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Katz, G.A. (1991). The First-Born Son—Rivalry, Entitlement, Loss, and Reparation: Illustrations from Biblical Legends and Freud's Biography. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 18:501-512.

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(1991). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 18:501-512

The First-Born Son—Rivalry, Entitlement, Loss, and Reparation: Illustrations from Biblical Legends and Freud's Biography

Gil A. Katz

It has generally been psychoanalytic wisdom, following Freud (1900), (1917), (1933), that the first-born son, by virtue of his position as the 'undisputed darling' of his mother, the one who gives her a sense of being physically and emotionally completed, has an advantageous if not enviable lot among his siblings and is possessor of an unshakeably successful outlook on life. The vicissitudes of the first-born son's experience have not been explored further from a psychoanalytic perspective save for one paper by Rollman-Branch (1966), in which she examines the first-born son's potential difficulties in resolving his pre-oedipal ambivalence towards his mother. She highlights his unique experience of being displaced as a privileged only child by the brith of later siblings and then his unique problem of having no older sibling to serve as an auxiliary object to mitigate this trauma.

While there is no further psychoanalytic literature which sheds light on the particular issues that may face the first-born son—and in particular, none that discusses the impact of the father—the Old Testament does single him out for special attention in a law pertaining to inheritance, and supplies the analytic investigator with fertile ground for inquiry. In Biblical law, the father is obliged to grant his first-born son a double share of his estate (daughters do not inherit unless there are no sons). Although primogeniture was acknowledged in Mesopotamian society at that time,

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