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The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung Hardcover – August 26, 1997

3.1 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A revisionist biography by Noll, who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

From its inception at the turn of the century, psychology has always appeared to its critics as more a religion than a science. In this particularly vitriolic work, Noll, a professor of the history of science at Harvard, seeks to remove any guise of science from Jungian psychology. Noll brands Jung and his followers as little more than pagan spiritualists and polygamists, employing a veneer of science to add respectability to their rituals. He laments the paucity of Jung's papers available to scholars, noting that Jung's estate has virtually sealed all letters, diaries, and other papers belonging to Jung, his wife, his lovers, and his collaborator, J. J. Honegger. Moreover, he attacks Memories, Dreams, Reflections, widely believed to be autobiographical, as a heavily sanitized fraud composed by Aniela Jaffe, Jung's assistant, and editors at Pantheon Press. Drawing on letters and diaries from Jung's colleagues and patients, Noll recounts in vivid detail numerous episodes of adultery, paganism, and mysticism, including seances and the trances that revealed to Jung his status as a new-age religious prophet, the "Aryan Christ." This serious work of scholarship may cause widespread controversy for it is quite accessible to the lay reader. Ted Leventhal

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679449450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679449454
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When I read Noll's Aryan Christ I felt a sense of deja vu. Had I not read this argument before and found it quite trite? Some searching in my memory and reading the footnotes in Noll's book, confirmed my hunch: For this book Noll recycled an earlier article he had published entitled 'Jung the Leontocephalus', which had appeared in a Jungian journal called 'Spring, a Journal of Archetype and Culture' in 1992. When I read Noll's article then, I thought then that it misrepresented the approach Jung outlines in his writings of the events of 1925 during one of his active imaginations. Out of an episode which takes up no more than a dozen pages in that book, Noll has given us a fairy tale about Jung's inner life and connection to the Mithraic religion. A careful reading of Jung's 'Seminar Notes of 1925' show that Noll's take on Jung's experienced images contradicts Jung's own. Had Noll used a more germane approach, he could have saved himself writing this book and foregone temporary fame and fortune while riding on Jung' shoulders and abusing him. Why do I say this? On page 99 of the Seminar Notes, Jung states clearly how images of the kind he had experienced should be approached. Jung says: 'Anybody could be caught by these things and lost in them--some throw the experience away saying it is all nonsense, and thereby losing their best value, for these are the creative images. Another may identify himself with the images and become a crank or a fool.' It seems to me that Noll has identified himself with an image, which isn't even his own! and has turned himself into a fool about it, and at times a crank.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
The Aryan Christ, despite its shortcomings, makes a significant and critical contribution to providing a fuller picture of Jung the man, and the origins of his thinking. Prior adulatory accounts of Jung have portrayed him as a saintly `wise old man', a scientific pioneer in developing the science of analytical psychology, and, a man of mystical insight revitalizing understanding of the Christian myth.
Noll acknowledges the great contribution of Jung who early recognized the genius of Freud's insight, and his methodology for showing through psychoanalysis that mental disorder was psychological, not heredity. In support of this discovery Jung worked on the Word Association tests to provide a scientific tool capable of mapping the extent and relative strength of neurotic `complexes'. Furthermore he was the first to attempt actual psychological treatment of psychotic patients at the Bergholzli in an age when incarceration was the sole `treatment'.
But what about the deliberate distortions and omissions (some due to Jung, and some by his disciples), and the withholding of documents by his estate? For example, was the Jung / Freud break caused simply by Jung's rejection of the Libido theory, or were the differences more complex? Noll presents convincing evidence that whereas Freud sought to contain libido through sublimation, Jung sought to express it, which he and his closest followers did by a reformulation of it into pagan sexual magic. Jung's own promiscuity and conversion to the polygamous ideas of Otto Gross coincided with the break with Freud. The polygamous practices of Jung's disciples (in Jungian parlance `constellating the anima') have remained a hidden aspect of his thinking.
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Format: Hardcover
The polemic and lurid title and the sensationalism of the blurbs on the cover bespeak the author's partisan resentments and his hunger to sell copies at the expense of intellectual honesty.
The author makes much of the fact that that Jung hid his esoteric "neo-pagan" beliefs behind a mask of Christianity. Anyone even remotely familiar with Jung's work would recognize that his beliefs evolved over time. That he did not instantly publicly proclaim them as they emerged from his mind is hardly surprising or sinister.
The author's assertion that Jung sought to make himself the high priest of some Aryan religion and that he saw himself as "The Aryan Christ" is absurd. To be sure, Jung was hardly an orthodox Christian and he and his followers saw their movement as something more than a mere clinical system. What is so sinister about that? After all, Freud was hardly an orthodox Jew and he and his followers saw their system as something more than an innovative system of psycho-therapy.
Whatever personal motives the author has for making a career out of trashing Jung, there is a market for this tripe because the academic and publishing establishment has a hatred for all manifestations of Germanic culture.
A large chunk of this books is a mean spirited, gossipy account of the lives of three of Jung's female analysands and analysts. The connection between these lives and the author's thesis about Jung is tenuous. These accounts are mere sensationalist padding for a very slight book.
The book contains some useful biographical material and the footnotes are of far greater value than the text. Apologies to Amazaon.com -- but don't waste your money on this book. Get it from the library or get a cheap used copy.
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