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Letters of C. G. Jung: Volume 2, 1951-1961

To Fritz Buri

Dear Professor Buri, 5 May 1952

Since you were kind enough to send me your review, I am taking the liberty of going more closely into a few points in it.

As you know, I apply my method not only to my patients but also to all historical and contemporary products of the mind.

With regard to Yahweh’s “cure” it should be noted that anything that happens in our consciousness has a retroactive effect on the unconscious archetype.

Submission to the archetype that appears as an unjust God must bring about a change in this “God.”

And this, as subsequent history proves, is what actually happened.

Yahweh’s injustice and amorality were known to the Jews and were a source of disquiet and distress.

(Cf. the drastic passages cited in Aion, pp. 93ff)

The transformation of the God of the Old Testament into the God of the New is not my invention but was known long ago in the Middle Ages.

I am in truth concerned with the “depths of the human psyche,” as I expressly point out.

But I cannot make statements about a metaphysical God, nor do I imagine that with the term “God” I have “posited” anything metaphysical.

I speak always and exclusively only of the anthropomorphic God-image.

The verbal inspiration of the Bible seems to me an implausible and unprovable hypothesis.

I do not by any means dispute the existence of a metaphysical God, but I allow myself to put human statements under the microscope.

Had I criticized the chronique scandaleuse of Olympus this would have caused an uproar 2500 years ago.

Today nobody would bat an eyelid.

I do not pretend to know anything tenable or provable about a metaphysical God.

I therefore don’t quite understand how you can smell “gnostic” arrogance in this attitude.

In strictest contrast to Gnosticism and theology, I confine myself to the psychology of an theriomorphic ideas and have never maintained that I possess the slightest trace of metaphysical knowledge.

Just as the physicist regards the atom as a model, I regard archetypal ideas as sketches for the purpose of visualizing the unknown background.

One would hardly call a physicist a Gnostic because of his atomic models.

Nor should one want to know better than God, who himself regrets his actions and thereby plainly says what he himself thinks of them.

Anyway I am very grateful to you for having expounded my shocking thought-processes so objectively-a rare experience for me!

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 64-65.