Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism
 - Freud claims that Moses was an Egyptian, and Jewish Monotheism is derived from Akhnaton.

Peter Myers, July 2, 2002; update August 6, 2007. My comments are shown {thus}. Write to me at contact.html.

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Sigmund Freud, like Cyrus H. Gordon, believed that Jewish Monotheism was derived from that of Egypt's heretic Pharaoh Akhnaten. On Gordon, see gordon.html (p. 119).

Freud wrote his last book, Moses and Monotheism, on this topic. He even admits to being embarrassed by the bloodthirsty, parochial character of Yahweh/Jehovah:

"{p. 87} The Jewish people had abandoned the Aton religion which Moses had given them and had turned to the worship of another god {i.e. Yahweh/Jehovah} who differed little from the Baalim of the neighbouring tribes. All the efforts of later distorting influences failed to hide this humiliating fact."

"{p. 38} the Jewish tribes ... {p. 39} later ... took over the worship of a god Jahve, probably from the Arabic tribe of Midianites ... Jahve was certainly a volcano-god ... {p. 41} the demon Jahve on his {p. 42} divine mountain."

"{p. 78} Jahve was quite unlike the Mosaic God. Aton had been a pacifist, like his deputy on earth or rather his model the Pharaoh Ikhnaton ... For a people that was preparing to conquer new lands by violence Jahve was certainly better suited. ... the central fact of the development of Jewish religion was this: in the course of time Jahve lost his own character and became more and more like the old God of Moses, Aton."

"{p. 116} The deeper motives of anti-Semitism have their roots in times long past ... the jealousy which the Jews evoked in other peoples by maintaining that they were the first-born, favourite child of God the Father ... {p. 133} We know that of all the peoples who lived in antiquity in the basin of the {p. 134} Mediterranean the Jewish people is perhaps the only one that still exists in name and probably also in nature ... it has ... earned the hearty dislike of all other peoples. ... There is no doubt that they have a very good opinion of themselves, think themselves nobler, on a higher level, superior ... They really believe themselves to be God's chosen people; they hold themselves to be specially near to him, and this is what makes them proud and confident. According to trustworthy accounts, they behaved in Hellenistic times as they do today. The Jewish character, therefore, even then was what it is now, and the Greeks, among whom and alongside whom they lived, reacted to the Jewish qualities in the same way as their {p. 135} "hosts" do today. {p. 158} We set out to explain whence comes the peculiar character of the Jewish people which in all probability is what has enabled that people to survive until today. We found that the man Moses created their character by giving to them a religion which heightened their self-confidence to such a degree that they believed themselves to be superior to all other peoples. They survived by keeping aloof from the others."

Jews are riven by an oscillation between Akhnaton's "Universal" God and Yahweh/Jehovah the Tribal God.

Egyptologist Donald B. Redford, in attacking Freud's linking of Moses with Akhnaten, misses Freud's point. Freud admits that Yahweh is a vindictive tribal god, but TRANSFERS Jewish Monotheism to the allegedly universalist deity of Akhnaten. I say "allegedly", because of Akhnaten's intolerant iconoclasm.

(1) Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism(2) Donald B. Redford replies to Freud on the Akhenaten-Moses link

(1) Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism. Translated from the German by Katherine Jones, Vintage Books, New York 1967.

{p. 3} Part 1. Moses an Egyptlan

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 {i.e. Freud identifies himself as a Jew}. No consideration, however, will move me to set aside truth in favour of supposed national interests. Moreover, the elucidation of the mere facts of the problem may be expected to deepen our insight into the situation with which they are concerned.

The man Moses, the liberator of his people, who gave them their religion and their laws, belonged to an age so remote that the preliminary question arises whether he was a historical person or a legendary figure. If he lived, his time was the thirteenth or fourteenth century B.C.; we have no word of him except from the Holy Books and the written traditions

{p. 4} of the Jews. Although the decision lacks final historical certainty, the great majority of historians have expressed the opinion that Moses did live and that the exodus from Egypt, led by him, did in fact take place. It has been maintained with good reason that the later history of Israel could not be understood if this were not admitted. Science today has become much more cautious and deals much more leniently with tradition than it did in the early days of historical investigation.

What first attracts our interest in the person of Moses is his name, which is written Mosche in Hebrew. One may well ask: Where does it come from? What does it mean? As is well known, the story in Exodus, Chapter ii, already answers this question. There we learn that the Egyptian princess who saved the babe from the waters of the Nile gave him his name, adding the etymological explanation: Because I drew him out of the water. But this explanation is obviously inadequate. "The Biblical interpretation of the name: 'He that was drawn out of the water'" thus an author in the Judisches Lexikon - "is folk etymology; the active Hebrew form itself of the name (Mosche can at best mean only 'the drawer out') cannot be reconciled with this solution." This argument can be supported by two further reflections: first, that it is nonsensical to credit an Egyptian princess with a knowledge of Hebrew etymology, and, secondly, that the water from which the child was drawn was most probably not the water of the Nile.

On the other hand the suggestion has long been

{p. 5} made and by many different people that the name Moses derives from the Egyptian vocabulary. Instead of citing all the authors who have voiced this opinion I shall quote a passage from a recent work by Breasted, {footnote 1} an author whose History of Egypt is regarded as authoritative. "It is important to notice that his name, Moses, was Egyptian. It is simply the Egyptian word 'mose' meaning 'child,' and is an abridgement of a fuller form of such names as 'Amen-mose' meaning 'Amon-a-child' or 'Ptah-mose,' meaning 'Ptah-a-child,' these forms themselves being likewise abbreviations ior the complete form 'Amon- (has-given) -a-child' or 'Ptah- (has-given) -a-child.' The abbreviation 'child' early became a convenient rapid form for the cumbrous full name, and the name Mose, 'child,' is not uncommon on the Egyptian monuments. The father of Moses without doubt prefixed to his son's name that of an Egyptian god like Amon or Ptah, and this divine name was gradually lost in current usage, till the boy was called 'Mose.' (The final s is an addition drawn from the Greek translation of the Old Testament. It is not in the Hebrew, which has 'mosheh')." I have given this passage literally and am by no means prepared to share the responsibility for its details. I am a little surprised, however, that Breasted in citing related names should have passed over the analogous theophorous names in the list of Egyptian kings, such as Ah-mose, Thut-mose (Thotmes), and Ra-mose (Ramses).

It might have been expected that one of the

{footnote 1} The Dawn of Conscience (New York: Charles Scribner's sons; 1934). p. 350.

{The above footnote is important, because Freud was reading Breasted, and absorbed his ideas. In footnote 1 on p. 21, Freud quotes Breasted's evaluation of Akhnaton as "the first individual in human history". See especially pp. 22-26 below}

{p. 6} many authors who recognized Moses to be an Egyptian name would have drawn the conclusion, or at least considered the possibility, that the bearer of an Egyptian name was himself an Egyptian. In modern times we have no misgiving in drawing such conclusions, although today a person bears two names, not one, and although a change of name or assimilation of it in new conditions cannot be ruled out. So we are not at all surprised to find that the poet Chamisso was of French extraction, Napoleon Buonaparte, on the other hand, of Italian, and that Benjamin Disraeli was an Italian Jew, as his name would lead us to expect. And such an inference from the name to the race should be more reliable and indeed conclusive in respect of early and primitive times. Nevertheless to the best of my knowledge no historian has drawn this conclusion in the case of Moses, not even one of those who, like Breasted, are ready to suppose that Moses "was cognizant of all the wisdom of the Egyptians." {footnote 1}  ...

If the question of the nationality of this great man is considered important, then any new material for answering it must be welcome.

This is what my little essay attempts. The con-

{footnote 1} Op. cit., p. 334. {another reference to Breasted}

{p. 7} tribution it brings is an application of psychoanalysis. The considerations thus reached will impress only that minority of readers familiar with analytical reasoning and able to appreciate its conclusions. To them I hope it will appear of significance.

In 1909 Otto Rank, then still under my influence, published at my suggestion a book entitled: Der Mythus von der Geburt des Helden. It deals with the fact "that almost all important civilized peoples have early woven myths around and glorified in poetry their heroes, mythical kings and princes, founders of religions, of dynasties, empires and cities in short, their national heroes. Especially the history of their birth and of their early years is furnished with phantastic traits; the amazing similarity, nay, literal identity, of those tales, even if they refer to different, completely independent peoples, sometimes geographically far removed from one another, is well known and has struck many an investigator." Following Rank we reconstruct on the lines of Galton's technique an "average myth" that makes prominent the essential features of all these tales, and we then get this formula:

"The hero is the son of parents of the highest station, most often the son of a king.

"His conception is impeded by difficulties, such as abstinence or temporary sterility; or else his parents practise intercourse in secret because of prohibitions or other external obstacles. During his mother's preg-

{p. 8} nancy or earlier an oracle or a dream warns the father of the child's birth as containing grave danger for his safety.

"In consequence the father (or a person representing him) gives orders for the new-born babe to be killed or exposed to extreme danger; in most cases the babe is placed in a casket and delivered to the waves.

"The child is then saved by animals or poor people, such as shepherds, and suckled by a female animal or a woman of humble birth.

"When full grown he rediscovers his noble parents after many strange adventures, wreaks vengeance on his father, and, recognized by his people, attains fame and greatness."

The most remote of the historical personages to whom this myth attaches is Sargon of Agade, the founder of Babylon about 2800 B.C. From the point of view of what interests us here it would perhaps be worth while to reprocluce the account ascribed to himself:

"I am Sargon, the mighty king, King of Agade. My mother was a vestal; my father I knew not; while my father's brother dwelt in the mountains. In my town Azupirani - it lies on the banks of Euphrates - my mother, the vestal, conceived me. Secretly she bore me. She laid me in a basket of sedge, closed the opening with pitch, and lowered me into the river. The stream did not drown me, but carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, in the goodness of his heart lifted me out of the water, Akhi, the drawer of water, as his own son he brought me up.

{p. 9} Akki, the drawer of water, made me his gardener. When I was a gardener, Istar fell in love with me. I became king and for forty-five years I ruled as king."

The best-known names in the series beginning with Sargon of Agade are Moses, Cyrus, and Romulus. But besides these Rank has enumerated many other heroes belonging to myth or poetry to whom the same youthful story attaches either in its entirety or in well-recognizable parts, such as Oedipus, Karna, Paris, Telephos, Perseus, Heracles, Gilgamesh, Amphion, Zethos, and others.

The source and the tendency of such myths are familiar to us through Rank's work. I need only refer to his conclusions with a few short hints. A hero is a man who stands up manfully against his father and in the end victoriously overcomes him. The myth in question traces this struggle back to the very dawn of the hero's life, by having him born against his father's will and saved in spite of his father's evil intentions. The exposure in the basket is clearly a symbolical representation of birth; the basket is the womb, the stream the water at birth. In innumerable dreams the relation of the child to the parents is represented by drawing or saving from the water. When the imagination of a people attaches this myth to a famous personage it is to indicate that he is recognized as a hero, that his life has conformed to the typical plan. The inner source of the myth is the so-called "family romance" of the child, in which the son reacts to the change in his inner relationship to his parents, especially that to his father. The child's first years are governed by grandiose over-estimation of his father;

{p. 10} kings and queens in dreams and fairytales always represent, accordingly, the parents. Later on, under the influence of rivalry and real disappointments, the release from the parents and a critical attitude towards the father set in. The two families of the myth, the noble as well as the humble one, are therefore both images of his own family as they appear to the child in successive periods of his life.

It is not too much to say that these observations fully explain the similarity as well as the far-spread occurrence of the myth of the birth of the hero. It is all the more interesting to find that the myth of Moses' birth and exposure stands apart; in one essential point it even contradicts the others.

We start with the two families between which the myth has cast the child's fate. We know that analytic interpretation makes them into one family, that the distinction is only a temporal one. In the typical form of the myth the first family, into which the child is born, is a noble and mostly a royal one; the second family, in which the child grows up, is a humble and degraded one, corresponding with the circumstances to which the interpretation refers. Only in the story of Oedipus is this difference obscured. The babe exposed by one kingly family is brought up by another royal pair. It can hardly be an accident that in this one example there is in the myth itself a glimmer of the original identity of the two families. The social contrast of the two families meant, as we know, to stress the heroic nature of a great man gives a second function to our myth, which becomes especially significant with historical personages. It can also

{p. 11} be used to provide for our hero a patent of nobility to elevate him to a higher social rank. Thus Cyrus is for the Medes an alien conqueror; by way of the exposure myth he becomes the grandson of their king. A similar trait occurs in the myth of Romulus; if such a man ever lived he must have been an unknown adventurer, an upstart; the myth makes him a descendant of, and heir to, the royal house of Alba Longa.

