The ‘Nervousness’ of the Jew

Excerpt from Abraham Myerson’s “The ‘Nervousness’ of the Jew,” Mental Hygiene 4 (1920): 65–72:

It is idle, of course, to deny that the Jew has an innate character, different from that of other races, which perhaps predisposes him to psychoneuroses and other mental diseases. Unquestionably deeply emotional, clinging to belief and opinion with a tenacity unparalleled in the history of the world, extremely active mentally, and in point of intellectual achievement to be compared only with the great races of the world, he is curiously passive in his resistance and curiously indomitable in his hold on life and success. Accused of materialism and yet furnishing proportionately more social reformers than any other race; accused of materialism and yet responsible for the two most ethical religions in the world; said to be dominated by love of gain, but the birthplace of the ethics that govern his accusers, the Western peoples; a race of contradictions, inconsistencies, strongly individualistic and extraordinarily social, it may well be that such a soil would produce great failure as well as great success, psychoneurosis as well as genius.

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