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Tip: To review the bibliography…

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Shulman, R.D. (2008). Jonah: His Story, Our Story; His Struggle, Our Struggle: Commentary on Paper by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg. Psychoanal. Dial., 18(3):329-364.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18(3):329-364

Jonah: His Story, Our Story; His Struggle, Our Struggle: Commentary on Paper by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg Related Papers

Rabbi Dennis G. Shulman, Ph.D.

The Book of Jonah, one of the best known of the biblical tales, is much more than a children's fable about a man and a whale. This brief narrative about a prophet who refuses to be a prophet is our story—how we too often give in to our nature which pulls us toward resentment, parochialism, and narrowness, too often avoid what we need to face within ourselves and our responsibilities, too often are crippled by our inability to transcend our anger and forgive. After examining Aviva Zornberg's analysis of the Book of Jonah in which she argues that the message, like the latent dream à la Freud, is obscure, I argue that the meaning of the Book of Jonah is clear. Psychic unity requires that we face our objects—God and conscience, Nineveh and storm and mother, self and other—struggle with them, stare at them, allow them to breathe and live in the same room. As God, Jonah's “psychoanalyst,” argues, it is only then that we can find our way to where His analysand Jonah never quite arrives—forgiveness of the self and of the other.

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