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Eder, M.D. (1933). The Jewish Phylacteries and Other Jewish Ritual Observances. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 14:341-375.

(1933). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 14:341-375

The Jewish Phylacteries and Other Jewish Ritual Observances

M. D. Eder

About two years ago, clinical material directed my attention to the study of Jewish ritual observances, particularly the phylacteries, praying shawl and door-post symbol. About the same time papers were published in the Imago (1930, Nos. 3/4) by Reik on The Praying Shawl and Phylacteries of the Jews and by Langer on The Jewish Phylacteries. This paper will deal with clinical material, with a summary of psycho-analytical views and with a reference to other literature in the following order:

A. A descriptive account of the form and usages of:

i. The Phylacteries (Hebrew—tefillin).

ii. The small, four-cornered garment (Hebrew—tsitsith, tassels, fringe, or arba'kanfoth, four corners).

iii. The large, four-cornered praying shawl (talith, scarf).

iv. The door-post scroll (Hebrew—mezuzah, door-post).

B. General Jewish religious opinion on the use and meaning of these ornaments.

C. The views of some modern scholars which may be classified into (1) the Amulet, (2) the Phallic theory.

D. Some clinical observations.

E. Psycho-analytic theories—Abraham, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, Marie Bonaparte, Georg Langer and Th. Reik.

F. Conclusions.

Glover (1) in a recent lecture to the Royal Institute of Anthropology pointed out several ways in which anthropologists might work together for the advancement of knowledge, the analyst bringing his clinical material garnered from individual study and the anthropologist his field data that might or might not confirm the former.

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