Chaim Elly Moseson of University of Hamburg presents "We Were As Dreamers: Prayer as the Royal Road to the Unconscious in Hasidism"
Scholars have often described the popular Eastern European Jewish mystical pietistic revivalist movement known as Hasidism as representing a “psychologizaton” of earlier forms of Jewish mysticism. The precise nature and significance of this psychological turn in Hasidism, however, remains unclear. In this talk, Professor Moseson explored the meaning and function of prayer within the Hasidic movement as a key to understanding its particular psychological character. He argued that the Hasidic attitude toward the problem of distracting thoughts that arise spontaneously during prayer represents a fundamental alteration not only of traditional notions of prayer but of prevalent conceptions of subjectivity as well. Professor Moseson was able to trace the subsequent modifications these new ideas about prayer underwent in response to the internal and external controversies they provoked.