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Reider, N. (1960). Medieval Oedipal Legends about Judas. Psychoanal Q., 29:515-527.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:515-527

Medieval Oedipal Legends about Judas

Norman Reider, M.D.

Many medieval legends about Judas are of special psychoanalytic interest because of their close resemblance to the story of Oedipus. First mentioned in the psychoanalytic literature by Rank (17), they were studied most extensively by Reik (19), to whose formulations relatively little will be added in this study. But an attempt will be made to enlarge upon some aspects of Reik's studies, especially by using material from Baum (1) published well beforehand but which may not have been available to Reik when he did his main work on the subject. Baum's scholarly researches permit some elaborations of Reik's thesis, of which the most recent were by Schendler (22).

The legend about Judas, found in almost every language and country in medieval Europe, appeared in France, in Latin, the latter part of the twelfth century. By the end of the thirteenth century it was present in the vernacular of such countries as Wales, Catalonia, and Bohemia. By the fifteenth century it had spread to distant Scandinavia, Finland, and Russia. Greek and English versions reappeared later, with the upsurge of interest in the story in post-medieval times. Jacapo de Voragine included it in his Legenda Aurea, where it made its first appearance in ecclesiastical literature.

Baum studied about a hundred texts of the Judas story, classified them, showed the derivation of various types from the others, and evaluated their literary and scholastic merits.

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