THE TEMPTATION by Theodor Rolk


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Reik is now one of the last of Freud's cherished pupils and a wise old man in his own right. Here he is off again on the favorite hobby of his late years- the theory that primitive puberty initiation rites underly some of the famous stories of the Bible, and that they can be equated with African and Australian tribal customs. In his Mystery on the Mountain he presented Moses as a cult hero. He pursues the same theme here in relation to the story of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac- always a tale that has lent itself to amplifications and interpretations in both Jewish and Christian lore. But Theodor Reik- basing his conclusions on extensive research- holds to his conviction that the pubertal initiation rites underlin the knife Abraham raised against his son. He goes further- noting the resemblance between this and the crucifixion of Jesus. Fundamentalists will resent this iconoclastic approach. But scholars will cut through his discursiveness and lack of organization to the stimulation and challenge of this last of his tetralogy on Biblical subjects. It will perhaps be chiefly of concern to anthropologists, ethologists, to some psychologists who are willing to let learning plus fine intuition take the place of cut and dried scholarship.

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 1961
Publisher: Braziller