A Psycho-Biblical Response to Death Anxiety: Separation and Individuation Dynamics in the Babel Narrative

Volume
Volume 41
Issue
Winter 2013
Title
A Psycho-Biblical Response to Death Anxiety: Separation and Individuation Dynamics in the Babel Narrative
Abstract

Compared to other biblical narratives, the well-known account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11: 1–9) has been underrepresented in the psychological analysis of the Bible. Although the Babel narrative has conventionally been understood as a tale cautioning against the perils of rebelling against authority, on the one hand, and as an explanatory legend concerning the origins of linguistic and societal diversity, on the other—in this paper we maintain that the psychological relevance of the Babel narrative runs substantially deeper than what is to be found in these standard interpretations, and in fact offers interpretations, offering a sophisticated solution to the universal condition of death anxiety. Since the development of the Western mental health establishment has been largely underwritten by Classical Greek attitudes and values, the Hebraic worldview has been suppressed if not completely ignored within the development of psychoanalytic metatheory. The Greek myths of Phaëton and Icarus are examined to illuminate the contrast between the Classical Greek and biblical views of rebelliousness and individuation as it relates to assuaging death anxiety. Once interpreted through Hebraic optics, the Babel narrative can be appreciated as a story wherein a loving Deity (father figure) acts according to the best interests of His children (the Multitude), facilitating their emotional maturity and psychological individuation and consequently providing the space to mobilize their death anxiety into a vitalizing, life-affirming sense of self.

Authors
Dr. P. Cantz and Dr. M. Castle
Pages
327 - 339
Price
Add to Cart $5.00