Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To see translations of this article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When there are translations of the current article, you will see a flag/pennant icon next to the title, like this: 2015-11-06_11h14_24 For example:

2015-11-06_11h09_55

Click on it and you will see a bibliographic list of papers that are published translations of the current article. Note that when no published translations are available, you can also translate an article on the fly using Google translate.

 

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Zeligs, D.F. (1973). Moses and Pharaoh: A Psychoanalytic Study of their Encounter. Am. Imago, 30(2):192-220.

(1973). American Imago, 30(2):192-220

Moses and Pharaoh: A Psychoanalytic Study of their Encounter

Dorothy F. Zeligs, EDF

There is a quality of awesomeness about the personality and accomplishments of Moses that tends to place him, in popular fantasy, beyond the realm of mortal man, dangerously close to the Divinity itself. Yet we are repeatedly reminded both in the Scriptures and in post-biblical legend, not only of his human origins but of his human failings. This seemingly contradictory image of Moses has an understandable psychological basis.

I shall try to show that within the psyche of Moses a conflict existed between two forces that pulled him in opposite directions. On the one hand, there was a strong wish for omnipotence, with the accompanying sense of being special, while on the other, were deep and painful feelings of inadequacy. We shall see that this struggle finds repeated but disguised expression in the biblical text, as though inadvertently revealed through the words of the hero himself. He could quite openly plead his slowness of speech, but more hidden within him were the longings for a sense of power that would make him feel Godlike.

Earlier Indications of Conflict

The presence of these conflictful tendencies can be detected in the life of Moses starting from early days. In a previous study (38) I interpreted the story of his rescue from the Nile River and adoption by the daughter of Pharaoh (II: 1-10) as expressing a daydream of the youthful Moses, projected back to infancy, in which he reveals discontent with his own situation in life, stemming, in part, from oedipal feelings, and tries to improve his lot in a typical family romance fantasy (9; 35).

A familiar extra-biblical legend portrays the child Moses in the royal palace, reaching up, one day, from his foster-mother's arms and removing the crown from Pharaoh's head, placing it upon his own.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.