The Biblical Path to Psychological Maturity

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The Biblical Path to Psychological Maturity

 

Dr. Vivian Skolnick

 

As an observant woman psychoanalyst—an anomaly to both my Orthodox friends and psychoanalyst colleagues—I have attempted to apply the fruits of my professional training in revealing the psycho-dynamic underpinnings of Biblical events and figures. The synagogue’s cycle of weekly Sabbath Torah readings provides a practical framework for the examination of the psychological issues experienced by Torah figures.

Beginning with the book of Genesis, one finds fertile ground for psychoanalytic explication. Adam and Eve are portrayed as beset by unrestrained narcissistic desires typical of young children. Matters of good and evil are a foreign realm to them; they are being driven by the need for instant gratification. In succeeding chapters, from that of Cain and Abel, through the lives of the patriarchs and matriarchs in the book of Genesis, and through the life of Moses concluding with the book of Deuteronomy, we see a pattern of gradual development of human potential moving toward maturity.

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