Jacob and Joseph, Judais­m’s Archi­tects: Birth of the Ego Ideal

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2019

Three sem­i­nal father-son sto­ries in West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion define a cul­ture, yet tran­scend time and cul­ture to endure: Oedi­pus, a son who believes a prophe­cy, kills his father and beds his moth­er; Abra­ham, who almost kills his son (and sends the first one to starve in the wilder­ness); Christ, whose Father per­mits his death even as the son implores, Why have you for­sak­en me?” Yet, the Jacob/​Joseph tale, one of the longest in the bible, a dual biog­ra­phy of father and son, offers a fourth myth that gives us guid­ance for con­tem­po­rary par­ent­ing and also hints at how Judaism has been so long-endur­ing. This book care­ful­ly stud­ies the puns and allu­sions of Hebrew to sug­gest why Joseph faired bet­ter than these oth­er sons. The book also gives evi­dence from the text of the first descrip­tion of the psy­chic struc­ture of Ego Ide­al and explores how his par­ents and Joseph him­self con­tributed to this development.

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