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Socrates and the JewsHellenism and Hebraism from Moses Mendelssohn to Sigmund Freud$
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Miriam Leonard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226472478

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226472492.001.0001

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Moses on the Acropolis:

Moses on the Acropolis:

Sigmund Freud

(p.177) 5 Moses on the Acropolis:
Socrates and the Jews
University of Chicago Press

Ernest Renan wrote an essay entitled “Prayer on the Acropolis,” in which he reflects on the question of recollection. For him, the practice of history was a bar to the enjoyment of personal recollection but the power of Athens over his personal memory was inextricably linked to the quality of the civilization. Renan draws self-consciously on an established contrast between Hellenism and Hebraism. Some forty years later, Sigmund Freud wrote an account of his experience on the Acropolis in an essay entitled “A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis.” Both Renan's “Prayer on the Acropolis” and Freud's “A Disturbance” were structured around a double experience of memory. On the surface, the two essays represent diametrically opposed reactions, yet both are profound meditations on the link between recollection and philology cut across by the Hellenism/Hebraism antithesis.

Keywords:   Ernest Renan, Acropolis, Sigmund Freud, recollection, memory, Hellenism, Hebraism, philology, Athens

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