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Carl Jung: Christ is not a personification of the archetype


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Letters Volume II

To Helene Kiener

Dear Fraulein Kiener, 1 June 1956

I would answer your questions as follows:

The “Christ archetype” is a false concept, as you say.

Christ is not an archetype but a personification of the archetype.

This is reflected in the idea of the Anthropos, the homo maximus or Primordial Man (Adam Kadmon).

In India it is Purusha, and in China Chen-jen (the whole or true man) as a
goal to be attained.

Purusha as creator sacrifices himself in order to bring the world into being: God dissolves in his own creation.

(This thought occurs in a modern dream.)

The Incarnation results from Christ “emptying himself of divinity” and taking the form of a slave.

Thus he is in bondage to man as the demiurge is in bondage to the world.

(Concerning the bondage of the creator to his creature, cf. Answer to Job, his identification with the two monsters4 and his inability to understand man.)

The spiritual (as contrasted with the worldly) Messiah, Christ, Mithras, Osiris, Dionysos, Buddha are all visualizations or personifications of the irrepresentable archetype which, borrowing from Ezekiel and Daniel, I call the Anthropos.

Bernet’s book is illogical because he simply cannot understand that we are not speaking of God himself but only of an image we have of him.

Through this epistemological slipperiness theology gets caught in its own toils.

With best regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung

P.S. The passage from the modern dream was as follows:

There were “five unities” which represented “the whole creation of the universe.

But then something happened . . . that shook me profoundly . . . .

He, whose eternal existence I had never dared to doubt consciously, reduced the five unities to four unities by dissolving himself into Nothing.” ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 304-306.