Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Myth of the Shiksa and Other Essays/What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? Unpublished Writings and Diaries

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Myth of the Shiksa and Other Essays/What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? Unpublished Writings and Diaries

Article excerpt

The Myth of the Shiksa and Other Essays.By Edwin H. Friedman. New York: Seabuiy Boob, 2008. xi + 212 pp. $28.00 (paper).

What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? Unpublished Writings and Diaries. By Edwin H. Friedman, New York: Seabury Books, 2009. xiii + 185 pp. $28.00 (paper).

When Seabury Books published Edwin Friedman's foundational work, A Failure of Nerve, in 2007, 1 greeted it in the pages of this journal with great excitement. Little did we know then that there would be two more posthumous volumes in quick succession, and we are the better for them.

The first of these subsequent volumes, The Myth of the Shiksa, is not completely new, in that the essays it contains have been in circulation since before Friedman's death in 1996. After he died, his widow put together a package of thirteen essays and chapters from books for those who were keen to have them, and nine of them are published in this collection. They constitute a central body of writings of continuing importance to the understanding of Friedman's thought, and their appearance in this book secures another significant contribution to the subject and makes these pieces - some of them previously hard to find - easily available to a wider public and a new generation of students.

Among the papers collected here is his now classic "Interview with the First Family Counselor" Satan, of course!), and it shows how Friedman could, with a wry sense of humor, bring the truths of family systems into view in a fresh way. "Secrets and Systems" enables Friedman to unmask one of the hardest elements of work with families and congregations, and he strikes out at his great foe in "Empathy Defeats Therapy."

In 2007, after the work to bring A Failure of Neme and The Myth of the Shiksa into print was done, Friedman's daughter invited Cynthia Shattuck and Peggy Treadwell to go through a large filing cabinet that contained a mass of Friedman's papers. From their exploration has come what appears to be the final volume of Friedman material that is ever now likely to see the light of day, Wfiat Are You Going to Do with Your Life? …

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