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Friedman, P. (1960). Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period: By Erwin R. Goodenough. Bollingen Series XXXVII, Vols. I—VI. New York: Published for Bollingen Foundation Inc. by Pantheon Books, Inc., 1953, 1954, 1956.. Psychoanal Q., 29:254-263.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:254-263

Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period: By Erwin R. Goodenough. Bollingen Series XXXVII, Vols. I—VI. New York: Published for Bollingen Foundation Inc. by Pantheon Books, Inc., 1953, 1954, 1956.

Review by:
Paul Friedman

When I set out to review the first six volumes of this series I did not realize the magnitude of Professor Goodenough's monumental work. Two further volumes have appeared in the meantime, and two more are still to come. Rarely has a task proved more rewarding for one interested in the history of psychology and symbolism, but rarely has a review proved so difficult. It is wellnigh impossible to convey the essence of these volumes in sufficiently condensed yet comprehensive form.

In an article published some time ago, the author referred to the discovery of the decorations on Jewish graves and synagogues of the Greco-Roman period as perhaps even more important than that of the Dead Sea scrolls. Although theologians may disagree with that view, these discoveries and their systematic presentation by Professor Goodenough are one of the most significant contributions to understanding of the universality of symbols. The various theories and explanations based upon the breach of the Jewish prohibition of image-making are of little relevance here. Most interesting, from the psychologist's point of view, is the choice of specific symbols revealed by these findings.

The first three volumes, published in 1953, comprise an archeological description and illustrations of Jewish tombs and synagogues of the Greco-Roman period in Palestine and in the Diaspora. Included are all the ornaments and objects found there, such as water basins, ossuaries, sarcophagi, lamps, coins, glasses, charms, and amulets.

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