Answer to Job

Answer to Job

Answer to Job

Answer to Job

Synopsis

Considered one of Jung's most controversial works, Answer to Job also stands as Jung's most extensive commentary on a biblical text. Here, he confronts the story of the man who challenged God, the man who experienced hell on earth and still did not reject his faith. Job's journey parallels Jung's own experience--as reported in The Red Book: Liber Novus --of descending into the depths of his own unconscious, confronting and reconciling the rejected aspects of his soul.

This paperback edition of Jung's classic work includes a new foreword by Sonu Shamdasani, Philemon Professor of Jung History at University College London. Described by Shamdasani as "the theology behind The Red Book," Answer to Job examines the symbolic role that theological concepts play in an individual's psychic life.

Excerpt

READING JUNG AFTER THE RED BOOK

With the publication of Liber Novus—Jung’s Red Book —a new chapter opens in the reading of Jung’s works. For the first time, one is in a position to grasp the constitution of Jung’s work from 1914 onward, and to trace the intimate connections between his selfexperimentation and his attempts to determine the typical features of this process through his work with his patients and translate his insights into a language acceptable to a medical and scientific public. Thus, reading Liber Novus brings with it the task of rereading Jung’s Collected Works—much of which appears in a wholly new light.

In the winter of 1913, Jung embarked on a process of selfexperimentation. He deliberately gave free rein to his fantasy thinking and carefully noted what ensued. He later called this process “active imagination.” He wrote down these fantasies in the Black Books. These are not personal diaries, but rather the records of a self-experimentation. The dialogues that form these active imaginations can be regarded as a type of thinking in a dramatic form.

When World War I broke out, Jung considered that a number of his fantasies were precognitions of this event. This led him to compose the first draft of Liber Novus, which consisted of a transcription of the main fantasies from the Black Books, together with a layer of interpretive commentaries and lyrical elaboration. Here Jung attempted to derive general psychological principles from the fantasies, as well as to understand to what extent the events portrayed in the fantasies presented, in a symbolic form, developments that were to occur in the world.

Jung recopied the manuscript in an ornate Gothic script into a large red leather folio volume, which he illustrated with his own

C. G. Jung, The Red Book, edited and introduced by Sonu Shamdasani and translated by Mark Kyburz, John Peck, and Sonu Shamdasani, Philemon Series (New York: W. W. Norton, 2009).

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