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Friday, August 7, 2015

Carl Jung and the relativized authority of the Christ figure





To Pastor Willi Bremi

Dear Pastor Bremi, 26 December 1953

Well knowing how numerous and exacting the duties of a clergyman are during feast days, I had not expected such a prompt and comprehensive answer.

There was no hurry at all.

It was very kind of you to explain what is the subjective significance of Schweitzer for you.

The volte face he made is unquestionably impressive.

But I must confess that nihilism was never a problem for me.

I had enough and more than enough reality on my own doorstep.

What interests me much more in the case of Schweitzer is the problem his critique has left behind for the religious-minded layman: the relativized authority of the Christ figure.

What does Protestant theology say about that?

I know Bultmann's answer.

It doesn't enlighten me.

Karl Barth, like the Catholic Church, can overlook this problem (and for the same reasons).

Reading your detailed account of Kierkegaard, I was once again struck by the discrepancy between the perpetual talk about fulfilling God's will and reality: when God appeared to him in the shape of "Regina" he took to his heels.

It was too terrible for him to have to subordinate his autocratism to the love of another person.

Nevertheless K. saw something very essential and at the same time very terrifying: that it is God's "passion to love and be loved."

Naturally it was just this quality that struck K. most forcibly.

One could ascribe plenty of other passions to God which are just as obvious and emphasize his old Jewish character even more strongly-which brings us back to Question: Is Yahweh identical with the God of the New Testament?

Please don't let yourself be rushed by my letters.

I am quite content to hope for an occasional short answer.

It is not intellectual curiosity that prompts such questions; I myself am asked so many things that I seize every favourable opportunity to be taught better.

With best wishes for the New Year,

Very sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 144-145.