Answering a Question with a Question: Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Jewish Thought

Answering a Question with a Question: Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Jewish Thought

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Edited by Lewis Aron and Libby Henik

Series: Judaism and Jewish Life
ISBN: 9781934843376 (hardcover) / 9781618112996 (paper)
Pages: 425 pp.
Publication Date: May 2010

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In the Jewish tradition, it is incumbent upon every generation to attempt to find meaning in its history. Meaning is co-created within the context of the inter-subjective field of a meeting of minds. Psychoanalysis, in some respects like the Jewish tradition from which it emerged, represents a body of thought about one’s relation to oneself and to others, and places great value on the influence of memory, narrative, and history in creating meaning within the dyadic relationship of analyst and patient. In Answering a Question with a Question: Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Jewish Thought, editors Aron and Henik have brought together an international collection of contemporary scholars and clinicians to address the interface and the mutual influence of Jewish thought and modern psychoanalysis.


Lewis Aron, PhD is director of the New York University postdoctoral program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. He has served as president of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association; founding president of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP); founding president of the Division of Psychologist-Psychoanalysts of the New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA). He holds a Diplomate in Psychoanalysis from the American Board of Professional Psychology and is a fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Academy of Psychoanalysis. Dr. Aron is the author and editor of numerous scholarly articles and books including A Meeting of Minds. He was one of the founders, and is an associate editor of the journal Psychoanalytic Dialogues and is the co-editor of the Relational Perspectives book series (Routledge). He is the author of the forthcoming book, co-authored with Karen Starr, Defining Psychoanalysis: The Ego and the Yid.

Libby Henik, LCSW is in private practice in New York and New Jersey. She is a graduate of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University and a graduate in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy of the American Institute for Psychoanalysis of the Karen Horney Psychoanalytic Center. She also holds a master of arts in Hebrew literature from Hunter College. Ms. Henik studied biblical exegesis and Hebrew literature with Nechama Leibowitz at Bar-Ilan University and with Professor Milton Arfa at Hunter College. She has taught in Israel, the United States, and the former Soviet Union.


Long overdue, this sumptuous anthology of recent writings on the multiple interconnections between Judaism and contemporary psychoanalysis is endlessly illuminating. The range is indeed broad, from theology (God, of course), to biblical narratives (the Garden of Eden narrative), to ritual (shiva) on one side, and from Freud (of course) to Winnicott and Stephen Mitchell on the other. The scholarship is both impeccable and accessible to the general reader. A major contribution to both fields.
— Dr. Neil Gillman, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Freud famously had one foot in fin de siècle Vienna and the other in the world of his fellow Jews. His ambivalence about the gap between the Greco-Christian intellectual tradition of secular Vienna and his own Rabbinic tradition has been amply explored and documented. In this rich and original book, Aron and Henik bring these issues into the present. In keeping with relational and post-modern precepts, their effort is dialogic and intertextual; that is, it is not about Freud’s dilemma, but rather about exploring and extending contemporary mutual influences. Brilliant and enlightening, this book represents a wide and impressive spectrum of scholarship and will be of great value to anyone interested in the interface between Judaism, psychoanalysis and culture. So, what’s not to like?
— Edgar Levenson, William Alanson White Institute
Lewis Aron and Libby Henik have edited a fresh and intellectually challenging collection of essays. Each contributor has original insights into the history and practice of psychoanalysis, the fascinating question of Freud’s Jewishness, and the role of psychoanalysis in modern Jewish self-understanding.
— Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College
Aron and Henik have assembled 14 thoughtful, well-researched essays, some of them pathbreaking, on the historical and intellectual imbrication of Jewish thought and modern psychoanalysis. . . . Particularly rich is the grouping on biblical commentary, which includes essays on the relation to psychoanalysis of rabbinic exegesis, Midrashic tradition, and biblical narrative. . . . This book will interest anyone concerned with the intellectual and cultural history of psychoanalysis and its implications for further speculation and therapy. Highly recommended.
— M. Uebel, University of Texas, in CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, December 2010