Friday, July 28, 2017

Erich Neumann: The Roots of Jewish Consciousness




With the publication in 2015 of the important correspondence between C.G. Jung and Erich Neumann (edited by Martin Liebscher), there has been something of a Neumann renaissance. A major international conference was held in 2015 at Kibbutz Shefayim, with participants from more than 25 countries, and in 2016 a conference was held at the Pacifica Institute in California. Neumann’s slim but brilliant book, Jacob and Esau: On the collective symbolism of the brother motif, was recently published by Chiron in collaboration with Recollections. The Shefayim lectures, with additional contributions, has also been published by Chiron/Recollections in a volume edited by Erel Shalit and Murray Stein, Turbulent Times, Creative Minds: The relationship between Erich Neumann and C.G. Jung.

Ann Conrad Lammers
Soon, in late 2018 or early 2019, Routledge will publish Neumann’s major treatise on The Roots of Jewish Consciousness in an impressive two-volume set (Volume 1 on the psychological significance of revelation, Volume 2 on Hasidism), edited by Ann Lammers, and translated by Mark Kyburz with Ann Lammers. This work, written between 1934 and 1945 but never published, is a treasure trove, a wealth of pearls. Although Neumann mined its themes in several of his Eranos lectures, the work as a whole holds a unique place in his opus.

Further announcements will be posted as the work of translation and editing progresses, but here is a taste of Neumann’s writing:
... for Hasidism the world consists of a great, diffusely distributed creative nothingness, whose points of concentration, in varying degrees of power, reshape and form this unformed energy and cause it to shine. These points of concentration are the world's individuals, created in the tzimtzum, having a smaller and greater circumference and varying energy charge. They can also diminish or increase the extent and intensity of their radiance, depending on the level they attain, that is, their ability to enter into contact with divine nothingness.

Silhouette by Meir Gur Arieh
Etching by Jacob Steinhardt


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