Ilna'e (Schoenbaum), Eliezer Isaac

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ILNA'E (Schoenbaum), ELIEZER ISAAC (1885–1929), philosopher. Ilna'e, who was born in Kovrin, Lithuania, grew up under the opposing influences of Jewish enlightenment and Jewish traditionalism. For approximately 35 years he lived in Gomel (Homel), where he was active in Zionist affairs. His writings there included Ha-Ẓiyyoniyyut ve-ha-Materialiyyut ("Zionism and Materialism," 1906), Yesodei ha-Meẓi'ut ve-ha-Hakkarah ("Fundamentals of Reality and Consciousness," 1913). After World War i he settled in Jerusalem. In 1923 he published a Hebrew translation of Wilhelm *Jerusalem's Introduction to the Study of Philosophy. Ilna'e's Me-Ever le-Ḥushiyyut ("Beyond Sense Perception"), posthumously published by his friends (1930), contains Ilna'e's biography. The starting point of Ilna'e's philosophy is the problem of the nature of the soul. He claimed that contemporary psychology, grown too cautious of metaphysical influences and too reliant on natural science, had lapsed either into physiology or become involved in internal contradictions. The ego and nonego are both active subjects possessing will and knowledge, each counteracting the other. Using this basic assumption explains how all psychic qualities, through the interaction of ego and non-ego, gradually come to develop: sensation, the reproductive power, conceptualization, reflection and imagination, the forms of place and intellect. Ilna'e distinguishes three levels of ego: "the subordinate ego," dealing with internal bodily functions necessary for growth and existence; "the intermediate ego," devoted to the struggle for existence; and finally, "the superior ego," comprising whatever voluntary activity manifests itself upon the completion by the "intermediate ego" of its work of organization. At present this "superior ego" cannot be apprehended, but we are nevertheless indirectly aware of it. Ilna'e's theories are particularly helpful in explaining hypnotic and parapsychological phenomena.


Bergmann, in: Davar (1928/29), Suppl. no. 15; J.L.G. Kahanowitz, Me-Homel ad Tel-Aviv (1952), 91–96.

[Samuel Hugo Bergman]

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Ilna'e (Schoenbaum), Eliezer Isaac

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