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Freud is the founder of psychoanalysis, the science that looks beyond the conscious meaning of what we say, into the unconscious. We owe to Freud the description of the unconscious, and the idea that by paying attention to the things we say and do, by listening carefully, and in good faith, we can find patterns that bring with them an awareness of what we have stuffed into our unconscious and left unexamined.
Freud's theory of help for behavior that we can't seem to predict because it is coming from the unconscious is to turn to someone who can help us listen attentively and help us become aware of what we have stuffed deep down into a memory that is unseen and unheard. Those who engage in this kind of help are called "psychoanalysts."
Freud realized that we sometimes deny things we see and hear. The therapist in psychoanalysis can help us see past that denial. It's not easy, and it takes a while, years sometimes, to let ourselves become fully "aware" of all our feelings. But even when we're not aware of them, those feelings are still there, in our unconscious, sometimes controlling our behavior, our thoughts, our feelings.
Freud was a Jew, and as such, he knew anti-Semitism. He was denied promotions because of his religion; his colleagues wouldn't pay attention to his ideas. Discrimination was rampant in the late 1920's when Freud wrote briefly on the way that Jews were treated. After all, Jesus was a Jew. So that Freud's people had given humankind one of its greatest gifts, a hero like Jesus Christ.
Freud thought about that, and wondered why Jews were so hated. He went back to the history and origin of his people, and he tried to come to know Moses, the great Jewish leader who had led his people out of bondage in Egypt. The story goes that Moses was hidden amongst the reeds to be saved from the killing of all the Jewish first-born, and was saved by an Egyptian princess and raised as her own. But Moses is an Egyptian name, and some historians today wonder about that. They wonder if Moses was really an Egyptian, and simply led the Jews out of slavery because his belief in one God, the God of Akhenaton, made him see the wrong in such slavery. The genral explanation is that his name was Hebrew meaning "drawn out of the water." But that is Hebre etymology, unlikely to have been known by an Egyptian princess.
If that were the case, Moses must have adopted the Jewish people as his own, and since he was the one in communication with God, he may have passed on that God to the Jewish people, through whom, Jesus later came to lead the people who would form Christianity.
Another part of Freud's argument is based on all the myths like that of Oedipus, who was foretold as a danger to his father, and so the father ordered him abandoned. Although he was a king to be, he was reared by peasants who rescued him. That is typical of the hero myth in which the unknown hero from lower classes is turned into a king by this abandonmnet myth. But in Moses case, the myth is reversed. He is not a noble king to be rescued by peasants. He is a peasant rescued by a Princess. The myth is generally the other way around. So Freud reasons that the myth had to change to accomodate Moses Egyptian origin.
Is the story true? Who knows? But that doesn't matter so much as that we have heard the story, that we see the monotheism of Akhenaton as a possible predecessor that may have had some influence on the Jewish religion, and hence, on the Christian religion. What matters is that we know that there is much to know, and that we can not know it all in our foreseeable future.
Did Moses have horns? As he is shown above in Michelangelo's sculpture in the Church of the Vinculae in Rome? Once again, it matters most that we know that there are depictions of Jews, including Moses, with horns. What did Michelangelo mean by those horns? I don't know. But they're part of our culture to wonder. Even Freud had to wonder, to try to imagine who our heros were and where they have led us.
We must not lose all the many stories, for some day their pieces may all come together.
Back to "Well, one God" in the Hypertext Poem.
Review of Freud's Moses and Monotheism, with sources.
The Cult of the Sun God and Akhenaten's Monotheism from Library of Congress.