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In Defense of Jewish Manhood

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004522/00001

Material Information

Title: In Defense of Jewish Manhood Monotheism, Circumcision, and Gender in Freud�s Construction of Jewish Identity
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Zorn, Jeremy
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Freud
Moses
Circumcision
Judaism
Jewish
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This thesis argues that the parallel discourses Freud develops surrounding monotheism and circumcision, in Moses and Monotheism, seek to overcome anti-Semitic perceptions of Jewish effeminacy�perceptions which Freud, himself, internalized to a great extent. While Freud�s treatment of monotheism demonstrates his belief in an essential Jewish affinity for male-coded spirituality over female-coded sensuality, his understanding of circumcision proves to be more problematic. Having established the theoretical connection of circumcision, castration, and effeminacy in a prior work, Freud attempts to reconfigure the meaning of circumcision in Moses and Monotheism. Despite his effort to unite his theory of circumcision with his idealization of monotheism, Freud ultimately fails to overcome his conception of circumcision as an effeminizing practice. By threatening to compromise his defense of Jewish masculinity, Freud�s theory of circumcision provides the greatest hindrance to his affirmation of Jewish identity.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jeremy Zorn
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Marks, Susan

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2011 Z8
System ID: NCFE004522:00001

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004522/00001

Material Information

Title: In Defense of Jewish Manhood Monotheism, Circumcision, and Gender in Freud�s Construction of Jewish Identity
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Zorn, Jeremy
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Freud
Moses
Circumcision
Judaism
Jewish
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This thesis argues that the parallel discourses Freud develops surrounding monotheism and circumcision, in Moses and Monotheism, seek to overcome anti-Semitic perceptions of Jewish effeminacy�perceptions which Freud, himself, internalized to a great extent. While Freud�s treatment of monotheism demonstrates his belief in an essential Jewish affinity for male-coded spirituality over female-coded sensuality, his understanding of circumcision proves to be more problematic. Having established the theoretical connection of circumcision, castration, and effeminacy in a prior work, Freud attempts to reconfigure the meaning of circumcision in Moses and Monotheism. Despite his effort to unite his theory of circumcision with his idealization of monotheism, Freud ultimately fails to overcome his conception of circumcision as an effeminizing practice. By threatening to compromise his defense of Jewish masculinity, Freud�s theory of circumcision provides the greatest hindrance to his affirmation of Jewish identity.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jeremy Zorn
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Marks, Susan

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2011 Z8
System ID: NCFE004522:00001


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IN DEFENSE OF JEWISH MANHOOD: MONOTHEISM, CIRCUMCISION, AND GENDER IN FREUDS CONSTRUCTION OF JEWISH IDENTITY BY Jeremy Zorn A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Of Bachelor of Arts in Religion/Psychology Under the sponsorship of Dr. Susan Marks Sarasota, Florida May, 2011

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Acknowledgments I would like to take this oppor tunity to thank all of the people who have supported me during my thesis-writing process and th roughout my entire New College career. First of all, I would like to express my d eepest love and gratit ude for my parents, Susan and Steven Zorn, for the freedom theyve entrusted in me, the confidence theyve held in me, the interest theyve taken in all of my activities, and the affection that theyve never ceased to provide. Id li ke to express no less l ove and appreciation for my brother, Justin, who has been my gr eatest influence and in spiration for as long as I can remember. I would like to acknowledge all of the friends Ive made at New Collegepeople who Ive cared about deeply and who have changed my life. The New Cats and all of the fine Novo Collegian musicians who I have been delighted to jam with throughout the years ce rtainly deserve my sincerest thanks for providing me with so much joy. Thank you to Jan, Alexis, all of the SWAs, a nd all of my peers who have conferenced with me at the Writing Resource Center. Thanks to you all Ive grown so much as a writer, a speaker, a thinker, and a listener over the past 2 years. Working at the WRC has been tremendously fun, and I will miss all of you. Thank you to Charles Carter, Emma Cawlfi eld, Troy Konicki, and Evan Sigmund for peer reviewing my work and for the t houghtful discussions weve shared throughout the school-year. My gratitude also extends to Dr. April Flakne, Dr. Steve Graham, and Dr. Doug Langston for their close read ings of my thesis and the intriguing questions they raised at my Bacc. Exam. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Susan Ma rks for being the most wonderful guide I could have hoped for during my thesis-writing process. Susan, I will always admire your patience and the trust you place in each of your students. Through your wisdom, relentless commitment, and emphasis on c onversation and peer review, you have, without a doubt, taught me more about writing than any other person. Your approach to teaching exemplifies the highest ideal s of New College. Without your devotion and insight I could not ha ve produced this work. ii

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Table of Contents Acknowledgementsii Table of Conten tsiii Abstract ...iv IntroductionFreuds Defense of Jewish Masculinity: From the Streets of Moravia to the Deserts of Midian.1 Chapter 1 Moses and Monotheism and Freuds Jewish Question ...11 Chapter 2Does Circumcisi on Make the Jew a Man? Freuds Internalizationand Revocationof AntiSemitism and Jewish Femininity.39 ConclusionCircumcisi on and Psychoanalysis: Beyond Freud and His Jewish Question..67 References iii

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iv IN DEFENSE OF JEWISH MANHOOD: MONOTHEISM, CIRCUMCISION, AND GENDER IN FREUDS CONSTRUCTION OF JEWISH IDENTITY Jeremy Zorn New College of Florida, 2011 ABSTRACT This thesis argues that the paralle l discourses Freud develops surrounding monotheism and circumcision, in Moses and Monotheism seek to overcome antiSemitic perceptions of Jewish effemi nacyperceptions which Freud, himself, internalized to a great extent. While Fre uds treatment of monotheism demonstrates his belief in an essential Jewish affinity for male-coded spirituality over female-coded sensuality, his understanding of circumcisi on proves to be more problematic. Having established the theoretical c onnection of circumcision, castration, and effeminacy in a prior work, Freud attempts to reconf igure the meaning of circumcision in Moses and Monotheism Despite his effort to unite hi s theory of circumcision with his idealization of monotheism, Freud ultimat ely fails to overcome his conception of circumcision as an effeminizing practice. By threatening to compromise his defense of Jewish masculinity, Freuds theory of circumcision provides the greatest hindrance to his affirmation of Jewish identity. Dr. Susan Marks Division of Humanities

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Introduction Freuds Defense of Jewish Masculinity: From the Streets of Moravia to the Deserts of Midian An anecdote from Freuds first major psychoanalytic work, The Interpretation of Dreams attests to the authors early struggle with Jewish identity: I may have been ten or twelve years ol d, when my father began to take me with him on his walks and reveal to me in his talk his views upon things in the world we live in. Thus it was, on one such occasion, that he told me a story to show me how much better things were now than they had been in his days. When I was a young man, he said, I we nt for a walk one Saturday in the streets of your birthplace; I was well dressed, and had a new fur cap on my head. A Christian came up to me and w ith a single blow knocked off my cap into the mud and shouted: Jew get off the pavement! And what did you do? I asked. I went into the roadway and picked up my cap, was his quiet reply. This struck me as unheroic conduct on the part of the big, strong man who was holding the little boy by the hand. I cont rasted this situation with another which fitted my feelings better: the sc ene in which Hannibals father made his boy swear before the household altar to take vengeance on the Romans. Ever since that time Hannibal had had a place in my phantasies.1 Freuds enthusiasm for Hanniba l intensified with his growin g awareness of the reality of anti-Semitism. As a young boy, Fre ud began to see Hannibalthe semitic general, as he refers to hi mas a symbol of Jewish resistance towards the Catholic Rome he fought against. In an effort to trace his admiration of Hannibal back even further and uncover the root the martial ideal he de veloped during childhood, Freud continues his narrative, recal ling a collection of wooden soldiers which he labeled with the names of Napoleons marshals, decl aring that his favorite was Massna (or to give the name its Jewish form, Manasse h). Freud cites the fact that both Napoleon and Hannibal crossed the Alps, in or der to explain the transference of an 1 Freud, 1955 (b), 197. 1

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already form ed emotional relation from Napoleons marshals to the Carthaginian general.2 Paul Breines marks Freuds telling anecdote, and its accompanying selfanalysis, as an emblem of what he calls Freuds tough Jewish fantasy. According to Breines: [Freuds] remarks on the cap in the m ud story constituted a veritable manifesto of male Jewish toughness. The founder of psychoanalysis is saying to the Jews and to the non-Jewish major ity of his day: I am a Jewish man and, as you see, when young I played with t oy soldiers. History has known Jewish generals and I, myself, have martial ideal s that are, well, ve ry much like your own. We Jews are men in your meaning of the term. Accept me, then, as an equal. This is not, however, only an appeal. If you cannot accept me, beware; for now, if you strike me, I will strike back.3 Breines contrasts the young Freuds yearning for Jewish toughness with his fathers gentle behavior, the unheroic conduc t which led to the boys dismay. Considering the fact that the elder Jakob Fr eud relayed his tale of the persecution he experienced in the streets of Freibergt he small Moravian town where Sigmund was bornin the interest of pate rnal instruction, Breines ar gues that Jakob must have considered his own conduct reasonable and self-respecting. Breines maintains: Jakob Freuds behavior was guided by the norms and ideals of gentleness that had been regnant among Jews for centuries, norms of nonviolent mildness and restraint considered to be the most a ppropriate Jewish response to Gentile bestiality.4 Martin Bergmann seconds Breines pos ition calling Jakobs conduct not unheroic, but antiheroic and indeed traditionally Jewish.5 Breines speculates that had Jakob 2 Freud, 1955 (b), 197-98. 3 Breines, 1990, 39. 4 Breines, 1990, 26. Breines goes on to speculate that even Jakob Fr eud, the model gentle Jew, must have had his own private fantasies or yearnings for Jewish toughness; he must have had some desire to disregard his Jewish ideals of restraint and nonviolence. 5 Boyarin, 1997, 34. Boyarin paraphrases Bergmann here. 2

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Freud learned of his sons Hannibal fantasy it m ay have struck him as a particularly un-Jewish reaction to anti-Semitic aggression.6 Daniel Boyarin understands the co ntrast between Jakob and Sigmund as indicative of a transitional historical moment, signifying the parallel shift of Jews from traditional to modern and eastern to western, and the ways that both are intimately implicated in que stions of male gender.7 For Boyarin, Jakob Freuds socalled unheroic conduct represents a fo rm of traditional Jewish masculinity, characterized by a sense of spiritu al superiority and disdain for goyim naches games goyim play, including violent disp lays of aggression and warfare.8 The Jewish Hannibal, imagined by the young Sigmund Fre ud as he and his father strolled along the streets of Vienna, represents a new West ernized form of Jewish masculinity. The development of this Westernized form of Je wish masculinity arose in response to the persistence of anti-Semitism even as increasing numbers of Western European Jews determined that many of their traditional Jewish customs could be compromised for the sake of inclusion and acceptance in gr eater European society. While personal anti-Semitic assaults, such as the one Jakob Freud recalled, may have declined especially in cosmopolitan centers of Wester n Europe like Vienna, where the Freuds residedBreines notes the gestation in the 1890s of highly politicized anti-Semitic mass movements, in large ci ties such as Vienna and Paris. During the 1890s, the latter city gave way to the notorious Dreyfus affair, a scandal which began when antiSemitic officials framed Jewish artillery officer Alfred Dreyfus, accusing him of treason against the French military. The b acklash of anti-Semitism instigated by the 6 Breines, 1990, 26. 7 Boyarin, 1997, 34. 8 Boyrain, 1997, 34-36. 3

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Dreyfus Affair played a significant role in convincing political Zionists T heodore Herzl and Max Nordau of the need for an independent Jewish state.9 The Westernization of Jewish masculinity, ex emplified by Herzl and Nordaus Zionism and the tough fantasies of the young Sigm und Freud, entailed an adoption of Aryan ideals of nationhood and masculinity in an effort to assert Jewish identity in the face of anti-Semitism. In accordance with Boyarins reading of the cap in the mud storys historicity, Breines writes: Jakob and Sigmund Freud, father and son, were both very Jewish men, but precisely in the years between Sigmu nds birth (1856) and the publication of the Interpretation of Dreams (1899) notions of what it meant to be Jewish changed radically.10 This shift in the meaning of Jewish manhood created a sharp divide between the traditional Jewish man and the new Westernized Jewish man. Just as Jakob Freud may have regarded his sons fantasy, or ev en aggressive impulses within his own self, as fundamentally un-Jewish, Sigmund Freud viewed his father, and the traditional Jewish masculinity he represented, as essent ially un-manly. With respect to the cap in the mud story, Boyarin claims th at, for Sigmund, Jakobs hat must have symbolized male genitalia insofar as [h]e would have interpreted this incident, then, as sexually as well as politically emas culatingcastratingfor his father, the paradigmatic traditional Jewish male.11 Boyarins interpretation of Freuds embarrassment over his fathers perceive d effeminacy is supported by Freuds tendency to regard circumcisi on as an unconscious reminder or symbolic substitute of 9 Hertzburg, 1959, 202, 234. 10 Breines, 1990, 30. 11 Boyarin, 1997, 34. 4

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castration in subsequent texts.12 In Analysis of a Phobia in a Five Year-Old-Boy, a work from 1909, Freuds association betw een circumcision and castration leads him to affirm the effeminacy of the Jewish ma le by pointing to the shared origin of antiSemitism and misogyny in the castration complex of the male Aryan. In this way, the Jew, like the woman, reminds the Aryan of his castration anxi ety. The Aryans narcissistic pride in his own genitalia along with his fear of castration, rooted in his oedipal complex of childhood, leads to a sens e of superiority over and loathing for women and Jews alike.13 Freuds interpretation of circumcision and Jewish femininity threatens to betray his own inte rest in asserting Jewish masculinitythat is an Aryan, Westernized ideal of masc ulinity applied to his own Jewish body. The current study concerns Freuds effort to defend his conception of Jewish masculinity, and thereby European Jewry as a whole in Moses and Monotheism Freuds final word on Jewish identity and the final major work he completed during his lifetime. Written in anticipation of hi s own deathas he entered the final stages of a lengthy struggle with cancerand on th e eve of the Nazi devastation of European Jewry, Moses and Monotheism constitutes Freuds only extensive effort to address the distinctive nature of Jewish re ligion and character. Nearly four decades after recalling his fathers story at the start of his psychoanalytic career in The Interpretation of Dreams, Moses and Monotheism reflects a very different and far more subtle approach to defending Jewish masculinity. Instead of portraying an 12 These works, to be discussed in the current thesis at varying length, include Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy (1909), Moses and Monotheism (1939), and An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1940). 13 See the footnote on page 36 of Analysis, Freud, 1909. This footnote will be discussed at length in chapter 2 of the current thesis. Boyarin argues that, according to Freuds footnote, circumcision provides the unconscious root of, not only misogyny and anti-Semitism, but also, at a deeper level, Jewish self-hatred. 5

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im age of Jewish toughness or violent milita ncy, Freuds text emphasizes an essential Jewish affinity for male-coded spirituality over female-coded sensuality. The rigid and dualistic sense of gender difference Fre ud inherited from his society pitted men who prize abstract reasoning and scientific deduction against women who remain bound to the limitations of immediate sense pe rception and lower psyc hical activities. This thesis argues that the paralle l discourses Freud develops surrounding monotheism and circumcision, in Moses and Monotheism seek to overcome antiSemitic perceptions of Jewish effemi nacyperceptions which Freud, himself, internalized to a great extent. This th esis upholds that Freud sought to unite his theory of circumcision with his ideal of monotheism in pursu it of this end, despite his ultimate failure to overcome his conception of circumcision as an effeminizing and compromising practice. While the cornerstone of Freuds histor ical reconstruction and psychoanalytic interpretation of the Jewi sh people undertaken in Moses and Monotheism lies in the ancient Israelites viol ent murder of their lawgiver, an ethnically Egyptian Moses, the positive crux of Freuds effort to defend Jewi sh masculinity in his text centers on his conviction that Jewish monotheism, a pr inciple bestowed upon the Jews by their fallen leader, constitutes masc uline spiritual grandeur. In depicting monotheism as the core of Jewish religiosity and its adve nt as a cultural trium ph of patriarchy, Freud portrays Jewish religion as f undamentally and sublimely masc uline in nature. In line with this refusal to view the Jewish male as effeminized and, theref ore, inferior to the Aryan, Freud refrains from emphasizing his understanding of circumcision as an effeminizing practice. While Freud takes several opportunities throughout Moses and 6

