Society of Biblical Literature

The enemy is within : a Jungian psychoanalytic approach to the book of Judith

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Efthimiadis-Keith, Helen. (2004). The enemy is within : a Jungian psychoanalytic approach to the book of Judith. Boston: Brill.

This is an amazing work of psychological criticism from a Jungian viewpoint. Efthimiadis-Keith combines Jungian theory with a critical method developed by Terence Dawson which seeks to identify the key psychological concern of a text in order to examine the book of Judith. From a psychological perspective, she suggests that many of the aspects of the book which have puzzled interpreters (historical inaccuracies, literary imbalance, and the ambivalent character of Judith herself) have, in fact, a clear psychological function.

Her reading of the book as an individuation dream of the Jewish people in the early first century is fascinating in itself. Yet even more interesting is her critique of Jungian theory, most notably in the area of the “animus,” a section of Jung’s system that he himself did not develop all that well. The book is long (over 400 pages), but worth the effort.
(DAK)

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