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Schmukler, A.G. (1989). American Imago. XLIV, 1987: Moses and Monotheism Revisited—Freud's "Personal Myth"? Michael P. Carroll. Pp. 15-33.. Psychoanal Q., 58:508-509.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XLIV, 1987: Moses and Monotheism Revisited—Freud's "Personal Myth"? Michael P. Carroll. Pp. 15-33.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:508-509

American Imago. XLIV, 1987: Moses and Monotheism Revisited—Freud's "Personal Myth"? Michael P. Carroll. Pp. 15-33.

Anita G. Schmukler

The author takes the position that the propositions both in Moses and Monotheism and in those papers which explore it are "misdirected." His notion is that since there is neither direct evidence that Moses lived during the supposed historical period nor evidence of his ethnic background, one may entirely ignore the perspective of historical context and study instead the attraction of the Moses legend in particular cultures. Freud's effort to establish that Moses was an Egyptian involved the Egyptian etymology of the name, Moses (a fact recognized by classical scholars), and the story of Moses' birth. This story is somewhat exceptional: in many "birth of the hero" tales, the hero is born into an aristocratic family and adopted into a humble one. Freud stated that since the Moses story presented a reversal of this situation, some information about Moses may have "forced a modification of the usual pattern." Further

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evidence cited by Freud for Moses' being an Egyptian was his portrayal as "adopted by the Pharaoh's daughter (or wife)." Carroll suggests that this fact (adoption by the daughter) "establishes Pharaoh as Moses' foster father, and so implies that Moses becomes a potential heir to Pharaoh's throne." Thus, the Moses implies that Moses becomes a potential heir to Pharaoh's throne." Thus, the Moses' wish to supplant his father is explored, as is his wish for parricide. The incest theme emerges in the marriage of Moses' father, Amram, to Jochebed, Amram's paternal aunt. In the author's view, themes of incest and parricide better enable the Moses legend to be understood on psychological grounds than does the historical hypothesis which Freud offered. The author presents his concept that Freud's "personal myth" provides an explanation of his emphasis on Moses as the "murdered father," to the exclusion of his simultaneous role as the "murdering son."

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Article Citation

Schmukler, A.G. (1989). American Imago. XLIV, 1987. Psychoanal. Q., 58:508-509

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