Standing on the very beginning of monotheism, and so of Western tradition, Moses is a determine now not of background, yet of reminiscence. As such, he's the imperative topic for the cutting edge historiography Jan Assmann either defines and practices during this paintings, the learn of historic memory--a research, therefore, of the ways that actual and fictional occasions and characters are saved in non secular ideals and reworked of their philosophical justification, literary reinterpretation, philological restitution (or falsification), and psychoanalytic demystification.
To account for the complexities of the foundational occasion wherein monotheism was once confirmed, Moses the Egyptian is going again to the short-lived monotheistic revolution of the Egyptian king Akhenaten (1360-1340 B.C.E.). Assmann strains the monotheism of Moses to this resource, then exhibits how his fans denied the Egyptians any half within the foundation in their ideals and condemned them as polytheistic idolaters. hence all started the cycle during which each "counter-religion," through constructing itself as fact, denounced all others as fake. Assmann reconstructs this cycle as a trend of old abuse, and tracks its variations from old resources, together with the Bible, via Renaissance debates over the root of faith to Sigmund Freud's Moses and Monotheism. one of many nice Egyptologists of our time, and a superb pupil of historical past and literature, Assmann is uniquely outfitted for this undertaking--an exemplary case examine of the vicissitudes of ancient reminiscence that also is a compelling lesson within the fluidity of cultural identification and beliefs.