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Shoham, S.G. (1976). The Isaac Syndrome. Am. Imago, 33(4):329-349.

(1976). American Imago, 33(4):329-349

The Isaac Syndrome

S. Giora Shoham, Ph.D.

“When Isaac again saw Abraham's face it was changed, his glance was wild, his form was horror. He seized Isaac by the throat, threw him to the ground and said, “Stupid boy, dost thou then suppose that I am thy father? I am an idolator. Dost thou suppose that this is God's bidding? No, it is my desire.”

S. Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling.

“and Satan came to Abraham and asked, ‘how is it that you lost your heart? A son was born to you when you are a hundred years old and now you go and slaughter him.’”

Genesis Rabba.


The Vectors

We propose to recapitulate here, in a concise manner, the two opposing vectors which we have presented elsewhere. These are “participation” and “separation”. By participation we mean identification of the ego with a person (persons), an object, or outside symbolic construct, and the attempt to lose one's separate identity by fusion with this other object or symbol. Separation, of course, is the opposite vector. However, as vectors are multidimensional, the pressures are much more likely to take place on the different planes of a space which may represent the human personality than along a unidimensional continuum.

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