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Zemmelman, S.E. (2020). Neumann, Erich. The Roots of Jewish Consciousness, ed. Ann Conrad Lammers. London: Routledge. 2019. Volume 1: Revelation and Apocalypse. Pp. xli + 201. Pbk. $40. Hbk. $155. Volume 2: Hasidism. Pp. xxx + 304. Pbk. $36. Hbk. $102.. J. Anal. Psychol., 65(4):743-753.

(2020). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 65(4):743-753

Book Review Essay

Neumann, Erich. The Roots of Jewish Consciousness, ed. Ann Conrad Lammers. London: Routledge. 2019. Volume 1: Revelation and Apocalypse. Pp. xli + 201. Pbk. $40. Hbk. $155. Volume 2: Hasidism. Pp. xxx + 304. Pbk. $36. Hbk. $102.

Review by:
Steven Eliezer Zemmelman, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Erich Neumann (1905-1960), arguably the most original student of C.G. Jung, has been known primarily for his magisterial works The Origin and History of Consciousness and The Great Mother, as well as his monograph exploring the connection between the shadow and morality, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic. Several other books have been available for years now, mostly consisting of lectures Neumann gave each year from 1948-1960 at the Eranos conferences in Ascona, Switzerland (Bernadini 2016). A resurgence of interest in Neumann's work began with the publication of his correspondence with C. G. Jung (Analytical Psychology in Exile, edited by Martin Liebscher), which was feted at a highly successful international conference held at Kibbutz Shefayim, Israel, in 2015, and a year later with a conference entitled ‘Creative Minds in Dialogue: The Relationship between C.G. Jung and Erich Neumann’ at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Since 2015, two important previously unpublished works by Neumann have come to print: Jacob and Esau: On the Collective Symbolism of the Brother Motif (for a review, see Zemmelman 2016) came out following the 2015 conference and then in 2019 this remarkable two-volume work, The Roots of Jewish Consciousness. Both books are explorations of the archetypal underpinnings of Judaism and both have their origins in the relationship between Neumann and Jung in the mid-1930's.

A secular German-Jewish Zionist, Neumann left Germany following Hitler's election as Chancellor. Sometime in 1934, during the months he was analysing with Jung in Zurich, while he was between Berlin and his soon to be new home in Tel Aviv, Neumann read Jung's paper ‘The state of psychotherapy today’ in which he described National Socialism as a mighty presence in the Germanic unconscious, bursting with energy and creative potential. Jung criticizes Freudian theory and argues that it is an error to ascribe ‘Jewish categories’ to Christian Germans and Slavs. Jung echoes Nazi stereotypes of Jews as physically weak, preying on the vulnerabilities of non-Jews and parasitically needing a host culture because they lacked ‘a cultural form of their own’ (Jung 1934, pp. 165-66).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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