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Newton, K. (1987). Edinger, Edward P. Encounter with the Self: a Jungian Commentary on William Blake's Illustrations of the Book of Job. Toronto, Inner City Books, 1986. Pp. 74. $10.. J. Anal. Psychol., 32(3):293-296.
   

(1987). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 32(3):293-296

Edinger, Edward P. Encounter with the Self: a Jungian Commentary on William Blake's Illustrations of the Book of Job. Toronto, Inner City Books, 1986. Pp. 74. $10.

Review by:
Kate Newton

Edited by:
Andrew Samuels

Reviewing this book is a complex undertaking. Edinger's exposition of the encounter with the self is based on Blake's twenty-one engravings all reproduced in this compact little book. As most readers will know, Blake's engravings are a visionary response to the Biblical text which introduces new dimensions of understanding and also stays with the central mystery of Job's experience. As with all great works of art these engravings evoke depth responses and many potential interpretations. They raise basic issues about the relationship between man and God, good and evil, innocence and knowledge. Edinger makes admirably succinct comments on each engraving and presents us with a great deal of insight in a very condensed form. While the engravings illustrate paradoxes in Job's relationship with God, Edinger's commentary presents us with additional paradoxes inherent in Jung's hypothesis of the self.

Edinger's primary concern is to interpret the engravings in terms of the ego-self relationships. He defines the self as ‘the transpersonal centre and totality of the psyche’. ‘It constitutes the greater objective personality, whereas the ego is the lesser subjective personality.’ ‘Empirically it cannot be distinguished from the God image.’ Edinger responds to the engravings in terms of Yahweh/self-Job/ego. Job's wife, ‘friends’ and family stand for aspects of Job's psyche. Each image therefore symbolises a quality of ego-self relationship.

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