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Correspondence

Correspondence The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 55, No. 4, 1995 PSYCHOLOGY OF JESUS To the Editor: In a recent article, Richard D. Chessick (1995) proposes a "psychobiography" of the mythological figure of Jesus. Chessick himself tells us that historical information about his subject is nonexistent, and that we cannot trust the "historically question- able evidence of the Gospels" (p. 30). Nevertheless, he then proceeds to give us a detailed biography of Jesus, together with numerous psychoanalytic speculations, and chooses to rely on modern religious tracts (including one by Albert Schweitzer) that are treated as "historical scholarship." A recent psychobiography of Abraham Lincoln (Burlingame, 1994) contains 1,728 footnotes in 408 pages, and with few speculations, which should leave psy- choanalytic readers rather unsatisfied, but Chessick has decided go the opposite way. The result is a psychobiography with zero data. One obvious issue is cultural bias. The Jesus myth shares many features with the Hindu myth of Krishna. I doubt very much whether Chessick would be ready to treat the Krishna case as psycho- biographical material. It is unfortunate that Chessick has chosen to disregard psychoanalytic interpreta- tions of mythology, of which at last count there were over a hundred (Beit-Hal- http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The American Journal of Psychoanalysis Springer Journals

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
1995 Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis
ISSN
0002-9548
eISSN
1573-6741
DOI
10.1007/BF02741987
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 55, No. 4, 1995 PSYCHOLOGY OF JESUS To the Editor: In a recent article, Richard D. Chessick (1995) proposes a "psychobiography" of the mythological figure of Jesus. Chessick himself tells us that historical information about his subject is nonexistent, and that we cannot trust the "historically question- able evidence of the Gospels" (p. 30). Nevertheless, he then proceeds to give us a detailed biography of Jesus, together with numerous psychoanalytic speculations, and chooses to rely on modern religious tracts (including one by Albert Schweitzer) that are treated as "historical scholarship." A recent psychobiography of Abraham Lincoln (Burlingame, 1994) contains 1,728 footnotes in 408 pages, and with few speculations, which should leave psy- choanalytic readers rather unsatisfied, but Chessick has decided go the opposite way. The result is a psychobiography with zero data. One obvious issue is cultural bias. The Jesus myth shares many features with the Hindu myth of Krishna. I doubt very much whether Chessick would be ready to treat the Krishna case as psycho- biographical material. It is unfortunate that Chessick has chosen to disregard psychoanalytic interpreta- tions of mythology, of which at last count there were over a hundred (Beit-Hal-

Journal

The American Journal of PsychoanalysisSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 1, 1995

Keywords: Clinical Psychology; Psychotherapy; Psychoanalysis

References