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Monotheism to discuss the origins of circum cision in the remote past, and reprises his earlier theory of circumcisi on as a signifier of castration, he does not draw attention to circumcision as a marker of Jewish effe minacy. Instead, Freud attempts to rewrite the custom as a component of Jewish instinctual renunciation and a ritual display of masculinity, entailing the elevation of spir itual forces and a disregard for sensual discomfort. Just as Freud does not explicitly rela te his agenda of Jewish toughness explicated by Breinesin the cap in th e mud story, Freuds defense of Jewish masculinity in Moses and Monotheism remained largely implicit until the advent of new scholarship in recent decades. In thei r respective works, Boyarin and Jay Geller examine the way Freuds internalization of th e theories and ideals of his anti-Semitic society influenced the shape of his psychoana lytic discourse. In his analysis, Boyarin addresses Freuds effort to portray the compatibility of Jewish monotheism and Aryan masculinity. Boyarin asserts that Freuds rewriting of Jewish history in Moses and Monotheism may be understood as part of a greater Jewish assimilationist movement which was determined to eradi cate notions of Jewish femininity and difference.14 Gellers critical reading of Moses and Monotheism as a defense of Freuds self, his movement, and Judentum focuses primarily on the authors failure to confront the traumatic knowledge he s eeks to disavow regarding circumcision as a source of anti-Semitism and Jewish femi ninity. Geller argues that, for Freud, circumcision, as a sign of Jewish femininity, comprises the resisted solution to the 14 For Boyarin, Freuds insecurity over gender, se xuality, and Jewish religi ous identity accounts for more than his rewriting of Jewish history in Moses and Monotheism Boyarin even traces the origin of the Oedipus complex to Freuds family romance of escape from Jewish queerdom into gentile, phallic heterosexuality, Boyarin, 1997, 215. See Boyarin, 1997, 189-220, for his fascinating analysis of Freuds revision of his original seduction theory in favor of the heteronormatizing Oedipus model. 7

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resisting problem of Jewish persistence, a problem which comprises the final inquiry in Freuds text.15 In hypothesizing what true motiv es underlie Freuds writings and theoretical formulations, on account of hi s largely unconscious desire to efface stigmatizing signs of femininity, Boyari n and Geller engage in an unmistakably Freudian task, subjecting the founder of psychoanalysis to his own methods of analytical investigation. Boyarin and Geller each provide unique in terpretations of Freuds text as a defense of Jewish masculinity based, respectively, on Freuds idealization of monotheism and his repression of circumcision as a marker of Jewish femininity.16 The current study draws on Boyarins interp retation of Freuds project, making the additional claim that Freud attempts to rewrite the compromising mark of circumcision as a sign of masculine spir ituality and self-control. Through his explications of monotheism and circumcision, Freud seeks to reconfigure the Jewish threat to Aryan manhood by arguing that Je ws enliven the highest ideals of Aryan masculinity. Gellers realization that Fr eud repressed his traumatic knowledge of circumcision as an effeminizing practice, however, indicates Freuds ultimate failure to re-appropriate circumcision as a sign of Jewish masculinity. This thesis concludes 15 Geller, 2007, 188. In the final paragraph of Moses and Monotheism Freud concedes, The problem [of] how [the Jews] could survive until today as an entity has not proved so easy to solve. One cannot, however, reasonably demand or expect exhaustive answers of such enigmas, Freud, 1939, 176. 16 Geller agrees with Boyarin that monotheism comprises an important part of Freuds endeavor to dissociate any identity between the circumcised and (the castrated) woman. He continues, Throughout [ Moses and Monotheism] Freud characterizes Judentum as masculine. Jewish monotheism itself represents the culmination of the religious revolution against mother goddesses. The belief in one (father) god epitomizes the advances in intellectuality over sensuality and is founded upon the law of paternitythe deduction of conception and, hence, of the genitorover and against maternitys dependence upon the senses. Coeval w ith monotheism and equally essential to Freuds understanding of Jewish religiosity is Judentums prophetic ethics of instinctual renunciation, Geller, 2007, 195-96. 8

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that Fr euds inability to overcome his sense of circumcision as an effeminizing practice attests to the persistence of his ambivalent Jewish identity. Chapter 1 of this study compri ses a critical reading of Moses and Monotheism in light of Freuds quest for the meaning of his own Jewish identity. While the farfetched and largely unsubstantiated psychohistorical formulations put forth in Moses and Monotheism render the text nearly impossible for the serious reader to accept at face value, it is maintained that the text constitutes Freuds only rigorous effort to uncover the nature of the particularly ine xplicable and unalterable Jewish essence he felt bound to. Chapter 1 asserts that Freud affirms his own Jewish identity in Moses and Monotheism by proposing that monotheism, as Israels greatest legacy, comprises a source of masculinity and cultural progress. In turn, Freuds text strives to overcome an anti-Semitic car icature of Jewish femininity and promote the Jews as bearers of Aryan-like values. In Chapter 2, Freuds original noti on of circumcision, as a reminder of castration and a mark of femininity, is presented against traditional Jewish perspectives on the custom. While an array of traditional Jewish sources attest to circumcisions role in promoting the spir itual welfare of the Jewish man, Freuds original theory of circumcision adheres to his societys sta ndard of Jewish inferiority, difference, and effeminacy. Chapter 2 draw s on Gellers theory that Freud resisted his knowledge of the full significance of circumcision, in order to argue that Freuds effort to reconfigure the meaning of circumcision in Moses and Monotheism was undermined by his unconscious attachment to his negative view of circumcision. 9

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Bef ore further examining the implications of Freuds theory of circumcision for his Jewish identity, the content and context of Freuds text must be explored. 10

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Chapter 1 Moses and Monotheism and Freuds Jewish Question Under the influence of external condi tions it happened that the matriarchal structure of society was replaced by a patriarchal one This turning from the mother to the father signifies above all a victory of spirituality over the sensesthat is to say, a step forward in culture, since maternity is proved by the senses whereas paternity is a surmise based on a deduction and a premiss.17 In his preface to the 193 0 Hebrew translation of Totem and Taboo Freud pays tribute to an inexplicable Jewish essence, a mystery which he places at the core of his own Jewish identity. Conceding to his estrangement from the religion of his fathers and his refusal to take a share in nationalist ideals, Freud divorces this essence from active participation in Jewish religious life. Freud simply affirms that he is in his essential nature a Jew an d has no desire to alter that nature.18 In the latter years of that same decade, as Fre ud approached the end of a lengthy struggle against cancer and as European Jewry stood on the brink of the Nazi Holocaust, he undertook an in-depth analysis of the development of the Jewish people in Moses and Monotheism the final major work he completed during his lifetime. Moses and Monotheism comprises its authors struggle to address the nature of the Jewish people in his own terms, in the face of rampant anti-Semitism. The volatile political climate le ft Freud, who had long feared that the mostly Jewish composition of the Vienna Psychoanalytic So ciety would lead to its branding as a Jewish national affair, unable to ignore th e ineradicable ties between his Jewish 17 Freud, 1939, 145-6. 18 Freud, quoted in Yerushalmi, 1991, 14. Conveniently Freud writes this passage in the third person. 11

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heritage and the psychoanalytic m ovement into which he invested his lifes work.19 Yosef Yerushalmi writes: For a man of Freuds intellectual inte nsity the earlier vague phrases about Jewish identity could no longer suffice. He had finally to confront what he would soon call the fateful content of the religious history of the Jews.20 Freuds ensuing psychoanalytic interpre tation of the Jewish people is highly implausible in its problematic effort to translate concepts derived from his psychoanalytic treatment of i ndividuals to the mass psycholog y of the Jewish people. Freud relies heavily on dubious concepts particularly the archaic heritage, through which memories may be preserved ac ross the generations of a given racein order to account for the psychological re pression and neurotic compromise underlying his view of the Jewish people a nd the religion they practice. Apart from Freuds troublesome insistence on unders tanding Jewish re ligion and history according to his own psychoanalytic framew ork and his antiquated understanding of racial inheritance, Moses and Monotheism reveals the dynamics of Freuds deeply ambivalent sense of Jewish identity. On one hand, Freuds text reduces Jewish religious practice to a sign of obsessive ne urosis. This position adheres to Freuds characteristically antithetical attitude towards religion. According to Freuds analysis, the Jewish people uphold the principle of monotheism with great conviction in reaction to their collective repr ession of their betrayal of Moses, the leader who first bestowed the monotheistic ideal upon them. In favor of Freuds positive sense of Jewish identity, he embraces what he considers to be the spiritual heights of Jewish monotheism, in its efforts to restrict instinctual gratification and its prohibition 19 Freud, quoted from a 1908 letter to Karl Abraham in Yerushalmi, 1991, 42. 20 Yerushalmi, 1991, 16. 12

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against idolatry. For Freud, Jewish monotheism com prises an important precursor to modern science and advanced abstract reas oning. As such, Freud views the rise of Jewish monotheism as a cultural triumph of masculine spiritua lity over feminine sensuality. This chapter ultimately asserts that Moses and Monotheism constitutes Freuds attempt to reconcile a problematic yet enduring, Jewish identity with a privileged sense of Modern European masc ulinity. Through this reconciliation of his Jewish religious heritage and Aryan ma sculinity, Freud strives to overcome antiSemitic accusations of Jewish femininity and inferiority.21 Following a short discussion of the am biguous character of Freuds Jewish identity, this chapter traces his r econstruction of Jewish history in Moses and Monotheism accounting for his efforts to uncover the neurotic core of Jewish religious life. Freuds in terpretation of anti-Semitism and the problems of his scholarship will be further examined alongs ide this review of his text. Finally, Moses and Monotheism will be assessed with regard to what it reveals about Freuds sense of Jewish identity and the extent to which it seeks to portray Jewish culture in a way that demands the respect and admiration of Freuds anti-Semitic contemporaries. A great variety of authors have addressed questions pertaining to Freuds Jewish identity and the supposed Jewish character of psychoanalytic theory.22 21 This thesis is indebted to the scholarship of Daniel Boyarin who proposes that Freuds whole point [in Moses and Monotheism ] was to argue that Hebrew monotheism was a religion of manliness, selfdefense, and self-control, to ef face the effeminate Jewish differe nce of Judaism and rewrite it as manly Protestantism avant le letter. Boyarin also writes that Assimilation for these Jews [such as Freud and Zionist Theodore Herzl] was a sexual and gendered enterprise, an overcoming of the political and cultural characteristics that marked Jewish men as a third sex, as queer in their world. Boyarin, 1997, 249, 222. 22 A detailed discussion of psychoanalysis in its hypothetical connection to Jewish interpretive tradition exceeds the scope of this thesis. 13

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Freuds well-known judgm ent of religion as i llusion and mass neurosis suggests that he sought to distance himself fr om all aspects of religious lif e. In Obsessive Actions and Religious Practice, an essay fr om 1907, Freud compares ceremonial and religious practice to the obs essive actions in sufferer s from nervous affections.23 Likewise, in The Future of an Illusion published in 1927, roughly a decade before Moses and Monotheism Freud describes the illusory char acter of religious faith in the following terms: Thus the benevolent rule of a divine Pr ovidence allays our fear of the dangers of life; the establishment of a moral world-order ensures the fulfillment of the demands of justice, which have so often remained unfulfilled in human civilization; and the prolonga tion of earthly existence in a future life provides the local and temporal framework in which these wish-fulfillments shall take place.24 Issue should be taken with Freuds consistent use of religion in a general sense in these works, as he tends to focus on the specifics of Judeo-Christian faith to the exclusion of other world religi ons. As J.Z. Smith observes, most scholars in the early twentieth century includ ed the major religions of Asia, or at the very least Buddhism, among the ranks of world religions.25 Accordingly, it does not seem unfair to accuse Freud of over-generalization in reducing a ll religion to the wish for a fatherly protector, based on his inte rpretation of Jewish and Christian doctrine alone. In favor of the view that Freud reject ed religion in his personal life, it is known that he disavowed Jewish religious ritual and felt conflicted over his own 23 Freud, 1989, 429. 24 Freud, 1961, 38. 25 Smith describes how in the late nineteenth centu ry Cornelius Petrus Tiele designated Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism as the three world religions, and how later scholars expanded this number to seven in an odd venture of pluralistic etiquette, Smith, 1998, 278-80. 14

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sense of national pride.26 Yerushalmi notes Freuds determination to make a heathen out of his wife Martha, the daughter of a highly observant Jewish family, by insisting that she consent to eating ham and break with her mothers observances.27 The particular Jewish essence Freud s poke of in the early 1930s, however, challenges the view that he completely re jected his Jewish heritage and espoused a strict secular identity. Freud continued to refer to that miraculous thing which inaccessible to any analysis thus farmakes the Jew, as he finalized the manuscript of Moses and Monotheism in the years before his death.28 The idea that Jewish identity, for Fr eud, depended on something independent of religious observance is supported in a 1908 letter from Freud to his Jewish colleague Karl Abraham. In this letter Freud wrote to Abraham of his feeling of a shared intellectual constitution because of r acial kinship. In the same letter, Freud spoke of his difficulties in dealing with his associate Carl Jung, writing, He as a Christian and a pastors son finds hi s way to me only against great inner resistances.29 In addition to Freuds idea that Jewish racial makeup accounts for common, if not clearly defined, mental characteristics among Jewish people, the persistence of anti-Semitism served to reinfo rce his sense of Jewish identity. In 1926, Freud declared: My language is German. My culture, my attainments are German. I considered myself German intellectually, until I noticed the growth of anti26 Regarding Freuds sense of national pride, Yerushalmi quotes him in an address to the Vienna lodge of Bnai Brith, Whenever I have inclined toward feelings of national exaltation I have tried to suppress them as harmful and unfair The quotation goes on to reveal Freuds deeply rooted sense of Jewish identity. Yerushalmi, 1991, 12. 27 Yerushalmi, 1991, 11. 28 Freud is quoted in a letter to British psyc hoanalyst Barbara Low, Yerushalmi, 1991, 14. 29 Freud, quoted in Yerushalmi, 1991, 42. The letter continues, His association with us is the more valuable for that. I nearly said that it was only by his appearance on the scene that psycho-analysis escaped the danger of becoming a Jewish national affair. 15

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Sem itic prejudice in Germany and German Au stria. Since that time I prefer to call myself a Jew.30 For many ambivalent and Westernized Jews, like Freud, the anti-Semitic persecution they continued to face, despite their rejection of traditional Jewish life, strengthened their sense of Jewish heritage without dr iving them to religious practice. The persistence of a kind of racial anti-Semitism, based on the rejection of the validity of Jewish conversion, led Theodore Herzl to de termine that the p light of European Jewry could not be solved through relig ious conversion, but only through the establishment of an independent Jewish state.31 Notwithstanding Freuds positive identification as a Jew, Peter Gay argues that When Freuds loyalties to Judaism a nd to science clashed, Judaism would have to give way.32 In the opening lines of Moses and Monotheism Freud upholds this higher valuation of science over national loyalties in order to justify his bold assertion that the historical Moses was born an Egyptia n and not an Israelite. Freud writes that no consideration will move me to set as ide truth in favour of supposed national interests.33 While the scientific validity of Freuds theo ries are widely disputed, Freuds notion of himself as a scientis t and free-thinking intellectualidentities which were imbued by his secular cultures uperseded any semblance of allegiance 30 Freud, quoted in Yerushalmi, 1991, 41. 31 Before proposing his elaborate Zionist vision, as expressed in his 1896 pamphlet Der Judenstaat ( The Jewish State ), Herzl devised a grand scheme involving mass conversion to Christianity as a solution to the Jewish problem. Herzls plan ne glected to account for the racial anti-Semitism of influential writers, such as Karl Eugen Duehring, who considered Jewish conversion illegitimate, and he soon came to recognize his own naivety in view ing the Jewish problem as religious rather than social in nature, Elon, 1975, 115-16. 32 Gay, quoted in Bori, 1994, 156. 33 Freud, 1939, 3. 16

