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Oremland, J.D. (1993). In the Shadow of Moloch: The Sacrifice of Children and its Impact on Western Religions. By Martin S. Bergmann. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp. 347.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:406-409.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:406-409

In the Shadow of Moloch: The Sacrifice of Children and its Impact on Western Religions. By Martin S. Bergmann. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp. 347.

Review by:
Jerome D. Oremland

Many generations of psychoanalysts and students of the humanities will enjoy and learn from Martin S. Bergmann's remarkable volume In the Shadow of Moloch. Those of us who know his writings, seminars, and lively informal discussions are not surprised by the breadth of scholarly knowledge that Bergmann brings to bear on a subject rarely addressed by psychoanalysts, the understanding of 'the religious past of western culture'. The book's eleven pages of bibliography are in themselves an enticing array of psychoanalysis, theology, philosophy, history, literature, and anthropology. Although the bibliography is richly laced with modern scholarship, many of the titles and the authors remind us of that shining past when psychoanalysis richly interrelated with the classics and the humanities. While in no way dated, in tone and style the book reminds us of the salad days of psychoanalysis when psychoanalysts dared to study broadly the characteristics that define the human being.

The book explicates the role of ritualised slaughter, particularly of children, in the development of humankind's moral sense and defining of values. The title, In the Shadow of Moloch, reveals the complexity of Bergmann's approach. Shadow, in Bergmann's sophisticated discussion, takes on the Jungian sense of the 'dark side', an internal that is integral.

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