Sample Questions

1. What is the evidence to suggest that Moses was indeed Egyptian?

The Fundamental problem concerns the accuracy of the Bible. Is it a distorted version or not? If not, then Moses is a Jew / Hebrew, if it is distorted though, Moses could be a Jew/Hebrew or an Egyptian.

Cite the evidence for Moses being an Egyptian:

1. His name: Mose - means 'child' in Egyptian and could therefore possibly reflect his nationality - however having been 'adopted' by the Egyptian princess, she was unlikely to give him a name deriving from Hebrew or anything other than Egyptian.

2. The religion that Moses gave the Hebrews could actually be the Egyptian one, of Akhenaten

3. Circumcision - this was used by Egyptians to reflect their hatred of foreigners - Moses' imposition of this could therefore reflect the displacement of his fierce Egyptian nationalism on to the Hebrews, his 'chosen' people.

4. Given his position of power, it makes sense for Moses to find a group of followers (oppressed) and therefore willing to adopt his otherwise unpopular religion - as the 'chosen people'.

5. According to Osman etc. Moses could have even been Akhenaten (and therefore definitely Egyptian) since the Pharaoh's body was never found, and he probably didn't die in Egypt etc.

6. Moses' followers, despite thanking him for their liberation, disliked him and even killed him. If Moses were an Egyptian, this would justify some of this dislike.

However evidence in favour of Moses as a Hebrew must also be cited.

1. According to the Bible, he was the son of a poor family - therefore probably Hebrews.

2. The name 'Moses', can be seen to be derived from the Hebrew for 'he who is drawn out of water'.

3. Why would an Egyptian, (who hated foreigners) adopt foreigners as his followers?

4. It seems inconceivable for the founder of the monotheistic Judaism to have been non- Hebrew.

And any other related ideas as evidence for and against these points.

In conclusion, though it seems that the evidence does suggest that the idea that Moses was an Egyptian is more plausible than it intuitively appears. However the main limitation is the fact that the evidence dates back 3500 years, so a certain conclusion cannot really be drawn either way. However, Freud suggests, that this evidence is telling and whether it is sufficient it certainly questions the writer's of the Bible tendency to bias accounts, and as such the implications are very interesting.

2. Critically discuss the analogy that Freud draws between neurotic disorders and trauma, and the development of the monotheistic religion through centuries.

Look at the similarities and differences between the two parts of the analogy: Similarities (elements present in both):

1) The Oedipus Complex element
2) The development of a primal father figure
3) The presence of a latency period and regression
4) The evolution of and role of the ideas that society (in religion) and the individual (in neurotic disorders) must have mutual obligations, inviolable institutions and renunciation of certain instincts.

Problems with the analogy:

1) Freud is only able to apply the analogy thoroughly to one case of religion, however for it to be a useful analogy it should be tested to hold for all.

2) Freud acknowledges that one cannot always make smooth analogies between the individual and group psychology. For instance in this case in particular, it is hard to isolate the group psychology version of a 'memory trace' etc.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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