In Yearnings of the Soul, Jonathan Garb uncovers a crucial thread in the story of modern Kabbalah and modern mysticism more generally: psychology. Returning psychology to its roots as an attempt to understand the soul, he traces the manifold interactions between psychology and spirituality that have arisen over five centuries of Kabbalistic writing, from sixteenth-century Galilee to twenty-first-century New York. In doing so, he shows just how rich Kabbalah's psychological tradition is and how much it can offer to the corpus of modern psychological knowledge. Garb follows the gradual disappearance of the soul from modern philosophy while drawing attention to its continued persistence as a topic in literature and popular culture. He pays close attention to James Hillman's "archetypal psychology," using it to engage critically with the psychoanalytic tradition and reflect anew on the cultural and political implications of the return of the soul to contemporary psychology.
Comparing Kabbalistic thought to adjacent developments in Catholic, Protestant, and other popular expressions of mysticism, Garb ultimately offers a thought-provoking argument for the continued relevance of religion to the study of psychology.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 261 x 128 x 23 mm
"Yearnings of the Soul is a valuable contribution to multiple worlds of scholarship. For academics working in the field of Jewish mysticism, Garb's work offers new directions for scholarship and helps to define the field of modern Kabbalah. It is also an important reminder that we scholars of Jewish studies inhabit a world of broader disciplines. The scholarship of Jewish thought need not be restricted to diachronic history of ideas within the unadulterated universe of purely Jewish orbits. And for scholars of religion, Yearnings of the Soul is a fascinating case study in the development of a tradition in a wide variety of cultural contexts; it is a rich tale of particulars with wide-reaching implications."-- "The Soul of Scholarship"
"For anyone who studies Kabbalah, it is clear that that subject's most relevant cognate discipline is psychology. In Jungian terms, the lists and diagrams of collective archetypes made by Jung and, particularly, his student Erich Neumann, overlap as much as eighty percent on the subject listings of kabbalistic lexicons from the sixteenth century to the present. Gershom Scholem, the organizer of the field, often averred that Hasidism, the leading expression of Jewish mysticism in modernity, was distinguished by its imbuing of metaphysical ideas with internalized, psychological resonance. Now Jonathan Garb has come to move the calendar back and show that the psychological content of kabbalistic writing asserts itself far earlier than once thought."
-- "Journal of the American Academy of Religion"
"In Yearnings of the Soul: Psychological Thought in Modern Kabbalah, Jonathan Garb, the Gershom Scholem Professor in the Department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explores the rich psychological tradition in modern Kabbalah and modern mysticism. Tracing Kabbalistic writing from sixteenth-century Safed to contemporary New York, he shows how both psychoanalysis and modern Kabbalah have been expressions of the process of modernization."
-- "New Books Network"