It is very different in the case of Moses. Here the first family - usually so distinguished - is modest enough. He is the child of Jewish Levites. But the second family - the humble one in which as a rule heroes are brought up - is replaced by the royal house of Egypt; the princess brings him up as her own son. This divergence from the usual type has struck many research workers as strange. Eduard Meyer and others after him supposed the original form of the myth to have been different. Pharaoh had been warned by a prophetic dream {footnote 1} that his daughter's son would become a danger to him and his kingdom. This is why he has the child delivered to the waters of the Nile shortly after his birth. But the child is saved by Jewish people and brought up as their own. "National motives," in Rank's terminology, {footnote 2} had transformed the myth into the form now known by us.

However, further thought tells us that an original Moses myth of this kind, one not diverging from other birth myths, could not have existed. For the legend is either of Egyptian or of Jewish origin. The

{footnote 1} Also mentioned in Flavius Josephus's narration. {some quotes from Josephus' Apion are given below}

{footnote 2} Loc. cit., p. 80, footnote.

{p. 12} first supposition may be excluded. The Egyptians had no motive to glorify Moses; to them he was not a hero. So the legend should have originated among the Jewish people; that is to say, it was attached in the usual version to the person of their leader. But for that purpose it was entirely unfitted; what good is a legend to a people that makes their hero into an alien?

The Moses myth as we know it today lags sadly behind its secret motives. If Moses is not of royal lineage our legend cannot make him into a hero; if he remains a Jew it has done nothing to raise his status. Only one small feature of the whole myth remains effective: the assurance that the babe survived in spite of strong outside forces to the contrary. This feature is repeated in the early history of Jesus, where King Herod assumes the role of Pharaoh. So we really have a right to assume that in a later and rather clumsy treatment of the legendary material the adapter saw fit to equip his hero Moses with certain features ap pertaining to the classical exposure myths characteristic of a hero, and yet unsuited to Moses by reason of the special circumstances.

With this unsatisfactory and even uncertain result our investigation would have to end, without having contributed anything to answering the question whether Moses was Egyptian, were there not another and perhaps more successful way of approaching the exposure myth itself.

Let us return to the two families in the myth. As we know, on the level of analytic interpretation they are identical. On a mythical level they are distinguished as the noble and the humble family. With

{p. 13} a historical person to whom the myth has become attached there is, however, a third level, that of reality. One of the families is the real one, the one into which the great man was really born and in which he was brought up. The other is fictitious, invented by the myth in pursuance of its own motives. As a rule the real family corresponds with the humble one, the noble family with the fictitious one. In the case of Moses something seemed to be different. And here the new point of view may perhaps bring some illumination. It is that the first family, the one from which the babe is exposed to danger, is in all comparable cases the fictitious one; the second family, however, by which the hero is adopted and in which he grows up, is his real one. If we have the courage to accept this statement as a general truth to which the Moses legend also is subject, then we suddenly see our way clear. Moses is an Egyptian - probably of noble origin - whom the myth undertakes to transform into a Jew. And that would be our conclusion! The exposure in the water was in its right place; to fit the new conclusion the intention had to be changed, not without violence. From a means of getting rid of the child it becomes a means of its salvation.

The divergence of the Moses legend from all others of its kind might be traced back to a special feature in the story of Moses' life. Whereas in all other cases the hero rises above his humblc beginnings as his life progresses, the heroic lifc of the man Moses began by descending from his eminence to the level of the children of Israel. ...

{p. 14} If there was no more certainty than this to be attained, why have I brought this inquiry to the notice of a wider public? I regret that even my justification has to restrict itself to hints. If, however, one is attracted by the two arguments outlined above and tries to take seriously the conclusion that Moses was a distinguished Egyptian, then very interesting and far-reaching perspectives open out. With the help of certain assumptions the motives guiding Moses in his unusual undertaking can be made intelligible; in close

{p. 15} connection with this the possible motivation of numerous characteristics and peculiarities of the legislation and religion he gave the Jewish people can be perceived. It stimulates ideas of some moment concerning the origin of monotheistic religion in general. ...

{p. 17} If, then, Moses was an Egyptian, the first gain from this suggestion is a new riddle, one difficult to answer. When a people of a tribe prepares for a great undertaking, it is to be expected that one of them should make himself their leader or be chosen for this role. But what could have induced a distinguished Egyptian - perhaps a prince, priest, or high

{p. 18} official - to place himself at the head of a throng of culturally inferior immigrants, and to leave the country with them, is not easy to conjecture. The well-known contempt of the Egyptians for foreigners makes such a proceeding especially unlikely. Indeed, I am inclined to think this is why even those historians who recognized the name as Egyptian, and ascribed all the wisdom of Egypt to him, were not willing to entertain the obvious possibility that Moses was an Egyptian.

This first difficulty is followed by a second. We must not forget that Moses was not only the political leader of the Jews settled in Egypt; he was also their lawgiver and educator and the man who forced them to adopt a new religion, which is still today called Mosaic after him. But can a single person create a new religion so easily? And when someone wishes to influence the religion of another, would not the most natural thing be to convert him to his own? The Jewish people in Egypt were certainly not without some kind of religion, and if Moses, who gave them a new religion, was an Egyptian, then the surmise cannot be rejected that this other new religion was the Egyptian one.

This possibility encounters an obstacle: the sharp contrast between the Jewish religion attributed to Moses and the Egyptian one. The former is a grandiosely rigid monotheism. There is only one God, unique, omnipotent, unapproachable. The sight of his countenance cannot be borne; one must not make an image of him, nor even breathe his name. In the Egyptian religion, on the other hand, there is a bewil-

{p. 19} dering mass of deities of differing importance and provenance. Some of them are personifications of great natural powers like heaven and earth, sun and moon. Then we find an abstraction such as Maat (Justice, Truth) or a grotesque creature like the dwarfish Bes. Most of them, however, are local gods from the time when the land was divided into numerous provinces. They have the shapes of animals as if they had not yet overcome their origin in the old totem animals. They are not clearly differentiated, barely distinguished by special functions attributed to some of them. The hymns in praise of these gods tell the same thing about each of them, identify them with one another without any misgivings, in a way that would confuse us hopelessly. Names of deities are combined with one another, so that one becomes degraded almost to an epithet of the other. Thus in the best period of the "New Empire" the main god of the city of Thebes is called Amon-Re, in which combination the first part signifies the ram-headed city-god, whereas Re is the name of the hawk-headed sun-god of On. Magic and ceremonial, amulets and formulas dominated the service of these gods, as they did the daily life of the Egyptians.

Some of these differences may easily derive frorn the contrast in principle between a strict monotheism and an unlimited polytheism. Others are obviously consequences of a difference in intellectual level; one religion is very near to the primitive, the other has soared to the heights of sublime abstraction. Perhaps it is these two characteristics that occasionally give one the impression that the contrast between the Mosaic and the Egyptian religion is one intended and pur-

{p. 20} posely accentuated; for example, when the one religion severely condemns any kind of magic or sorcery, which flourishes so abundantly in the other; or when the insatiable zest of the Egyptian for making images of his gods in clay, stone, and metal, to which our museums owe so much, is contrasted with the way in which the making of the image of any living or visionary being is bluntly forbidden. There is yet another diflerence between the two religions which the explanations I have attempted do not touch. No other people of antiquity has done so much to deny death, has made such careful provision for an after-life; in accordance with this the death-god Osiris, the ruler of that other world, was the most popular and indisputable of all Egyptian gods. The early Jewish religion, on the other hand, had entirely relinquished immortality; the possibility of an existence after death was never mentioned in any place. And this is all the more remarkable since later experience has shown that the belief in a life beyond can very well be reconciled with a monotheistic religion. ...

{p. 21} It is still possible that the religion Moses gave to his Jewish people was yet his own, an Egyptian religion though not the Egyptian one.

In the glorious Eighteenth Dynasty, when Egypt became for the first time a world power, a young Pharaoh ascended the throne about 1375 B.C., who first called himself Amenhotep (IV) like his father, but later on changed his name - and not only his name. This king undertook to force upon his subjects a new religion, one contrary to their ancient traditions and to all their familiar habits. It was a strict monotheism, the first attempt of its kind in the history of the world, as far as we know; and religious intolerance, which was foreign to antiquity before this and for long after, was inevitably born with the belief in one God. But Amenhotep's reign lasted only for seventeen years; very soon after his death in 1358 the new religion was swept away and the memory of the heretic king proscribed. From the ruins of his new capital, which he had built and dedicated to his God, and from the inscriptions in the rock tombs belonging to it, we derive the little knowledge we possess of him. Everything we can learn about this remarkable, indeed unique person is worthy of the greatest interest. {footnote 1}

{footnote 1} Breasted called him "the first individual in human history" {an evaluation that obviously matched Freud's own high opinion of Akhnaton}

{p. 22} Everything new must have its roots in what was before. The origin of Egyptian monotheism can be traced back a fair distance with some certainty. {footnote 1} In the School of Priests in the Sun Temple at On (Heliopolis) tendencies had for some time been at work developing the idea of a universal god and stressing his ethical aspects. Maat, the goddess of truth, order, and justice, was a daughter of the sun-god, Re. Already under Amenhotep III, the father and predecessor of the reformer, the worship of the sun-god was in the ascendant, probably in opposition to the worship of Amon of Theba, who had become over-prominent. An ancient name of the sun-god, Aton or Atum, was rediscovered, and in this Aton religion the young king found a movement he had no need to create, but one which he could join.

Political conditions in Egypt had about that time begun to exert a lasting influence on Egyptian religion. Through the victorious sword of the great conqueror Thothmes III Egypt had become a world power. Nubia in the south, Palestine, Syria, and a part of Mesopotamia in the north had been added to the Empire. This imperialism was reflected in religion as universality and monotheism. Since Pharaoh's solicitude now extended beyond Egypt to Nubia and Syria, deity itself had to give up its national limitation, and the new god of the Egyptians had to become like Pharaoh the unique and unlimited sovereign of the world known to the Egyptians. Besides, it

{footnote 1} The account I give here follows closely J. H. Breasted's History of Egypt (1906) and The Dawn of Conscience (1934), and the corresponding sections in The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. II.

{p. 23} was natural that as the frontiers extended, Egypt should become accessible to foreign influences; some of the king's wives were Asiatic princesses, {footnote 1} and possibly even direct encouragement of monotheism had penetrated from Syria.

{Freud's monotheist propaganda ignores the fact that the empire of Amenhotep III, father of Akhnaton, was successfully polytheistic, and Ramses II's empire likewise; in fact, Akhnaton's intolerance of the other gods, and attacks on their shrines, was the opposite of the tolerance for which Jews praise Cyrus the Persian Emperor, and a recipe for instability}

Amenhotep never denied his accession to the sun cult of On. In the two hymns to Aton which have been preserved to us through the inscriptions in the rock tombs and which were probably composed by him, he praises the sun as the creator and preserver of all living beings in and outside Egypt with a fervour such as recurs many centuries after only in the psalms in honour of the Jewish God, Jahve. But he did not stop at this astonishing anticipation of scientific knowledge concerning the effect of sunlight. There is no doubt that he went further: that he worshipped the sun not as a material object, but as a symbol of a divine being whose energy was manifested in his rays. {footnote 2}

But we do scant justice to the king if we see in him only the aderent and protector of an Aton religion which had already existed before him. His ac-

{footnote 1} Perhaps even Amenhotep's beloved souse Nofertete.

{footnote 2} Breasted History of Egypt, p. 360: "But however evident the Heliopolitan origin of the new state religion might be, it was not merely sun-worship; the word Aton was employed in the place of the old word for 'god' (nuter), and the god is clearly distinguished from the material sun" "It is evident that what the king was deifying was the force by which the Sun made itself felt on earth" (Dawn of Conscience, p. 279) Erman's opinion of a formula in honour of the god is similar (A Erman: Die Aegyptische Religion; 1905) "There are ... words which are meant to express in an abstract form the fact that not the star itself was worshipped, but the Being that manifested itself in it."

{p. 24} tivity was much more energetic. He added the something new that turned into monotheism the doctrine of a universal god: the quality of exclusiveness. In one of his hymns it is stated in so many words: "0 Thou only God, there is no other God than Thou." {footnote 1} And we must not forget that to appraise the new doctrine it is not enough to know its positive content only; nearly as important is its negative side, the knowledge of what it repudiates. It would be a mistake, too, to suppose that the new religion sprang to life ready and fully equipped like Athene out of Zeus' forehead. Everything rather goes to show that during Amenhotep's reign it was strengthened so as to attain greater clarity, consistency, harshness, and intolerance. Probably this development took place under the influence of the violent opposition among the priests of Amon that raised its head against the reforms of the king. In the sixth year of Amenhotep's reign this enmity had grown to such an extent that the king changed his name, of which the now proscribed name of the god Amon was a part. Instead of Amenhotep he called himself Ikhnaton. {footnote 2} But not only from his name did he eliminate that of the hated god, but also from all inscriptions and even where he found it in his father's name, Amenhotep III. Soon after his change of name Ikhnaton left Thebes, which was under Amon's rule, and built a new capital lower down

{footnote 1} Breasted History of Egypt, p. 374.

