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Erich Neumann (psychologist)

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Erich Neumann
Born(1905-01-23)23 January 1905
Died5 November 1960(1960-11-05) (aged 55)
Tel Aviv, Israel
NationalityGerman and Israeli
Alma materUniversity of Erlangen–Nuremberg (PhD)
University of Berlin (MD)
Known forDevelopmental psychology
Scientific career

Erich Neumann (Hebrew: אריך נוימן; 23 January 1905 – 5 November 1960)[1] was a German psychologist, philosopher, writer, and student of Carl Jung.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Neumann was born in Berlin to a Jewish family.[3] He received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Erlangen–Nuremberg in 1927. Then, he continued to study medicine at the University of Berlin, where he acquired his first degree in medicine in 1933.

In 1934 Neumann and his wife Julie, who were both Zionists, moved to Tel Aviv to avoid being persecuted by the Nazi Government.[3] For many years, he regularly returned to Zürich, Switzerland to give lectures at the C. G. Jung Institute. He also lectured frequently in England, France and the Netherlands, and was a member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology and president of the Israel Association of Analytical Psychologists. He practiced analytical psychology in Tel Aviv from 1934 until his death from kidney cancer in 1960.[3]


Neumann contributed to the field of developmental psychology and the psychology of consciousness and creativity. His most notable contribution was his theory of the feminine development for which he published numerous journals and books including The Great Mother.

He began work with depth psychology to reveal the psychological reasonings and events that preluded how reinforcing Nazism was a triumph for Germany and its effects on the second world war. Depth Psychology is therapeutic approach to the subtle unconscious and the human experience including transpersonal aspects like dreams, complexes, and archetypes. Throughout this time, Neumann focused on the Jungian concept of the shadow, the Freudian concept of the id and other animal personality traits held by humans.[2]

Neumann also contradicted the "old" ethic - the impossible repression of the shadow which led to the loss of the ability to apply to modern western cultures. The suppression of the shadow lead to hostility and unrest. Neumann related the old ethich to scapegoat psychology. "scapegoat psychology produces the most disastrous effects on the life of the collective (where it leads to wars and the extermination of group holding minority opinions)"[2]

He had a theoretical and philosophical approach to analysis, contrasting with the clinical approach in England and the United States.

His most valuable contribution to psychology was the empirical concept of "centroversion", a synthesis of extra- and introversion.


His most enduring contributions to Jungian thought are The Origins and History of Consciousness (1949) and The Great Mother (1955).[4] Another work, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, reflects on human destructiveness and the way the human mind relates to its own shadow.

Neumann further developed his studies in feminine archetypes in his Art and the Creative Unconscious, The Fear of the Feminine, and Amor and Psyche.[citation needed]

Neumann also wrote poetry, a novel called The Beginning (Der Anfang), and in 1932 conducted a critical study of Franz Kafka's works at a time when Kafka was still a minor figure in the literary world.[3]


  • Tiefenpsychologie und neue Ethik. Rhein, Zürich 1949
  • Ursprungsgeschichte des Bewusstseins. Mit einem Vorwort von C.G. Jung. Rascher, Zürich, 1949
  • Amor und Psyche. 1952
  • Umkreisung der Mitte. 3 Bde., 1953/54
  • Die große Mutter. Der Archetyp des großen Weiblichen. Rhein, Zürich 1956
  • Der schöpferische Mensch. 1959
  • Die archetypische Welt Henry Moores. 1961, posthum veröffentlicht
  • Krise und Erneuerung. 1961, posthum veröffentlicht
  • Das Kind. Struktur und Dynamik der werdenden Persönlichkeit. 1963, posthum 1980 veröffentlicht
  • Jacob et Esaü: L'archétype des frères ennemis, un symbole du judaïsme, posthum 2015. French translation of Jacob and Esau. Reflection on the Brother Motif, (c) Chiron Publications.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Erel Shalit: Gershom Scholem: Obituary for Erich Neumann". www.erelshalit.com. Archived from the original on 2021-09-12. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  2. ^ a b c Zakai, Avihu (2020-06-01). "Erich Neumann and the Crisis of Western Ethics". Society. 57 (3): 332–342. doi:10.1007/s12115-020-00487-2. ISSN 1936-4725. S2CID 255510981.
  3. ^ a b c d Camille Paglia (2006). "Erich Neumann: Theorist of the Great Mother" (PDF). Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  4. ^ Hopcke, Robert H. (1989). Jung, Jungians and Homosexuality. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc. p. 70. ISBN 0-87773-585-9.

General references[edit]

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