To Hugo Rahner, S.J.
Dear Colleague, 20 November 1944
Very best thanks for kindly sending me your beautiful book.
Leafing through it, I was immediately struck by the poem of Paulinus of Nola, especially the verse : “Out of this mother is born the Ancient as well as the Infant. . . .”
Just now I am busy with the motif of the king’s birth in alchemy.
There is in alchemy an author who was an English clergyman in the 15th century.
He calls the king the antiquus dierum.
All this Senex-Puer symbolism has to do with the renewal of the ageing god in Ancient Egypt.
The passage in Paulinus forces on me a question I really didn’t want to ask you because it seems absurd: are there, in a way I don’t suspect, any ideas in the patristic literature that might refer to the senescence of the Deity?
Although this thoroughly pagan thought seems completely impossible to me, the insistence on the old man who is reborn as a child nevertheless has a suggestive affinity with the Egyptian motif.
You were kind enough to put a copy of your “Gottesgeburt” at my disposal.
As it is a bound copy I assume that I should return it to you.
It has been lying around so long because of my illness and till now I have unfortunately had no opportunity to make excerpts from it.
May I keep it for a while longer?
Allow me to take this opportunity not only to thank you for your beautiful new book, but also to express the gratitude we all feel for your work on patristic symbolism, which for us is extraordinarily valuable.
Your researches help to bridge that difficult gap which separates the modern consciousness from the living myths of antiquity.
With best regards,
C.G. Jung; [Letters; Volume 1; Pages 353-354]