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to Jewish religious faith which he m ay have carried.34 Despite Freuds rejection of Jewish religion and preference for modern science, he retained a sense of the elusive, yet inalterable, Jewish essence which he considered his ra cial inheritance. As the political climate of Europe darkened with the rise of Nazism and both psychoanalysis and Judaism came under thr eat, Freud realized that he must, as a scientist, make a rigorous effort to understa nd the Jewish essence to which he felt heir. Moses and Monotheism comprises this effort, and Freuds account of the works development reflects the urgency underlying its authorship. At the start of the books final chapter, Freud tells the reader how the still unpublished text haunted him like an unlaid ghost while he remain ed living in his native Vienna.35 Freud initially feared that the publication of his work, in its challenge to biblical authority and reprisal of his equation between religious observance and neurotic behavior, would renew his notoriety before the Catholic Chur ch, the last line of defense against Nazi power in Austria, and lead to the banning of psychoanalytic research and practice in his country. Conscious of the delicacy of this situation, Freud proceeded to publish two essays, arguing for the Egyptian origin s of Moses and Jewish monotheism. These essays, which now form the first two chapters of Moses and Monotheism refrain from launching into a psychoanalytic investigation of Juda ism, in favor of a limited historical focus which withholds any di agnosis of the neurot ic character of the Jewish people in their religious life.36 When the Nazi annexation of Austria in March 1938 forced him to leave Vienna for London, Fr eud, relieved of th e fear of political 34 See Hall et al., 1998, 57-61, fo r a critique of Freuds research methods and a discussion of his scientific credo. 35 Freud, 1939, 132. 36 These essays are Moses an Egyptian and If Moses Was an Egyptian, respectively. 17

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persecution, joined his two essays on the Egyptian Moses with two additional essays, providing a psychoanalytic inte rpretation of Jewish histor y as a cycle of repression and repetition.37 The resulting compilation constitutes the complete text of Moses and Monotheism Freuds effort, made in haste, to unify these four essays accounts for the works overall clumsinessits self-con scious repetition, its lack of concision, and its explicit apologies for its redundancy. Although his writings were never acclaimed for exhibiting refinement or grace, the fact that Freud sent Moses and Monotheism into the world with such a lack of structural elegance attests to his impatience in releasing his psychoanalytic interpretation of Jewi sh people and their religion at such a tragic and critic al juncture in Jewish history. Freud begins Moses and Monotheism by presenting his thesis of Moses Egyptian heritage, elaborated in the books first chapter, Moses an Egyptian. Drawing on the scholarship of historian of Egypt James Henry Breasted, Freud notes the similarity between Moses name and the Egyptian word mose or child. Given this etymology, Freud regards the Bibles a ccount of Moses nami ng in Hebrew by an Egyptian princess, who surely could have had only limitedif anyexposure to Hebrew, with suspicion.38 Freud assures his reader th at many authors have suggested that Moses name comes from the Egyptian language, but he can only speculate as to 37 Sections I and II of Moses, His People, and M onotheistic Religion. The first section was written in Vienna without the expectation of publication, while the second was written in London. 38 Mosche or He that was drawn out of the water. Freud rejects this etymology based on a reading of the Jdisches Lexikon Freud, 1939, 4. 18

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why none before him have proposed that Moses himself descended from an Egyptian heritage.39 Freud employs a second argument to support his hypothesis of Moses Egyptian origin. This argument draws on the notion, attributed to Freuds student Otto Rank, of a universal model of the hero myth, in which the hero is born to nobility and threatened by his father follo wing birth, often in response to a dream or oracle that warns the father that the child wi ll bring about his downfall. At this point in the myth, the child is saved by either an imals or people of humble origins. The child grows up, rediscovers his noble pare nts, and takes vengeance on his father before finally achieving greatness. Follo wing Rank, Freud cites Sargon of Agade, Cyrus, Romulus, and Oedipus, among others, as archetypes of this hero myth. In the case of Moses, however, Freud proposes that the Jews inverted their hero myth in order to make it appear as though their hero was born to their people.40 In this way, the Bible relays that Moses was born a Je w and raised among the Egyptian nobility he later challenges and defeats, only to descend back among the Jews. Freuds treatment of the hero myth pattern as a rule, capabl e of violation by a people pursuing their own agenda, rather than merely a cross-cultural phenomenon a ttributed to coincidence, underlies the peculiarity of hi s argument. Moreover, the fact that only three of the heroes cited by Freud come from sour ces outside of Greco-Roman mythology undermines the universal applicability of Freuds critique.41 As the implications for 39 Yerushalmi confirms that even ancient scholars including Philo and Josephus, knew that Moses name is etymologically Egyptian, yet he notes that this knowledge led them to no such conclusions regarding Moses origins, Yerushlami, 1991, 85. 40 Throughout Moses and Monotheism Freud refers to Jews rather than Israelites or Hebrews. This chapter follows Freuds terminology. 41 The three non-Greco-Roman heroes (out of a tota l of twelve example heroes) include Sargon of Agade (Mesopotamian), Gilgamesh (Mesopotamian), and Karna (Indian). 19

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the Egyptian origin of Jewish religion only hinted at in the case for Moses Egyptian heritage are m ade explicit, it becomes ev ident that Freud uses these arguments in order to pursue an agenda of his own. In his next piece of historical recons truction, outlined in the chapter If Moses was an Egyptian, Freud proposes that Jewish monotheism emerged out of the Egyptian monotheistic religi on founded by Pharaoh Ikhnaton42 in reverence of the Sun-God Aton. According to Freuds theo ry, Moses, as an Egyptian nobleman and follower of Ikhnaton, converted the Jews to the Aton religion, an intolerant faith reflective of Egyptian imperialism in its universality and exclusive monotheism, and led them out of Egypt following the death of Ikhanaton and the overthrow of his cult.43 As the old polytheistic religions of Egypt were re instated, Moses adopted the Jews, introducing them to both the excl usive worship of Aton and the Egyptian custom of circumcision. Freud maintains that circumcision originated in Egypt despite the contradictory bibl ical account of Abrahams circumcision in the land of Canaan which he claims exists in order to falsify the Egyptian origin of the practice and, ultimately, Jewish religion itself.44 As further evidence of Judaisms Egyptian roots, Freud points to the Aton religions similar nega tion of myth, magic, and sorcery, forbiddance of idol atry, and lack of a doctrine supporting belief in an afterlife.45 Freud finds the omission of an afterlif e in both religions to be particularly strong evidence of their commonality as he considers such a doctrine reconcilable with strict monotheism. 42 Freuds spelling. 43 Freud, 1939, 22. 44 Freud, 1939, 34. 45 Freud, 1939, 26-9. 20

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Freud continues his historical rec onstruction by hypothesizing two major events which prove indispensable to his psychoanalytic interpretation of Jewish religion. The first event i nvolves the murder of Moses by the Jews during a violent rebellion, prompted by the intense demands of his religion. Freud grounds his supposition of this event in the scholarship of Ernst Sellin who claimed the discovery of a tradition, entailing Mose s death at the hands of th e Jews, in his reading of prophetic scripture.46 Sellin proposes that Moses murder occurred in Shittim in the land east of the Jordan. Freud refutes this claim, upholding that it must have occurred in the country between Egypt and Palestine while Moses led the Jews on their exodus. Even as Freud disagrees with Sellin over the details of his theory, he stubbornly clings to the hypothesis of Moses murder as it comprises the cornerstone of his psychoanalytic interpretation. Freuds attachment to th e idea of Moses murder persisted even after Sellin abandoned his theory.47 Evidence of the second highly signifi cant event for Freuds analysis comes from the work of historian Eduard Me yer, who hypothesized a union between the Jews and a Midianite tribe at a site ca lled Qade, bordering Palestine, the Sinai Peninsula, and Arabia. Meyers argues that this union led the Jews to accept a religion involving the worship of Jahve,48 a fierce volcano-god. Additionally, Meyers postulates that Moses served as the mediator of this union; howe ver, Meyers Moses, unlike Freuds, is not Egyptia n and, unlike the biblical Mose s, is not Hebrew. Rather, 46 [Sellin] found in the book of the prophet Hosea (second half of the eighth century) unmistakable traces of a tradition to the effect that the founder of their religion Moses, met a violent end in a rebellion of his stubborn and refractory people, Freud, 1939, 42. 47 Yerushalmi reports that upon hearing that Sellin abandoned his theory, Freud replied, He was right the first time, Yerushalmi, 1991, 83. 48 Freuds spelling. 21

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this Mos es is a Midianite priest thought to have received a revelation of Jahve, much like the biblical Moses, the son-in-law of the Midianite priest Jethro, receives a revelation at the Burning Bush. In Freuds historical reconstruction, the union of the neo-Egyptian Jews and the Midianite people takes place generations after the murder of his Egyptian Moses.49 Freuds elaborate vision of a compromise between the two peoples at Qade allows him to reconcile the hypotheses of Moses Egyptian heritage and eventual murder, prior to th e occasion of the union, with Meyers notion that a Midianite Moses was present at the union. The compromise Freud imagines consists of acceptance of faith in Jahve, at the expense of Mosaic doctrine including monotheistic belief in Aton, alongside the a llotment of a place for Moses in the new religion through his conflation with the figure of a Midianite priest. In this way, the Jews, having repressed the memory of the true Egyptian Moses and his death, reinvent their leader as Jahves prophet, who led them out of Egypt under the gods guidance. As further evidence of a co mpromise between the two peoples, Freud points to the preservation of the Egyptian custom of circumcision. The maintenance of this practice suggests a c oncession to the memory of Moses and to the customs of his people. For Freud, the significance of Moses murder lies in his conviction that the act constitutes a repetition of a great crime from the primeval era of human history. Here Freud diverges from his discussion of Jewish history by reintroducing a theory of religion and culture first offered r oughly a quarter-century earlier in Totem and Taboo Although Freud illustrates his theory through the us e of an archetypal narrative, he 49 Freud employs the term neo-Egyptians to refer to those [Jews] who returned from Egypt in distinction to the other Jews [Midianites], Freud, 1939, 46. 22

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asserts that the events it describes each took place, in a sim ilar fashion, among all of the worlds peoples. At the start of Freud s narrative, the social order consists of a horde of people ruled by a strong and tyrannical male. This father figure claims possession over all of the females in the horde and subjects his sons to harsh treatment, exiling or castrating any one of them he views as a rival. Only the youngest son, under the protection of his mo ther, may readily attain a favored position before his father. In due time, the brothers band together, killing their father and cannibalizing his body. In a parallel to his concept of the Oedipus complex as it affects children in the modern family, Freud highlights that the br others not only fear and hate their father; they also honor him as a role model.50 It is for this reason that the brothers, seeking to identify with their father through incorporation, partake of his body. Having overthrown their father, the brothers initially fight amongst themselves for his power before realizing the danger and futility of their struggle. Instead of continuing their struggle, the brothers form a new social order based on morality and law, entailing responsibility and a renunc iation of instinct ual gratification.51 The brothers reject incestuous relations, lead ing to a powerful, and seemingly sacred, taboo. Freud notes the sizable degree of pow er that women secured for themselves in this new social order. The first religious order to arise following these events in Freuds narrative involves the brothers ambivalent attitude towards a strong totem animal, substitutive of the father. The brothers revere and honor the animal in one sense, worshiping it 50 we attribute to those primeval people the same feelings and emotions that we have elucidated in the primitives of our own times, our children, by psychoanalytic research. That is to say they not merely hated and feared their father, but also honoured him as an example to follow, Freud, 1939, 103. 51 Freud, 1939, 104. 23

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and regardin g it as their cor poreal ancestor and protecting sp irit, but, as with their father, they eventually kill and eat the animal.52 Through this ritual of the totem feast, the brothers commemorate their unity and their triumph over the father. Evolving from the totem religion, Freud considers the personification of worshipped beings, resulting in the rise of the human-like gods of polytheism, to be the next stage of religious development. Freud describes th e gradual disappearance of mother deities during this time, giving way to an exclusiv ely male order of deities, along with the revival of a firmly patriarc hal social order. The gods of this stage, who are both feared and revered by the community, bear gr eater resemblance to the primeval father than their animal predecessors did. Freud regards the establis hment of monotheism, exemplified by Judaism, as the culmination of the pattern of religious development initiated by the death of the primeval fa ther. The emergence of monotheism marks the return of the one and only father de ity whose power is unlimited, and, as Freud proceeds to demonstrate in the case of th e Jews, the strength of monotheistic belief lies in the repression of the mu rder of a great father figure.53 In adopting the Jews and imposing strict laws upon themincluding circumcision, identified by Freud as a reminder of castrationMoses, much like the God he introduces to the Jews, appears as a great father, and his death amounts to a repetition of the murd er of the primeval father.54 Freud cites the theoretical reflecti ons of Charles Darwin, J.J. Atkinson, and especially Robertson Smith combined with findings and suggestions from 52 Freud, 1939, 104. 53 Freud, 1939, 106. Regarding the monotheistic faith of Islam, Freud presumptuously writes that The inner development of the new religion soon came to a standstill, perhaps because it lacked the profundity which in the Jewish religion resulted from the murder of its founder. Freud acknowledges his own lack of expertise on this subject, Freud, 1939, 118. 54 Freud, 1939, 116, 156. 24

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psychoanalytic practice, as the primary infl uences for his theory of the prim eval horde and the murder of the primeval father.55 Even as Smiths totem theory fell out of fashion and became widely disputed, Freud refused to consider alternative theories of social development.56 In an attempt to account for the mechanism responsible for the lasting impact of the primeval father and his murder on humankind, Freud offers the idea of an archaic heritage which consists of traces of memory passed down from previous generations.57 Freud holds that content enters the archaic heritage when the experience is important enough, or is re peated often enough, or in both cases.58 Accordingly, the ritual reenactment of th e totem feast and its progression into the worship and fear of great deities served to preserve me mory traces of the primeval father and his murder. Such memory trac es remain latent in the unconscious of a people until the memory is ac tivated, returning the latent content to the peoples consciousness in some new form. Memories from the archaic heritage are usually 55 From Darwin I borrowed the h ypothesis that men originally liv ed in small hordes; each of the hordes stood under the rule of an older male, who governed by brute force, appropriated all the females, and belaboured or killed all the yo ung males, including his own sons From Atkinson I received the suggestion that this patriarchal system came to an end through a rebellion of the sons, who united against the father, overpowered him, and together consumed his body. Following Robertson Smiths totem theory, I suggested that his horde, previously ruled by the father, was followed by a totemistic brother clan, Freud, 1939, 167-68. 56 In defense of his own psycho-historical theory, Freu d writes, rather arrogantly, I still adhere to this sequence of thought. I have often been vehemently reproached for not changing my opinions in later editions of my book [Totem and Taboo in which his theory was first presented], since more recent ethnologists have without exception discarded Robi nson Smiths theories an d have in part replaced them by others which differ extensively. I would reply that these alleged advances in science are well known to me. Yet I have not been convinced either of their correctness or of Robinson Smiths errors. Contradiction is not always refutation; a new theory does not necessarily denote progress. Above all, however, I am not an ethnologist but a psychoanalyst. It was my good right to select from ethnological data what would serve me in my analytic work. The writings of the highly gifted Robinson Smith provided me with valuable points of contact w ith the psychological material of analysis and suggestions for the use of it. I cannot say the same of his opponents, Freud, 1939, 169. 57 the archaic heritage of mankind includes not only dispositions, but also ideational contents, memory traces of the experiences of fo rmer generations, Freud, 1939, 127. 58 Freud, 1939, 129. 25