{footnote 2} I follow Breasted spelling of this name (sometimes spelled Akhenaton) The king's new name means approximately the same as his former one "God is satisfied." Compare the English Godfrey and the German Gotthold.

{p. 25} the river, which he called Akhetaton (Horizon of Aton). Its ruins are now called Tell-el-Amarna. {footnote 1}

The persecution by the king was directed foremost against Amon, but not against him alone. Everywhere in the Empire the temples were closed, the services forbidden, and the ecclesiastical property seized. Indeed, the king's zeal went so far as to cause an inquiry to be made into the inscriptions on old monuments in order to efface the word "God" whenever it was used in the plural. {footnote 2} It is not to be wondered at that these orders produced a reaction of fanatical vengeance among the suppressed priests and the discontented people, a reaction which was able to find a free outlet after the king's death. The Aton religion had not appealed to the people; it had probably been limited to a small circle round Ikhnaton's person. His end is wrapped in mystery. We learn of a few shortlived, shadowy successors of his own family. Already his son-in-law Tutankhaton was forced to return to Thebes and to substitute Amon in his name for the god Aton. Then there followed a period of anarchy until the general Haremhab succeeded in 1350 BC. in restoring order. The glorious Eighteenth Dynasty was extinguished; at the same time its conquests in Nubia and Asia were lost. In this sad interregnum Egypt's old religions had been reinstated. The Aton religion was at an end, Ikhnaton's capital lay de-

{footnote 1} This is where in 1887 the correspondence of the Egyptian kings with their friends and vassals in Asia was found, a correspondence which proved so important for our knowledge of history

{footnote 2} Idem, History of Egypt, p. 363.

{p. 26} troyed and plundered, and his memory was scorned as that of a felon.

It will serve a certain purpose if we now note several negative characteristics of the Aton religion. In the first place, all myth, magic, and sorcery are excluded from it. {footnote 1}

Then there is the way in which the sun-god is represented: no longer as in earlier times by a small pyramid and a falcon, but and this is almost rational by a round disk from which emanate rays terminating in human hands. In spite of all the love for art in the Amarna period, not one personal representation of the sun-god Aton has been found, or, we may say with confidence, ever will be found. {footnote 2}

Finally, there is a complete silence about the death-god Osiris and the realm of the dead. Neither hymns nor inscriptions on graves know anything of what was perhaps nearest to the Egyptian's heart. The contrast with the popular religion cannot be expressed more vividly. {footnote 3}

{footnote 1} Arthur Weigall (The Life and Times of Akhnaton, 1923, p. 121) says that Ikhnaton would not recognize a hell against the terrors of which one had to guard by innumerable magic spells. "Akhnaton flung all these formulas into the fire. Djins, bogies, spirits, monsters, demigods and Ojiris himself with all his court, were swept into the blaze and reduced to ashes."

{footnote 2} Weigall, op. cit., p. 105: "Akhnaton did not permit any graven image to be made of the Aton. The true God, said the King, had no form; and he held to this opinion throughout his life."

{footnote 3} Erman, op. cit., p. 90: "Of Osiris and his realm no more to be heard." Breasted: Dawn of Conscience, p. 291. "Osiris is completely ignored. He is never mentioned in sny record of Akhnaton or in any of the tombs at Amarna".

{p. 27} I venture now to draw the following conclusion: if Moses was an Egyptian and if he transmitted to the Jews his own religion, then it was that of Ikhnaton, the Aton religion.

I compared earlier the Jewish religion with the religion of the Egyptian people and noted how different they were from each other. Now we shall compare the Jewish with the Aton religion and should expect to find that they were originally identical. We know that this is no easy task. Of the Aton religion we do not perhaps know enough, thanks to the revengeful spirit of the Amon priests. The Mosaic religion we know only in its final form as it was fixed by Jewish priests in the time after the Exile, about eight hundred years later. If, in spite of this unpromising material, we should find some indications fitting in with our supposition, then we may indeed value them highly.

There would be a short way of proving our thesis that the Mosaic religion is nothing else but that of Aton: namely, by a confession of faith, a proclamation. But I am afraid I should be told that such a road is impracticable. The Jewish creed, as is well known, says: "Schema Jisroel Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echod." If the similarity of the name of the Egyptian Aton (or Atum) to the Hebrew word Adonai and the Syrian divine name Adonis is not a mere accident, but is the result of a primeval unity in language

{p. 28} and meaning, then one could translate the Jewish formula: "Hear, O Israel, our God Aton (Adonai) is the only God." I am, alas, entirely unqualified to answer this question and have been able to find very little about it in the literature concerned, {footnote 1} but probably we had better not make things so simple. Moreover, we shall have to come back to the problems of the divine name.

The points of similarity as well as those of difference in the two religions are easily discerned, but do not enlighten us much. Both are forms of a strict monotheism, and we shall be inclined to reduce to this basic character what is similar in both of them. Jewish monotheism is in some points even more uncompromising than the Egyptian - for example, when it forbids all visual representation of its God. The most essential difference - apart from the name of its God - is that the Jewish religion entirely relinquishes the worship of the sun, to which the Egyptian one still adhered. When comparing the Jewish with the Egyptian folk religion we received the impression that, besides the contrast in principle, there was in the difference between the two religions an element of purposive contradiction. This impression appears justified when in our comparison we replace the Jewish religion by that of Aton, which Ikhnaton, as we know, developed in deliberate antagonism to the popular religion. We were astonished - and rightly so

{footnote 1} Only a few passagea in Weigall, op. cit., pp. 12, 19: "The god Atum, who described Re as the Setting Sun, was perhaps of the same origin as Aton, generally venerated in Northern Syria. A foreign Queen, as well as her suite, might therefore have been attracted to Heliopolis rather than to Thebes."

{p. 29} - that the Jewish religion did not speak of anything beyond the grave, for such a doctrine is reconcilable with the strictest monotheism. This astonishment disappears if we go back from the Jewish religion to the Aton religion and surmise that this feature was taken over from the latter, since for Ikhnaton it was a necessity in fighting the popular religion, where the death-god Osiris played perhaps a greater part than any god of the upper regions. The agreement of the Jewish religion with that of Aton in this important point is the first strong argument in favour of our thesis. We shall see that it is not the only one.

Moses gave the Jews not only a new religion; it is equally certain that he introduced the custom of circumcision. This has a decisive importance for our problem and it has hardly ever been weighed. The Biblical account, it is true, often contradicts it. On the one hand, it dates the custom back to the time of the patriarchs as a sign of the covenant concluded between God and Abraham. On the other hand, the text mentions in an especially obscure passage that God was wroth with Moses because he had neglected this holy usage, and proposed to slay him as a punishment. Moses' wife, a Midianite, saved her husband from the wrath of God by speedily performing the operation. These are distortions, however, which should not lead us astray; we shall explore their motives presently. The fact remains that the question concerning the origin of circumcision has only one answer: it comes from Egypt. Herodotus, "the Father of History," tells us that the custom of circumcision had long been practised in Egypt, and his statement

{p. 30} has been confirmed by the examination of mummies and even by drawings on the walls of graves. No other people of the eastern Mediterranean, as far as we know, has followed this custom; we can assume with certainty that the Semites, Babylonians, and Sumerians were not circumcised. Biblical history itself says as much of the inhabitants of Canaan; it is presupposed in the story of the adventure between Jacob's daughter and the Prince of Shechem. The possibility that the Jews in Egypt adopted the usage of circumcision in any other way than in connection with the religion Moses gave them may be rejected as quite untenable. Now let us bear in mind that circumcision was practised in Egypt by the people as a general custom, and let us adopt for the moment the usual assumption that Moses was a Jew who wanted to free his compatriots from the service of an Egyptian overlord and lead them out of the country to develop an independent and self-confident existence a feat he actually achieved. What sense could there be in his forcing upon them at the same time a burdensome custom which, so to speak, made them into Egyptians and was bound to keep awake their memory of Egypt,

{p. 31} whereas his intention could only have had the opposite aim: namely, that his people should become strangers to the country of bondage and overcome the longing for the "fleshpots of Egypt"? No, the fact we started from and the suggestion I added to it are so incompatible with each other that I venture to draw the following conclusion: If Moses gave the Jews not only a new religion, but also the law of circumcision, he was no Jew, but an Egyptian, and then the Mosaic religion was probably an Egyptian one: namely - because of its contrast to the popular religion - that of Aton, with which the Jewish one shows agreement in some remarkable points.

As I remarked earlier, my hypothesis that Moses was not a Jew, but an Egyptian, creates a new enigma. What he did - easily understandable if he were a Jew - becomes unintelligible in an Egyptian. But if we place Moses in Ikhnaton's period and associate him with that Pharaoh, then the enigma is resolved and a possible motive presents itself, answering all our questions. Let us assume that Moses was a noble and distinguished man, perhaps indeed a member of the royal house, as the myth has it. He must have been conscious of his great abilities, ambitious, and energetic; perhaps he saw himself in a dim future as the leader of his people, the governor of the Empire. In close contact with Pharaoh, he was a convinced adherent of the new religion, whose basic principles he fully understood and had made his own. With the king's death and the subsequent reaction he saw all his hopes and prospects destroyed. If he was not to recant the convictions so dear to him, then Egypt had

{p. 32} no more to give him; he had lost his native country. In this hour of need he found an unusual solution. The dreamer Ikhnaton had estranged himself from his people, had let his world empire crumble. Moses' active nature conceived the plan of founding a new empire, of finding a new people, to whom he could give the religion that Egypt disdained. It was, as we perceive, a heroic attempt to struggle against his fate, to find compensation in two directions for the losses he had suffered through Ikhnaton's catastrophe. Perhaps he was at the time governor of that border province (Gosen) in which perhaps already in "the Hyksos period" certain Semitic tribes had settled. These he chose to be his new people. A historic decision! {footnote 1}

He established relations with them, placed himself at their head, and directed the Exodus "by strength of hand." In full contradistinction to the Biblical tradition we may suppose this Exodus to have passed off peacefully and without pursuit. The authority of Moses made it possible, and there was then no central power that could have prevented it.

According to our construction the Exodus from Egypt would have taken place between 1358 and 1350 B.C. that is to say, after the death of Ikhnaton and before the restitution of the authority of the state

{footnote 1} If Moses were a high official, we can understand his being fitted for the role of leader he assumed with the Jews. If he were a priest, the thought of giving his people a new religion must have been near to his heart. In both cases he would have continued his former profession. A prince of royal lineage might easily have been both: governor and priest. In the report of Flavius Josephus (Jewish Antiquities), who accepts the exposure myth, but seems to know other traditions than the Biblical one, Moses appears as an Egyptian field-marshal in a victorious campaign in Ethiopia.

{p. 33} by Haremhab. {footnote 1} The goal of the wandering could only be Canaan. After the supremacy of Egypt had collapsed, hordes of warlike Aramaeans had flooded the country, conquering and pillaging, and thus had shown where a capable people could seize new land. We know these warriors from the letters which were found in 1887 in the archives of the ruined city of Amarna. There they are called Habiru, and the name was passed on - no one knows how - to the Jewish invaders, Hebrews, who came later and could not have been referred to in the letters of Amarna. The tribes who were the most nearly related to the Jews now leaving Egypt also lived south of Palestine in Canaan.

The motivation that we have surmised for the Exodus as a whole covers also the institution of circumcision. We know in what manner human beings both peoples and individuals react to this ancient custom, scarcely any longer understood. Those who do not practise it regard it as very odd and find it rather abhorrent; but those who have adopted circumcision are proud of the custom. They feel superior, ennobled, and look down with contempt on the others, who appear to them unclean. Even today the Turk hurls abuse at the Christian by calling him "an uncircumcised dog." It is credible that Moses, who as an Egyptian was himself circumcised, shared this attitude. The Jews with whom he left his native country were to be a better substitute for the Egyptians he

{footnote 1} This would be about a century earlier than most historians assume. who place it in the Nineteenth Dynasty under Merneptah; or perhaps a little less, for official records seem to include the interregnum in Haremhab's reign.

