OEDIPUS AND AKHNATON by Immanuel  Velikovsky


Myth And History
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Velikovsky is a controversial figure, whether writing about Worlds in Collision and Ages in Chaos (which do not seem so remote as when he envisioned them)- or today with his provocative theory relating to the Oedipus legend. This is an ingenious and often entertaining and persuasive attempt to equate the myth of King Oedipus with the historical facts about the great Egyptian reformer-king, Akhnaton, Egypt's builder of a monotheistic cult. The drive behind this book is the finding of an historical basis for a familiar myth. Just as Schliemann by his excavations at Troy turned Helen from a legend into a woman of flesh and blood, so Velikovsky approaches the Oedipus myth. The key facets of the myth- the exiled prince who returns to his native land not (even Velikovsky admits) to slay his father but to marry his mother, and who brought destruction thereby upon his native land and was sent forth discredited -- can be made, with a bit of pushing and pulling, to apply to the similar story of Akhnaton. Part of the claim is that Thebes in Greece took its name from the older Thebes in Egypt. The Egyptian story is loose and inexact, as reality is apt to be; the Greek myth is tightened by the Greek gift for story telling. It will be for scholars and Egyptologists to explore Velikovsky's thesis. His scholarship in this field has yet to be proved, though as usual he has used his theme as a book to hang his very considerable fund of knowledge and his inexhaustible fancies on. He writes with imagination and style. This book, however controversial, is certainly entertaining. It may even serve to take readers back to Sophocles.
Pub Date: March 23rd, 1960
ISBN: 0671831933
Page count: 255pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1960


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