Thursday, March 04, 2010

Karl Barth and Carl Jung on Job

Heather den Houting has an essay on her blog from a couple of years ago comparing Karl Barth and Carl Jung on the book of Job.

She summarizes Jung's take on the book of Job as follows:

• In the Book of Job the nature of Yahweh is disclosed as “an antimony – a totality of inner opposites;”
• “Job realises God’s inner antinomy, and in the light of this realisation his knowledge attains a divine numinosity;”
• This therefore is a “new factor” having “never occurred before in world history…without knowing it or wanting it, a mortal man is raised by his moral behaviour above the stars in heaven, from which position of advantage he can behold the back of Yahweh;”
• God becomes reflective and is reminded of Wisdom (of whom he had lost sight, and whose feminine role had been replaced by the “covenant with the chosen people” );
• Wisdom heralds a coming act of creation, but “this time it is not the world that is to be changed; rather it is God who intends to change his own nature.”
• God must be changed as his “creature has surpassed him, he must regenerate himself;”
• God is born as human, through Sophia/Mary;
• Christ’s death is a “fate chosen by Yahweh as a reparation of the wrong done to Job…and as a fillip to the spiritual and moral development of man (sic);”
• However, the immensity of God is still reflected in the Gospels and in Revelation, as both God incarnated as light and God as fierce and terrible; as a result God can be loved but must be feared,”
• Thus, “Yahweh’s decision to become man is a symbol of the development that had to supervene when man becomes conscious of the sort of God-image he is confronted with. God acts out of the unconscious of man and forces him (sic) to harmonise and unite the opposing influences to which his (sic) mind is exposed from the unconscious. The unconscious wants both: to divide and to unite. In his (sic) striving for unity, therefore, man (sic) may always count on the help of a metaphysical advocate, as Job clearly recognised.”


Obviously some problematic directions here, but still some interesting possibilities, particularly with regard to the incarnation.

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