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Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume I, 1906-1950 (Vol 1)

[Carl Jung: … Gnosticism has renewed its vitality with me recently…]

To Father Victor White

Dear Victor! May 1948

Finally I am able to write to you.

I thank you very much for your excellent lecture on Gnosticism.

I much admire your balanced judgment and your just evaluation of a subject that has been so often represented in a wrong light and misunderstood by all sorts of comprehensible and incomprehensible prejudices.

Your presentation of the Pistis Sophia is excellent.

Among the patristic writers about Gnosticism I missed Hippolytos, the most thorough and the most intelligent of all.

Epiphanius, who shares the former’s lot, does not deserve much praise.

Your paper has made me think: Have I faith or a faith or not?

I have always been unable to produce faith and I have tried so hard that I finally did not know any more what faith is or means.

I owe it to your paper that I have now apparently an answer: faith or the equivalent of faith with me is what I would call respect.

I have respect for the Christian Truth.

Thus it seems to come down to an involuntary assumption in me that there is something to the dogmatic truth, something indefinable to begin with.

Yet I feel respect for it, although I don’t really understand it.

But I can say my life-work is essentially an attempt to understand what others apparently can believe.

There must be-so I conclude-a rather strong motive-power connected with the Christian Truth, otherwise it would not be explicable why it influences me to such an extent.

My respect is-mind you-involuntary; it is a “datum” of irrational nature.

This is the nearest I can get to what appears to me as “faith.”

There is however nothing specific in it, since I feel the same kind of respect for the basic teachings of Buddhism and the fundamental Taoist ideas.

In the case of the Christian Truth one would be inclined to explain this a priori respect through my Christian education.

Yet the same cannot be said in the case of Buddhism, Taoism and certain aspects of Islam.

Hindu theology curiously enough never had the same appeal, although it has gripped my intellect at times quite powerfully.

Gnosticism has renewed its vitality with me recently, as I was deeply concerned with the question of how the figure of Christ was received into Hellenistic nature-philosophy and hence into alchemy.

A little book has grown out of such studies within the last months.

It will be, I am afraid, a shocking and difficult book.

It has reduced me to a most curious attempt to formulate the progress of symbolism within the last two thousand years through the figure of quaternities based upon 2 quaterniones of the Naasenes as mentioned by Hippolytos.

The first one is the so-called Moses-quaternio.

Well, it is a mad thing, which I cannot explain here but it seems hellishly important in so far as it winds up with the physical time-space quatemio.

The whole seems to be logically watertight.

I feel reasonably well and hope you do the same.

You must have had an interesting time.

A Jesuit professor of theology at Louvainis coming to see me next week.

They begin to sit up.

Looking forward to the summer, when I hope to see you again at Bollingen,

Yours cordially, C.G. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 501-503

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Great Sites to visit:

  1. Jenna Lilla’s Path of the Soul http://jennalilla.org/

  2. Steve Jung-Hearted Parker’s Jung Currents http://jungcurrents.com/

  3. Frith Luton’s Jungian Dream Analysis and Psychotherapy: http://frithluton.com/articles/

  4. Lance S. Owens The Gnosis Archives http://gnosis.org/welcome.html