{p. 34} left behind. In no circumstances must they be inferior to them. He wished to make of them a "holy nation" so it is explicitly stated in the Biblical text and as a sign of their dedication he introduced the custom that made them at least the equals of the Egyptians. It would, further, be welcome to him if such a custom isolated them and prevented them from mingling with the other foreign peoples they would meet during their wanderings, just as the Egyptians had kept apart from all foreigners. {footnote 1}

Jewish tradition, however, behaved later on as if it were oppressed by the sequence of ideas we have just developed. To admit that circumcision was an Egyptian custom introduced by Moses would be almost to recognize that the religion handed down to them from Moses was also Egyptian. But the Jews had

{footnote 1} Herodotus, who visited Egypt about 450 B.C., gives in the account of his travels a characteristic of the Egyptians which shows an astounding similarity with well-known features of the later Jewish people. "They are in all respects much more pious than other peoples. They are also distinguished from them by many of their customs, such as circumcision, which for reasons of cleanliness they introduced before others; further, by their horror of swine, doubtless connected with the fact that Set wounded Horus when in the guise of a black hog; and, lastly, most of all by their reverence for cows, which they would never eat or sacrifice because they would thereby offend the cow-horned Isis. Therefore no Egyptian man or woman would ever kiss a Greek or use his knife, his spit, or his cooking vessel, or eat of the meat of an (otherwise) clean ox that had been cut with a Greek knife. ... In haughty narrowness they looked down on the other peoples who were unclean and not so near to the god as they were." (After Erman: Die AEgyptische Religion, pp. 81 ff.)

Naturally, we do not forget here the parallels from the like of India. What ever gave, by the way, the Jewish poet Heine in the nineteenth century the idea of complaining about his religion as "the plague trailing along from the valley of the Nile, the sickly beliefs of the ancient Egyptians" {end footnote 1}

{p. 35} good reasons to deny this fact; therefore the truth about circumcision had also to be contradicted. ...

It is not to be supposed that the over-

{p. 36} throw of the official Aton religion completely put an end to the monotheistic trend in Egypt. The School of Priests at On, from which it emanated, survived the catastrophe and might have drawn whole generations after Ikhnaton into the orbit of their religious thought. That Moses performed the deed is quite thinkable, therefore, even if he did not live in Ikhnaton's time and had not come under his personal influence, even if he were simply an adherent or merely a member of the school of On. This conjecture would postpone the date of the Exodus and bring it nearer to the time usually assumed, the thirteenth century B.C.; otherwise it has nothing to recommend it. We should have to relinquish the insight we had gained into Moses' motives and to dispense with the idea of the Exodus being facilitated by the anarchy prevailing in Egypt. The kings of the Nineteenth Dynasty following Ikhnaton ruled the country with a strong hand. All conditions, internal and external, favouring the Exodus coincide only in the period immediately after the death of the heretic king.

The Jews possess a rich extra-Biblical literature in which are to be found the myths and superstitions that in the course of centuries were woven around the gigantic figure of their first leader and the founder of their religion and that have both hallowed and obscured that figure. Some fragments of sound tradition which had found no place in the Pentateuch may lie scattered in that material. One of these legends describes in an attractive fashion how the ambition of the man Moses had already displayed itself in his childhood. When Pharaoh took him into his arms and

{p. 37} playfully tossed him high, the little three-year-old snatched the crown from Pharaoh's head and placed it on his own. The king was startled at this omen and took care to consult his sages. {footnote 1} Then, again, we are told of victorious battles he fought as an Egyptian captain in Ethiopia and, in the same connection, that he fled the country because he had reason to fear the envy of a faction at court or even of Pharaoh himself. The Biblical story itself lends Moses certain features in which one is inclined to believe. It describes him as choleric, hot-tempered - as when in his indignation he kills the brutal overseer who ill-treated a Jewish workman, or when in his resentment at the defection of his people he smashes the tables he has been given on Mount Sinai. Indeed, God himself punished him at long last for a deed of impatience - we are not told what it was. Since such a trait does not lend itself to glorification, it may very well be historical truth. Nor can we reject even the possibility that many character traits the Jews incorporated into their early conception of God when they made him jealous, stern, and implacable were taken essentially from their memory of Moses, for in truth it was not an invisible god, but the man Moses, who had led them out of Egypt.

Another trait imputed to him deserves our special interest. Moses was said to have been "slow of speech" that is to say, he must have had a speech impediment or inhibition so that he had to call on Aaron (who is called his brother) for assistance in his supposed discussions with Pharaoh. This again may

{footnote 1} The same anecdote, slightly altered, is to be found in Josephus.

{p. 38} be historical truth and would serve as a welcome addition to the endeavour to make the picture of this great rnan live. It may, however, have another and more important significance. The report may, in a slightly distorted way, recall the fact that Moses spoke another language and was not able to communicate with his Semitic Neo-Egyptians without the help of an interpreter at least not at the beginning of their intercourse. Thus a fresh confirmation of the thesis: Moses was an Egyptian. ...

That our reconstruction leaves no room for so many spectacular features of the Biblical text - the ten plagues, the passage through the Red Sea, the solemn law-giving on Mount Sinai - will not lead us astray. But we cannot remain indifferent on finding ourselves in opposition to the sober historical researches of our time.

These modern historians, well represented by Eduard Meyer, follow the Biblical text in one decisive point. They concur that the Jewish tribes, who

{p. 39} later on became the people of Israel, at a certain time accepted a new religion. But this event did not take place in Egypt nor at the foot of a mount in the Sinai peninsula, but in a place called Meribat-Qades, an oasis distinguished by its abundance of springs and wells in the country south of Palestine between the eastern end of the Sinai peninsula and the western end of Arabia. There they took over the worship of a god Jahve, probably from the Arabic tribe of Midianites who lived near by. Presumably other neighbouring tribes were also followers of that God.

Jahve was certainly a volcano-god. As we know, however, Egypt has no volcanoes and the mountains of the Sinai peninsula have never been volcanic; on the other hand, volcanoes which may have been active up to a late period are found along the western border of Arabia. One of these mountains must have been the Sinai-Horeb which was believed to be Jahve's abode. {footnote 1} In spite of all the transformations the Biblical text has suffered, we are able to reconstruct according to Meyer the original character of the God: he is an uncanny, bloodthirsty demon who walks by night and shuns the light of day. {footnote 2}

The mediator between the people and the God at this birth of a new religion was called Moses. He was the son-in-law of the Midianite priest Jethro and was tending his flocks when he received the divine summons. Jethro visited him in Qades to give him instructions.

{footnote 1} The Biblical text retains certain passages telling us that Jahve descended from Sinai to Meribat-Qades.

{footnote 2} Op. cit., pp. 38, 58.

{p. 40} Eduard Meyer says, it is true, that he never doubted there was a kernel of historical truth in the story of the bondage in Egypt and the catastrophe of the Egyptians, {footnote 1} but evidently he does not know where that recognized fact belongs and what to do with it. Only the custom of circumcision is he willing to derive from the Egyptians. He enriches our earlier discussion by two important suggestions: first, that Joshua asked the people to accept circumcision "to roll away the reproach of Egypt"; and, secondly, by the quotation from Herodotus that the Pocenicians (which probably means the Jews) and the Syrians in Palestine themselves admitted having learned the custom of circumcision from the Egyptians. {footnote 2} But an Egyptian Moses does not appeal to him. "The Moses we know was the ancestor of the priests of Qades; he stood therefore in relation to the cult, was a figure of the genealogical myth and not a historical person." So not one of those who have treated him as a historical person (except those who accept tradition wholesale as historical truth) has succeeded in filling this empty shape with any content, in describing him as a concrete personality; they have had nothing to tell us about what he achieved or about his mission in history. {footnote 3}

On the other hand, Meyer never wearies of telling us about Moses' relation to Qades and Midian. "The figure of Moses so closely bound up with Midian and the holy places in the desert. ..." {footnote 4} "This figure of Moses is inextricably associated with

{footnote 1} Ibid., p. 49.

{footnote 2} Ibid.. p 449

{footnote 3} Ibid., p. 451.

{footnote 4} Ibid., p. 49.

{p. 41} Qades (Massa and Meriba); the relationship with a Midianite priest by marriage completes the picture. The connection with the Exodus, on the other hand, and the story of his youth in its entirety, are absolutely secondary and are merely the consequence of Moses' having to fit into a connected, continuous story." {footnote 1} He also observes that all the characteristics contained in the story of Moses' youth were later omitted. "Moses in Midian is no longer an Egyptian and Pharaoh's grandson, but a shepherd to whom Jahve reveals himself. In the story of the ten plagues his former relationships are no longer mentioned, although they could have been used very effectively, and the order to kill the Israelite first-born is entirely forgotten. In the Exodus and the perishing of the Egyptians Moses has no part at all; he is not even mentioned. The characteristics of a hero, which the childhood story presupposes, are entirely absent in the later Moses; he is only the man of God, a performer of miracles, provided with supernatural powers by Jahve." {footnote 2}

We cannot escape the impression that this Moses of Qades and Midian, to whom tradition could even ascribe the erection of a brazen serpent as a healing god, is quite a different person from the august Egyptian we had deduced, who disclosed to his people a religion in which all magic and sorcery were most strictly abhorred. Our Egyptian Moses differs perhaps no less from the Midian Moses than the universal god Aton differed from the demon Jahve on his

{footnote 1} Ibid., p. 72

{footnote 2} Ibid., p. 47

{p. 42} divine mountain.

{p. 44} .. the tribe retuming from Egypt combined later in the country between Egypt and Canaan with other related tribes that had been settled there for some time. This union, from which was born the people of Israel, expressed itself in the adoption of a new religion, common to all the tribes, the religion of Jahve; according to Meyer, this came about in Qades under the influence of the Midianites. Thereupon the people felt strong enough to undertake the invasion of Canaan. It does not fit in with this course of events that the catastrophe to Moses and his religion should have taken place in the land east of the Jordan - it must have happened a long time before the union.

It is certain that many very diverse elements contributed to the building up of the Jewish people, but the greatest difference among them must have depended on whether they had experienced the sojourn in Egypt and what followed it, or not. From this point of view we may say that the nation was made up by the union of two constituents, and it accords with this fact that, after a short period of political unity, it broke asunder into two parts - the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. History loves such restorations, in which later fusions are redissolved and former separations become once more apparent. The most impressive example - a very well-known one - was provided by the Reformation, when, after an interval of more than a thousand years, it brought to light again the frontier between the Germania that had been Roman and the part that had always remained independent. With the Jewish people we cannot verify such a faithful reproduction of

{p. 45} the former state of affairs. Our knowledge of those times is too uncertain to permit the assumption that the northern Kingdom had absorbed the original settlers, the southern those returning from Egypt; but the later dissolution, in this case also, could not have been unconnected with the earlier union. The former Egyptians were probably fewer than the others, but they proved to be on a higher level culturally. They exercised a more important influence on the later development of the people because they brought with them a tradition the others lacked.

Perhaps they brought something else, something more tangible than a tradition. Among the greatest riddles of Jewish prehistoric times is that concerning the antecedents of the Levites. They are said to have been derived from one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi, but no tradition has ever ventured to pronounce on where that tribe originally dwelt or what portion of the conquered country of Canaan had been allotted to it. They occupied the most important priestly positions, but yet they were distinguished from the priests. A Levite is not necessarily a priest; it is not the name of a caste. Our supposition about the person of Moses suggests an explanation. It is not credible that a great gentleman like the Egyptian Moses approached a people strange to him without an escort. He must have brought his retinue with him, his nearest adherents, his scribes, his servants. These were the original Levites. Tradition maintains that Moses was a Levite. rhis seems a transparent distortion of the actual state of affairs: the Levites were Mo~es' people. This solution is supported by what I

{p. 46} mentioned in my previous essay: that in later times we find Egyptian names only among the Levites. {footnote 1} We may suppose that a fair number of these Moses people escaped the fate that overtook him and his religion. They increased in the following generations and fused with the people among whom they lived, but they remained faithful to their master, honoured his memory, and retained the tradition of his teaching. At the time of the union with the followers of Jahve they formed an influential minority, culturally superior to the rest.

I suggest - and it is only a suggestion so far - that between the downfall of Moses and the founding of a religion at Qades two generations were born and vanished, that perhaps even a century elapsed. I do not see my way to determine whether the Neo-Egyptians, as I should like to call those who returned from Egypt in distinction to the other Jews, met with their blood relations after these had already accepted the Jahve religion or before that had happened. Perhaps the latter is more likely. It makes no difference to the final result. What happened at Qades was a compromise, in which the part taken by the Moses tribe is unmistakable.

