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Monotheism, the Incomplete Revolution: Narrating the Event in Freud’s and Assmann’s Moses

Monotheism, the Incomplete Revolution: Narrating the Event in Freud’s and Assmann’s Moses Introduction The Man Moses and the Monotheistic Religion1 has traditionally been seen as the most speculative of Freud's works. Freud wrote the book under the threat of rising Nazi power while suffering from cancer and knowing full well that it would be his last book. Interestingly, Freud does not choose to summarize his views on psychoanalysis, but boldly ventures into the field of biblical history, writing what he calls an "historical novel." Bold but nevertheless writing in a defensive, almost neurotic style, Freud hedges his claims in a variety of ways, complaining about his own fading powers, highlighting the uncertainty of his findings even as he makes very audacious claims. Influenced by Dostoyevskian monologues, Freud positions himself as desperate narrator attempting the impossible, well aware of the speculative character of his undertaking. Freud's historical novel was also inspired by his reading of Thomas Man's "Joseph and his Brothers," and undeniably reads like a serialized novel which breaks off at key points in order to heighten suspense. Freud's audacious reconstruction of the story of Moses is by now well known. Moses was an Egyptian born priest or nobleman who lived at the time of the monotheistic revolution undertaken by http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png symploke University of Nebraska Press

Monotheism, the Incomplete Revolution: Narrating the Event in Freud’s and Assmann’s Moses

symploke , Volume 23 (1) – Dec 31, 2015

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 symploke.
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1534-0627
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Abstract

Introduction The Man Moses and the Monotheistic Religion1 has traditionally been seen as the most speculative of Freud's works. Freud wrote the book under the threat of rising Nazi power while suffering from cancer and knowing full well that it would be his last book. Interestingly, Freud does not choose to summarize his views on psychoanalysis, but boldly ventures into the field of biblical history, writing what he calls an "historical novel." Bold but nevertheless writing in a defensive, almost neurotic style, Freud hedges his claims in a variety of ways, complaining about his own fading powers, highlighting the uncertainty of his findings even as he makes very audacious claims. Influenced by Dostoyevskian monologues, Freud positions himself as desperate narrator attempting the impossible, well aware of the speculative character of his undertaking. Freud's historical novel was also inspired by his reading of Thomas Man's "Joseph and his Brothers," and undeniably reads like a serialized novel which breaks off at key points in order to heighten suspense. Freud's audacious reconstruction of the story of Moses is by now well known. Moses was an Egyptian born priest or nobleman who lived at the time of the monotheistic revolution undertaken by

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symplokeUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Dec 31, 2015

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