Moses and Civilization: The Meaning Behind Freud's Myth
Freud's major cultural books, Totem and Taboo and Moses and Monotheism, have long been viewed as failed attempts at historical reconstruction. This book, by an anthropologist and practicing psychoanalyst, offers a brilliant reinterpretation of these works, presenting them instead as versions and unwitting analyses of the great mythic narrative underlying Judeo-Christian civilization, found principally in the Five Books of Moses. Synthesizing aspects of structural anthropology, symbolic anthropology, evolutionary theory, and psychoanalysis, Robert A. Paul reveals the numerous parallels between Freud's myth of the primal horde and the Torah text. He shows how the primal-horde scenario is the basis for the Christian myth of the life and death of Jesus. And he details the way Freud's myth corresponds to the unconscious fantasy structure of the obsessional personality - a style of personality dynamics Paul sees as essential to maintaining the bureaucratic institutions that comprise Western civilization's most distinctive features. Paul thus corrects and completes Freud's project, creating a valid psychoanalytic account of Western civilization that rests not on faulty speculation, as did Freud's, but on a detailed reading of the biblical text and of the legends, folklore, commentaries, and social practices surrounding it.
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Aaron ambivalence Amram analysis animal Balaam band of brothers Bible biblical text breast brothers Canaan castrating Christian civilization commandments conscientious personality covenant cultural Dathan daughter death deed defenses depicted eating Egypt Egyptian Exod Exodus females filicidal first-born Freud Freud's myth God's guilt Hebrew Horus human idea impulses incest individual Israel Israelites jealous Jesus Jethro Jews Jochabed Joseph Judeo-Christian junior killing king land Levi-Strauss's Leviticus Lord marriage married maternal means memory Midian midrash Moses and Monotheism Moses's mother murder mythic obsessional neurosis Obsessive-Compulsive oedipal Oedipus complex original overseer passage Passover patricide persecuting Pharaoh primal crime primal father primal horde prohibition prophet psychoanalytic punishment rebellion Red Sea relationship religious represents reproduction ritual role rules sacrifice scenario schema senior male sexual Sinai sister social society sons structure superego symbolic talionic theme Torah narrative Totem and Taboo tradition transformation unconscious fantasy wife wish woman