Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To access PEP-Web support…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you click on the banner at the top of the website, you will be brought to the page for PEP-Web support.

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

Meissner, W.W. (1996). In The Shadow Of Moloch: The Sacrifice Of Children And Its Impact On Western Religions. By Martin S. Bergmann. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1992, xv + 347 pp., $40.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:293-297.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:293-297

In The Shadow Of Moloch: The Sacrifice Of Children And Its Impact On Western Religions. By Martin S. Bergmann. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1992, xv + 347 pp., $40.00.

Review by:
W. W. Meissner

Rembrandt, The Sacrifice of Abraham, 1665

Martin Bergmann needs no introduction to psychoanalytic readers: he is a well established and recognized contributor to the analytic literature and has long been a prominent figure in psychoanalytic circles. His writing on the Holocaust is especially well known. He is currently Clinical Professor of Psychology in New York University's postdoctoral program and teaches for the New York Freudian Society. He brings to his task a wealth of experience and the benefit of years of reflection on analytic matters.

In this book he brings these resources to bear on a powerful and pervasive theme in human culture that has far-reaching implications for our understanding of the human condition and particularly of man's religious experience. Briefly stated, his thesis is that the origins of archaic religions are connected with the need to placate the anger of the gods by human sacrifice, particularly of little children. This dynamic process has undergone increasing repression and sublimation in the history of religious development, and continues to exercise an active and powerful influence on an unconscious level in the mind of present-day man. The sacrificial offering has the function of protecting the sacrificer from the hostility of the deity. The hostility of the sacrificer is transformed by projection into the fear of persecution by the god. Older forms of sacrifice sought only to offer a substitute victim to draw the wrath of the god—usually a child, as in the biblical sacrifices to the Ammonite god Moloch.

[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 © 2019, 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.