Here we may call again on the custom of circumcision, which - a kind of "Leitfossil" - has repeatedly rendered us important services. This custom also became the law in the Jahve religion, and since it is inextricably connected with Egypt its adoption

{footnote 1} This assumption fits in well with what Yehuda says about the Egyptian influence on early Jewish writings. See A. S. Yahuda: Die Sprache des Pentateuch in ihren Beziehungen zum Ayptischen (1929).

{p. 47} must signify a concession to the people of Moses. They or the Levites among them would not forgo this sign of their consecration. They wanted to save so much of their old religion, and for that price they were willing to recognize the new deity and all that the Midian priests had to say about him. Possibly they managed to obtain still other concessions. I have already mentioned that Jewish ritual ordains a certain economy in the use of the name of God. Instead of Jahve they had to say Adonai. It is tempting to fit this commandment into our argument, but that is merely a surmise. The prohibition upon uttering the name of God is, as is well known, a primeval taboo. Why exactly it was renewed in the Jewish commandments is not quite clear; it is not out of the question that this happened under the influence of a new motive. There is no reason to suppose that the commandment was consistently followed; the word Jahve was freely used in the formation of personal theophorous names - that is, in combinations such as Jochanan, Jehu, Joshua. Yet there is something peculiar about this name. It is well known that Biblical exegesis recognizes two sources of the Hexateuch. They are called J and E because the one uses the holy name of Jahve, the other that of Elohim; Elohim, it is true, not Adonai. But we may here quote the remark of one writer: "The different names are a distinct sign of originally different gods." {footnote 1}

We admitted the adherence to the custom of circumcision as evidence that at the founding of the

{footnote 1} Hugo Gressman: Mose und seine Zeit (Gottingen, 1913), p. 54.

{p. 57} Among all the events of Jewish prehistory that poets, priests, and historians of a later age undertook to portray, there was an outstanding one the suppression of which was called for by the most obvious and best of human motives. It was the murder of the great leader and liberator Moses, which Sellin divined from clues furnished by the Prophets. Sellin's presumption cannot be called fanciful; it is probable enough. Moses, trained in Ikhnaton's school, employed the same methods as the king; he gave commands and forced his religion on the people. {footnote 1} Perhaps Moses' doctrine was still more uncompromising than that of his master; he had no need to retain any connection with the religion of the sun-god since the school of On would have no importance for his alien people. Moses met with the same fate as Ikhnaton, the fate that awaits all enlightened despots. The Jewish people of Moses were quite as unable to bear such a highly

{footnote 1} In those times any other form of influence would scarcely have been possible.

{p. 58} spiritualized religion, to find in what it offered satisfaction for their needs, as were the Egyptians of the Eighteenth Dynasty. In both cases the same thing happened: those who felt themselves kept in tutelage, or who felt dispossessed, revolted and threw off the burden of a religion that had been forced on them. But while the tame Egyptians waited until fate had removed the sacred person of their Pharaoh, the savage Semites took their destiny into their own hands and did away with their tyrant.

{p. 61} The god Jahve, to whom the Midianite Moses led a new people, was probably in no way a remarkable being. A rude, narrow-minded local god, violent and bloodthirsty, he had promised his adherents to give them "a land flowing with milk and honey" and he encouraged them to rid the country of its present inhabitants "with the edge of the sword." It is truly astonishing that in spite of all the revisions in the Biblical text so much was allowed to stand whereby we may recognize his original nature. It is not even sure that his religion was a true monotheism, that it denied the character of God to other divinities. It probably sufficed that one's own god was more powerful than all strange gods. When the sequence of events took quite another course than such beginnings would lead us to expect, there can be only one reason for it. To one part of the people the Egyptian Moses had given another and more spiritual conception of God, a single God who embraces the whole world, one as all-loving as he was all-powerful, who, averse to all ceremonial and magic, set humanity as its highest aim a life of truth and justice. For, incomplete as our information about the ethical side of the Aton religion may be, it is surely significant that Ikhnaton regularly described himself in his inscriptions as "living in Maat" (truth,

{p. 62} justice). {footnote 1} In the long run it did not matter that the people, probably after a very short time, renounced the teaching of Moses and removed the man himself. The tradition itself remained and its influence reached though only slowly, in the course of centuries the aim that was denied to Moses himself. The god Jahve attained undeserved honour when, from Qades onward, Moses' deed of liberation was put down to his account; but he had to pay dear for this usurpation. The shadow of the god whose place he had taken became stronger than himself; at the end of the historical development there arose beyond his being that of the forgotten Mosaic god. None can doubt that it was only the idea of this other god that enabled the people of Israel to surmount all their hardships and to survive until our time.

It is no longer possible to determine the part the Levites played in the final victory of the Mosaic god over Jahve. When the compromise at Qades was effected they had raised their voice for Moses, their memory being still green of the master whose followers and countrymen they were. During the centuries since then the Levites had become one with the people or with the priesthood and it had become the main task of the priests to develop and supervise the ritual, besides caring for the holy texts and revising them in accordance with their purposes. But was not all this sacrifice and ceremonial at bottom only magic and black art, such as the old doctrine of Moses had

{footnote 1} His hymns lay stress not only on the universality and oneness of God, but also on his loving-kindness for all creatures; they invite believers to enjoy nature and its beauties. Cf Breasted: The Dawn of Conscience.

{p. 63} unconditionally condemned? There arose from the midst of the people an unending succession of men, not necessarily descended from Moses' people, but seized by the great and powerful tradition which had gradually grown in darkness, and it was these men, the Prophets, who sedulously preached the old Mosaic doctrine: the Deity spurns sacrifice and ceremonial; he demands only belief and a life of truth and justice (Maat). The efforts of the Prophets met with enduring success; the doctrines with which they re-established the old belief became the permanent content of the Jewish religion. It is honour enough for the Jewish people that it has kept alive such a tradition and produced men who lent it their voice, even if the stimulus had first come from outside, from a great stranger.

This description of events would leave me with a feeling of uncertainty were it not that I can refer to the judgment of other, expert research workers who see the importance of Moses for the history of Jewish religion in the same light, although they do not recognize his Egyptian origin. Sellin says, for example: {footnote 1} "Therefore we have to picture the true religion of Moses, the belief he proclaimed in one ethical god, as being from now on, as a matter of course, the possession of a small circle within the people. We cannot expect to find it from the start in the official cult, in the priests' religion, in the general belief of the people. All we can expect is that here and there a spark flies up from the spiritual fire he had kindled, that his ideas have not died out, but have quietly influenced

{footnote 1} Sellin, op. cit., p. 52.

{p. 77} On

{p. 78} the island Elephantine, close to the first cataract of the Nile, discoveries have yielded the astonishing information that a Jewish military colony, settled there centuries ago, worshipped in their temples besides their chief god, Jahu, two female deities, one of whom was called Anat-Jahu. Those Jews, it is true, had been separated from the mother country and had not gone through the same religious development; the Persian government (in the fifth century B.C.) Communicated to them the new ceremonial regulations of Jerusalem. Returning to earlier times, we may surely say that Jahve was quite unlike the Mosaic God. Aton had been a pacifist, like his deputy on earth or rather his model the Pharaoh Ikhnaton, who looked on with folded arms as the Empire his ancestors had won fell to pieces. For a people that was preparing to conquer new lands by violence Jahve was certainly better suited. Moreover, what was worthy of honour in the Mosaic God was beyond the comprehension of a primitive people.

I have already mentioned - and in this I am supported by the opinion of others - that the central fact of the development of Jewish religion was this: in the course of time Jahve lost his own character and became more and more like the old God of Moses, Aton. Differences remained, it is true, and at first sight they would seem important; yet they are easy to explain. Aton had begun his reign in Egypt in a happy period of security, and even when the Empire began to shake in its foundations, his followers had been able to turn away from worldly matters and to continue

{p. 79} praising and enjoying his creations. To the Jewish people fate dealt a series of severe trials and painful experiences, so their God became hard, relentless, and, as it were, wrapped in gloom. He retained the character of a universal God who reigned over all lands and peoples; the fact, however, that his worship had passed from the Egyptians to the Jews found its expression in the added doctrine that the Jews were his chosen people, whose special obligations would in the end find their special reward. It might not have been easy for that people to reconcile their belief in their being preferred to all others by an all-powerful God with the dire experiences of their sad fate. But they did not let doubts assail them, they increased their own feelings of guilt to silence their mistrust and perhaps in the end they referred to "God's unfathomable will," as religious people do to this day. It there was wonder that he allowed ever new tyrants to come who subjected and ill-treated his people - the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians - yet his power was recognized in that all those wicked enemies were defeated in their turn and their empires destroyed.

In three important points the later Jewish God became identical with the old Mosaic God. The first and decisive point is that he was really recognized as the only God, beside whom another god was unthinkable. Ikhnaton's monotheism was taken seriously by an entire people; indeed, this people clung to it to such an extent that it became the principal content of their intellectual life and displaced all other interests. The people and the priesthood, now the dominating part of it, were unanimous on that point ...

{p. 85} Tradition was the complement and at the same time the contra-

{p. 86} diction of the written history. It was less subject to distorting influences perhaps in part entirely free from them and therefore might be more truthful than the account set down in writing. Its trustworthiness, however, was impaired by being vaguer and more fluid than the written text, being exposed to many changes and distortions as it was passed on from one generation to the next by word of mouth. Such a tradition may have different outcomes. The most likely event would be for it to be vanquished by the written version, ousted by it, until it grows more and more shadowy and at last is forgotten. Another fate might be that the traditlon itself ends by becoming a written version. There are other possibilities which will be mentioned later.

The phenomenon of the latency period in the history of the Jewish religion may find its explanation in this: the facts which the so-called official written history purposely tried to suppress were in reality never lost. The knowledge of them survived in traditions which were kept alive among the people. According to Ernst Sellin, there even existed a tradition concerning the end of Moses which contradicted outright the oflficial account and came far nearer the truth. The same thing, we may suppose, happened with other beliefs that had apparently found an end at the same time as Moses, doctrines of the Mosaic religion that had been unacceptable to the majority of Moses' contemporaries. Here we meet with a remarkable fact. It is that these traditions, instead of growing weaker as time went on, grew more and more powerful in the course

{p. 87} of centuries, found their way into the later codifications of the official accounts, and at last proved themselves strong enough decisively to influence the thought and activity of the people. What the conditions were that made such a development possible seems, however, far from evident.

This fact is indeed strange, so much so that we feel justified in examining it afresh. Within it our problem lies. The Jewish people had abandoned the Aton religion which Moses had given them and had turned to the worship of another god who differed little from the Baalim of the neighbouring tribes. All the efforts of later distorting influences failed to hide this humiliating fact. Yet the religion of Moses did not disappear without leaving any trace; a kind of memory of it had survived, a tradition perhaps obscured and distorted. It was this tradition of a great past that continued to work in the background, until it slowly gained more and more power over the mind of the people and at last succeeded in transforming the God Jahve into the Mosaic God and in waking to a new life the religion which Moses had instituted centuries before and which had later been forsaken.

{p. 114} The poor Jewish people, who with its usual stiff-necked obduracy continued to deny the murder of their "father," has dearly expiated this in the course of centuries. Over and over again they heard the reproach: "You killed our God." And this reproach

{p. 115} is true, if rightly interpreted. It says, in reference to the history of religion: "You won't admit that you murdered God" (the archetype of God, the primeval Father, and his reincarnations). Something should be added namely: "It is true, we did the same thing, but we admitted it, and since then we have been purified." Not all accusations with which anti-Semitism pursues the descendants of the Jewish people are based on such good foundations. There must, of course, be more than one reason for a phenomenon of such intensity and lasting strength as the popular hatred of Jews. A whole series of reasons can be divined; some of them, which need no interpretation, arise from obvious considerations; others lie deeper and spring from secret sources, which one would regard as the specific motives. In the first group the most fallacious is the reproach of their being foreigners, since in many places nowadays under the sway of anti-Semitism the Jews were the oldest constituents of the population or arrived even before the present inhabitants. This is so, for example, in the town of Cologne, where Jews came with the Romans, before it was colonized by Germanic tribes. Other grounds for anti-Semitism are stronger, as, for example, the circumstance that Jews mostly live as a minority among other peoples, since the feeling of solidarity of the masses, in order to be complete, has need of an animosity against an outside minority, and the numerical weakness of the minority invites suppression. Two other peculiarities that the Jews possess, however, are quite unpardonable. The first is that in many respects they are different from their "hosts."

