By Jonathan Garb

In Yearnings of the Soul, Jonathan clothing uncovers a vital thread within the tale of contemporary Kabbalah and smooth mysticism extra mostly: psychology. Returning psychology to its roots as an try and comprehend the soul, he strains the manifold interactions among psychology and spirituality that experience arisen over 5 centuries of Kabbalistic writing, from sixteenth-century Galilee to twenty-first-century long island. In doing so, he exhibits simply how wealthy Kabbalah’s mental culture is and what kind of it may provide to the corpus of recent mental knowledge.
apparel follows the sluggish disappearance of the soul from smooth philosophy whereas drawing consciousness to its endured endurance as a subject in literature and pop culture. He can pay shut realization to James Hillman’s “archetypal psychology,” utilizing it to have interaction significantly with the psychoanalytic culture and replicate anew at the cultural and political implications of the go back of the soul to modern psychology. evaluating Kabbalistic suggestion to adjoining advancements in Catholic, Protestant, and different well known expressions of mysticism, apparel eventually deals a thought-provoking argument for the ongoing relevance of faith to the examine of psychology. 

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Extra info for Yearnings of the Soul: Psychological Thought in Modern Kabbalah

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1 I shall certainly not attempt to address the more rudimentary rabbinic discussions of the soul. At the same time, one cannot but note the need for a more thorough examination of the relationship of Gnostic and other late antique ideas and images of the soul and early Kabbalistic writing, especially if one does not entirely accept Idel’s revisionary theory of the relationship of Gnosis and Kabbalah. A recently published collection, including the text The Exegesis on the Soul (from the Nag Hammadi Library), discloses a rich poetics of the journey of the soul.

My soul is sick with your love. El‘azar Azikri, “Yedid Nefesh” By far, the greater amount of research on Kabbalistic psychology has focused on the Kabbalistic circles of sixteenth-­century Safed, and justly so. As I have claimed elsewhere, the Kabbalah underwent a “psychological turn” in the sixteenth century, a period that by many accounts saw a decisive intensification in discourse of individuality. The numerous textual witnesses for this shift include Italian Renaissance Kabbalah (influenced in turn by neo-­Platonism as briefly mentioned in chapter 1) and the trance-­oriented Kabbalists of Jerusalem, numerous psychological passages in the less obviously mystical writings of R.

However, Vital then summarizes the summary, in a “short way,” in which we have the body, its power, and then nefesh, ruah, neshama, and haya, corresponding to the four worlds. Characteristically, the earlier division is here subverted, as in lieu of three aspects corresponding to the three lower worlds and then three belonging entirely to the fourth, we now have four aspects of the soul corresponding to four worlds. It is fascinating that he concludes the entire book by opposing these four to the four demonic husks, which correspond to Rome (which the Italian-­born Vital dreamt of ), “Salamanca of Spain,” site of the expulsion, Egypt, where Luria lived prior to his move to Safed, and Damascus, where Vital lived after Safed.

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