De Ik-splijting van de man Mozes en de inscheuring in zijn Ik: een commentaar bij Freuds Mozeswerk, zijn Ik-splijtingstekst en de Wolfmancasus

Alfred Frans Maria Mampuys

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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This study is mostly devoted to a text analysis of Freud’s Work on Moses (1939), the case of the Wolf Man (1914-1918) and the text on the splitting of the Ego (Jan 1938 - 1940). In the course of this text analysis the fertility and the relation of these selected texts will be shown for an interpretation of the last steps of Freud’s self-analysis. The first part is totally devoted to the Work on Moses. By means of the three forewords in this work we can develop hypotheses concerning the consecutive phases in the realization of the Work on Moses and the construction that was eventually published and which was drafted by Freud from the material of these consecutive phases. Thus chapters I and II are parts from a first Work on Moses that was written in 1934. The elaborate third chapter on the other hand is for the bigger part a second Moses’ version that was (re)written in 1938 in which Freud inserted the remainder,the ‘most objectionable and dangerous’ part of his first Moses’ version at the last instant. This remainder of the first Moses’ version can be found in chapter III, second part, from p. 211 to p. 239 (in the German edition, G.W. XVI. English edition, S.E. Vol. 23, p. 105 - 130). When comparing both the remainder of the first Moses’ version and the second Moses’ version, they appear to differ on main points of importance. The importance of this exceptional construction for the eventual interpretation of the Work on Moses is then extensively investigated. Thus Freud’s interpretation of the Jewish-Christian religion in the first Moses’ version appears to emanate from an omnipotence-construction, whereby he as a writer takes the place of the primal father, in this case Moses. At the same time this omnipotence-construction is disavowed which explains the impasse in which Freud landed with this version and which impeded his publication of the Work on Moses for years. Only after writing the text of the splitting of the Ego (Jan 1938. Die Ichspaltung im Abwehrvorgang G.W. XVII, pp. 59-61. English edition: Splitting of the Ego in the process of defence S.E. Vol.23, p. 271 -278) which actually analyses the disavowal mechanism also active in the first Moses’ version, gradually a development within Freud takes place which leads to the writing of a new version. This new version, the second, crosses out the account of the first version, so that on the one hand this first version is destroyed in its original design and on the other hand this first version as inserted remainder in the second version becomes the confession of the murder that Freud committed on the father function in his first Moses’ version. After establishing Freud’s quotation - albeit concealed - and resumption of the analysis of the case of the Wolf Man as the only clinical illustration in his second Moses’ version (S.E. Vol 23, p. 78-79) and after ascertaining that the text of the splitting of the Ego is mainly based on material from this same case, the second part of this study takes up the case of the Wolf Man extensively (1914-1918. G.W. XII, p. 29-157. English edition: S.E. Vol.17, p. 7 - 122). This part not only analyses large parts of the text on this case, but also other subsequent texts in which the Wolfman appears concealed or unconcealed and which indicate that Freud kept on struggling with problems that he had with this ‘analytical example’ which wouldn’t heal, problems that he found hard to admit. Our analysis sets to the short correspondence between Freud and the Wolf Man (1926), which is also seen against the background of the latter’s later analysis with R. M. Brunswick. Our analysis shows that as well for Freud as for the Wolfman the analysis got stuck in both their disavowal mechanisms rendering the exchange on both sides fraudulent. After the long detour via the case of the Wolf Man the third part of this study is a text analysis, line by line, of the short but compact text of the splitting of the Ego. The preceding investigation of the Work on Moses and the case of the Wolf Man allows us to make the link with and show the relevance of the text of the splitting of the Ego for the interpretation of the case of the Wolf Man and the hinging function that the text of the splitting of the Ego had and has for the breach of the disavowal in the first Moses’ version, so that the Work on Moses could be completed. The disavowal which plays a central role in the Work on Moses and the case of the Wolf Man, is now also investigated from the perspective of the text of the splitting of the Ego. The complex characteristics of the disavowal as we find them in Freud’s text(s), allow a clear distinction from negation and repression (‘Verneinung’ and ‘Verdrängung’). It is this text of the splitting of the Ego which eventually allows Freud to make the step from a (disavowed) ‘splitting of the Ego of the man Moses/ Freud’ to the establishment of a ‘rift in his ego’ (‘Einriss im Ich’). Part four tries to trace to what extent Freud realizes with his Work on Moses his intention to supply a psychoanalytical contribution to the understanding of the Jewish-Christian religion mainly. This part recapitulates the preceding work and stipulates that the Work on Moses in the previously discovered latent structure (see first part of the study) exposes the religion-interpretation of the first Moses’ version as a disavowed omnipotence-link between religion and psychoanalysis, which is in fact destructive for both psychoanalysis and religion. Only in the second Moses’ version and after the confession of the murder committed on the father and mother function which is raised by the insertion of the first Moses’ version, Freud is able to establish a communication between religion and psychoanalysis which contains creative possibilities for both without confusion of both domains or bringing them up against each other. This part then establishes from his text of the splitting of the Ego and his Work on Moses that Freud not only knew better how to work through lifelong problems and so profited in that sense and received something from his psychoanalytical self-investigation, but that he also profited and received something from the Jewish-Christian religion. Although several critical observations can be justly made about Freud’s opinions on Biblical Jewry and Christianity which only become understandable from his self-analytical process, this part tries to show that the more essential representations of the Jewish-Christian religion that Freud then interprets, are a good representation of the ‘religion of his forefathers’ which he grew up with from his childhood onwards. Furthermore we also try to show in this last part that the influence of these representations can be found, albeit latently, in Freud’s interpre- tation of this religion. The interaction between Freud’s interpretation of the Jewish-Christian religion on the one hand and the latent influence of Jewish-Christian thinking on his own selfanalysis on the other hand, is shown by means of the writings of the prophet Hosea and an important text of Paul (Rom 7, 7-25). In this study we call this a reciprocal interpretation or an ‘interpenetration’ between Freud and Hosea and between Freud and Paul. Vertaling: Mevr Irène
Original languageDutch
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Vandermeersch, P.M.G.P., Supervisor, External person
Award date12-Jun-1997
Place of PublicationGroningen
Print ISBNs90-9010662-6
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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