Erik Graff's Reviews > Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition

Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition by David Bakan
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's review
Mar 08, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: psychology
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Recommended for: Bakan fans

Picked up this one when reading Bakan's Disease, Pain & Sacrifice for a class, but didn't read it until just now--decades later. Not knowing much about Kabbalism, but knowing Freud very well, I thought it might be a good entre to Jewish mysticism.

It isn't.

Nor is it a good introduction to Freud. Bakan assumes the reader knows Freud already.

The thesis about "the role played by Jewish mysticism in the development of psychoanalysis" is extremely weak. There are no hard facts indicating Freud drew on Kabbalism, just the bare possiblility that he had some exposure to it and might have read about it and occasionally talked about it. A stronger case could be made for Goebbel's National Socialism being an influence on me as I not only own books by and about it, but I've actually read them.

As regards Kabbalism, if you are as ignorant as I am about that literary-intellectual tradition, then you will know a little bit about it by having read Bakan. Surely, however, there are better ways.
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