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activ ated when a significant repetition of the event in storage occurs. While Freud admits that his conception of an archaic heritage defies prin ciples of biological science, he considers it nece ssary in order to bridge the gap between the spheres of individual psychopathology and mass psychology. Freud characterizes his theory, which permits him to treat entire peoples like neurotic indivi duals, as bold, but inevitable, in acknowledgement of the lim ited evidence he has for the existence of such a mechanism.59 Freuds acceptance of th e Lamarckian model of the inheritability of acquired ch aracteristics surely influen ced his view that memorytraces may be transmitted between generations of people.60 In light of psychoanalytic theory, Freud considers the initial repression of the memory of Moses and his murder essential for the eventual triumph of Mosaic monotheism over the Jewish people, who ha d abandoned the principle of monotheism at Qade. As Freud begins to draw a direct analogy between individual psychopathology and the development of the Jews, the incident of Moses murder parallels a traumatic expe rience from early childhood.61 According to Freud, the traumata of childhood are necessarily for gotten and, after an elongated period of latency, resurface in neurotic symptoms and ultimately in a partial return of repressed material. The compromise at Qade, in which the Egyptian Moses and Aton are concealed in favor of their Midianite c ounterparts, corresponds to the onset of 59 Freud, 1939, 128. 60 Sander Gilman confirms, Sigmund Freuds lifelon g acceptance of [the Lamarckian] model has been well documented, Gilman, 1993, 71. 61 While Freud maintains that the genesis of the neurosis always goes back to very early impressions in childhood, impressions which are sexual and aggr essive in nature, he notes that not every case of neurosis involves experiences which may be singled out as traumatic,: a trauma is not always evident in the early history of the neurotic individual Often we must be content to say that there is nothing else but an unusual reaction to experiences and demands that apply to all individuals; many people deal with them in another way which we term normal, Freud, 1993, 91. 26

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repression and latency in Freuds psychoanaly tic m odel of Jewish history. During the ensuing latency period, the Jews, as wors hippers of the warlike Jahve and other deities, conquer the biblical land of Canaan.62 Throughout subsequent centuries, conflict emerges between the Midianite heri tage and the suppresse d Egyptian heritage of Judaism. Freud suggests that the sp lit between the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah, and the use of two names for God, including the prohibition against uttering the holy name Jahve, ar e indicative of conflict derived from the religions dual heritage.63 Freud goes on to contend that the Prophets, in their rejection of sacrifice and cer emonial practices as well as their embrace of belief in one God and adherence to law, served as a voice of repressed Mosaic doctrine.64 Under the Prophets influence, the Jewish people experienced a return of repressed material, which, in turn, activated a far mo re ancient recollecti on of primeval times from the archaic heritage. As a result of this recollection, the monotheistic ideal took hold of the Jewish people with great strength. The eventual Jewish acceptance of Mosaic monotheism depended on the initial murderous father hatred which led to Moses death and underlies the neurotic character of Jewish religion.65 Having no outlet for such hostility towards their lawgiver, Freud supposes that these str ong feelings turned to guilt by way of a 62 For a people that was preparing to conquer new lands by violence Jahve was certainly better suited [than Aton]. Moreover what was worthy of honour in the Mosaic God was beyond the comprehension of a primitive people, Freud, 1939, 78. 63 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 dissolutions, in this case also could not have been unconnected with the earlier union, Freud, 1939, 45. Concerning the names of God, Freud quotes Hugo Gressmann: The different names are a distinct sign of originally different gods, Freud, 1939, 47. Freud resists his temptation to simply equate the Hebrew Adonai with the Egyptian Aton based on phonetic similarity, Freud, 1939, 27-8. 64 Freud, 1939, 63. 65 Freud, 1939, 172. 27

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reaction-form ation.66 The profound feeling of guilt, which the prophets incessantly kept alive by reminding the people of their sins and shortcomings, led the Jews to submission before Mosaic doctr ine and the God it proclaims.67 Freud interprets the endurance of circumcision throughout Jewish history, from the time that Moses first bestowed the Egyptian custom upon the Jews, as a sign of submission to the fathers will. Circumcision is the symbolic substitute of castration, a punishment which the primeval father dealt his sons long a go out of the fullness of his power; and whosoever accepted this symbol showed by doing so that he was ready to submit to the fathers will, although it wa s at the cost of a painful sacrifice.68 Noting the sanctity ascribed to circumcision in Jewish tradition, Freud argues that the attribution of this quality i ndicates that the custom was originally nothing but the perpetuated will of the primeval father.69 To further this point, Freud compares the sanctity of circumcision to the prohibition against incest which the primeval brothers held to be sacred. The law of exogamy, resulting from the incest taboo, served the will of the slain father who refu sed to allow his sons to touch the women of the horde. Freuds view of supposedly sacred laws, which demand instinctual renunciation, as rooted in the will of the father leads him to recognize Moses, conflated with God as lawgiver, as the super-ego of the Jewish people, a role normatively assumed by the father in his indi vidual psychology. More precisely, the super-ego constitutes a psychic structure, in which the law of the father becomes 66 In psychoanalytic theory, a reac tion formation refers to the dev elopment of a character trait that keeps in check and conceals another one, usually of the exactly opposite kind Freud, 1939, 178. 67 Freud, 1939, 172-3. 68 Freud, 1939, 156. 69 Freud, 1939, 156. 28

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inte rnalized.70 Failure to refuse the instinctua l gratification demanded by the idthe super-egos primary rivalresults in feelings of guilt. Likewise, instinctual renunciation in accordance with the super-ego s demands brings about feelings of satisfaction. In this manner, adherence to the law of Moses, at the price of instinctual renunciation, endowed the Jews with pride, sustaining them through historical hardship as their political situation grew unfavorable. Similarly, the guilt the Jews felt for their inability to live up to the high ideals of Mosaic doctrine allowed them to excuse what they perceived as Gods severity during difficult and oppressive times. The Jews great spiritual progressindebt ed to the instinctual renunciation of circumcision and the Mosaic prohibition ag ainst idolatry, which Freud believes was enacted to protect against magical practi ces associated with polytheistic cults reinforced Jewish pride during trying times by aiding in the triumph of spirituality over the senses. The Jews succeeded in subordinating sense perceptions to an abstract idea, bringing them a feeling of superiority ove r those who remain in the bondage of the senses.71 Freud regards this spiritualiz ation of the Jewish people and their God as a revolutionary innovation whic h pointed towards the realization of full human potential by replacing the lower ps ychical activity which concerned itself with the immediate perceptions of the sense organs, with a new realm of spirituality where conceptions, memories, and deducti ons became of decisive importance.72 Freud equates the former concern for sens e perception with maternity, or a kind of 70 Upon the dissolution of the Oedipus complex, the super-ego develops as a foil to the primal id, which demands instinctual gratification at all costs. The ego, which emerges from the id at a still younger age, at first serves to mediate the demands of the id and the pressures of external reality. With the rise of the super-ego, the ego must additionally mediate the contradictory demands of the id and the super-ego. 71 Freud, 1939, 144-7. 72 Freud, 1939, 145. 29

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essential f emininity, while likening the latter penchant for abstraction and renunciation of sensual comfort with patern ity. This dualistic conception of gender leads Freud to view the rise of patriarchy as an indicator of cultural progress. In restoring the great father deity and prizi ng spirituality over sensuality, through both an abstract conception of God and an et hic of instinctual renunciation, Mosaic monotheism amounts to a grea t triumph of patriarchy. Thus far, this chapters reading of Freuds text has accounted for his psychoanalytic account of Jewish religious de velopment, but it ha s not yet considered his understanding of anti-Semitism. The majo r theory of anti-Semitism presented in Moses and Monotheism cannot be understood apart from Freuds interpretation of the emergence of Christianity. Freud views this emergence as a reaction to the guilt that had seized the Jewish people. In place of this guiltidentified by Paul as the result of original sin, a crime which Freud finds easy to reconcile with the murder of the primeval fatherChristian doctrine intr oduces salvation thro ugh a Son of God who sacrificed himself, in spite of his inno cence, in order to take on the guilt of the world.73 Freud, however, denies the innocence of this Son of God. Instead, Freud proposes that this figure was either heir to the leader of the primeval sons, a chief rebel who killed the father himself to secure a unique position as a substitute for the identification with the father which he ha d to give up when he was submerged into the community, or this figure was evidence of an unfulfilled wish-phantasy of 73 Paul, a Roman Jew from Tarsus, seized upon this feeling of guilt an d correctly traced it back to its primeval source. This he called original sin; it wa s a crime against God that could be expiated only through death. Death had come into the world through original sin. In reality this crime, deserving of death, had been the murder of the Father who was later deified, Freud, 1939, 109. 30

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such iden tification.74 Either way, Christianity arose as a religion in reverence of this preeminent son, while the fathers importance became secondary. By accepting the sons self-sacrifice, Christians free themselves of guilt for the fathers murder, or original sin. The Jews, however, by contin uing to worship the father, continue to deny their part in the crime and the true cause of their guilt. Even as the Jews repeated the great primeval crime on their father substitute, Moses, they failed to accept their act. Therefore, the Jews coul d not progress beyond their recognition of the primeval father to accep t the salvation of his son. Freud interprets the antiSemitic reproach You killed our God as an oversimplification which ought to read, You wont admit that you murdered God It is tr ue, we did the same thing, but we admitted it, and since then we have been purified.75 In this way, Christian antiSemitism persists in response to the Jewish failure to overcome their guilt by acknowledging the primeval crime and reveri ng Christ, the son, over God, the father. In addition to this explanation of anti-Semitism, Freud considers several less developed theories. One of Freuds more straightforward explanations regards the Jews as a people who defy oppression. Fr eud writes that despite their persecution they show a capacity for holding their own in practical life and, where they are admitted they make valuable contributions to surrounding civilization.76 One might suspect that Freud takes personal satisfaction from this explanation and that it even serves to directly reinforce his sense of Je wish pride. Freud offers three additional deeper motives of anti-Semitism. The first of these involves jealousy over the Jews assertion that they w ere the first-born, favourite child of God the Father, 74 Freud, 1939, 110. 75 Freud, 1939, 114-15. 76 Freud, 1939, 116. 31

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while the second views circum cision as a reminder of the dreaded castration idea.77 Freuds final explanation gives rise to the following argument: 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 monothe istic religions finds such clear expression in the hostile treatment of both.78 Freud proposes that many of Christianity s more recent converts were forced to accept the religion at the expense of the polyt heistic religions they belonged to and did not wish to give up. Accordingly, anti-Semitism amounts to a projection of negative feelings towards Christian ity onto Judaism, its predecessor. Having traced Freuds psychoanalytic inte rpretation of Jewish religion to its culmination in his theory of anti-Semitism, the ultimate value of his effort, particularly in its relation to his own question of Jewish identity, may now be considered. First, it must be reiterated that Freuds reliance on doubtful historical evidence and his far-fetched effort to rela te the mass psychology of the Jews to his theory of individual psychopathology larg ely undermine the rigor of his highly original and imaginative work. Freuds cr edibility as a historian suffers from his insistence on the historical factuality of both Moses murder and the murder of the primeval father, claims that he upholds despite a lack of thorough evidence in the former case and the largely speculative nature of the latter case. Freuds attempt to explain the lasting influence of the primeval father myth through the mechanism of 77 Freud, 1939, 116. Freuds depiction here of the Jews as the first-born favorite son seems at odds with his idea that the youngest so n was the fathers favorite. Freu ds conviction that circumcision in its connection to the castration complex comprises the deepest unconscious root of anti-Semitism will be explored in greater detail chapter 2. Fr eud expresses this conviction in an earlier work, Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy, from 1909. 78 Freud, 1939, 117. 32

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the archaic inheritance m ake s for his least convincing argument. To some extent, historian Jan Assmann appreciates Freuds e ffort to translate i ndividual psychology to mass psychology, acknowledging that the conc epts of latency and the return of the repressed are indispensable for any ad equate theory of cultural memory.79 Assman confesses that she cannot make much of Fre uds theories about primal patricide or of the close analogy he draws between individual and collective memory.80 For Assmann, the processes involved in cultural memory belong to the workings of oral and written tradition. Tradition is respons ible for memories which are constantly forgotten and reworked. For Freud, however, tradition alone cannot explain the strength of the monotheistic revival; only a psycho-historical account, involving the partial return of repressed material from the peoples uncon scious, suffices to explain the compulsive character of this phenomenon. The implausibility of Freuds radica l application of psychoanalysis to historical phenomena invites Yerushalmis comparison between Freud and the schoolmen and the talmudists who delight in exhibiting their ingenuity without regard to how remote from reality their thesis may be.81 However, it cannot be proven that the positive core of Freuds Je wish identity lies in this comparison. Rather, Freuds text indicates that his own Jewish pride lies in his understanding of monotheism which he maintains connects th e Jews to a formative experience in human history. Freuds inte rpretation of monotheism invokes a sense of Jewish exceptionality, and even marks a substantial shift in his view of religion. Whereas Freud previously found nothing more than i llusion and wishful thinking in religious 79 Assmann, 1997, 158, 215. 80 Assmann, 1997, 158, 215. 81 Yerushalmi, 1991, 83. 33

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doctr ine, Moses and Monotheism finds him regarding religion, specifically monotheistic religion, with considerably mo re dignity. Ironically, Freud raises his judgment of religion by likening it to the delusions in a psychotic case. Freud explains: It has long been recognized that delusions contain a piece of forgotten truth, which had at its return to put up with being distorted and misunderstood, and that the compulsive conviction appert aining to the delusion emanates from this core of truth and spr eads to the errors that ensh roud it. Such a kernel of truthwhich we might call historical truthmust also be conceded to the doctrines of the various religions.82 In light of this conclusion, it appears that Freud, after writing Moses and Monotheism views widespread faith in God as the expres sion of an archaic social order which has not yet lost its grip on human ity, rather than a mere wish for a fatherly protector. In particular, monotheistic relig ion exceeds all other form s of religion in invoking historical truth. As Freud personally rejected relig ious faith and continued to view monotheistic faith as a form of neurotic compromise, indicative of repressed Jewish guilt and hatred for their founder, monotheis m, as nothing but exclusive reverence for a father deity, cannot suffice to explain his positive Jewish identity. Mark Edmundson points to Freuds appr aisal of monotheistic religio n in its turn away from the bondage of the immediate empirical wo rld, and toward th e life within. Edmundson elaborates: the mental labor of monotheism prep ared the Jewsas it would eventually prepare others in the Westto achieve di stinction in law, in mathematics, in science and in literary art. It gave them an advantage in all activities that involved making an abstract model of experience, in words or numbers or 82 Freud, 1939, 108. 34

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lines, and working with the abstraction to achieve control over nature or to bring hum ane order to life. 83 From this perspective, it may be surmised that Freud finds the essence of his Jewish identity in his notion of a Jewish predisposition towards intellectual activity which derived from and was fostered by the peopl es monotheistic faith. Freuds further consideration of Jewish monotheism as a cu ltural triumph of masculine spirituality over the feminine limitations of merely se nsual existence had a direct bearing not only on his own Jewish sense of self, but on his sense of the place of Jewry in modern European society. Jay Geller highlights the predominan ce of a dualistic model of gender difference in Freuds society at large and th e implications for the Jews as indigenous others in this society.84 Authority lay in what may best be char acterized as an exclusively masculine order, a Mnnerbund. The masculinist and bina ry ideology pervading this society privileged gender difference as an originary opposition grounded in nature and hence as universally valid.85 Jewish otherness relegated the total population of Jewry to a peripheral sphere of femininity, a private sphere[characte ristic of] the family and religionof emotionality, dependence, and passivity. This feminine sphere remained in strict separation from the male-coded public spherecivil society and the state characterized by rationality (i.e., freedom fr om desire), autonomy, and activity (i.e. aggression).86 By depicting the Jews as intellectuals, inclined towards asceticism, and champions of male-coded spirituality, Freud challenges a prevalent conception of 83 Edmundson, 2007. 84 Geller, 2007, 32. 85 Geller, 2007, 5-6. 86 Geller, 2007, 6. 35

