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Moses and Monotheism Paperback – Jan 12 1955
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"To deny a people the man whom it praises as the greatest of its sons is not a deed to be undertaken lightheartedly--especially by one belonging to that people," writes Sigmund Freud, as he prepares to pull the carpet out from under The Great Lawgiver in Moses and Monotheism. In this, his last book, Freud argues that Moses was an Egyptian nobleman and that the Jewish religion was in fact an Egyptian import to Palestine. Freud also writes that Moses was murdered in the wilderness, in a reenactment of the primal crime against the father. Lingering guilt for this crime, Freud says, is the reason Christians understand Jesus' death as sacrificial. "The 'redeemer' could be none other than the one chief culprit, the leader of the brother-band who had overpowered the father." Hence the basic difference between Judaism and Christianity: "Judaism had been a religion of the father, Christianity became a religion of the son." Freud's arguments are extremely imaginative, and his distinction between reality and fantasy, as always, is very loose. If only as a study of wrong-headedness, however, it's fascinating reading for those who want to explore the psychological impulses governing the historical relationship between Christians and Jews. --Michael Joseph Gross
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Top Customer Reviews
A conspiracy book by a mediocre paranoid is par for the course; but one written by a genius of the first order is bound to be outstanding.
To fully understand M&M one has to be somewhat conversant with Totem and Taboo, and Freud reiterates those basic premises here as well. Briefly they are as follows:
The origin of society begins with a tribe in which the dominant male gets all the women, including his sisters and Mommy.
His sons are understandably upset at being left out of the fun and complain, so Dad kills or castrates them. Or makes the mistake of being lenient and simply drives them off.
The sons, unable to find females of their own, band together go back and murder dad. Then, of course, they eat his body.
There being too many sons (and feeling repressed guilt at killing their old man) they make taboos against incest thus establishing the rule of law.
(Bet you didn't know this was the origin of Magna Carta, et al).
This keeps the gene pool safe from inbreeding but leads to all sorts of guilt feelings which get acted out politically-- not the least of which is a worshipping of Mommy, which leads to LHM -a Literal Historical Matriarchy.
(And to think feminists dislike Freud)
Next, they get fed up with being bossed about by Mom (and who wouldn't?) so they re-establish the patriarchy; only this time they stick to the rule of law, because they can't afford further fraticidal bloodshed and they invent polytheism to boot.
But deeply repressed father hatred looms within, which leads to the final step: monotheism, in which God is an avenging Father who must be appeased before he starts castrating again. . .Read more ›
The essays join together the main ideas from "Totem and Taboo" and "The Future of an Illusion" in a study of the Jewish (and Catholic) founding texts. He believed the biblical Moses to be an Egyptian, who imposed his failed religion on a wandering tribe nearby. The Oedipus effect ensued, leading to collective repression. Thus, widespread belief in one god is a symptom of our repressed guilt for having murdered Moses thousands of years ago. Through it all, you can hear the author's voice, desperately attempting to grasp what it really means to be one of the chosen people of Moses during the Holocaust.
If you liked this I would highly recommend:
Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World - René Girard
Erotism - Georges Bataille
Most recent customer reviews
The premise of this book is that the biblical character Moses, rather than being born into an ancient Hebrew family was in fact Egyptian. Read morePublished on April 16 2006 by Dwayne Nietzche
I did not know all of this about Freud, and I just remember being in the bookstore, loving the cover, realizing he was who wrote it and I had to get it, and I loved it. Loved it. Read morePublished on Feb. 28 2004 by Kristin B.
This is the last book written by Freud. Moses and Monotheism was published in totum in 1939, the year Freud died in London, where he got residence along with his family to scape... Read morePublished on April 22 2003 by Roberto P. De Ferraz
An excellent work of Freud. This thesis is not misses for nobody. The scholars know that the judaism is an endless mixture of foreign concepts, that it has been benefitted of... Read morePublished on July 21 2002
I found this book very enlightening, not because the premise is necessarily factual, but because through Freud's alternative ideas on the Moses legend we gain additional insight... Read morePublished on April 5 2002 by Brad Saltzberg
An outstanding and audacious book.
Not to many people have knowledge of this subject on Freud's writings. Read more
I feel this short book is well worth reading. Freud, at the time, was debating whether to leave Nazi-occupied Austria and was deeply afraid that the public would misinterpret him. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2001
Freud speculated two Moses: an Egyptian nobleman who lived near the time of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaton, the founder of the world's first monotheism, who gave the Hebrews a... Read morePublished on July 22 2001 by Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA