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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The Adam and Eve story as exemplar of an early-life variant of the oedipus complex.

The Adam and Eve story is construed as having an organizing function that facilitates the analytic understanding of certain patients. In this interpretation, the story epitomizes a psychodynamic in which progressive growth, with separation and individuation, of the young is experienced as perilous--not only to them, but also correspondingly to their procreators. In the myth, the increasing psychic and physical maturation of Adam and Eve produced a crisis. Not only was divine authority flouted, but also apprehensions were aroused that God might be humbled or diminished. This threatened him, evoking his wrath and leading to the punishment by abandonment of his youthful wards. It is suggested that the story depicts an emotional complex of widespread application and is an archaic version of the oedipus complex, continuous with the oedipus complex proper, but from an earlier stage of development. This archaic complex is delineated with clinical vignettes, and a clinical explication of its various components is provided. Clinical management is considered, particularly with reference to the challenge that a closed-system perspective (Fairbairn 1958) presents to a patient's development.[1]


  1. The Adam and Eve story as exemplar of an early-life variant of the oedipus complex. Osman, M.P. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. (2000) [Pubmed]
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