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Salberg, J. (2008). Jonah's Crisis: Commentary on Paper by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg. Psychoanal. Dial., 18(3):317-328.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18(3):317-328

Jonah's Crisis: Commentary on Paper by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg Related Papers

Jill Salberg, Ph.D.

In discussing Zornberg's paper, Jonah's Flight, the author uses Zornberg's multifaceted midrashic analysis as a portal to offer an alternative reading of the Jonah text. Using Relational and British Object Relations psychoanalytic theories, the author explores Jonah's state of mind, focusing on his profound despair. Most notably she finds that his despair is indicative of traumatic disappointment stemming from the sense of not being recognized by God, experiencing an acute disconnection. Jonah is then seen as being in crisis: incapable of self-reflection, caught in a dissociated self-state, and unable to inhabit and struggle with his own feelings. The result is alienation from himself, incapacity to feel concern for others and estrangement from God. Using the spiritual writings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who believes that God is in search of man, the author suggests that it is the need for an intersubjective relationship with God that is at the core of this Biblical story.

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