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Jewish fem ininity and attempts to reconcil e his secular values with his feeling of Jewish heritage. Daniel Boyarin supports this reading of Freuds text as an effort to assert Jewish masculinity in a modern European society based on masculine hegemony. Boyarin places Freud alongside political figures such as Theodore Herzl and philosophers like Hermann Cohen as a contri butor to a massive sociocultural attempt by German-speaking Jews in the late ninet eenth century to rewrite themselves and particularly their mascu line selves as Aryans87 A great deal of this assimilationist endeavor consisted of portraying Judaism as a religion of sublime abstraction comparable to the philosophical movement of German idealism, which holds claim to Immanuel Kant and G.W.F. Hegel. Boyarin views such an assimilationist revision of Jewish religious ideals as a remarkably infl uential and enduring enterprise: The rewriting of the history of Juda ism, Kantian, Hegelian, and PlatonicPauline in its impulses, has been going on for so long and has been so successful that we think we recognize Judaism in such descriptions. Thus, typically, Judaism is thought of as the re ligion of abstract thought and as one indifferent or hostile to aesthetics.88 Boyarin contrasts such Jewish revisioni sm with contemporaneous, largely antiSemitic, perspectives on the feminine and carnal nature of Jewish religion. While Freud regarded monotheism as the key to Jewish spirituality and, therefore, masculinity, other thinkers of his time viewed monotheism as indicative of a natural female inclinati on to submission and monogamy.89 Boyarin contends that 87 Boyarin, 1997, 246. 88 Boyarin, 1997, 250-51. 89 Boyarin, 1997, 245. Boyarin references Rudolph Grau and the early Nazi theologian Reinhold Seeberg as supporters of this view. 36

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Freud accep ts this portrayal of Jewish femini nity to a degree, but seeks to overcome it by pointing to and recovering the sublime, Aryan-like, true Mosaic tradition.90 Having included Freuds text in a larg er project of Jewish assimilationist revision, Boyarin argues that strict monotheism and sublim e abstraction, which Freud envisioned as true Judaism, had no place in biblical religion. With respect to traditional Judaism, Boyarin does not refute Otto Weiningers assertion that it is, however, this Kantian rationality, this Spirit, which above all appear s to be lacking in the Jew and the woman.91 According to Boyarin, (t)raditional Judaism has very little to do with Kantianism, just as biblical religion was neither a strict monotheism, nor had it risen to th e heights of sublime abstraction.92 Freuds account of a Jewish triumph of spirituality over the senses comprises a refutation of Jewish femininity and an attempt to portr ay Jewish religion as sublime and Aryanlike in its nature. As anti-Semitic tensions in Freuds so ciety culminated in the 1930s, Freud boldly sought full social acceptance in his so ciety as a Jewish man. Freud dared to suggest that he could identify as a both a scientist and a Je w, adhering to the rigors of modern scholarship and its corresponding st andard of masculinity. Furthermore, Freud ventured to study Judaism itself, affirming the fundamental compatibility between his object of investig ation and the more-or-less sc ientific character of his methods. Countering expectation, Freud fa ils to deny his own Jewish identity in recognizing the supposed truth behind Jewi sh religion, or Jewish neurosisthe 90 Boyarin, 1997, 251. 91 Weininger, quoted in Boyarin, 1997, 251. Freuds particular interest in Weiningers misogyny and anti-Semitism will be examined in the following chapter. 92 Boyarin, 250-51. 37

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murder of the prim eval father and the repetiti on of this event in the murder of Moses. As the scholar who purports to have uncove red this repressed truth as the driving force behind Jewish monotheism, one might think that Freud must identify more readily as a Christian than a Jew. After all, Freuds theory holds that Christians admit to the primeval deed while Jews continue to repress the truth and bear its burden through guilt. The challenge to this ar gument lies in Freuds contention that Christianity largely regressed from the spiritu al heights of Judaism. Christian religion, Freud argues, Was no longer strictly monothe istic. Rather, Christianity, in making itself accessible to a variety of peoples, accepted many deities of polytheism in an easily recognizable disguise, and allowe d for the penetration of superstitions, magical and mystical elements which pr oved a great hindranc e to the spiritual development of two following millennia.93 This explanation supports a radical interpretation of Freuds project which affirms Jewish exceptionality to the extent that Jews are more masculine than Christians, or the very gentile, anti-Semitic society which defines and upholds masculine values. The following chapter addresses the ambiguous role of circumcision in Freuds defense of Jewish masculinity. Wh ile Freuds text presents circumcision as an example of Jewish instinctual renunc iation, and therefore a sign of masculine spirituality, its persistence as a symbolic s ubstitute of castration threatens to betray his defense of Jewish masculinity by impl ying Jewish emasculation. Freuds conflict over the meaning of circumcision reflects th e persistence of his ambivalent Jewish identity. 93 Freud, 1939, 112. 38

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Chapter 2 Does Circumcision Make the Jew a Man? Freuds Internalizationand Revocation of Anti-Semitism and Jewish Femininity The castration complex is the deepest unc onscious root of anti-semitism; for even in the nursery little boys hear that a Jew has something cut off his penisa piece of his penis, they th inkand this gives them the right to despise Jews. And there is no stronger unconscious root for the sense of superiority over women.94 Having explored Moses and Monotheism Freuds psychoanalytic study of Judaism, uncovering his radical effort to fi nd the essence of Jewish identity in the masculine values of his secular, anti-Semitic society, the current chapter further examines the role of circum cision in his construction of Jewish identity. While Freuds discussion of circumcision in Moses and Monotheism seeks to balance the emasculating implications of his connecti on between circumcision and castration with the notion that the practice comprises masculine instinctua l renunciation, he ultimately fails to overcome his sense of circumcision as a compromising mark of femininity. As an enduring sign of fe mininity and a reminder of castration, circumcision threatens the masculinity of both Aryan and Jewish men alike. By threatening to compromise Freuds defense of Jewish masculinity, Freuds theory of circumcision provides the grea test hindrance to his affirm ation of Jewish identity. This chapter offers a detailed explora tion of perspectives on circumcision and gender from ancient and medieval Jewish s ources before moving to consider some of the ways circumcision represented Jewi sh difference and inferiority in the fin-de94 Freud, 1955 (a), 36. 39

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sicle W estern European society Freud inhabite d. Despite a legacy of Jewish texts which privilege male Jews over their female counterparts for the covenantalor otherwise apotropaic or ho lystatus afforded to them by circumcision, it is maintained that Freuds psychoanalytic in terpretation of circumcision suggests his internalization of his societys anti-Semitic sentiments of Jewish difference, inferiority, and effeminacy. This chapters final consideration addresses Jay Gellers interpretation of the psychological repr ession underlying Freuds treatment of circumcision in Moses and Monotheism Gellers analysis highlights the unconscious persistence of Freuds intern alization of circumcision as a sign of Jewish femininity, despite a lack of any explicit mention of Jewish effeminacy in Freuds text. Freuds failure to overcome his negative view of circumcision and fully unite the practice with monotheism in his defense of Jewish masculinity attests to th e persistence of his ambivalent Jewish identity. While Lawrence Hoffman calls circum cision the sine qua non of Jewish identity throughout time, ambiguity rega rding the purpose an d meaning of the custom in Jewish tradition begins with its first substantial biblical reference, Genesis 17.95 Genesis 17 connects the ritual practi ce of circumcision to the covenant God establishes with Abraham a nd his male progeny: God said to Abraham, As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their gene rations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumci sed. 11 You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be as a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days ol d, including the slav e born in your house 95 Hoffman, 1996, 11. 40

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and the one bought with your m oney from any foreigner who is not of your offspring. 13 Both the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money must be circumcised. So shal l my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumc ised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.96 The exact nature of the relation between ritual circumcision and Gods covenant remains uncertain in this text. On this point, Shaye Cohen writes, [t]he connection between circumcision and covenant in Genesis 17 is explicit, but the chapter seems to present three formulations of the idea.97 The first of these formulations belongs to a strict reading of verse 10, in which God identifies the prac tice of circumcision as the covenant itself, suggesting their complete equation. In the subsequent verse, Gods reference to circumcision as a sign of the covenant between me and you implies that circumcision serves to remind God to keep his covenant with Abraham; much like the sign of the rainbow in Genesis 9 serves to remind God never to flood the earth. The final view of circumcision im parted by Genesis 17 renders it the chief obligation for Abraham and his descendant s under the terms of Gods covenant. Verse 14 supports this view in its threat to sever from both the covenant and the Israelite lineage any male whose foreskin is not severed. This perspective resonates with Gods description of hi s own obligations under the covenant in the chapters preceding verses: As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 I will es tablish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And 96 Genesis 17.9-14. 97 Cohen, 2005, 10. 41

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I will g ive to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.98 From this perspective, circumcision ma y be regarded as the condition for the fulfillment of Gods covenant and its many promises. Modern biblical scholars, in accordance with documentary hypothesis, agree that Genesis 17 belongs to a priestly source, P, widely supposed to have produced its narrative during the Babylonian exile.99 Drawing on the standard scholarly view of P as the last contributor to th e Pentateuch, Hoffman argues that prior to Ps redaction of Genesis 17 circumcision was regarded as an Israelite custom, although it bore no relation to the idea of the peoples covenant with God. Through the inclusion of Genesis 17 in the biblical canon, P holds re sponsibility for the association between circumcision and covenant which ultimat ely led to the primary importance of circumcision as a male covenantal right in Jewish tradition.100 Hoffman suggests that rather than conn ecting Gods covenant to circumcision, pre-exilic sources tied the covenant to Abrahams primeval sacrifice in Genesis 15.101 Hoffman maintains that such prior sources refer to a covenant which promises Abraham a great legacy of land and de scendants, but lack s the concern for 98 Genesis 17. 4-8. 99 Documentary hypothesis ho lds that the Pentateuch comprises an ancient compilation of at least four distinct subtexts, including subtexts from sources identified as J, E, D, and P in the theorys classic formulation. 100 Hoffman, 1996, 28-30. 101 Hoffman leaves the ques tion of Genesis 15s authorship open, determining that it may be the work of either J, traditionally known as the Yahwist source, or D, known as the Deuteronomist, Hoffman, 1996, 29-30. 42

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circum cision expressed in Ps later account.102 Hoffman affirms that P construes circumcision as the very essen ce of the covenant with God: Whereas for J [or the author of Genesis 15] the sacrificial ritual is merely a secondary event made to serve the pr imary concern of covenant, Ps rival chapter 17 almost makes the covenant s econdary to the ritualistic concern for circumcision. It may not be going too fa r to say that chapter 17 is a veritable aside on the theme of circumcision alone.103 Upholding the centrality of circumcision in Genesis 17, Hoffman cites Gods opening remarks to Abraham in the chapters first two verses: When Abram was ninety-nine years old, th e Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. 2 And I will make my covenant between me a nd you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.104 Hoffman asserts that blameless, in th is context, derives from the Hebrew tamim an adjective which the P author(s) usually em ploys to convey a sense of wholeness, completion, or physical perfection, as opposed to outstanding moral rectitude. P often uses tamim to describe animals meant for sacr ifice, surely a reference to their physical state and not their moral charac ter. Circumcision, likewise, endows Abraham with physical completion so that he may carry Gods covenant and bear numerous descendents.105 In this manner, Genesis 17 establishes circumcision as a vital act for the sake of Jewish manhood, fertility, andby extensionland. 106 102 Based on the Deuteronomic authors presentation of the covenant, Hoffman considers Gods deliverance from Egypt and the choice the people [face d] as to whether they will follow Gods will, and thus be prosperous in the land flowing with milk and honey, to be another valid pre-exilic interpretation of covenant, Hoffman, 1996, 31. 103 Hoffman, 1996, 34-5. 104 Genesis 17.1-2. Italics added. 105 Hoffman contends that this readin g agrees with traditional Jewish ex egetical interpretations of these verses from the Mishnah through the Talmud and on into the twelfth-century circle of German pietists, Hoffman, 1996, 35. 106 Cohen writes, From fertility to land is not a big step. If circumcision helps guarantee the birth of sons, surely the sons need a patrimony to inherit. God promises Abraham a mighty brood and a land: the land of Canaan. Cohen goes on to note that Israelite men undergo circumcision in preparation for 43

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In recognizing P as a la te editor of the biblical cannon, it becom es apparent that Ps notion of a covenant based on procreation, property, and the sanctity of the male body, inexorably tied to circumci sion, would not have resonated among preexilic Israelites. It was not until the re daction of Genesis 17, al ong with several other priestly narratives and interjections di spersed throughout the Pentateuch, that the Jews of antiquity began to connect ci rcumcision and Ps particular notion of covenant.107 Hoffman writes: Even though Jews were practicing ci rcumcision by the time the earliest accounts were penned, it was not until th e time of the last author (P), sometime in the late sixth or fifth cent ury B.C.E., that circumcision became so prominent in Jewish consciousness. But P left his mark on the text as a whole, so that it seems to the casual reader that it was always so.108 In reading Torah as the work of a single, divinely inspired, author, the majority of Jews throughout time, especially throughout antiquity and the Middle Ages, exhibit signs of Ps influence. Cohen notes that some scholars in re cent decades propose that the priestly author(s) represented by P actually lived long before the Babylonian exile, challenging the long-standing view of P as the last contributor to the Pentateuch and calling Hoffmans thesis into question. Notwithstanding the possibility that P composed Genesis 17 prior to the Babylonian exile, Cohen affirms the immeasurable contribution of this text and its priestly author(s) to the stature of circumcision in Jewish life.109 Other biblical sources, in Ps wake, may have overlooked their conquest and possession of the land prom ised by God to Abraham, in the book of Joshua (5:212), Cohen, 2005, 12. 107 Hoffman cites the following biblical passages which address circumcision as overwhelmingly priestly narratives, or priestly insertions into earlier accounts: Genesis 34, Exodus 12:48-49, Leviticus 12. 108 Hoffman, 1996, 30. 109 Cohen, 2005, 9. 44

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circum cision while addressing the meaning of covenant, but th ese sources did not subdue the influence that Ps pairing of covenant and circumcision would have on later Jewish texts. The question of wh en the connection between circumcision and covenant took hold remains uncertain, but P cer tainly initiated this trend in ideology. Cohen expresses particular concern for the P authors portray al of a decidedly male-oriented covenant. While Genesis 17 celebrates Abraham as the father, or ancestor, of a multitude of nations, his wi fe, Sarah, rather than receiving praise as the complementary mother of a multitude of nations takes on the secondary role of a reproductive agent. God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will ble ss her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her 19 Your wife Sarah shall bear you a son, and you shall call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.110 Cohen emphasizes Sarahs paradoxical pos ition in relation to the covenant God establishes with the patriarchs of Israel. Cohen describes this paradox in the following terms: Sarah does not bear the mark of the covenant on her body, but she is nonetheless essential to the perpetuation of the covenant and is part of the covenantal people If the covena nt is circumcision, then Sarah, and by extension all Israelite and Jewish wo men, who are not circumcised, must be excluded, but they are not excluded. On the contrary: motherhood matters.111 110 Genesis 17. 15-19. 111 Cohen goes on to describe a parallel and similarly problematic Ishmael paradox Ishmael, Abrahams son who is circumcised in accordance with Gods command, is denied covenantal status in Isaacs favor. Cohen writes: If circumcision is the covenant, then Ishmael, and by extension all circumcised gentiles, should be part of the covena ntal people, but they are not. The non-circumcision of Sarah and of all Jewish women, and the circumcision of Ishmael and of many other non-Israelite groups, provided fodder to later Christians who sought to impugn the covenantal value of circumcision, Cohen, 2005, 13. 45

