The Red Book

Philo Judeaus, also called Philo of Alexandria (20 BCE- 50 CE), was a Greek-speaking Jewish philosopher.

His works presented a fusion of Greek philosophy and Judaism. For Philo, God, to whom he referred by the Platonic term “To On” (the One) was transcendent and unknowable. Certain powers reached down from God to the world.

The facet of God knowable through reason is the divine logos. There has been much debate on the precise relation between Philo’s concept of the logos and John’s gospel.

On June 23, 1954, Jung wrote to James Kirsch, “The gnosis from which John the Evangelist emanated, is definitely Jewish, but its essence is

Hellenistic, in the style of Philo Judaeus, the founder of the teachings of the logos” (JA). ~The Red Book, Page 268, Footnote 48

A (Anchorite): “Unfortunately I am in no position to tell you everything I know about it. But at least I will try to make the elements clear to you.

Because of your ignorance I will therefore begin elsewhere this time: What you need to know is that before I became acquainted with Christianity; I was a rhetorician and philosopher in the city of Alexandria.

I had a great throng of students, including many Romans, a few barbarians, and also some Gauls and Britons.

I taught them not only the history of Greek philosophy but also the new systems, among them the system of Philo, whom we call the Jew He was a clever head, but fantastically abstract, as the Jews are wont to be when they devise systems; moreover he was a slave of his own words. I added my own, and wove an atrocious web of words in which I ensnared not only my listeners, but also myself.

We rioted terribly among words and names, our own miserable creatures, and accorded divine potency to them. Yes, we even believed in their reality; and believed that we possessed the divine and had committed it to words.”

I (Jung): “But Philo Judeaus, if this is who you mean, was a serious philosopher and a great thinker. Even John the Evangelist included some of Philo’s thoughts in the gospel.”

A: “You are right. It is to Philo’s credit that he furnished language like so many other philosophers. He belongs to the language artists. But words should not become Gods.”

I: “I fail to understand you here. Does it not say in the gospel according to John: God was the Word. It appears to make quite explicit the point which you have just now rejected.”

A (Anchorite): “Guard against being a slave to words. Here is the gospel: read from that passage where it says: In him was the life. What does John say there?”

I (Jung): “‘And life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not understood it. But it became a person sent from God, by the name of John, who came as a witness and to be a witness of the light. The genuine light, which illuminates each person, came into the world: He was in the world, and the world became through him, and the world did not recognize him.’ – That is what I read here. But what do you make of this?”

A: “I ask you, was this [Logos] a concept, a word? It was a light, indeed a man, and lived among men.

You see, Philo only lent John the word so that John would have at his disposal the word ‘Logos:’ alongside the word ‘light’ to describe the son of man. John gave to living men the meaning of the Logos, but Philo gave Logos as the dead concept that usurped life, even the divine life. Through this the dead does not gain life, and the living is killed. And this was also my atrocious error.”

I: “I see what you mean. This thought is new to me and seems worth consideration. Until now it always seemed to me / as if it were exactly that which was meaningful in John, namely that the son of man is the Logos, in that he thus elevates the lower to the higher spirit, to the world of the Logos. But you lead me to see the matter conversely, namely that John brings the meaning of the Logos down to man.”

A: I learned to see that John has in fact even done the great service of having brought the meaning of the Logos up to man.”

I: “You have peculiar insights that stretch my curiosity to the utmost. How is that? Do you think that the human stands higher than the Logos”

A: “I want to answer this question within the scope of your understanding: if the human God had not become important above everything, he would not have appeared as the son in the flesh, but in the Logos.”

I: “That makes sense to me, but I confess that this view is surprising to me. It is especially astonishing to me that you, a Christian anchorite, have come to such views. I would not have expected this of you.” ~The Anchorite and Dr. Jung, The Red Book, Pages 268-269