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Agnon’s Story

A Psychoanalytic Biography of S. Y. Agnon


Avner Falk

This is the first complete psychoanalytic biography of the Nobel-Prize-winning Hebrew writer S.Y. Agnon. It seeks to uncover the hidden links between his stories and his biography. In particular, it investigates how his early infantile ties to an ailing, depressive and self-centered mother, persisted throughout his life and affected his entire literary work. At a very young age, Agnon became attached to his mother in a deeply ambivalent symbiotic relationship. As a young man he sought to break out of it by immigrating from Austrian Galicia to “the Land of Israel,” his symbolic good mother. His mother died shortly after he left her, and he felt guilty about her death. This affected his entire life and his most important literary works. His lifelong quest for the Nobel Prize, which he finally won at the age of seventy-nine, was not only a matter of narcissistic grandiosity but also an unconscious quest for the mother’s love that he never received.
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Medical Glossaries in the Hebrew Tradition: Shem Tov Ben Isaac, Sefer Almansur

With a Supplement on the Romance and Latin Terminology


Gerrit Bos, Guido Mensching and Julia Zwink

The Sefer Almansur contains a pharmacopeia of about 250 medicinal ingredients with their Arabic names (in Hebrew characters), their Romance (Old Occitan) and occasionally Hebrew equivalents. The pharmacopeia, which describes the properties and therapeutical uses of simple drugs featured at the end of Book Three of the Sefer Almansur. This work was translated into Hebrew from the Arabic Kitāb al-Manṣūrī (written by al-Rāzī) by Shem Tov ben Isaac of Tortosa, who worked in Marseille in the 13th century.

Gerrit Bos, Guido Mensching and Julia Zwink supply a critical edition of the Hebrew text, an English translation and an analysis of the Romance and Latin terminology in Hebrew transcription. The authors show the pharmaceutical terminological innovation of Hebrew and of the vernacular, and give us proof of the important role of medieval Jews in preserving and transferring medical knowledge.