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Hubback, J. (1978). ROBERT, MARTHE. From Oedipus to Moses, Freud's Jewish identity. Trans. from the French by Ralph Manheim. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977. Pp. 229. £5.00.. J. Anal. Psychol., 23(4):374-375.
(1978). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 23(4):374-375
ROBERT, MARTHE. From Oedipus to Moses, Freud's Jewish identity. Trans. from the French by Ralph Manheim. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977. Pp. 229. £5.00.
Review by: Judith Hubback
There can be only a few readers able to keep abreast of the flow of Freudiana and books about psychoanalysis. But this particular book is worth reading. The text itself occupies only 167 pages: there are 44 pages of erudite notes, but many of them are so substantive that the matter they cover should be in the main text.
Marthe Robert takes up, in From Oedipus to Moses, a theme she touched upon in her biography of Freud, The psychoanalytic revolution (1967). Freud's inner conflicts about his Jewish identity feature in her earlier book; but, significantly, in the index there ‘anti-Semitism’ is given as having many pages devoted to it, while ‘Jew’ and ‘Jewish’ are absent. In the present book the focus is more in the positive direction of drawing attention not only to the forces of prejudice, with all their historical and psychological content, but mainly to Freud's experience of being a Jew. From that, Robert goes on to show the ways in which psychoanalysis was affected by its creator's Jewishness.
Throughout this book, parentage and origins are shown in all their powerful action. Jung, the heir-apparent in 1908, was described by Freud in a letter to Abraham as not sharing their ‘racial kinship’ and being less close than Abraham to ‘my intellectual constitution’ because he was a Christian and a pastor's son' (p. 5). The book is a deeply probing essay on Sigmund son of Jakob, manifestations and consequences.
The chapter entitled ‘The two cultures’ is a good piece of social history, in which the psychology of Semitism and anti-Semitism is in effect described as the ground in which Freud and his contemporaries were rooted.
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