Freud's Dream of Interpretation

By Ken Frieden

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780791401255, 172 pages, February 1990
Hardcover : 9780791401248, 172 pages, February 1990

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Table of contents




1. Freud: Interpreter and Seducer

Freud's Path to Dreams

Against the Past

Interpretation by Correspondence and Displacement

"Free" Association

Revisions of Secondary Revision

Freud's Monopoly and the Dream Facade

Occupation and Resistance

2. Joseph and Daniel: Disguises and Interpretive Power

"Will You Rule Over Us?"

"Do Not Interpretations Belong to God? Tell Me"

"As He Interpreted to Us, So It Was"

"This Is Your Dream"

"Worship the Image of Gold"

"Mene Mene Teqel Upharsin"

"Your God . .. Will Deliver You"

3. Bar Hedia and R. Ishmael: Battles of Interpretation

"A Dream That Is Not Interpreted . .."

"All Dreams Follow the Mouth"

"Your Father Has Left You Money in Cappadocia"

"Because of Your Mouth . .."

4. Freud: Demystification and Denial

Dreams of Prophecy and Telepathy

The Prophetic Interpreter

Languages of Dreams

Dreams of Wordplay

An Absurd Decree

The Grand Verneinung





Frieden explores methods of dream interpretation in the Bible, the Talmud, and in the writings of Sigmund Freud, and brings to light Freud's troubled relationship to his Judaic forerunners. This book reveals unfamiliar associations in intellectual history and challenges received ideas in biblical, Talmudic, and Freudian scholarship.

Freud distanced himself from dream interpreters such as Joseph and Daniel by rejecting their intuitive methods and their claims to predict the future. While biblical and Talmudic dream interpretation generally involve prophecy, Freud sought to limit himself to the determination of prior causes in the dreamer's life. Nevertheless, Frieden demonstrates that Freud's strategies of interpretation, and especially his use of "free association," inevitably guide the dreamer toward a future. This resonance between ancient prophecy and modern psychology is merely one example of the concealed relationship between Judaic and psychoanalytic dream interpretation. Frieden shows the role both of actual influences and influences denied by Freud.

Ken Frieden is Assistant Professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Languages and Literatures and in the Comparative Literature Program at Emory University. He has authored Genius and Monologue, which traces the evolution of inspiration and individuality since ancient times.


"I particularly like the book's lucidity, the clarity of its argument, and the author's facility with Freud. " —Susan Handelman