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(1990). Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 59:173-174.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:173-174

Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

February 9, 1988. FREUD'S FASCINATION WITH ARCHAEOLOGY AND ITS CONNECTION WITH THE PHILIPPSON BIBLE. William G. Niederland, M.D.

Dr. Niederland noted that students of Freud's life, career, and scientific as well as personal pursuits are fully aware of his intense and lifelong interest in archaeology. Freud discussed this interest in his 1931 letter to Stefan Zweig (in which he said that he had "actually read more archaeology than psychology") and in other writings. It is evidenced also by his famous collection of antiquities: over two thousand items which he acquired over the years, some of them at considerable expense. Dr. Niederland's presentation sought to explore the psychogenesis of this marked interest and lifelong preoccupation of Freud's which Max Schur, in his book, Freud: Living and Dying, described as an "addiction second only in intensity to his nicotine addiction."

Dr. Niederland traced Freud's devotion to archaeology to a series of significant childhood experiences at the time when he had learned to read and had received the so-called Philippson Bible as an important birthday gift from his father. This Bible—then called Die Israelitische Bibel—was published in Leipzig in 1858. It was a weighty book (literally speaking), edited and translated by Dr. Ludwig Philippson, a distinguished German rabbi, author, and scholar. The original Hebrew and translated German texts appeared side by side on each page. The book contained more than five hundred impressive illustrations which depicted antiquities of prehistoric and early historic periods, in particular, Egyptian, Greek, and other deities of strange appearance, most of them birdlike.

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