Psychoanalytic Theory and the Hebrew Bible: An Overview
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Sigmund Freud once acknowledged that most of his discoveries about the unconscious mind had been anticipated by the poets of the past. Thus, it should not be surprising that psychology has been used in an effort to explain the origins, character, and effects of literature – including the Bible.
What makes a reading of a text “psychoanalytic?” To call a reading “psychoanalytic” or “Freudian” immediately introduces ambiguity because such an expression can refer either to the use of Freudian themes or to Freudian methods. That is, an interpretation of a literary work can be called “Freudian” or “psychoanalytic” with respect either to the substance of the text (what it reads) or to the interpretive procedures and techniques a reader uses (how it reads).
Generally speaking, there are three points at which psychoanalysis can enter the study of a literary work: examining the mind of the author, the minds of the author’s characters, or our own minds. There is a long tradition of Freudian...
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