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Lammers, A.C. (2007). Jung and White and the God of Terrible Double Aspect. J. Anal. Psychol., 52(3):253-274.

(2007). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 52(3):253-274

Conference Papers: IVth History of Analytical Psychology Symposium: ‘Jung and Religion’ Fort Mason, San Francisco, April 2006

Jung and White and the God of Terrible Double Aspect

Ann C. Lammers, Ph.D.

This paper discusses theoretical, historical and personal issues in the ill-fated friendship and intellectual collaboration between C.G. Jung and the Dominican scholar Victor White, O.P., based on primary documents in their correspondence, 1945 to 1960.

The collaboration of Jung and White began with high expectations but fell into painful disagreements about the nature of God, the problem of evil, and shadow aspects of the Self. They made a rapid commitment to their working alliance based on personal and professional hopes, but paying scant attention to their divergent underlying assumptions. White hoped to build theoretical and practical connections between Jungian psychology and Catholic theology for the sake of modern Catholics. Jung needed learned theological support as he explored the psychological meanings of Christian symbols, including the central symbol of Christ. At the grandest level, they both hoped to transform the Christian West, after the moral disaster of World War II.

Their collaboration was risky for both men, especially for White in his career as a Dominican, and it led to considerable suffering. The Self is prominent in the relationship, symbolically present in the text of the correspondence and consciously forming their major topic of debate. From the start, the Self is an archetypal field, drawing the friends into their visionary task at the risk of unconscious inflation. Later the Self is revealed with its shadow as a burden, a puzzle, and a basis for estrangement. Finally, with the intervention of feminine wisdom, mortal suffering is transformed by an attitude of conscious sacrifice.

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