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Indeed, if motherhood w ere not relevant, Is hmaelAbrahams first son, born to his wifes slave Hagarand not Isaac, woul d have inherited covenantal status.112 As Ps influence extended from the bibli cal narrative to clas sical and medieval rabbinic literature, the complex litur gy which the Rabbis developed around circumcision failed to clarify the role of women in relation to Gods covenant. The Rabbis silence on the issue of women and covenantal st atus left the covenantal standing of women uncertain. In contrast to Talmudic silence, in the thirteenth century, a time when the development of circumcision liturgy eliminated women from the ritual altogether an abundance of Christian, anti-Jewish polemics drove some Jewish thinkers to address the situation of women explicitly, with regard to circumcision. As this chapter will reveal s ubsequently, thinkers from this era offered a variety of explanations for the exclusivity of circumcision as a male rite. The remainder of this chapters exploration of circumcision in traditional Jewish sources highlights major themes in early ra bbinic liturgy and ideology surrounding circumcision before examining medieval perspectives on circumcision and their significance for the study of gender and Jewish identity. Classical rabbinic literature, the body of work including Mishnah and Talmud redacted in the era from 200-600 C.E., lauds the importance of circumcision, offering many new conceptions of the custom and imposing its own set of practical details. In addition to milah the very act of circumcision, the rabbis determined that the circumcision ritual must include periah an uncovering of the tip of the penis to ensure the removal of its outer membrane; metzitzah a suctioning of the wound 112 Nancy Jay emphasizes the importance of motherh ood in this patrilineal system, writing Only Isaac could be the true heir, for he could trace his patrilin eal descent through his mother. Jay, 1992, 101. 46

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perform ed orally by the circumci ser at least until the middle of the nineteenth century; and, finally, a bandaging of the w ound and an application of cumin.113 In addition to outlining surgical details, classical rabbinic literature also presents many rulings concerning circumcision in the context of conversion and in other exceptional cases. Around the mid-second century, some Rabbis began to distinguish between true covenantal circumcision, performed by a Jew with the intent of fulfilling Gods commandment, and non-covenant al circumcision, which may be performed by any gentile and does not require such proper intent.114 In this era, pr aise of circumcision reached great heights. In the Mishnah and its complementary text, the Tosefta, circumcision alone earns the title of a great commandment.115 Likewise, Talmud decrees that without circumcision heaven and earth would not endure.116 The geonic period of rabbinic Juda ismlasting from about 600-1050 C.E. and named for the heads of the talmudic academies of Babylonia, the geonim saw many developments in the ideology and ritual of circumcision.117 Hoffman explains the ultimate impact of the priestly authors on the Rabbis of this era, with regard to their understanding of circumcision: [The Rabbis] retained the biblical pr ecedent of circumcision as a covenant right for males, just as the priestly editor of the Bible would have hoped, but then outfitted it with a liturgy of the wo rd that no biblical Jew could remotely 113 Cohen explains that periah was probably introduced to prevent epispasman operation in which the remains of the foreskin are drawn or pulle d down to give the penis the appearance of being uncircumcisedamong Jews who wished to disguise their Jewish identity. Metzitzah and the bandaging and application of cumin to the wound were intended to promote healing. While the Talmud does not specify how metzitzah is to be performed, Medieval Jewish authorities unanimously assume that the suctioning is to be done by the circumciser by mouth, and the procedure was thus performed until the middle of the nineteenth century, when alternative procedures were propounded In any case we may assume that th e one doing the suctioning did not swallow; he must have spit out the blood somewhere somehow, Cohen, 2005, 24-6. 114 Cohen, 2005, 21-2. 115 See M. Nedarim 3.11 and T. Nedarim 2.5-7, quoted in Cohen 2005, 26-7. 116 See M. Shabbat 19 and M. Nedarim 3.11, Cohen, 2005, 27. 117 Cohen, 2005, 28. 47

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have predicted. They thereby adum br ated a new conception of the Jewish compact with God. Gone is the agricultural imagery; gone, too, is the fertility concern that had so motivated earlier generations. Instead, we get the rabbinic notion of salvation, symbolized by th e blood of circumcision, which saves.118 Cohen credits three particular post-Talmudi c works, thought to have taken shape in Palestine around 800 C.E., for the shift in ra bbinic thought from concern for fertility, land, and the removal of foreskin, on one ha nd, to the sanctity and salvific power of the blood of circumcision, on the other. These post-Talmudic texts include Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer (The Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer), the Tanhuma, and Targum Jonathan.119 While the early rabbinic customs of periah and metzitzah produce and account for a great deal of blood, and th e ancient rabbis demanded that blood be drawn in place of circumcision when a foreskin is already lacking as a result of either prior non-covenantal circumcision or so me biological abnormality, the blood of circumcision did not attain significance in liturgy or theology until the time of these texts. Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer links Gods call to Israel to . Live In your blood live, in Ezekie l 16.6 to both the blood of circumcision and the blood of the Paschal lamb sacrificed in Exodus 12.120 Prior rabbinic exegetical writings concerning Ezekiel 16 also c onnect Gods imperative in th is passage to circumcision and the Paschal sacrifice, both of which are commanded in Exodus 12, based on the bloodshed these commandments entail. In c ontrast to these earlier works, however, 118 Hoffman, 1996, 96. 119 Respectively, these works comprise a midrash, or a series of narratives, which retells biblical history from creation through the exodus; another midrash on various Torah portions; and an extensive Aramaic translation of the Torah, which includes a great deal of unique legendary and explanatory material, Cohen, 2003. 120 The complete passage from Ezekiel 16 recounts a vision in which God rescues and cares for a personified Israel. I passed by you, and saw you flailing about in your blood. As you lay in your blood, I said to you, live! Ezekiel 16.6. 48

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Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer is novel for attributing the protective power of both the sacrifice of the Paschal lam b and circum cision, required by those partaking in the sacrifice, to blood itself. In prior sources the mere fulfillment of circumcision and the Paschal sacrifice as commandments protects the Israelites from Gods tenth plague and permits their redemption from Egypt, but in Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer the sight of circumcision blood alongside the blood of the Paschal lamb moves God to have mercy on them as the Egyptians suffer.121 Following Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer, circumcision liturgy has almost universally called for the infant to drink a few drops of wine as Ezekiel 16.6 is recited.122 Circumcision blood receives similar rec ognition as a protective substance in the Tanhuma and Targum Jonathan. Like the Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer the Tanhuma recognizes the capacity of the blood of circumcision to summon Gods compassion and mercy. This text depicts Abraham s circumcision as a self-sacrifice which produces a river of blood. The sight and odor of Abrahams flowing circumcision blood pleases God and incites a divine blessing.123 Targum Jonathan offers the protective power of circumcision blood as a clear response to the enigmatic story presented in Exodus 4.24-26. These verses relay an incident which occurs as Mosesalong with his wife, Zipporah, and th eir sonsreturns to Egypt from Midian to confront Pharaoh. 121 Cohen 2003. 122 Hoffman addresses the symbolism of wine as blood in this liturgy, suggesting that the boys drinking was seen as a transfusion for the boy who has just lost blood in the circumcision procedure, Hoffman, 1996, 97. Cohen notes the many customs which developed as part of the circumcision ritual in the centuries following the Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer the Tanhuma, and Targum Jonathan, including the allocation of a special chair in honor of Elijah the Prophet, the rituals culmination in a festive meal, the benediction over a cup of wine, the burial of the severed foreskin and the blood, and several others. The latter custom may be connected to a widespread equation of circumcision and sacrifice, Cohen, 2003, 39. 123 Cohen, 2003, 38-9. 49

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On the way, at a place w here they spent the night, the Lord met him and tried to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a f lint and cut off her sons foreskin, and touched [his] feet with it, and said, T ruly you are a brideg room of blood to me! 26 So he let him alone. It was then she said, A bridegroom of blood by circumcision.124 The ambiguous use of pronouns in this pa ssage leads one to wonder whether the divine assault was intended for Moses or his son. Furthe rmore, it is unclear whether Zipporah calls Moses or their son her bri degroom of blood, and whose feet she touched with the boys foreskin.125 The author of Targum Jonathan paraphrases the events of these verses by exclaiming, How precious is the blood of this circumcision that saved the bridegroom from the hands of the destroying Angel.126 While the apotropaic power of circumcision seems to be the only discernable point of this story, Targum Jonathan assumes that this power lies in the very blood of circumcision. Along with Elliot Wolfson, Cohen atte sts to the influence of these posttalmudic texts on the Zohar and other major te xts of medieval Jewish mysticism. In the Zohars radical theology, circumcision becomes more than a commandment, a sign of the covenant, or even an embodime nt of the covenant on the Jewish male figure. Rather, circumcision, as a sacram ent, holds transformative and metaphysical power; in Cohens words, Circumcision makes a (male) Jew a Jew.127 Wolfson identifies the Tanhuma as the original sour ce for a widespread mystical notion of circumcision as the inscri ption of the divine name upon the Jewish male body. The Tanhuma associates the Hebrew letter yod the last letter of Shaddai a holy name which the Tanhuma states God seals upon the children of Israelwith the 124 Exodus 4.24-26. 125 Feet appears in quotation for its common use as a euphemism for genitals in biblical literature. 126 Targum Jonathan, quoted in Cohen, 2003, 37. 127 Cohen, 2005, 45. 50

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circum cised male organ.128 Regarding the Tanhuma, Wolfson writes The point of the midrash is to emphasize the imprinting of the divine name, or a letter thereof, upon the male organ, for it is by virtue of ci rcumcision alone that the Jew is ushered by an appointed angel into the Garden of Eden.129 While a number of rabbinic texts claim that circumcision protects the Jew from Gehenna, the Tanhuma positively affirms circumcisions role in permitting entry to the Garden of Eden.130 Wolfson cites the prominent idea in geonic literature that the name Shaddai possesses a special potency to ward off evil or demoni c beings, as the basis of the Tanhumas claim that entry to the Garden of Eden depends on the name Shaddai which is imprinted or sealed within the flesh of every Jew.131 Wolfson illuminates a wealth of mystical texts, written in the wake of the Tanhuma, which link circumcision, the divine name, and salvation in the afterlife. Many of these writings were produced by the German Hasidim and Spanish kabbalists in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.132 Wolfson explains that the notion of circumcision as the marking of the divine name provides the impetus for the Zohars view of circumcision as a supreme marker of Jewish identity. Wolfson quotes a passage of Zohar supporting this view: Israel is marked by the holy sign on the flesh, and it is thus known that they are His, among those that belong to His palace. Therefore all those who are 128 In twelfth and thirteenth century Germany, the Haside Ashkenaz not only identified yod as the last letter of the name Shaddai they also affirmed yod as the letter of the covenant for its position as the first letter of the Tetragrammaton, the most sacred and unspeakable of divine names. Wolfson, 1987, 86. 129 Wolfson, 1987, 79. Wolfson does not address the role of circumcision blood in the Tanhuma. 130 Wolfson, 1987, 79-80. Cohen adds, In rabbinic legend, Abraham sits at the entrance to Gehenna and bars the way for all those who have been circumcised. In post-talmudic times, some Jews would perform a post-mortem circumcision on an infant who had died before the eighth day in order to make sure that Abraham would recognize the boy as a Jew and save him from Gehenna. In the mystic world of the Zohar, the salvation afford ed by circumcision is both physical and metaphysical. Through the excision of the foreskin, the Jewish male is saved from both Gehenna and sin, from both death and evil, Cohen, 2005, 53. 131 Wolfson, 1987, 81. 132 Wolfson, 1987. 51

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not m arked with the holy sign on their flesh do not belong to Him; it is known that they are all derived from the side of impurity.133 As the mystical tradition carries many prior idealizations of the protective and signifying power of circumcision to new heights, Jewish women, whose flesh remains unmarked, appear ineligible to receive the protection and sanctity afforded to their male counterparts. Salvation and communion with the divine must be read as exclusively male Jewish privileges. As previously noted, the thirteenth century gave rise to some significant interpretations and rulings regarding circ umcision and gender. These efforts to address the role of the female Jew and her placeor lack of placein the circumcision ritual mostly confirm un spoken assumptions about the second-tier status of Jewish women implicit in classical rabbinic literature.134 Opinions regarding circumcision and gender from this time belong mostly to Jewish philosophers, medieval rabbis and polemicists who were unaffiliated with the mystical tradition. Two French Jewish thi nkers, Jacob ben Abba Mari Anatoli and a polemicist known simply as Menahem, offer opinions on the non-circumcision of Jewish women. The ideas of both thinkers are grounded on the principle of female subordination. Anatoli, who argued in favor of the superiority of circumcisionas a permanent sign upon the bodyover the comparable Christian rite of baptism, felt that Jewish women do not require circumcisi on, or any equivalent covenantal marker, because they are entirely subject to their husbands. In Anatolis view, a Jewish womans obligation is to her husband, who ha s the sole responsibility of fulfilling Gods positive commandments: 133 Zohar 3.72b-73a, quoted in Wolfson, 1987, 99. 134 Cohen, 2005, 111. 52

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If [a Jewish wom an] were burde ned with the observance of such commandments at their proper time, at those times the husband would be without a helper, and strife would co me between them, and the dominion [of husband over wife], which was intended to benefit him as well as her, would be diminished. In accordance with this reason it was sufficient that this sign [of circumcision] be only on the males.135 In a similar vein, Menahem explains that Je wish women may be identified as Jews in lieu of circumcision on account of their circum cised husbands, or fathers in the case of unmarried women, who provide their exemption.136 These perspectives clearly indicate the normative view of masculine preeminence whic h takes root in biblical and rabbinic Jewish culture. In the years that followed Anatoli an d Menahems resolutions in support of female inferiority, the prominent German Rabbi Meir b. Barukh of Rothenburg, also known as the Maharam, advocated the total exclusion of women from the circumcision ceremony. The Maharams ruling remained influential until modern times, and rested on two major arguments. First, the Maharam argued that a woman should not enter the main part of a synagogue where men reside and where the circumcision ritual takes place. Second, the Maharam insisted that a woman should not partake in a mans ritual for, in doi ng so, she steals a commandment intended for men. Oftentimes, women served as sandek a medieval role belonging to the one who holds the boy on his or her knee during the operation.137 The Maharam objected to the idea that women could fulfill this role as it entails a man, even if he is of close relation, placing his hands near her bosom.138 The institution of the Maharams prohibition against women during the circumcision ceremony affirmed the function of 135 Anatoli, Malmad Hatalmidim quoted in Cohen, 2005, 112. 136 Cohen, 2005, 113-14. 137 Hoffman, 1996, 69. 138 Cohen, 2005, 46. 53

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the circum cision ceremony as a cele bration of maleness and manhood, and enlivened the viewpoint of Rabbi Solomon of Troyes (R ashi) that the circumcision ritual allows the fath er to recognize his son, who previ ously existed in the domain of its mother.139 In contrast to most medieval pers pectives which discount the standing of Jewish women as Jews, Rabbi Joseph Bekhor Shor, a twelfth century French Torah commentator and fervent polemicist against Christianity, advanced a unique response to the question of female Jews. Prompted by anti-Jewish arguments holding that Christians in baptizing both genders are s uperior to Jews who only circumcise their boys, leaving no way for Jewish girls to become Jews, Bekhor Shor proposed that menstrual blood, when Jewish laws pertaini ng to menstrual purity and impurity are properly observed, constitute s covenantal blood. Bekhor Shors inventive polemic comprises an unprecedented portrayal of mens trual blood in a positive light and a rare instance of sexual egalitaria nism in rabbinic literature.140 Another medieval view of circumcision, and the final traditional Jewish view of circumcision to be considered in th is chapter, comes from Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, more commonly known as Maimoni des orin HebrewRambam. Like his contemporary, Bekhor Shor, Maimonide s conception of circumcision does not necessarily advance the innate superiority or greater worthiness of the male Jew. In Maimonides formulation, circumcision serv es a distinct function; namely, the 139 Here the Maharam has made explicit, perhaps for the first time in rabbinic culture, that circumcision is a celebration of maleness and manhood, observed in a male space (the synagogue), from which women should absent themselves, Cohen, 2005, 47. As the famous medieval sage [Rashi] says, up until the circumcision ceremony the baby was in the mothers domain and she was in charge of it; at the circumcision ritual the baby is recognized by his father, Baumgarten, 2003, 117. 140 By treating menstrual blood as covenantal Bekhor Shor has inverted the symbolism regnant in rabbinic discourse, from impurity to purity, from negative to positive, Cohen, 2003, 41. 54

