The Personality of R’ Nahman of Bratslav: Comparing Dream Content Analysis and Biography

Abstract

The technique of dream content analysis as a source for gaining a clear personality picture of the dreamer was first formalized by Calvin S. Hall. It has been used in this paper to gain a better understanding of a historical, renowned personage—R’ Nahman of Bratslav, who established a distinct sect within the Jewish-Hasidic circles in Eastern Europe about two hundred years ago. He was a very controversial figure, and remains so to this day. Following a detailed analysis of 17 of his dreams, a personality picture of R’ Nahman has been derived. A comparison of this picture with what is known from his biography, showed many correspondences, as well as some non correspondences. The dream analysis discloses basic, psychological motivation, while the biography points to relatively more specific behavioral traits, even though both relate to the highly complex personality of R’ Nahman.

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Lewin, I., Schlezinger, D. & Derby, D. The Personality of R’ Nahman of Bratslav: Comparing Dream Content Analysis and Biography. Journal of Psychology and Judaism 22, 33–50 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024815721523

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Keywords

  • Detailed Analysis
  • Content Analysis
  • Cross Cultural Psychology
  • Behavioral Trait
  • Distinct Sect