{p. 116} Not fundamentally so, since they are not a foreign Asiatic race, as their enemies maintain, but mostly consist of the remnants of Mediterranean peoples and inherit their culture {see Cyrus H. Gordon, Before the Bible: gordon.html}. Yet they are different - although sometimes it is hard to define in what respects - especially from the Nordic peoples, and racial intolerance finds stronger expression, strange to say, in regard to small differences than to fundamental ones. The second peculiarity has an even more pronounced effect. It is that they defy oppression, that even the most cruel persecutions have not succeeded in exterminating them. On the contrary, they show a capacity for holding their own in practical life and, where they are admitted, they make valuable contributions to the surrounding civilization.

The deeper motives of anti-Semitism have their roots in times long past; they come from the unconscious, and I am quite prepared to hear that what I am going to say will at first appear incredible. I venture to assert that the jealousy which the Jews evoked in other peoples by maintaining that they were the first-born, favourite child of God the Father has not yet been overcome by those others, just as if the latter had given credence to the assumption. Furthermore, among the customs through which the Jews marked off their aloof position, that of circum cision made a disagreeable, uncanny impression on others. The explanation probably is that it remindd them of the dreaded castration idea and of things in their primeval past which they would fain forget. Then there is lastly the most recent motive of the series. We must not forget that all the peoples who

{p. 117} now excel in the practice of anti-Semitism became Christians only in relatively recent times, sometimes forced to it by bloody compulsion. One might say they all are "badly christened"; under the thin veneer of Christianity they have remained what their ancestors were, barbarically polytheistic. They have not yet overcome their grudge against the new religion which was forced on them, and they have projected it on to the source from which Christianity came to them. The facts that the Gospels tell a story which is enacted among Jews, and in truth treats only of Jews, has facilitated such a projection. The hatred for Judaism is at bottom hatred for Christianity, and it is not surprising that in the German National Socialist revolution this close connection of the two monotheistic religions finds such clear expression in the hostile treatment of both.

{p. 133} We know that of all the peoples who lived in antiquity in the basin of the

{p. 134} Mediterranean the Jewish people is perhaps the only one that still exists in name and probably also in nature. With an unexampled power of resistance it has defied misfortune and ill-treatment. developed special character traits, and, incidentally, earned the hearty dislike of all other peoples. Whence comes this resistance of the Jew and how his character is connected with his fate are things one would like to understand better.

We may start from one character trait of the Jews which governs their relationship to other people. There is no doubt that they have a very good opinion of themselves, think themselves nobler, on a higher level, superior to the others, from whom they are also separated by many of their customs. {footnote 1} With this they are animated by a special trust in life, such as is bestowed by the secret possession of a precious gift; it is a kind of optimism. Religious people would call it trust in God.

We know the reason for this attitude of theirs and what their precious treasure is. They really believe themselves to be God's chosen people; they hold themselves to be specially near to him, and this is what makes them proud and confident. According to trustworthy accounts, they behaved in Hellenistic times as they do today. The Jewish character, therefore, even then was what it is now, and the Greeks, among whom and alongside whom they lived, reacted to the Jewish qualities in the same way as their

{footnote 1} The insult frequently hurled at them in andent times that they were lepers (cf. Manetho) must he read as a projection: "They keep apart from us as if we were lepers."

{p. 135} "hosts" do today. They reacted, one might think, as if they too believed in the preference which the Israelites claimed for themselves. When one is the declared favourite of the dreaded father one need not be surprised that the other brothers and sisters are jealous. What this jealousy can lead to is exquisitely shown in the Jewish legend of Joseph and his brethren. The subsequent course of world history seemed to justify this Jewish arrogance, for when, later on, God consented to send mankind a Messiah and Redeemer, he again chose him from among the Jewish people. The other peoples would then have had reason to say: "Indeed, they were right; they are God's chosen people." Instead of which it happened that the salvation through Jesus Christ brought on the Jews nothing but a stronger hatred, while the Jews themselves derived no advantage from this second proof of being favoured, because they did not recognize the Redeemer.

On the strength of my previous remarks we may say that it was the man Moses who stamped the Jewish people with this trait, one which became so significant to them for all time. He enhanced their self-confidence by assuring them that they were the chosen people of God; he declared them to be holy and laid on them the duty to keep apart from others. Not that the other peoples on their part lacked self-confidence. Then, just as now, each nation thought itself superior to all the others. The self-confidence of the Jews, however, became through Moses anchored in religion; it became a part of their religious belief. By the particularly close relationship to their God

{p. 136} they acquired a part of his grandeur. And since we know that behind the God who chose the Jews and delivered them from Egypt stood the man Moses, who achieved that deed, ostensibly at God's command, I venture to say this: it was one man, the man Moses, who created the Jews. To him this people owes its tenacity in supporting life; to him, however, also much of the hostility which it has met with and is meeting still.

{p. 147} The preference which through two thousand years the Jews have given to spiritual endeavour has, of course, had its effect; it has helped to build a dike against brutality and the inclination to violence which are usually found where athletic development becomes the ideal of the people. The harmonious development of spiritual and bodily activity, as achieved by the Greeks, was denied to the Jews. In this conflict their decision was at least made in favour of what is culturally the more important.

{p. 152} The religion that began with the prohibition against making an image of its God has developed in the course of centuries more and more into a religion of instinctual renunciation. Not that it demands sexual abstinence; it is content with a considerable restriction of sexual freedom. God, however, becomes completely withdrawn from sexuality and raised to an ideal of ethical perfection. Ethics, however, means restriction of instinctual gratification. The Prophets did not tire of maintaining that God demands nothing else from his people but a just and virtuous life that is to say, abstention from the gratification of all impulses that, according to our present-day moral standards, are to be condemned as vicious. And even the exhortation to believe in God seems to recede in comparison with the seriousness of these ethical demands. Instinctual renunciation thus appears to play a prominent part in religion, although it had not been present in it from the beginning.

{p. 158} Let us return to the more modest problem that has occupied us so far. We set out to explain whence comes the peculiar character of the Jewish people which in all probability is what has enabled that people to survive until today. We found that the man Moses created their character by giving to them a religion which heightened their self-confidence to such a degree that they believed themselves to be superior to all other peoples. They survived by keeping aloof from the others. Admixture of blood made little difference, since what kept them togethier was some thing ideal - the possession they had in common of certain intellectual and emotional values. The Mosaic religion had this effect (1) because it allowed the people to share in the grandeur of its new conception of God, (2) because it mamtained that the people had been "chosen" by this great God and was destined to enjoy the proofs of his special favour, and (3) because it forced upon the people a progress in spirituality which, significant enough in itself, further opened the way to respect for intellectual world and to further instinctual renunciations.

{p. 171} As the tribes and peoples were knit together into larger unities, the gods also became organized into families and hierarchies. Often one of them was elevated to be the overlord of gods and men. The next step, to worship only one god, was taken hesitatingly, and at long last the decision was made to concede all power to one God only and not to suffer any other gods beside him.

{p. 172} Original sin and salvation through sacrificial death became the basis of the new religion founded by Paul. ... After the Christian doctrine had burst the confines of Judaism, it absorbed constituents from many other sources, renounced many features of pure monotheism, and adopted in many particulars the ritual of the other Mediterranean peoples. It was as if Egypt had come to wreak her vengeance on the heirs of Ikhnaton. The way in which the new religion came to terms with the ancient ambivalency in the father-son relationship is noteworthy. Its main doctrine, to be sure, was the reconciliation with God the Father, the expiation of the crime committed against him; but the other side of the relationship manifested itself in the Son, who had taken the guilt on his shoulders, becoming God himself beside the Father and in truth in place of the Father. Originally a Father religion, Christianity became a Son religion. The fate of having to displace the Father it could not escape.

{p. 173} Only a part of the Jewish people accepted the new doctrine. Those who refused to do so are still called Jews. Through this decision they are still more sharply separated from the rest of the world than they were before. They had to suffer the reproach from the new religious community which besides Jews included Egyptians, Greeks, Syrians, Romans, and lastly also Teutons - that they had murdered God. In its full form this reproach would run: "They will not admit that they killed God, whereas we do and are cleansed from the guilt of it." Then it is easy to understand what truth lies behind this reproach. Why the Jews were unable to participate in the progress which this confession to the murder of God betokened (in spite of all its distortion) might well be the subject of a special investigation. Through this they have, so to speak, shouldered a tragic guilt. They have been made to suffer severely for it. {end of quotes}

For a follow-up of Freud's book, see Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times, pp. 377 ff., and Ahmed Osman's daring books Stranger in the Valley of the Kings (which equates the Biblical Joseph with the vizier Yuya) and Moses: Pharaoh of Egypt. Osman believes that Akhnaten was Moses; Redford refutes that claim, yet provides evidence Osman sees as useful for his case. Osman claims that Immanuel Velikovsky, like Freud a Jewish Psychoanalyst, was so outraged by Freud's book that he wrote Oedipus and Akhnaton to counter it.

(2) Donald B. Redford replies to Freud on the Akhenaten-Moses link

Egyptologist Donald B. Redford here replies to Freud's Moses and Monotheism. On first reading, it would appear that he is refuting Feud's claims. Yet a closer reading of Freud shows that he felt embarrassed about the Jewish tribal god Yahweh, and sought paternity in Akhenaten for what he saw as the lofty monotheism in Judaism. That position is not so different from Redford's below, in that he says the Bible borrows from (that is, copies) Egyptian themes. But the Exodus never happened; the Exodus stories were a memory of the Hyksos expulsion: archaeology-bible.html.

The monotheism in Judaism also has Zoroastrian ancestry, because the Torah was assembled and edited by Ezra (see bible.html), from within the Persian Empire: zoroaster-judaism.html.

Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times (Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1992).


One "discovery" that never ceases to fill the hearts of students and laymen with modest pride and their eyes with the light of recognition is the alleged similarity between the religion Akhenaten preached and "Mosaic monotheism." Even Freud was carried away by what he perceived to be more than a superficial resemblance,39 and later writers, not so familiar with the primary sources, have made of Akhenaten a teacher of Moses and a forerunner of Christ.40 Were not the Israelites in Egypt for a 430-year period spanning the Amarna age, and, if the Exodus be dated to the reign of Ramesses II, might not the (then) 80-year old Moses have lived part of his life under Akhenaten?41 Do not, in fact, a number of later independent historians, including Manetho, date Moses and the bondage to the Amarna period?42 Surely it is self-evident that the monotheism preached at Mount Sinai is to be traced back ultimately to the teachings of Akhenaten, the heretic king. Even those who would deny direct contact nonetheless allow themselves to compare the two systems and to marvel at the points of similarity.

A note of caution, however, ought to have been struck if and when the enthusiastic investigator delved a little deeper into the matter. For if he

39 S. Freud, Moses and Monotheism (New York, 1959).
40 Redford, Akhenaten, 226, 232.
41 On the flights of fancy that can result from the attempt to intermesh the literal Biblical text with Egyptian history, see especially H. H. Rowley, From Joseph to Joshua (London, 1950), 70-71 and passim.
42 See p. 260.

{p. 378} did, he would have learned that the Exodus is most unlikely to have occurred when and under the conditions and involving the people the Pentateuch says it did.4In fact probably no part of the Israelites was even in Egypt during the New Kingdom in a capacity that later gave rise to the Sojourn and Bondage narratives. With the prima facie probability thus removed, the conscientious student would be hard put to persevere with the comparison.

Nonetheless the label "monotheism" often provides the incentive to continue in disregard of the historical facts; and in any case no one ought a priori to discourage a comparison (although in retrospect it may be deemed a waste of time). But in the comparison one must avoid the pitfall of assuming greater significance for an alleged point of contact than is actually the case. It is easy to point to aspects of activity, universality, dlvme sonshlp, lustlce, and messianism in both Israelite and Amarna belief, but these are so widespread in all ancient religions (including the normative religion of Egypt) that to posit specific contact is quite misleadmg.

One question that arises at the outset has to do with what we are comparing. On the one side Amarna "religion" seems clear, in terms of textual sources, chronological limits, and content. "Mosaic monotheism," on the other hand, is a will-o-the-wisp. Most scholars would deny that, in the thirteenth century B.C., the traditional time slot for Moses, the Hebrews had in their religious thought approached anywhere near the exalted plane of "monotheism," preferring to see the prophetic movement of the Iron Age culminating in Jeremiah and Deutero-lsaiah as the point when there crystallized a sophisticated concept of the supernatural to which the appellative "monotheism" might be applied. Shall we then isolate the religion of Israel in the thirteenth century and compare that with Akhenaten's beliefs? Or shall we allow ourselves to squeeze in Israel's monarchic concepts of the ninth century to provide us with comparable material? And can we by stretching a point include the advanced concepts of a Deutero-Isaiah of the sixth to fifth centuries in our conception. What results unfortunately from this fudging is a grand melange of points amassed from over nine hundred years of evolution, which are then compared with a specific, heretical movement pinpointed to a single generation in time.44 Such a comparison is obviously meaningless.

