Original Research

Some psychoanalytical meanings of the skin in Leviticus 13–14

Pieter van der Zwan
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 37, No 1 | a1590 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v37i1.1590 | © 2016 Pieter van der Zwan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 February 2016 | Published: 22 September 2016

About the author(s)

Pieter van der Zwan, Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


‘Psychoanalysing’ the different forms of ‘scale disease’ dealt with in Leviticus 13–14 can shed some light on the way the skin can be interpreted in this context. The eight psychic functions of the skin identified by Anzieu reveal how individuals meet collective anxieties on the surface of the skin where unconscious conflicts about identity boundaries are projected and inscribed.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Traditionally there has been a tension between psychology and religion, due to the Freudian critique of religion. This research intends to show that a deeper understanding of religion leading hopefully to an even deeper religiosity can be achieved by studying bodily features portrayed in a (religious) text from a psychoanalytic perspective.


psychoanalytic; skin; scale diseases; Leviticus


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