The book presents a kind of criminal case history of Moses and Monotheism, contending that Freud dissembled this much-criticized work in a kind of literary code. Most critics believe that this perplexing work — which claimed that Moses was an Egyptian killed by Hebrews — was a symptom of senility and Jewish self-hatred.
HEROIC FRAUD contends that Freud composed his final book so that its true meaning could only be understood by readers familiar with psychoanalysis. By tracing the many “Freudian slips” in the text and other symptomatic expression, one can decipher his latent intent much as a psychoanalyst might interpret the garbled manifest content of a dream.
Properly interpreted, the book is not hostile to the Jews but rather to their contemporary enemies, showing the root causes of anti-Semitism, conclusions too provocative to be outspoken at the time. Even now, his long-concealed ideas and conclusions are bound to arouse controversy and opposition.
Koret later lived in Israel, and the idea of whether Freud had laced that last book, which critics called his worst, with secret meanings meant for future generations stayed in his mind. Koret researched the book in Vienna and decided to publish it on his own rather than wait for an academic press to accept it.
The book has a strong, if understated Princeton connection, thanks to Freud's friendship with German author Thomas Mann, the 1929 Nobel laureate in literature. Mann's personalities and writings, especially his series of novels on Joseph and his brothers, appear throughout the book. Mann lived in Princeton at 65 Stockton Street from about 1939 to 1942 and lectured at the university.
Heroic Fraud analyzes the first two chapters of Moses and Monotheism, with a sequel appearing this spring covering the last two chapters.