{Deutero-Isaiah reflects Zoroastrian influence, within the Persian Empire: zoroaster-judaism.html}

A second question that might be posed has to do with nomenclature: is "religion" the appropriate term for both phenomena? Adoration of the supernatural by the community in a prescribed manner, involving a ritual,

43 See p. 408ff.
44 This, it seems to me, mars what is otherwise a very useful comparison by V. A. Tobin: see Pharaonic Egypt, The Blble and Christianity (Jerusalem, 1983), 231ff.

{p. 379} a code of conduct, and a divine-human relationship constitutes a fair description of ancient Hebrew religion, but not Akhenaten's program. Hebrew religion, at least in the formative stage in which we see it in the later Iron Age, is credal, involving a confession of faith in Yahweh.45 What Akhenaten put forward in no way involves a creed; it is more a royal statement regarding the king's relationship with his father than a religion of the people. As such it thrusts a teaching role upon the monarch in which he, as the sole individual privy to god's will, is obliged to make plain to the people the nature of god and the king's place in creation. There is nothing comparable in early Hebrew religion with the "teaching" of Akhenaten:46 no one fills an essential didactic role, and, when later the prophets emerge, they prove to be outside the system. For Hebrew religion is essentially indigenous to a particular ethnic group, and underwent a natural evolution over centuries of prehistory. Akhenaten's program is a self-conscious modification of an existing system, undertaken at a known point in time, based in the highest circles of the realm and involving a contretemps with a coterie of high officials.47

If now we begin our comparison by attempting to isolate the natures of the deities Akhenaten's program and the early Hebrew religion put to the fore, we encounter a marked, nay a jarring, contrast. For Akhenaten's god is celestial and solar, identified as "light" and the "sun disk"; he creates brightness and therefore his own essence.48 The name by which he is known is not new, but in its formulation sums up the nature of the god exactly: "Re-harakhty is he who rejoices in the Horizon in his name 'Light which is in/from the sun disk.'" By contrast the Hebrew god Yahweh displays atmospheric and chthonic traits, being intimately associated with the wind, earthquake, fire, and thunder. Light by no means constitutes the essence of this god. In late metaphorical jargon it may be associated with him in the same way as in most ancient cultures it is conjured as a symbol of purity and truth. In the accepted folk tradition he is a new deity, unknown to the fathers, by the name "Yahweh." As a persoriality, the sun disk is a pale cipher, arousing little response in the worshiper. On the other hand, Yahweh is a wrathful, vengeful god prone to violent outbreaks of temper, but also capable of compassion and forgiveness, very much in keeping with the class of Canaanite deities.

For Yahweh is in very truth a power of the environment who reveals himself directly through the cosmos and has little need of an intermediary. When the community of Israel enters the light of history and becomes

45 On the creed, see G. von Rad, The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays (New York, 1966), 1-78.
46 Tobin, in Pharaonic Egypt, 249-50.
47 Redford, Akhenaten.
48 D. B. Redford, JARCE 13 (1976), 53.

{p. 380} self-conscious, Yahweh becomes a "god of history" and his "mighty acts are bruited abroad, almost as though he were a great king.4

The sun disk, on the other hand, is a "timeless" royal deity without any res gestae. Where Yahweh is a hero-god whose triumphs are to be trumpeted ad nauseum, the sun disk is a sophisticated symbol, a projection of kingship into the heavens on a universal scale. His name is written in cartouches, and his sway is universal. As he is king in heaven, so his son Akhenaten mirrors his father's kingship on earth.50 Derived from tendencies already present in religious thought of the earlier 18th Dynasty, universal kingship shared in a sort of diarchy between heaven and earth and is peculiar - and central - to Akhenaten's program.51 Thus is explained the concentration throughout the reign on such celebrations of royalty as the jubilee, never before celebrated on so grand a scale as in the heretic's third year,52 the grand "durbar" for the reception of foreign tribute,53 and the constant bestowal of largesse and rewards on "worthies."

All of this is quite foreign to Yahweh. When Israel graduated to the level of monarchy, the ethnic god naturally partook to a limited extent in the jargon and panoply of this more sophisticated form of government. But the monarchic aspects of Yahwism are wholly peripheral, appearing as part of the hyperbolic metaphor of enthronement Psalms;54 while universalism is encountered only in the late, fully developed theology of a Deutero-Isaiah (which owes more to the universalist theologies of the sixth to fifth centuries B.C. than to remote Akhenaten).

{Those universal theologies being Zoroastrian: zoroaster-judaism.html}

The modes of representation of the godhead likewise defy comparison. Although Akhenaten throughout his reign shows a progressive aversion to any anthropomorphic or theriomorphic depictions in art or literature of the deity or anything else, he allows himself a symbolized representation of a disk with many arms - an abstraction but nonetheless an icon.55 Moreover, the new divine symbol forms but a part of a new canon of art designed, apparently, to convey something of the "meaning" of Akhenaten's teaching.56 In Israel, despite a general aniconic tendency in "state" religion during the Iron Ages57 - what do we know of the earlier formative stage? - there seems to be no reluctance to describe god in literature using

49 Tobin, in Pharaonic Egypt, 261, 265. 50 Redford, JARCE 13 (1976), 49ff. 51 On the 18th Dynasty concept of kingship, see Redford, "Kingship." 52 D. B. Redford, JARCE 17 (1980), 21 - 23. 53 C. Aldred, Akhenaten, King of Egypt (London, 1988), 178-81. 54 Tobin, in Pharaonic Egypt, 261, 265. 55 Redford, JARCE 13 (1976), 55 - 56; idem, Akhenaten, 172 - 75. 56 On the Amarna style of art, see principally C. Aldred, Akhenaten and Nefertity (New York, 1973). 57 J. S. Holladay, in P. D. Miller et al., eds., Ancient Israelite Religion (phiiadelphia 987), 249ff.

{p. 381} a bold, anthropomorphic vocabulary. Needless to say, Israelite religion is linked at no stage in its history with a distinctive art form.

The central and fundamental position occupied by Akhenaten in the new order knows no parallel among the early Hebrews. He occupies "center stage" in every scene of art, he alone knows his "father" the sun disk58 he receives obeisance and worship equally with the disk. Great stress, perhaps to the point of being the single most important feature of Akhenaten's system, is laid on the filial link with his father the sun disk; and the widest variety of imagery is employed in the texts to describe the relationship.59 With the Egyptian people the sun disk enjoys no special or direct relationship other than within creation or through the intermediary of his son. As is becoming increasingly clear, the sun disk crystallized in Akhenaten's thinking from an apotheosis of his own father Amenophis III, whose sobriquet significantly was the "Dazzling Sun Disk." This deity could never be a personal god, except to his son, and therefore was not imbued with the plebeian quality of compassion.60 Nor did he demand any particular code of ethical behavior different from what had dominated Egyptian society from time immemorial.

By contrast, Yahweh was very much a god of his people and contained from the outset all the ingredients of a personal deity. A rigid code of ethics is strongly stressed, and becomes an integral part of Hebrew religion, as in all Near East religions. What is more, there existed between him and Israel a bond quite unknown between an Egyptian god and his people, and that was the covenant. Yahweh had chosen Israel and entered into a contractual agreement with it.

We now come to the one aspect of the two gods that more than any other has suggested a point of direct affiliation: the attitude toward plurality of deity. Enough has been written and enough evidence produced to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Akhenaten's was an uncompromising monotheism that denied other gods. Not only does the ubiquitous occurrence of such terms as w', "sole, unique," nn wn ky hr hw.f, "there is no other of his kind," and the like point in this direction, but the erasure of the plural "gods" and the unequivocal reference to the gods having "ceased" clinch the matter beyond the reach of debate.6l Along with this uncompromising denial went a rejection of myth, the vehicle through which the gods worked effectively. No myth is told of the sun disk, and his creation is never described in detail.

For the earliest stages in the development of the Hebrew religion, Yahweh is perceived as but one among the gods.

58 J. Assmann, SAK 8 (1980), 15.
59 Redford, JARCE 17 (1980), 25 - 26.
60 Ibid., 26.
61 D. B. Redford, BES 3 (1981), 87 - 102.

{p. 382} As for mythology, although the scriptures as they descended through the filter of the Deuteronomists and the post-Exilic priests have suffered the expurgation of most mythical allusions, enough remains to place Yahweh squarely in the class of Canaanite hero-creator gods. His inaugural battle with the monster "Sea" is recalled by snippets that refer to his dompting of Rahab, Leviathan, or the "Waters."62 His creation of man from clay and woman from a rib (Gen. 2) is as crass as most foreign contemporary accounts, and the Flood story, though edited by the P-writers, remains within the ambit of a well-known type of myth.

The differences listed here cease to be surprising when one reflects upon the wholly different sociological milieus in which Akhenaten and the early Hebrews fashioned their respective communities. Yahwism was strongly patriarchal, favoring the males and denigrating the females,63 and accentuating cultic purity and defilement. His cult arrangement had originally been rustic in the extreme, and was preserved fetishlike in later times when a once necessity was now translated into a virtue. Altars were to be constructed of earth or unhewn stone;64 the god dwelt within the curtains of a portable shrine. When later a private chapel for the king at Jerusalem became the state shrine, there was no doubt that Yahweh dwelt within this house, his presence manifest in the mystic Shekinah.

Akhenaten's circle was that of the most sophisticated court in the world, and it stamped his program indelibly. For generations this court had been strongly influenced if not dominated by the royal females, and its customs, life-style, and art are influenced by a sort of feminine energy. Cleanliness and purity were taken for granted. The cult arrangements were reduced to a minimum, but were anything but rustic. Elaborate altars of cut stone and cult paraphernalia of gold and electrum abounded in the centers where worship was carried on. While the simplistic perception of a people from the steppe dictated that Yahweh actually dwelt in his tent, the more sophisticated Egyptian concept promoted the notion that god did not have a terrestrial house: "Heaven is thy temple" sang the hymnist.65 Earthly shrines comprising open-air courts with offering tables were really viewing places and worshiping centers for the people, not the abode of the sun disk.

When we pass to the cult, it is similarly difficult to find more than a scattering of superficial features that recall Egyptian practices. The Israelite

62 C. Kloos, Yahweh's Comhat with the Sea (Leiden, 1986). 63 Cf.Lev. 12:5; Num. 5:11-30, 12:14; Deut. 22:18-21, 25:11-12. 64 Exod. 20:24-26. 65 M. Sandman, Texts from the Time of Akhenaten (Brussels, 1938), 71:8.

{p. 383} offering cult has long since appeared in its rightful context within the Late Bronze Canaanite tradition, thanks to the evidence from Ugarit. Its festivals are tied to the Levantine agricultural calendar and the Egyptian prototypes suggested seem farfetched.66 On the other hand major festival cycles of the Egyptian calendar are not represented at all among the Hebrews.67

The points of lexical contact or similar procedure one must pass in review are meager in the extreme. The washing off of a magical text written in ink on a papyrus and the drinking of the resultant "water of bitterness" (Num. 5: 23-24) are identical to the very common Egyptian practice of consuming for magical or therapeutic purposes the solution of the ink of a written text with water. The implied apotropaic magic in Psalms 68:2 in which enemies are cursed "as wax melts before the fire" recalls the Egyptian practice of making images of Seth, Apophis, and Pharaoh's enemies of wax and consigning them to the flames. The musical accompaniment of a ritual by a harpist finds a curious parallel in late Libyan Egypt. Certain cult implements have names clearly derived from Egyptian, although this points to loanwords through secular, cultural contact, rather than specifically through the cult. The cult emblem incorporating a bronze serpent (Num. 21:8, 9) called nes in Hebrew may well conceal the Egyptian word nsrt, "flaming (serpent)," vocalized NHC in the late period. The formal offering of libations to the covenant deity by the heads of the twelve tribal groups (Num. 7:12-88) recalls the periodic libations to the god guaranteeing the peace made by the heads of the twelve principalities in Egypt on the eve of the founding of the 26th Dynasty.

66 E.g., Pesah, "passover," from Egyptian p3 sh "the sacrifice" (not common in this meaning).
67 One may cite the royal jubilee rites (the sed-festival), the Osirian festivals, those associated with the mortuary cult, the feasts associated with the New Year and the seasons, the fertility rites celebrated in connection with the inundation, the ithyphallic Min and-other deities of the same ilk. In origin, form, and ethos, Israel owes nothing to the Egyptian cults.

