Colloquium June 27, 1959

On Redemption

Ignaz Tauber: Dr. Baumann would like to ask something.

Hans Baumann: I’d be interested precisely in the problem of “redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ” in more detail. And I believe several others in the group would, too.

C.G. Jung: Yes – just realize this! What does it mean? Why should our sins be washed away through blood? What, for God’s sake does this mean?

It means, for example: A human being, without sin, is being slaughtered.

He is the son of a great god.

He is being sent by him, but then is turned over to his enemies, without this god protectively intervening.

So, this god hands over his own son to his enemies. He doesn’t intervene.

And then the son is cruelly executed, and the blood that pours out from him has magical powers, because it can cause the sins committed by other people to no longer exist.

So how is this to be understood?

In the first place like this: The sins we commit are in disobedience toward the commandments of God.

In the Old Testament it is the first parents who were disobedient, and that is what became the maculacati originalis.

The disobedience of the first parents has caused us to be corrupted and, as a consequence, mortal.

The theme of disobedience – this highly archaic theme! – is, then, carried over into Christian dogma: Our sins consist of disobedience.

About this, the world-creator is horribly angered every time – to such a degree, in fact, that he can only be appeased by having his son slaughtered. Just imagine such a bloodthirsty story!

He is being reconciled through the sacrifice of Christ.

So, for example, there exists a mighty tyrant, whose rage I’ve brought upon myself, and he is reconciled when I have my own son killed – indeed, even when I’m being led to kill my own son, as happened to Abraham.

There is a Jewish commentary on this Abraham-Isaac story.

There it says: When the angel brought the buck, the ram, in place of Isaac, Isaac wasn’t killed.

Then Yahweh said to Abraham that he could come down from the altar. It was done now, finished.

But Abraham responded, no, he was going to stay up at the altar, he had something to say.

Namely, He, Yahweh, had ordered him to kill his son Isaac, so he had almost stabbed him to death.

And then Yahweh would have broken his word, because he had promised Isaac his seed.

Then Yahweh said, “Yes, by god, that’s true.”

This is why, on the Day of Reconciliation, one has to blow the Shofar in the Synagogue – that’s the buckhorn with which the heretics are being cursed – so that

He, Yahweh, is reminded that He almost broke his word!

That is Jewish theology. It’s the same as the story of the high priest, who once every year, on the day of the spring equinox, goes into the sanctuary.

“And there,” it says, “he saw the splendor of Adonai.” (Adonai means Lord.)

And the magnificent one spoke to him and said, “Bless me, my son.”

Then the high priest gave Him the blessing and added, “And may you always remember

your good qualities more than your bad ones.”

That is the psychology of Job. From there the conflict of Job originates.

It is the awareness of an original non-differentiation, one can almost say, identity of good and evil, an incomprehensible oneness of the two.

They stand next to each other.

For us, it means that there is an absolute ambivalence, first and foremost in Yahweh.

But in the New Testament you can find the same traces, namely that the God of the New Testament is by no means a god of love; rather he is a vengeful, a terribly vengeful God, who even slaughtered his own son, in order to get out of his own anger.

That’s what it amounts to. Therein, quite clearly, are mirrored psychic situations in man.

It is impossible for us to imagine a universal creator who would not be a pair of opposites.

He must be a polarity, otherwise he would have no energy.

There would be no creation of light out of darkness.

If there is no darkness, neither is there light emanating out of it, and if there is no light, there is no darkness.

It has to be like that.

But when the two are separated, that’s when matters become difficult; then there is an ambivalent image of God, which we keep hiding from ourselves.

This is what theologians do.

From there arises unavoidably another observation: On the second day of creation – that was a Monday, because He started on Sunday – “There was light.”

On Monday the opposites were separated; the upper waters were separated from the lower ones.

On the eve of that day, Yahweh didn’t say, “And behold, it was good.”

He said that on all the other days, but not on that one.

Now this was on the day of the woman, Luna, and on the day of the heavenly bodies.

