Schimmel, Solomon 1941-
SCHIMMEL, Solomon 1941-
PERSONAL: Born July 6, 1941, in Brooklyn, NY; son of Murray (a furrier and real estate broker) and Phyllis (a homemaker) Schimmel; married, September 1, 1965; wife's name Judith (a teacher); children: David, Atara, Noam. Education: City University of New York, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1962; attended ITRI Institute, Jerusalem, Israel, 1962-64, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1964-65; Wayne State University, M.A., 1969, Ph.D., 1971. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Reading poetry, music, studying the Talmud.
ADDRESSES: Home—26 Morton St., Newton Centre, MA 02159. Offıce—Hebrew College, 160 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459.
CAREER: Educator, research psychologist, and author. Teacher at a Hebrew high school in Detroit, MI, 1965-71; Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, assistant professor of psychology, 1972-75, visiting professor, 1989; Hebrew College, Brookline, MA, associate professor, 1975-77, professor of psychology and Jewish education, 1977—. University of Texas Medical Branch, Bicentennial Research Fellow and visiting professor, Institute for the Medical Humanities, 1977; Bar-Ilan University, visiting professor, 1982-84; Hebrew University of Jerusalem, visiting professor, 1982-84, 1992. Psychotherapist; Merrill-Palmer Institute, researcher on cognitive and linguistic development, reading and behavior modification, 1967-69; National Institute of Mental Health, research psychologist, 1968. Camp Kfar Ivri, program director, 1967; Camp Yavnah, director of education, 1982, 1983.
MEMBER: American Academy of Religion, Association of Jewish Studies, National Humanities Faculty, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Social Science Research Council fellow at Behavioral Genetics Institute, University of Colorado, 1969; fellow of National Science Foundation at Center for Cognitive Studies, Harvard University, 1971-72; Professional/Scholarly Publishing Award for Excellence in Psychology, American Association of Publishers, for Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness.
The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian, and Classical Reflections on Human Nature, Free Press (New York, NY), 1992.
Work represented in anthologies, including The Medical Writings of Moses Maimonides, Volume 2, edited by S. Muntner, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1966; Developmental Psychology Today, revised edition, Random House (New York, NY), 1975; and Studies in Jewish Education, Volume 4, Magnes Press, 1989. Contributor to scholarly journals.
SIDELIGHTS: Solomon Schimmel, a professor at Hebrew College in Brookline, Massachusetts, has written two books that combine aspects of religion and psychology. Both of his books were well received by critics. The first, The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian, and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology, describes how the seven deadly sins—lust, greed, envy, anger, pride, gluttony, and sloth—are related to moral and social issues of the present day. Schimmel told CA, "The Seven Deadly Sins, written from an autobiographical perspective, is my attempt to hold on to those elements of my religious heritage which I still cherish (and to incorporate comparable ones from Christianity, moral philosophy, and poetry), while accepting the values of rationality and a scientific approach to the study of human psychology and behavior. I suppose the book reflects my ambivalences about both religion and secular psychology—seeing each as inadequate on its own to address the needs of modern men and women. I try to integrate religion's teachings about vice, virtue, and happiness with psychology's (not always successful) attempts to help people who are troubled by difficulties in controlling their emotions and passions and by anomie." A Publishers Weekly critic commented, "More than an old-fashioned hellfire sermon, this is a surprisingly humane handbook for self-transformation." The books shows the relationship between the ills of today, such as substance abuse, divorce, overeating, and pornography are related to the seven deadly sins.
After publishing The Seven Deadly Sins, Schimmel told CA, "In my next book, I will draw from the insights of religion, philosophy, poetry, and empirical psychology on suffering, hope, and compassion to see what each can learn from the other and how all four can help us better cope with our own suffering and become more compassionate toward others who are enduring pain, tragedy, and depression." The result is Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness, in which Schimmel uses Judaism, Christianity, and psychology to explore the topics of forgiveness and revenge. Again, critics praised his work. Stephen Joseph of Library Journal noted, "He deftly elucidates topics of revenge, justice, why and when to forgive, how to forgive, repentance, and reconciliation." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked, Schimmel "brings a high level of scholarship, a deeply personal tone and an accessible writing style to complex questions of repentance and forgiveness." The reviewer concluded that "Schimmel adds his own voice in a way that seems to come less from books than from the heart." In First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, Shalom Carmy wrote, "[Schimmel's] attempt to produce a Jewishly informed account of the psychology and ethics of forgiveness fills a real void in the literature on the subject. Schimmel's significant contribution is to sketch the Jewish and Christian approaches to forgiveness and repentance within the contemporary framework of interpersonal and inter-group relations, and with a philosopher's concern for precise vocabulary and clear exposition."
Schimmel once told CA, "I received an intensive, orthodox Jewish education, at home and in several yeshivot (schools for Talmudic study) in the United States and Israel; the moral and spiritual teachings of Judaism shaped my most important values. In my early twenties, doubts about the truth of the basic premises of Orthodox Judaism, which had been incubating for many years, erupted, shattering the worldview that had made my life meaningful and satisfying. Both the faith of my youth which I loved, and the painful loss of that faith, have been the central experiences influencing my research, teaching, and writing ever since."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
First Things: A Month Journal of Religion and Public Life, April, 2003, Shalom Carmy, "Taking Forgiveness Seriously," p. 54.
Library Journal, October 15, 2002, Stephen Joseph, review of Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness, p. 78. Publishers Weekly, March 30, 1992, review of The
Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Classical, and Christian Reflections on Human Nature, p. 94; August 26, 2002, review of Wounds Not Healed by Time, p. 63.
Hebrew College,http://www.hebrewcollege.edu/ (January 16, 2003), "Faculty."
Oxford University Press,http://www.oup-usa.org/ (January 16, 2003), descriptions of The Seven Deadly Sins and Wounds Not Healed by Time. Science and Religion Bookstore,http://www.scienceandreligionbooks.org/ (March 25, 2004), description of Wounds Not Healed by Time.*