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Sterba, R. (1943). 'The Man Moses' and the Man Freud: Hanns Sachs. Psa. Rev., XXVIII, 1941, pp. 156–162.. Psychoanal Q., 12:437-438.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: 'The Man Moses' and the Man Freud: Hanns Sachs. Psa. Rev., XXVIII, 1941, pp. 156–162.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:437-438

'The Man Moses' and the Man Freud: Hanns Sachs. Psa. Rev., XXVIII, 1941, pp. 156–162.

Richard Sterba

In this little study Hanns Sachs traces the connections between Freud's emotional reactions to the heroes of his youth and the development of that part of his character which appeared in his attitude towards his own work and towards success in general. In his younger years Freud's heroes were men who were leaders in the war against injustice and oppression. As a Semitic leader, Hannibal was a particularly appropriate hero during Freud's Gymnasialjahre when he first experienced antisemitic tendencies directed against him by his classmates. His daydreams centered around the idea of becoming a fighter, and later on a political leader and statesman, who would gain justice for the racial minority to which he belonged. These ideas underwent a definite change when, under the influence of Goethe's essay Natur, he decided to turn to the study of medicine and 'for the medical man the career of a minister is out of the question'. After his first analytic findings had been rejected by the medical profession he took a further step in this withdrawal from early ideals. He then decided 'that science during my life time would take no


1 Freud: Zur Geschichte der Psychoanalytischen Bewegung. Ges. Schr., IV, p. 427.

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notice [of his work], but that some decades afterwards someone else would without fail be brought face to face with the same facts, which then, being more in harmony with the trends of his time, would find recognition'.1 Hanns Sachs points out that this parallels the fate of Moses, another great man of the past, who, according to Sellin's theory, was killed by the people he had liberated, but was later spiritually revived by the prophets and worshipped as the great hero of his people. However, Freud avoided identifying himself with Moses although such an identification would certainly have been in accordance with his boyhood fantasies. Instead, he completely abandoned the hero ideal and in his last book, Moses and Monotheism, he made an attempt to analyze the origin of the hero myth surrounding Moses, thus partially destroying it.

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Article Citation

Sterba, R. (1943). 'The Man Moses' and the Man Freud. Psychoanal. Q., 12:437-438

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