The Myth of the Birth of the Hero: A Psychological Interpretation of Mythology

By Otto Rank; F. Robbins et al. | Go to book overview

said, this is one of the Hebrews' children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses:26 and she said, Because I drew him out of the water."

This account is ornamented by Rabbi mythology through an account of the events preceding Moses' birth. In the sixtieth year after Joseph's death, the reigning Pharaoh saw in his dream an old man, who held a pair of scales, all the inhabitants of Egypt lay on one side, with only a sucking lamb on the other, but nevertheless this outweighed all the Egyptians. The startled king at once consulted the wise men and astrologers, who declared the dream to mean that a son would be born to the Israelites, who would destroy all Egypt. The king was frightened, and at once ordered the death of all newborn children of the Israelites in the entire country. On account of this tyrannical order, the Levite Amram, who lived in Goshen, meant to separate from his wife Jocabed, so as not to foredoom to certain death the children conceived from him. But this resolution was opposed later on by his daughter Miriam, who foretold with prophetic assurance that precisely the child suggested in the king's dream would come forth from her mother's womb, and would become the liberator of his people.27

Amram therefore rejoined his wife, from whom he had been separated for three years. At the end of three months, she con-

____________________
26
The name, according to Winckler ( "Babylonian Mental Culture", p. 119), means "The Water-Drawer" (see also Winckler, "Ancient Oriental Studies", III, 468, etc.), which would still further approach the Moses legend to the Sargon legend, for the name Akki signifies I have drawn water.
27
Schemot Rabba, fol. 2, 4. Concerning 2, Moses 1, 22, says that Pharaoh was told by the astrologers of a woman who was pregnant with the Redeemer of Israel.

-14-

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The Myth of the Birth of the Hero: A Psychological Interpretation of Mythology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Nervous and Mental Disease Monograph Series ii
  • Table of Contents iii
  • Introduction 1
  • Sargon 12
  • Moses 14
  • Karna 16
  • Œdipus 18
  • Paris 21
  • Telephos 22
  • Perseus 23
  • Gilgamos 24
  • Tristan 39
  • Romulus. 41
  • Hercules 45
  • Siegfried 54
  • Lohengrin 56
  • Index 95
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