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Meyer, B.C. (1979). Vicissitudes of Faith: Reflections on the Life of Bishop James A. Pike. Ann. Psychoanal., 7:345-367.

(1979). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 7:345-367

V Applications

Vicissitudes of Faith: Reflections on the Life of Bishop James A. Pike

Bernard C. Meyer, M.D.


In the late summer of 1969, shortly after his arrival in Israel with his new bride, Diane—his third wife—Bishop James A. Pike confided to her the title he had chosen for his proposed autobiography: Nothing to Hide. Months later she recalled that it had been the first time he had seriously considered such an undertaking, always insisting it was “too early.” As matters turned out, it proved to be too late, for on the following day, while embarked upon a recklessly planned and hazardous excursion into the rocky Judean desert, Pike plunged to his death in a 70-foot fall.

In retrospect it seems possible that he may have had a premonition of his imminent fate. For the first time this much traveled man had taken out accident insurance before his departure from America, and on the eve of the ill-fated safari he told his wife that he had had a “precognition” of the death of his mother: he had “seen” her fall. Prompted by this strange vision he was moved to describe the kind of burial service and requiem that would be appropriate for her, thereby providing a guide for his own forthcoming obsequies.

Yet, although he never came to set down a comprehensive account of his personal history, the bishop was far from reticent about revealing himself in print.

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