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reduction of sexual pleasure and m ale lu st. In this way, Maimonides regards circumcision as a moral enhancement to the male Jews body. By weakening the male sexual organ, circumcision leads to a decrease in sexual indulgence, permitting more time for the contemplation of God a nd Torah, and bringing about an elevated sense of moral purity.141 Maimonides belief that circumcision reduces sexual pleasure seems to apply to both sexes. By citing a midrash on Genesis 34, holding that DinahJacobs daughter who was raped by a Hivite priest named Shechemdid not wish to leave her aggressor on account of the pleasure she derived from his foreskinned member, Maimonides credits gentile, uncircumcised men with a sexual prowess lacking in the Jewish man.142 Cohen notes that anti-Semitic Christian commentators have used similar premises of circumcision and impaired sexual performance in support of arguments for male Jewish effeminacy. Nonetheless, Cohen maintains that Maimonides would have ardently rejected such interpre tations, favoring a position of female subordination to their husbands akin to those of Anatoli and Menahem.143 Cohen writes: 141 Maimonides understanding of circumcision as a practice aimed at reducing lust echoes that of first century Greek, Jewish philosopher Philo. While Maimonides saw the cutting of the foreskin as a direct physical remedy for excessive sexual please, Philo saw circumcision as a symbolic reminder for men to curb their sexual pride. The fact that Philo wrote in Greek kept him from having any influence on subsequent Jewish culture which was dominated by the Hebrew, Aramaic, and eventually Arabic speaking Rabbis. The similarities between Philo and Maimonides views on circumcision may be attributed to coincidence and the philosophical nature of their thinking, Cohen, 2005, 146-48. 142 Cohen 2005, 149-50. The translation which holds that Dinah is raped by Shechem in Genesis 34 is widely contested. If Shechem did, in fact, seize Dinah and lay with her by force, as the text claims, his actions in subsequent verses are remarkably incongruent as he loved the girl, and spoke tenderly to her, before appealing to his father to Get me this girl to be my wife, Genesis 34.2-4. Lyn Bechtel writes, if any rape occurs in the story It is [Jacobs sons] Simeon and Levi who rape the people of Shechems city, Bechtel, 2000, 70. Bechtel refers to Simeon and Levis plundering of Shechems city after demanding that all of its inhabitants be circumcised if their sister is to become Shechems wife. 143 Cohen 2005, 144. 55

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The claim that Jewish men are effeminate and that their effeminacy is linked to their circumcision, is of Christian, not Jewish, origin. Late medieval Christian texts regularly refer to Jewish men as effeminate: they are weak, do not carry arms or fight back when a ttacked, and do not engage in manly occupations.144 This characterization of Jewish effeminac y, and its corollary of circumcision as the agent of Jewish difference, prevailed in th e late nineteenth centu ry society inhabited by Sigmund Freud. As Western European Jewry became acculturated to an almost indistinguishable level during this era, ci rcumcision played a key role, in medical science, by defining the racial and gender-c oded difference of Jews. According to Sander Gilman: The centrality of the act of circumcisi on in defining what a Jew is made the very term Jew in the nineteenth cent ury come to mean male Jew. Thus there was an immediate dichotomyall Je ws, male and female, are different from the neutral scientific observer (w ho is male and Aryan in his ideology), but male Jews are uncanny, in that they superficially appear to be males but are not because of the alte red form of the genitalia.145 While other physical and cultural features, su ch as dress, language, and skin tone, failed to indicate Jewish identity during th is time, circumcision remained a sign of Jewish difference, if not a readily visible one. The difference marked by circumcision was believed to be of an inhe rently racial nature and, above all else, defined the Jewish male as unequal to the Aryan male. From the seventeenth century throug h the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, scientists relied on the idea of congenital circumcision to express the association of circumcision a nd inherent Jewish racial difference. Gilman points to the efforts of two popular writers, Joha nn Jakob Schudt and Johann David Michaelis, who propagated the immutability of Jewi sh difference by highlighting the Talmuds 144 Cohen 2005, 163. 145 Gilman, 1993, 49. 56

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consideration of cases in which m ale Jews are born without foreskin. For these thinkers, the fact that Jews acknowledge, in their own texts, that Jewish boys may be born circumcised proves the inher itability of acquired characteristics.146 Gilman confirms that most literature of the la tter nineteenth century saw congenital circumcision as an inherent problem th at has a higher frequency among Jews and other people who circ umcise their male young.147 The prevalence of this view of the circumcised Jewish body as inherently di fferent rested on Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarcks influentia l idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics.148 Charles Darwin left the question of th e inheritance of c ongenital circumcision unresolved, noting that Jewish doctors deny that circumcision produces inherited effects while others, such as the liberal German anthropologist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, maintain that Jews are often born circumcised.149 August Weismann, a preeminent nineteenth century German biologist, referred to congenital circumcision in denying the inheritability of acquired characteristics. On this note, Weismann writes, It is certainly true that among nations which practise [sic] circumcision as a ritual, children are sometimes born with a rudimentary prepuce, but this does not occur more frequently than in othe r nations in which circumcision is not performed. Rather statistical invest igations have led to this result.150 146 Gilman, 1993, 52-53. 147 Gilman, 1993, 54. 148 Freuds adherence to the Lamarckian model is demonstrated in chapter 1. 149 Gilman, 1993, 54. 150 Weismann, quoted in Gilman, 1993, 55. 57

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As the f irst major theorist to challenge the Lamarckian model of the incidental transmission of acquired characteristics, Weismann exerted a great deal of influence and controversy. In addition to presenting circumcision as a sign of racial difference, antiSemitic discourse linked circumcision to the spread of disease and considered it an abhorrent example of genital mutilation. G ilman highlights the tendency of medical theorists of the era to regard circumcisi on either as a source of disease or as a prophylactic against disease, concluding that, in either case it remained associated with the particular characteristics of the Jews.151 Gilman illustrates this point by explicating two contradictory models which link the circumcised Jew to the affiliated dangers of sexuality, syphilis, and madness. The first model, Gilman explains, portrays Jews, and their circumcised penises, as carriers of syphilis who spread disease and hysteria to the rest of society.152 In Mein Kampf Hitler extends this argument, claiming that the spread of syph ilis depends on the corruption of Jews who, as pimps, profit from the rings of prostitu tion responsible for the syphilitic plague.153 The second model, offered by medical theori sts, postulates that Jews manage to escape the epidemics which plague their neighbors. This model found support in many accounts of the statistica lly low rate of syphilitic infection among Jews. Some 151 Gilman, 1993, 65. 152 Gilman includes Armand-Louis-Joseph Braud, the Jewish physician Heinrich Singer, and Freuds colleague in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Alexander Pilcz among those who advanced this model by arguing that Jews ha d exceptionally high rates of syphilitic infection, Gilman, 1993, 62. 153 Gilman, 1993, 72. 58

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figures from this period even proposed th at Jews enjoy a special imm unity from syphilis, an immunity which may result fr om circumcision, as a hygienic practice.154 Even those who considered circumcisi on a hygienic practice scorned the Jews for practicing what they considered to be genital mutilation. A nineteenth century Italian physician Paolo Mantegazza, a pioneer of research in human sexuality and a major influence on Freud, pleaded: Cease mutilating yourselves: cease imp rinting upon your flesh an odious brand to distinguish you from other men; until you do this, you cannot pretend to be our equal.155 Mantegazzas contemporaries, including sociologist Edvard Westermarck, another influential figure for Freud, shared the opi nion that circumcision constitutes genital mutilation.156 Other European thinkers fu rthered the connection between circumcision and Jewish inferiority by asser ting that the custom exhibits the inherent barbarism of the Jews.157 The idea of Jewish barbarism rested on the concept that circumcision served as both a remnant of ear ly Jewish idol or phallus worship, and a substitute for human sacrifice.158 154 P.J. Mbius argued for the overall immunity of the Jews in the East to syphilitic infection in a source cited by Sigmund Freud in a paper on the clinical symptomology of anxiety. Many Jewish scientists of the period attributed the low rates of syphilis among Jews to Jewish marital expectations and sexual practices, Gilman, 1993, 63-64. 155 Mantegazza, quoted in Gilman, 1993, 57. 156 Gilman, 1993, 58. Ancient Rome also considered circumcision a form of genital mutilation. In a study of circumcision and castration under Roman law, Raanan Abusch contends, to the Greek and Roman elites of the early empire, Jewish circumcisi on belonged to a larger category we might best term genital mutilation. Abusch examines a second century Roman law which explicitly addressed the affinities between circumcision and castration and, for the first time, codified the difference between the two. Abusch continues, Only at this late date did Jewish circumcision emerge as a juridically defined and legally prot ected practice the very law that mandated the difference between Jewish circumcision and castration paradoxically asserted the fundamental sameness of these forms of genital modification, Abusch, 2003, 76. 157 Gilman attributes this view to J.H.F. von Autenrieth and a Dr. Hacker, among others, Gilman, 1993, 58. 158 Gilman contends that Freud would have found [the notion of circumcision as a surrogate for human sacrifice] supported in the anthropological lite rature with which he was familiar, Gilman, 1993, 58-59. The connection between circumcision and s acrificeanimal or humanin Jewish tradition is 59

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Through the association of Jews, thei r dam aged sexual organs, and illness in the medical discourse of the nineteenth century, Jewish men came to personify the threat of sexually transmitted disease to the wholeness and h ealth of the male Aryan.159 Cohen points to the bearing which the notion of such a Jewish threat held on Freuds thought: Christian tradition regularly associated Jewish circumcision with castration, as if Jewish men were hardly men at a ll. In the nineteenth century, these Christian arguments were taken up by westernized Jews, for example Sigmund Freud, who were conflicted about their Jewishness (and their masculinity). Freud argued that for the uncircumcised Aryan, the Jew is analogous to the woman and that the circumcised man, like the woman, arouses in the Aryan male the fear of castration, which is the source of both anti-Semitism and misogyny.160 Freuds analysis of circumcision as a remi nder of castration anxi ety, and therefore an impetus for anti-Semitism, indicates his intern alization of his own Jewish identity as a threat to the Aryan masculinity prized by his culture. Freuds idea that the unconscious association of circumcision and castration leads to the deepest unconscious root of anti-Semitism be longs to a footnote from his 1909 study, Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy, better known as the Case of Little Hans. This footnote comprises a rare inst ance for Freud as he almost never made explicit reference to the Jewish people in his published work during the first two decades of the twentieth century.161 Freuds footnote antici pates the relation between circumcision and castration that he postulated nearly thirty years latter in his final two evident in the Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer s likening of the blood of circumcision to that of the Paschal lamb and the Tanhumas depiction of Abrahams circumcision as self-sacrifice. This material is discussed above. 159 Gilman, 1993, 61. 160 Cohen 2005, 163. 161 Perhaps the most immediately curious thing about this footnote is that it specifically mentions Jews. During the crucial years in his pursuit of public recognition and scientific legitimation for the psychoanalytic movement, 1905-1916, Freud eschewed explicit public references to matters Jewish in his analytic writingswith this one principle exception, Geller, 2007, 114. 60

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works, Moses and Monotheism and the posthum ously released Outline of Psychoanalysis but, unlike the theory offered in these late works, the earlier interpretation explains circumcisions connection to anti-Semitism.162 The context of the Little Hans footnote comprises two important events. First, when Hans is three and a half years old, hi s mother threatens th at she should have his widdler cut off if he went on playing with it. Freud writes that at the time Hans mother made this threat it had no effect He calmly replied that then he should widdle with his bottom.163 Second, when the five-year-old Hans discovers that women really do not possess a widdler, Freud hypothesizes th at this knowledge arouses his unconscious castration complex, the repression of which accounts for the boys neurotic symptoms. At this point, Freud interjects the following note: I cannot interrupt the discussion so far as to demonstrate the typical character of the unconscious train of thought whic h I think there is here reason for attributing to little Hans. The castra tion complex is the deepest unconscious root of anti-semitism; for even in the nursery little boys hear that a Jew has something cut off his penisa piece of his penis, they thinkand this gives them a right to despise Jews. And there is no stronger unconscious root for the sense of superiority over wome n. Weininger (the young philosopher who, highly gifted but sexually deranged, committed suicide after producing his remarkable book, Geschlecht und Charakter [ Sex and Character 1903]), in a chapter that attracted much attention, treated Jews and women with equal hostility and overwhelmed them with th e same insults. Being a neurotic, Weininger was completely under the sway of his infantile complexes; and from that standpoint what is common to Jews and women is their relation to the castration complex.164 162 See the previous chapters discussion of Moses and Monotheism for a review of Freuds theory of circumcision as a symbolic substitute of castration an d a sign of submission to the fathers will. In An Outline of Psychoanalysis Freud reprises this theory of circumcision: The primaeval custom of circumcision, another symbolic substitute for castration, is only intelligible if it is an expression of subjection to the fathers will, Freud, 1949, 92-93. 163 Freud, 1955 (a), 35. 164 Freud, 1955 (a), 36. 61

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By characterizing the u nconscious train of t hought which he ascribes to Little Hans as typical, Freud seeks to universal ize his claim that knowledge of Jewish circumcision provokes fears and fantasies of castration, leading to anti-Semitic feelings in the young boy. Freud upholds his vi ew that knowledge of female genitalia, or lack of penis, has a similar effect on the male castration complex and leads to feelings of misogyny. In addition to providing the anatomy of misogyny and of antisemitism as products of the unconscious, Daniel Boyari n suggests that Freuds footnote is equally revealing with respect to th e nature of Jewish self-contempt.165 Boyarins interpretation considers the significance of Freuds concealment of the fact that both Little Hans and the neurotically anti-Semitic and misogynistic Weininger were, in fact, Jews. Boyarin explains: By occluding the fact of Weininger s and Hans Jewishness, and by obscuring the role of his own here, Freud was hiding a darker claim that Jewish knowledge of his own circumcision must inevitably produce in the Jew a sense of inferiority vis--vis the gentil e, a sense of inferiority that Freud himself shared.166 Freuds refusal to acknowledge his fearful response to his own circumcision, as it threatened his sense of masculinity, an ticipates his silence regarding Jewish effeminacy in Moses and Monotheism s discussion of circumcision. In Moses and Monotheism Freud refrained from redrawing this connection in conjunction with his effort to reconfigure circumcision as a form of instinctual renunciation and a sign of masculinity. 165 Boyarin, 1997, 237. 166 Boyarin, 1997, 239. 62

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Freuds careful effort, in Moses and Monotheism to avoid treating circum cision in a way that would betray Jewish masculinity, like the Little Hans footnote from three decades prior, informs Jay Gellers evocative thesis regarding Freuds failure to acknowledge circumcision as the solution to the problem of Jewish persistence. In A Paleontol ogical View of Freuds Study of Judentum : Unearthing the Leitfossil of an Unlaid Ghost, Geller turns to Freuds reference to circumcision as a leitfossil or key-fossil, by which he traces the Egyptian origin of Moses and his monotheistic religion, in addition to the compromise which formed a new Jewish religion at Qade. For Freud, circumci sion, as an originally Egyptian custom, supports his belief in an Egyptian Moses, a reality which Freud believes the Hebrew Bible took great measures to disavow by perpetrating a number of distorting facts which serve to relegate circumcision to the patriarchal period. As a symbolic substitute of castration, Moses introduction of circumcisi on to the ancient Israelites, furthermore, supports his connection to the primeval father of Freuds theory. Geller contends that throughout Moses and Monotheism as Freud switched from a historical to a psychoanalytical re gister, from a happens tance particular to Judentum to the inevitab ilities of interact ion within individual and group development, Freud gradually margina lizes the significance of circumcision.167 Geller highlights the increasing marginalizat ion of circumcision which begins in the third chapter of Moses and Monotheism : First, the Leitfossil is reduced in Freuds narrative to a mere sign: the external mark of the religion of Moses. Its re ference is then further delimited to the 167 Geller, 2007, 200. Recall from chapter one that the first two essays of Moses and Monotheism provide a strictly historical analysis of Jewish history, while the latter two chapters commence to rewrite much of the same material with a focus on psychoanalytic interpretation of Jewish history as a cycle of repression and repetition. The repetition of ideas is pervasive throughout all of Freuds text. 63

