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Schlossman, H.H. (1972). God the Father and his Sons. Am. Imago, 29(1):35-52.

(1972). American Imago, 29(1):35-52

God the Father and his Sons

Howard H. Schlossman, M.D.

Psychoanalysis began as an attempt to understand and treat certain human ailments and developed into a general human psychology. Seventy years of work have contributed a large body of knowledge to the understanding of the individual, and gradually social scientists directed a psychoanalytic focus to the study of society.

In a letter to Fliess during his formative years (5), Freud notes that in his dreams he found a pattern of relationship to parents similar to that in the Oedipus Rex. Here, Freud found the key which related myths and writings of the ancients to his clinical findings. Since then, psychoanalytic knowledge abounds with papers on mythology and literature as companions to clinical material.

I would like to examine an ancient writing compiled by unknown authors, distorted and censored by other ancients who had their own ‘myths to grind’-the Bible. Specifically, a repeated theme in Genesis—a pair of brothers in competition, either as active competitors or placed in such a position by the decision of the authorities—Cain-Abel in the origin-myth of man living on earth; then Ishmael-Isaac at the beginning of the special relationship between Jehovah and the Hebrews, followed in each generation with its own pair—Esau-Jacob, Reuben-Joseph and in the last chapters of Genesis, Menasseh and Ephraim—the sons of Joseph.

Without exception, the older brother appears to be the inferior and/or the rejected, while the younger is favored or triumphant. Even in a later story, at the onset of a quasi-historical era in contrast to the earlier mythological period, Moses the younger is chosen to carry out God's will with the assistance of his older brother Aaron. In the desert, Aaron dares to compete as a God-maker in the episode of the Golden Calf, but Moses defeats him and the calf worshippers, and Aaron returns to his role as servant of God.

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