Special Needs in the Bible

View as Single Page Single Page    Print this page Print this page

» Psychology
and Judaism.

» Read
the book
Esau’s Blessing.

» Lentil Soup
a biblical recipe.

» Learning
from special-needs kids:
one father’s story.

December 12, 2011 
Special Needs in the Bible

Did the biblical character Esau have ADHD? Did Isaac have a cognitive disability?

The new book Esau’s Blessing: How the Bible Embraces Those with Special Needs looks at our biblical ancestors through the lens of contemporary psychology and medicine.

When viewed this way, writes author Ora Horn Prouser, Esau “no longer appeared an evil man with misplaced priorities, but rather, a portrait emerged of someone with learning issues who had never received the gift of being understood.” Prouser theorizes that the strongman Samson may have had a conduct disorder. Isaac, whom the Bible portrays as docile and simplistic, had a learning disability, she posits.

Prouser also looks at anomalies in the other direction. According to her, Joseph is a gifted child, analyzing dreams with uncommon insight. He endures all the ensuing social difficulties and isolation.

Of course, these are all theoretical diagnoses. But Prouser, who received her Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary, provides essays that are adept, knowledgeable, and sensitive, compromising neither contemporary sufferers of these conditions nor her biblical subjects.

Share this article on Facebok Share  


History Kveller Recipes Shabbat Weekly Torah

Jewniverse is an initiative ofMyJewishLearning.com.


Did you like this article? MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

View as Single Page Single Page   

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning.com are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy