Freud in Zion: Psychoanalysis and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity (Karnac London 2012) tells the story of psychoanalysis coming to Jewish Palestine/Israel. In this groundbreaking study, psychoanalyst and historian Eran Rolnik explores the encounter between psychoanalysis, Judaism, Modern Hebrew culture and the Zionist revolution in a unique political and cultural context of war, immigration, ethnic tensions, colonial rule and nation building. Based on hundreds of hitherto unpublished documents, including many unpublished letters by Freud, this book integrates intellectual and social history to offer a moving and persuasive account of how psychoanalysis permeated popular and intellectual discourse in the emerging Jewish state.
“Eran Rolnik’s work is a story of psychoanalysis and a story of Israel. Unsparing in intellectual honesty Freud in Zion exemplifies the project undertaken as the name ‘psychoanalysis’. Great works of history are always moving. Recollections of things past is inevitably a matter of intense passion redolent with spiritual potential. We return to Freud many times, but Rolnik has us return to psychoanalysis as it moved East, a deeply compelling reading of the migration of ideas.”
Christopher Bollas, The British Psychoanalytic Society
“A rare combination of historiographic discipline and deep grasp of psychoanalytic thinking. This work is a significant contribution to analysts’ increasing their knowledge of how their specific institutions developed and how science in general unfolds.”
Warren Poland, The American Psychoanalytic Association
“One of the best books on the history of psychoanalysis that has been written in the last twenty years. Everybody interested in the history of psychoanalysis and in the cultural and social role that our discipline can play in the world should read and make use of this book.”
Riccardo Steiner, The British Psychoanalytic Society
“‘Know thyself’ is a Greek injunction. The Jews countered it with a different one that could be phrased ‘Learn thy God’. When manifestly secular Jews such as Freud and his colleagues adopted the Greek ideal and meticulously developed around it an original theory and practice, the question of their Jewish identities did not remain external to their activity. Dr Eran Rolnik has written a wonderfully valuable book about the way these two ideals play off against one another. The reader of his original and inspired study will come to understand why psychoanalysis still plays an important role in current Israeli experience.’”
A. B. Yehoshua, Novelist
Praise for Freud in Zion
"An exemplary work of scholarship. I have rarely come a cross a book that deserve the unqualified praise that Freud in Zion deserves."
(The Psychoanalytic Quarterly)
"This great work is a must read for anyone who enjoys the history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis in particular. This fantastic study looks deeply into the shared history of psychoanalysis and conflicts of Jewish identity and helps readers to understand more of its continued impact."
(American Psychological Association Review of Books)
"Rolnik is a breath of fresh air in psychoanalytic historiography: he steers a middle course between the official story and revisionism to give us a story that is alive and pulsing with passion and that holds the reader’s interest from beginning to end."
(Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association)
"An intriguing story of ideological and sociological development, interspersed with historical details anchored in papers and documents that sound familiar, but are really new and uncharted."
(Ha'aretz Review of Books)
"A remarkably thorough historical research into the early formative years of the establishment of the new psychoanalytic society in Jerusalem…presented as embedded in the wider historical social and cultural context of Europe, Zionism, Israel and Jewish migration from central Europe, as well as in the development and spreading of psychoanalysis."
(The International Journal of Psychoanalysis)
"Rolnik’s study is a brilliant example of (a) new line of thought precisely because in the story which he tells, it is impossible to differentiate between which aspects are from the history of Zionism, and which are from the history of Freud – in other words, where psychoanalysis starts and where the ‘new Hebrew culture’ ends, and vice versa. An innovative and thoughtful book.”
“Rolnik had access to Eitingon's papers and put them to excellent use fleshing out the rivalries between Freud's various followers, Zionists, non-Zionists, and anti-Zionists.”
(Jewish Ideas Daily)
"Was it possible to reconcile Freudian psychoanalysis with early Zionism? This is the central question that informs Eran Rolnik’s well-written study of the relationship between psychology and politics in the Yishuv"
(Medaon- Magazin fuer juedisches Leben in Forschung und Bildung)
"What Rolnik tries to do is rich and valid. If only we had more such scholarly attempts to study the evolution of psychoanalytic thinking in various societies….That Eran Rolnik wrote this one book is enough to be proud about. If we are fortunate, he will write more. Buy it. Read it."
In his attentiveness to the development of theories and the dynamics of fantasy in individuals and groups, within the context of the turbulent events of the twentieth century, Rolnik has given us a genuinely psychoanalytic history.
(Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association)