Why Odysseus Came Home as a Stranger and other Puzzling Moments in the Life of Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, Abraham, and other Great Individuals

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Author Henry Abramovitch comes from a culture that encourages people to ask why. As a Jungian analyst, he also values questions.  In reading the life stories of “Great Individuals,” he often found himself asking the question, “Why?” Why did Arjuna, greatest general of his age refuse to fight? Why did Socrates remember his debt to Ascalapius, the god of healing, only in his last breath? Why did Jesus, the prophet of love, curse an innocent fig tree? Why did Abraham agree to kill the son he loved the most? Why did Lot’s wife look back? Why did Odysseus come home as a stranger?

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Author Henry Abramovitch comes from a culture that encourages people to ask why. As a Jungian analyst, he also values questions.  In reading the life stories of “Great Individuals,” he often found himself asking the question, “Why?” Why did Arjuna, greatest general of his age refuse to fight? Why did Socrates remember his debt to Ascalapius, the god of healing, only in his last breath? Why did Jesus, the prophet of love, curse an innocent fig tree? Why did Abraham agree to kill the son he loved the most? Why did Lot’s wife look back? Why did Odysseus come home as a stranger?

The short essays in this book do not try to answer these questions, but they do provide a response, enriched by Jewish tradition and Jungian psychology. They are not trying to prove a point or confirm a theory. Each chapter, however, does touch on broader issues that derive from specific conundrum, such as, the process of homecoming, the psychology of the impossible, the impact of trauma upon memory, the need for an end of illness ritual, different types of forgiveness, the relation of aggression to compassion, psychology of silence, the psychology of the revolutionary and dilemma of succession among other topics.

Table of Contents

Preface / 1

Why Arjuna Refused to Fight / 5

Why Odysseus Came Home

Dressed Like a Stranger / 23

Why Socrates Remembered / 41

Why the Buddha Remained Silent/ /61

Why Did Jonah Sit in the Shade? / 73

Why Jesus Cursed a Fig Tree / 83

Why Job Became the First Feminist / 93

Why Abraham Agreed to Kill / 97

Why Did Lot’s Wife Look Back? / 119

Notes / 129

 

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