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visible m ark of chosenness at the same time as its abandonment by Paul to ensure the success of Christianity is noted. The announcement of the latter coincides with the fossilization of the J ewish religion in Freuds text. Then, when inventorying the disagreeable, uncanny impression that circumcision makes among the deeper motives for the hatred of the Jews, Freud indicates that the practice is but one among th e customs by which the Jews made themselves separate.168 Geller remains convinced that such distor tions in Freuds text were created by the author in order to disav ow the traumatic knowledge of the identification that underlies his work.169 Freuds textual distortions, like those of the Bible, are indicative of his own neurotic response to the traumatic knowledge he represses. Geller regards Freuds inability to answer his final inquiry at the conclusion of Moses and Monotheism as his culminating attempt to rebury the Leitfossil he previously unearthed. In this instance, Freud chooses to leave his question of Jewish longevity unresolved: Our research has perhaps thrown some light on the question [of] how the Jewish people acquired the qualities that characterize it. The problem [of] how they could survive until today as an entity has not proved easy to solve. One cannot, however, reasonably demand or expect exhaustive answers of such enigmas. All that I can offer is a simple contribution, and one which should be appraised with due regard to the critical limitati ons I have already mentioned.170 Geller argues that Freuds anal ysis provided him with the evidence to reconstruct the conclusion that Spinoza, who like Freud ente red and dispossessed the biblical text of its manifest inerrancy and who as a c onsequence was rendered anathema by his fellow Jews, arrived at regarding the very same question centuries earlier.171 Geller quotes Spinoza, at length: 168 Geller, 2007, 201. 169 Geller, 2007, 200. 170 Freud, 1939, 176. 171 Geller, 2007, 198-99. 64

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As for the fact that [the Jews] have survived their dispe r sion and the loss of their state for so many years, there is nothing miraculous in that, since they have incurred universal ha tred by cutting themselves off completely from all other peoples; and not only by practicing a form of worship opposed to that of the rest, but also by preserving the mark of circumcision with such devoutness. That their survival is largely due to the hatred of the Gentil es has already been shown by experience . The mark of circumcision is also, I think, of great importance in this connection; so much so that in my view it alone will preserve the Jewish people for all of time; indeed did not the principles of their religion make them effeminate I s hould be quite convinced that some day when the opportunity arises [so changeable are human affairs] they will establish their state once more, and that God will choose them afresh.172 Spinozas explicit connection between circumcision, anti-Semitism, Jewish effeminacy, and Jewish persistence constitutes the traumatic knowledge which Freud sought to disavow in Moses and Monotheism Geller maintains that Freuds resistance to this knowledge of circumcisi on and Jewish effeminacy accounts for his failure to replicate Spinozas solution to the problem of Jewish persistence. Geller suspects, but cannot confirm, Freuds familiarity with Spinozas text.173 By choosing to leave his fi nal inquiry unresolved, Freud remained faithful to his effort to defend Jewish masculinity in Moses and Monotheism Despite Freuds refusal to explicitly connect circumcision and Jewish femininity as the answer to the problem of Jewish persistence, Gellers e ffort to reconstruct this connection as the traumatic knowledge Freud sought to disavow, reveals Freuds unconscious attachment to an effeminizing notion of circumcision. Freuds negative view of circumcision, explicated in the footnote from the Case of Little Hans and implicated 172 From Spinozas Tractatus-Politicus quoted in Geller, 2007, 199. 173 Geller notes that Freud possessed a work that contained the Spinoza citation in its entirety: Siegfried Hessings Spinoza-Festschrift a collection to which Freud had been invited to submit a chapter but in which only his gracious letter of refusal appears. The citation appears in Joseph Klausners contribution, The Jewish Character of Spinozas Teaching, and based on Freuds letter expressing gratitude to Hessing for having sent him a copy of the published volume, Freud had at least skimmed it: It produces an impression by its rich content and by the many sided points of feeling, Geller, 2007, 206. 65

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in his theory of circum cision from Moses and Monotheism is the result of his internalization of his societys anti-Semitic discourse. Freud strove to defend Jewish masculinity through a rewriting of circumci sion as one form of the instinctual renunciation required by Moses monotheistic religion, but his inability to overcome circumcision as compromising mark of femi ninity, on an unconscious level, confirms that Freuds Jewish identity remained ma rked by ambivalence until the end. 66

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Conclusion Circumcision and Psychoanalysi s: Beyond Freud and His Jewish Question When I began working on this project la st fall, I intended to explore the range of psychoanalytic literature on the mean ing of Jewish circumcision. While I determined that I would take Freuds Moses and Monotheism and its psychohistorical theory of circumcision, as my st arting point in this endeavor, I found that the text raised a number of nuanced questions about its authors Jewish identity. The sense of urgency which Freud attributes to his own authorship suggested that he must have intended for the work to be more than just an exercise in his psychoanalytic method. There must have been some age nda underlying Freuds Egyptian Moses, his diagnosis of a collective Jewi sh neurosis, and his bizarre theory of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism and the impending Holocaust must have shaped Freuds motivations, but it was not immediately clear whether hi s work sought to defend the Jewish people and their religion against these threats in any capacity. Freuds characterization of monotheism and Jewish ethics as the result of mass neurosis, on one hand, and as markers of cultural progress, on the othe r, seemed to indicate the ambivalence underlying his view of Judaism. As I pursued Freuds reasons for writing Moses and Monotheism and asked what these reasons might reveal about his sense of Jewish identity, such questions came to define the scope of my project. In order to understand the full significance of Freuds theory of circumci sion, as it is presented in Moses and Monotheism it proved necessary to devel op an understanding of Freuds purpose in writing this work. 67

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My readings of both Daniel Boyarin and Jay Geller provided m e with a useful framework for understanding Freuds project a nd the role of circumcision in his work. Boyarin and Geller led me to regard Fre uds text and its idealization of Jewish monotheism as the expression of a Jewish assimilationist agenda based on the promotion of a Modern European concepti on of masculinity which Freud sought to apply to his own Jewish self. In asser ting Jewish masculinitythat is, a Jewish affinity for male-coded spirituality, intellectuality, and asceticismFreud strove to affirm his own sense of Jewish identity, defend the reputation of his psychoanalytic movement, and challenge the anti-Semitism which had already begun to culminate in the rise of the Nazi movement. I ultimate ly determined that Freuds discussion of circumcision in Moses and Monotheism comprises an attempt to portray Jewish men as spiritual, ascetic, and, therefore, masc uline, in accordance with his view of monotheism and his overall project. To this end, Freud withdraws the explicit connection between circumcision and Jewish femininity he established decades earlier in his Case of Litt le Hans, however, this connection remains implicit in Freuds interpretation of circumcision as a substitute of castration and a sign of submission to the great father of primeval history. Had Freud explicitly noted his belief in the unconscious association of circumcision, emasculation, and femininity, he would have compromised his efforts to defend Jewish masculinity. While Freud tries to reconfigure circum cision as a sign of Jewish masculinity, the lingering implications of his interpre tation of this unconscious association reflect his inability to overcome his Jewish ambivalence. 68

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Having arrived at an understanding of the theoretical and psychological significance of circum cision for the founder of psychoanalysis, it is now appropriate to ask how scholars using psychoanalytic m odels in Freuds wake might interpret Jewish circumcision. In particular, I would like to look briefly at two examples of the appropriation of Lacanian theory with re spect to Jewish circumcision, and the way these accounts engage Jewish tradition in a more direct manner than Freud. I have chosen to set aside other psychoanalytic perspectives on circumcision, Jewish or otherwise, for future research. In his recent essay, Circumcision, Secrecy, and the Veiling of the Veil: Phallomorphic Exposure and Kabbalistic Esotericism, Elliot Wolfson applies Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to kabbalis tic notions of circumcision and divine mystery. Wolfson contends that the corona of the phallus comprises the focal point of contemplative envisioning of Gods imaginal body in trad itional kabbalistic lore.174 Wolfson utilizes his idea of a wide spread mystical notion that circumcision amounts to an inscription of the divine name upon the body of the male Jew to explain the connection between the bodily penis and the divine object of vision.175 Wolfson writes: Given the nexus universally affirmed by kabbalists between the imaginal body and YHWH, and, by extension, between the site of circumcision and this name, it is more appropriate to spea k of phallus than penis. By identifying the phallus as the veiled object of mystical vision, I [have] in mind the attribute of God, and its corresponding part in the body of the male Jew, that functions as the ultim ate mark of signification.176 174 Wolfson, 2003, 58. 175 Wolfson, 2003, 64. Recall Wolfsons connection between circumcision and the divine name from Chapter 2. 176 Wolfson, 2003, 58. 69

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Here, W olfson draws on Lacans notion of the phallus as signifier without a signified, in order to show the fundame ntal unrepresentability of the object of contemplation. For Wolfson, the corona of the penis should be spoken of as phallus for its paradoxical role as the anatomical part that represents the creative potency of God, or the unrepresentable object of vision.177 In this way, the phallus may be expressed by the Lacanian dial ectic of the signif ier that is veiled in the unveiling of the veil, that is, the object of mystical vision is the phallic sign manifest in the exposure of its hiddenness.178 Circumcision constitutes a culturally specific representation of the phallus, or the ultimate significative object, which appears when all the veils are lifted.179 Paradoxically, circumcisi on conceals the phallus in its disclosure. This paradox is explained in Lacans characteriza tion of the phallus as a symbolic organ defined by negation [inasmuch as] we first become aware of it through the sense of castration. The phallu s, a presence that cannot exist without implying absence, is invisible in its fully realized state.180 Wolfsons Lacanian interpretation of this kabbalistic view of circumcision retains Freuds connection between circumcision and castration, but cas tration in this case is necessary for phallic potency.181 In contrast to Fre uds psycho-historical account of Jewish history and psychoanalytic interpretati on of circumcision, Wolfson s appropriation of Lacan directly addresses Jewish tr adition, or at least a very specific and highly esoteric 177 Wolfson, 2003,64. 178 Wolfson, 2003, 62. 179 Wolfson, 2003, 59. 180 Lacan, quoted in Wolson, 2003, 61. 181 In this vein, Wolfson writes, Reversing what one would expect, heterosexual love-making, which Lacan identifies as a form of poetry, is made de pendent on castration, the abnegation of the phallic potency, Wolfson, 2003, 61. 70

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Jewish tradition. In other words, whereas Fr eud explains circum cision in terms of his own psychoanalytic framework without regard for the meaning of traditional Jewish conceptions of the custom, Wolfson, as a scholar of Jewish mysticism, engages in close readings of medieval kabbalistic text s. Wolfson draws on Lacanian theory in order to support his thesis regarding the nature of mys tical contemplation and its connection to circumcision in kabbalistic literature. Reconstructionist Rabbi Deborah Glanzb erg-Krainins refl ection on her sons circumcision draws on Lacanian theory in order to make sense of the complex significance of brit milah .182 Glanzberg-Krainin explains Lacans notion of the phallus as a symbolic construct, indicativ e of the process by which human beings enter the world of culture, law, and symbolic language, emphasizing that, in contrast to Freud, the anatomical penis is no t central to a child s development.183 Glanzberg-Krainin suggests that circum cision overlooks this distinction between penis and phallus, while en acting aspects of a phallic third term which cuts the mother/child dyad by imposing the phallic law of the fatherthat is, the symbolic system of legal obligation and language, and not the real father of the Oedipus complex.184 Glanzberg-Krainin is most concer ned with the difficulty in supporting a feminist rethinking of Jewish circumcision. She writes, Indeed Lacan does offer an interesting prism for a consid eration of this subjectbut, to my great disappointment, 182 Glanzberg-Krainin, 2003, 198. Berit milah or covenant of circumcision, refers to the Jewish circumcision ceremony. 183 Glanzberg-Krainin, 2003, 198. 184 Glanzberg-Krainin, 2003, 199. 71

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his theories do not offer much to support a fem inist rethinking of berit milah .185 Feminist frameworks for understanding circumcision must be examined in future research. The realization that Freuds tr eatment of circumcisionas a part of his construction of Jewish identity as a w holewas motivated by his insecurity over Jewish effeminacy may prove useful in th is pursuit. The study of Freuds Jewish identity promises to make us eful contributions to those w ho wish to trace the roots of misogyny in Freuds thought, and engage in the feminist r econsideration of psychoanalytic theory. 185 Glanzberg-Krainin, 2003, 198. 72

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References The Harper Collins S tudy Bible, Revised Edition 2006. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. Abusch, Ra'anan. 2003. "Circumcision and Ca stration under Roman Law in the Early Empire". In The Covenant of Circumcision: New Perspectives on an Ancient Jewish Rite. ed. Elizabeth Wyner Mar k, 75-86. Lebanon, NH: Brandeis University Press. Assmann, Jan. 1997. Moses the Egyptian Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Baumgarten, Elisheva. 2003. "Circumcision and Baptism: The Development of a Jewish Ritual in Christian Europe". In The Covenant of Circumcision: New Perspectives on an Ancient Jewish Rite. ed. Elizabeth Wyner Mark, 114-127. Lebanon, NH: Brandeis University Press. Bechtel, Lyn M. 2000. "Dinah". In Women in Scriptures: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New Testament. ed. Meyers et al., 6970. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. Bori, Pier Cesare. 1994. From Hermeneutics to Ethical Consensus Among Cultures Atlanta: Scholars Press. Boyarin, Daniel. 1997. Unheroic conduct: The rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. Breines, Paul. 1990. Tough Jews: Political Fantasie s and the Moral Dilemma of American Jewry. U.S.A: Basic Books, Inc. Cohen, Shaye J. D. 2005. Why Aren't Jewish Women Circumcised? Gender and Covenant in Judaism Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. 2003. A Brief History of Je wish Circumcision Blood. In The Covenant of Circumcision. ed. Elizabeth Wyner Mark, 30-42. Lebanon, NH: Brandeis University Press. Edmundson, Mark. 2007. Defender of the Faith? The New York Times September 9, 2007. Elon, Amos. 1975. Herzl Canada: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. 73

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Freud, Sigmund. 1989. "Obsessive A ctions and Religious Practices". In The Freud Reader. ed. Peter Gay, 429-435. U.S.A.: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1961. The Future of an Illusion New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1955 (b). The Interpretation of Dreams (first part) In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychologica l Works of Sigmund Freud. ed. And trans. James Strachey and Anna Freud. Vol. 4, 1338. London: The Hogart Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. 1955 (a). "Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy". In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychol ogical Works of Sigmund Freud. ed. And trans. James Strachey and Anna Freud. Vol. 10, 3-149. London: The Hogart Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. 1949. An Outline of Psychoanalysis Trans. James Strachey. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1939. Moses and Monotheism Trans. Katherine Jones. New York: Vintage Books. Geller, Jay. 2007. On Freud's Jewish Body: Mitigating Circumcisions. New York: Fordham University Press. Gilman, Sander L. 1993. Freud, Race, and Gender Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Glanzberg-Krainin. Noam s Bris. In The Covenant of Circumcision ., ed. Elizabeth Wyner Mark, 30-42. Lebanon, NH: Brande is University Press. Hall, Calvin S., Gardner Lindzey, and John B. Campbell. 1998. "Sigmund Freud's Classical Psychoanalytic Theory. In Theories of Personality. 4th ed., 30-77. U.S.A. & Canada: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hertzburg, Arthur. 1959. The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader Atheneum, New York: Atheneum. Hoffman, Lawrence A. 1996. Covenant of Blood: Circumcision and Gender in Rabbinic Judaism Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Jay, Nancy. 1992. Throughout your Generations Fo rever: Sacrifice, Religion, and Paternity Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. Smith, Jonathan Z. 1998. Religion, Religions, Religious. In Critical Terms for Religious Studies., ed. Mark C. Taylor. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 74

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75 Wolfson, Elliot R. 1987. "Circumcision a nd the Divine Name: A Study in the Transmission of Esoteric Doctrine". The Jewish Quarterly Review 78 (1) (Jul.Oct.): 77-112. 2003. Circumcision, Secrecy, and the Veiling of the Veil: Phallomorphic Exposure and Kabbalistic Esotericism. In The Covenant of Circumcision ., ed. Elizabeth Wyner Mark, 30-42. Lebanon, NH: Brandeis University Press. Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayim. 1991. Freud's Moses: Judaism Terminable and Interminable New Haven and London: Yale University Press.


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