Page Level Ad

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Carl Jung: I would abandon the term "Gnostic" without compunction were it not a swearword in the mouths of theologians.




To Erich Neumann

Dear Neumann, 30 January 1954

Best thanks for your friendly letter.

I was just writing to Hull, who is to insert a passage on your work in the English edition of Symbole der Wandlung.

The transition to the New Year has not passed without difficulties: liver and intestine revolted against the too oily hotel cooking in Locarno, though this had its good side in that my holiday was 1-1/2 weeks longer than expected.

I have already penetrated a good way into your "Kulturentwicklung" and shall be able to read further as soon as the mountain of letters that have accumulated during my absence is cleared away.

I would abandon the term "Gnostic" without compunction were it not a swearword in the mouths of theologians.

They accuse me of the very same fault they commit themselves: presumptuous disregard of epistemological barriers.

When a theologian says "God," then God has to be, and be just as the magician wants, without the latter feeling in any way impelled to make clear to himself and his public exactly which concept he is using.

He fraudulently offers his (limited) God-concept to the naive listener as a special revelation.

What sort of God is Buber talking about, for instance? Yahweh? With or without privatio boni?

And if Yahweh, where does he say that this God is certainly not the God of the Christians?

This underhand way of doing holy business I fling in the teeth of theologians of all colours.

I do not maintain that my "gnostic" images are a faithful reflection of their transcendental background, binding on everyone, or that this is conjured up by my naming it.

It is evident that Buber has a bad conscience, as he publishes only his letters and does not represent me fairly, since I am a mere Gnostic, though he hasn't the faintest idea of what the Gnostic was moved by.

Meanwhile with best regards and wishes,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 147.