In the Middle

Ages it was claimed that the devil was created on that day, the snake in paradise, which, mind you, existed before Adam.

In the Middle Ages, it was said that this day of creation wasn’t praised because it had been a somewhat unfortunate business.

When I came upon this (while reading authors from the Middle Ages) I looked up the famous Genesis commentary by Origen.

Indeed, there he says that God praised his creation on all of the days – but he must have kept this annoying business quiet. Something extraordinary must have happened on that day for God not to praise it.

That, too, was passed over. Nobody thinks about it.

In the Middle Ages, such things were still sniffed out, because one thought about them.

But today we think infinitely less about these biblical matters than one did in the Middle Ages, infinitely less.

We do critical text analysis and such, but we don’t think about things.

I wonder how many of our theologians have even a hunch about the Jewish commentaries on the Old Testament, for example about this ambivalence, or about the undeniable fact that God requests a blood sacrifice, namely, that he treated his own son in this way, and demanded the same of Abraham.

There, fortunately, it didn’t happen, but almost, almost! I don’t know if on the Day of Reconciliation, the Shofar will actually be blown with conscious knowledge.

Of course, it was blown as a call to come into the presence of Yahweh, just like when we ring the church bells.

In Rothenthurm, they wrote in large letters onto the roof of the church, “Saint Anthony, pray for us!” so that he could see it from heaven.

The bell has a significance similar to the gong in the East.

The gong is a metallic, far-reaching voice that is repeated by each individual when saying, “Om.”

That is the stroke of the gong. That is the call, the invocation.

Originally, it comes from a primordial sound that I heard in Africa too, namely, “mmh.”

One says that instinctively for a nice view, beautiful music, a beautiful painting, a beautiful girl – one says, “mmh.” I found myself with a delegation of members from the “British Association” on the Tiger Hill in Darjeeling, where we watched the sunset over the Kanchenjunga.

It was a superb spectacle. All these British naturalists said to themselves, “mmh.”

I couldn’t help but ask afterwards whether they knew the kind of prayer they’d uttered. Namely an archaic prayer.

At the time there were many Tibetan prayer flags around us; long bamboo sticks with tiny white flags attached.

These were decorated with block-prints that showed the Ratna-Sambhava, the horse with Cintamani, the priceless treasure, the unattainable treasure, and with the transcription, “om mani padme hum.”

That means, “oh, the gem in the lotus. “Here you have the two together.

These people didn’t know it, but the beauty was so overwhelming that each one said to himself, “mmh.”

Now, that is a primal sound; because it is the sound a mother says to her child when the child doesn’t want to eat, “Mmh, it tastes good, just try it, mmh.”

Or if one meets up with an African negro, and the situation isn’t completely safe.

One doesn’t know how it’s going to play out; he doesn’t trust me and I don’t trust him.

Then both sit on the floor, put their weapons down and say, “Mmh, mmh, mmh,” and so it goes for a while, back and forth, “Mmh, (d)jambo, (d)jambo, (d)jambo …mmh,” and slowly one moves closer.

These are soothing sounds, recommendations, expressions of appreciation: “Mmh, this is good.”

And this became an invocation.

In antiquity, for example – this, too, was ridiculed – one could always hear whistling and finger-snapping at the Mithras temples.

With this, one attracted the gods. One attracted them like dogs, like animals.

One attracted them, so to speak, through their animal attributes. So ultimately, that’s where the bells originate.

Of course, there is a lot of archaic material, by which one is simply drawn into unconsciousness.

The British scientists were a selection of famous gentlemen who would have had a priceless opportunity to realize their feelings.

But they were so pathetic that they could only utter the primal sound, “mmh.”

At last, one of them begged me to recite, for god’s sake, the sunset passage in Goethe’s Faust.

I still knew it in parts and recited it, namely so that the feeling could be given expression.

It was the historian from Cambridge who’d asked me.

I found it remarkable that he felt that something had to be said.

Anything else?  ~Sabi Tauber, Sabi Tauber: Encounters with Jung, Page 200-204