{p. 384} Some derivatives stretch credulity. Does Hebrew Se'ol, "underworld," really come from the Egyptian "Lake of Reeds"? Or do tohu and bohu of Genesis 1:2 derive from the Egyptian roots "to go astray" and "to flee' respectively? That Absalom's pillar (2 Sam. 18:18) should be compared with the Egyptian practice of raising a memorial stela is not convincing

Certain it is, however, that some of the technical terms designating priestly costume are Egyptian in origin. The "sash" or "girdle" (Hebrew 'abnet: Exod. 28:4, 29:9, 9:29; Lev. 8:7,13, etc.) is a loanword from an Egyptian root meaning "to wrap"; while the "ephod" (Exod. 28: 4, 6;1 Sam. 2:18, 6:14, 22:18, etc.), often of linen, comes from a common Egyptian word for a type of linen perhaps distinguished by the weave.

There is not enough evidence to establish when, or under what circumstances, Israelite culture incorporated these heterogeneous traits. Some, like the items of priestly apparel, clearly go back to Canaanite borrowings during the New Kingdom when Egyptian imperial influence was strong; others, like the folk motif of the twelve tribal heads, may be quite late. Nor is there certainty regarding the route whereby the bequest was effected. Canaanites or Phoenicians could easily have acted as intermediaries, as they did in other matters of culture. ...


It would be curious if the long association of Egypt and Canaan during the empire had not resulted in the transfer of certain Egyptian images and forms within the sphere of hymnology and poetry. Belle-lettristic creations in metric form constituted an oral tradition disseminated all over the Near East, but only in certain centers (like Egypt) was there an indigenous source powerful enough to foster mimesis in adjacent regions. A quick perusal of polite forms of address contained within the Amarna corpus will prove this to have been the case. The Canaanite mayors,

{p. 387} through their enforced sojourn in Egypt in their youth, were more familiar than the rest of their countrymen with polite forms of discourse current at Pharaoh's court; and these abound in their private letters to the king. It was solar "theology," to the exclusion of other more recondite aspects of Egyptian imagery, that cast a spell over the Canaanite. Pharaoh to them was "my god, my sun, the Sun in heaven," "the son of the Sun," "hale like the Sun in heaven," "the Sun of (all) lands" - all direct translations of native Egyptian phrases. In fact one extended salutation in a letter of the king of Tyre, Abi-milki (EA 147: 5-13), really constitutes an Egyptian sun hymn done directly and literally into Akkadian! "My lord is the Sun god who rises over the foreign lands every day as his gracious father the sun has ordained; one who gives life by his sweet breath and languor when he is hidden, who pacifies the entire land with the power of his mighty arm, who emits his roar in heaven like Ba'al, and the whole earth shakes with his roar."

The solar imagery remained firmly fixed in the poetic repertoire of Canaan, especially the coastal cities, long after the disappearance of the empire. The marvelous panegyric on the nature and activity of god in Psalm 104, written during the second-quarter of the first millennium B.C., draws on both ancient Canaanite epic and Egyptian solar hymns. Verses 3 to 18 describe Yahweh in terms of Ba'al, triumphant over Prince Yam, ensconced on the mountains and sustaining the earth, whereas verses 2 and 19 to 30 draw specifically on the phraseology and imagery of Akhenaten's hymn to the sun disk. (Table 6).


Nearly one-third of all the material contained in the Book of Psalms falls into a category of the individual complaint or penitential psalm. These are personal appeals to god by a victim of sickness, depression, or villification who ascribes his suffering either to the malefic affects of outside sorcery, or to his own sinful conduct. He states his confidence in the deity,

{p. 388} excoriates his enemies or confesses his sin, and vows to reform and testify should god heal or save him. A related genre concentrates on the erstwhile sufferer's plight from the later vantage point of one saved and now under obligation to give thanks. Numerous examples of the same type from the cuneiform world prove that this genre in Hebrew is but part of the much

{p. 389} larger phenomenon of the "Lament" of the sufferer throughout the ancient world.

The penitential psalm is also attested in Egypt. Well over 90 percent of the thirty-five-odd examples come from the workmen's village of Deir el-Medina on the west bank of Thebes and date from the 19th and 20th Dynasties; but the earliest date from Tutankamun's reign, and sporadic examples from the Third Intermediate Period prove that the haphazard of preservation has skewed our view. The Egyptian penitential psalms are preserved on stelae, often with a depiction of the speaker in the pious attitude of adoration, and were destined for public display in a temple or shrine. The text betrays all the earmarks of oral-formulaic compositionl and usually incorporates an appeal to the god, a description of the sickness (blindness or a respiratory ailment), a confession of sin, and a vow to testify to the god's saving power. An extension of the situation has the victim, now healed and once again in the god's good grace, fulfilling his vow by delivery of a "testimony" and enjoying the praising of the deity by all and sundry.

Despite a number of parallels, there can be no question of Israel's dependence on Egypt for the penitential psalm. The "life situation" from which the psalm arises is too common to posit dependence; and it may not be fortuitous that it appears in Egypt only with the increased contact with Asia occasioned by the empire.

In poetry a certain similarity in genre and treatment can be established between extant New Kingdom love poetry and the Song of Songs. Although the latter is Exilic or post-Exilic in date, the form harks back to Egyptian love poetry one thousand years earlier; and while the Bible piece has been "spiritualized" by purblind and unfeeling exegetes, the origin remains an erotic though discreet creation probably within the purview of a sophisticated court.


In Egypt, beginning certainly as early as the last century of the third millennium B.C., our sources throw up an amorphous category of composi-

{p. 390} tions intimately associated with the training of scribes. Throughout Egyptian history the filling of posts that demanded an ability to read, write, and impart skills or exercise technical expertise always created a tension between two unrelated urges: the natural desire of a father that his son should follow him in office, and the equally pressing need for choosing the best man for the job. At all periods (though especially in the early Old Kingdom), the sons of a great scribe may well turn out to follow the scribal profession also, but as time went on the increasing complexity of bureaucracy demanded that formal schools be set up, associated with the court. A charming word-vignette of the 19th Dynasty describes for us the deportment of the ideal pupil and the desired approach to learning: he is to be prompt, neat of dress, equipped with his book; arithmetic and reading are important, and he is to do his calculation silently, not aloud; he must be diligent and emulate his instructors.

In order to facilitate instruction the scribes amassed a body of texts, compiled if not composed, with pedagogic intent. Much or perhaps most of this was prosaic in the extreme and had to do with the kind of routine administration the scribe would be faced with in pursuance of his calling: accounts, memoranda, letters, dispatches, reports. But a certain amount of it comprised poetical or prose compositons that at one and the same time aimed to entertain and to teach. By copying these texts under the supervision of his teacher the student would develop a good hand, learn the accepted style of composition, and absorb the wisdom precepts of the ancestors. The libraries, which have either survived or been reconstructed from book lists and inventories, show the range of materials with which the fully trained scribe was supposed to be familiar: stories, king lists, annals, diaries, mythological treatises, sign lists, geographies, ritual books, magical texts, manuals, inventories, letters, accounts. Even a private collection of a trained scribe might include stories, love poetry, hymns, magic, medicine, and oneiromancy.

A certain amount of this material can be separated out - the ancients themselves so separated it - and grouped under the broad heading of "Teaching" (sbo3yet). Whether this term should be construed as a "genre" designation becomes an argument for schoolmen; and the word, admittedly, bears more on intent or purpose than form. "Teaching" may consist of practical instruction from a master craftsman to an apprentice;

{p. 391} from a scribe on how to write; instruction on behavior from a king to his untutored pages (or courtiers), or even from a god to a devotee. It can be applied to the kind of "learning" that comes from perusal or a "satirical letter," or from a lexicon. But by and large "Teaching" in Egyptian means a form of composition in which a wiseman (father, king, or superior) addresses a discourse comprising a range of worldly wisdom to a subordinate (son, subject, trainee, or the like). Consequently the sboyet will turn out to be a monologue, didactic, and preceptive. Any deviation from this basic format can arguably be maintained to be an extension or even a misuse of the term.

The content and thrust of the "Teaching" may well vary: propaganda is attested side by side with advice on "lifemanship"; reference material is found with satire and biography. But all, broadly speaking, are intended to instruct in some fashion or other.

Scholars have long recognized a marked similarity between Egyptian "Teaching" and Biblical "Wisdom" texts such as those contained primarily in Proverbs, in both idiom and content. The common Egyptian for-

{p. 392} mula " if (you are a ...), "better is ... than ..." and the use of the vetative appear in Hebrew in strikingly similar contexts, while the recollection that the present father-son chat simply mirrors a current situation - my father taught me also! - is shared by both traditions. Again: such motifs as the typical fool, the ideal man (silent, patient, obedient), flogging as pedagogic tool, and the ear as the receptacle of instruction are found both in Egypt and Israel.

Although it might be agreed that these similarities arise from a common background of "Wisdom" shared by Egypt and Canaan from remote times, it would be difficult to deny that a more direct dependency seems to underlie some specific passages, and that it is Israel's dependence on Egypt that is the question. The most famous example, and indeed the primary one, is the Wisdom of Amenemope written probably during the 20th Dynasty (c. twelfth century B.C.) but continuing popular until the 26th Dynasty (seventh century s.c.). Proverbs 22:23 to 23:11, with its "Thirty Sayings," strikingly mirrors the "Thirty Chapters" of Amenemope in content to the extent that one can scarcely escape the conclusion that the former is a "version" of the latter. But elsewhere Proverbs is dotted with individual parallels, and several occur in the Psalter. Of the latter, one of the more charming is the likening of the "Ideal Man" (the "godly") and the "Heated Man" (the "ungodly") in Psalm 1 to different trees: the origin of the motif is clearly chapter 4 of Amenemope. Psalm 34 14, which begins "Come O sons! Listen to me and I will teach you the fear of Yahweh," bears more than a passing resemblance (mutatis mutandis) to similar calls from as early as the Amarna age.

{p. 393} What has been examined to this point in the form of evidence of "literary" impact of Egypt on Israel suggests a circuitous route via an intermediary. Egypt, during the empire and later, cultivated direct ties with the cities of the Levantine coast; the mountains inland interested the Egyptians little, as we have seen. If genres, styles, and specific compositions lived on in some form in the cultural baggage of the Asiatics living close to the Egyptian frontier in the first millennium B.C., it is highly likely that this took place in the maritime cities from Gaza in the south to Byblos in the north; and if the invasion and settlement of the Philistines and Teukrians effected a real hiatus in the life of the cities of the south coastal plain, then we can narrow our search to that stretch of coast between Accho and Arvad. Here we must postulate - the figures of Hierombalos and Sanchuniaton bolster the case - the existence of a scribal "elite," still in touch with or mindful of Egypt from the 21st through the 26th Dynasties, that perpetuated the celebrated creations of the Egyptian New Kingdom and kept alive style and form in however bastardized a manner. Just as Israel was placed in the debt of Phoenicia for most of the Egyptian influences in art, architecture, and historiography, so also in the realm of belles lettres Egyptian literature and style passed through the sieve of the Levantine coast before arriving at Jerusalem.

"Sieve" may not be an inappropriate term, for one major characteristic of Hebrew passages derived from Egyptian calls for comment: none of these pericopes is a verbatim translation. Observation of this fact has given rise to a variety of explanations: Hebrew writers quoted from memory; the transmission process was "lengthy"; Israel owed only a "general debt" to Egypt in the sphere of Wisdom. All of these propositions offer a valid, if limited, insight into the problem; but none fastens upon the two factors at work here - rendering of idiom and theme into a foreign tongue, and oral composition and transmission. No Hebrew in Jerusalem could possibly have packed Biblical Wisdom with so many Egyptian inspired phrases and images had not they come to him in his own language. And the wide gap between the wording and adaptation of the Hebrew and that of the Egyptian originals would not exist had the Hebrew wise man possessed a translation and been content therewith. Once again, for that necessary intermediate stage in the transmission one is drawn to the Phoenician cities of the coast, where long-standing familiar-

{p. 394} ity with Egyptian culture and (in some quarters) fluency in Egyptian were characteristic of the intelligentsia. Here is the society in which the Egyptian originals passed into a Semitic tongue, not necessarily by means of written translations, but through an oral, targumic rendering, admired and imitated but noncanonical.


Sigmund Freud, Jewish Avenger: freud.html.

Freud and the Bolsheviks: freud-bolsheviks.html.

Richard Friedman: Who Wrote the Bible? bible.html.

Egyptologist Donald B. Redford on the Exodus story; Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman on the Archaeology of the Bible: archaeology-bible.html.

Akhnaten in Rosicrucian and Theosophical teachings: rosicrucian.html.

Moses and Machiavellism:

To order Sigmund Freud's book Moses and Monotheism from Amazon:

To purchase a second-hand copy via Abebooks:


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