of the text with concepts drawn from Freud, Winnicott, Laplanche, and other psychoanalytic thinkers to give us a new understanding of the desires and motivations of the men and women whose stories form the basis of the Bible. Through close readings of the biblical and midrashic texts, Zornberg makes a powerful argument for the idea that the creators of the midrashic commentary, the medieval rabbinic commentators, and the Hassidic commentators were themselves on some level aware of the complex interplay between conscious and unconscious levels of experience and used this knowledge in their interpretations.
In her analysis of the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Abraham, Rebecca, Isaac, Joseph and his brothers, Ruth, and Esther–how they communicated with the world around them, with God, and with the various parts of their selves–Zornberg offers fascinating insights into the interaction between consciousness and unconsciousness. In discussing why God has to “seduce” Adam into entering the Garden of Eden or why Jonah thinks he can hide from God by getting on a ship, Zornberg enhances our appreciation of the Bible as the foundational text in our quest to understand what it means to be human.
From the Hardcover edition.
With concepts drawn from psychoanalytic thinkers, attempts to answer the questions that scholars and rabbis have been wrestling with for centuries to give us a new understanding of the desires and motivations of the men and women whose stories form the basis of the Bible.
About the Author
Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg is the author of The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis, for which she received the National Jewish Book Award, and The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus. She was born in London and received a Ph.D. in English literature from Cambridge University. She lives in Jerusalem.
Table of Contents
Seduced into Eden: the beginning of desire — Despondent intoxication: the flood — Jonah: a fantasy of flight — Esther: "mere anarchy is loosed upon the world" — In the vale of soul-making: Abraham's journey — Abraham bound and unbound: the akeda — "Her own foreigner": Rebecca's pregnancy — Blindness and blessing: Isaac trembles twice — "And I did not know-- " : the secret of prayer — The pit and the rope: recovering Joseph — "What if Joseph hates us?": closing the book — Law and narrative in the book of Ruth.
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