How Jung’s Theories of The Self May Be Classified as Gnostic and are Grounded in Gnostic Cosmology

Ginty, Jacqueline (2023) How Jung’s Theories of The Self May Be Classified as Gnostic and are Grounded in Gnostic Cosmology. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Ginty, Jacqueline (2023) MA How Jung’s Theories of The Self May Be Classified as Gnostic and are Grounded in Gnostic Cosmology Thesis.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License CC-BY-NC-ND Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview


This text-based paper examines how Carl Jung’s theories of the self may be classified as Gnostic and are grounded in Gnostic cosmology. Murray Stein described Jung’s ideas about Gnosticism in relation to the self as hard to follow, and other Jungian analysts have interpreted ancient Gnostic texts but have not paid close attention to Jung’s sources and comments on Gnosticism. This analysis compares Jung’s Gnosticism to a classical typology depicted by many ancient theologians and still widely accepted by scholars. Gnostic scholars tend to underemphasise the role of Gnostic cosmology when considering the redemptive aspects of Gnosticism and Jungian analysts have similarly overlooked Jung’s incorporation of astrological cosmology and how he may be classified as gnostic. This paper addresses these gaps by comparing Jung’s comments on Gnosticism to more recently recovered Gnostic texts belonging to a mythical framework linked to the typology. Robert Segal disagreed that the aims of Jung’s psychology and Gnosticism were aligned, but he adopted the prevailing view of Gnosticism as world-negating and inherently dualistic and whilst these motifs were present in Gnostic doctrines, other themes which revealed inclusivity, the potential for reconciliation and holism appear to be overlooked. All the key concepts Jung utilised for his theories could be clarified and elaborated on by more recently available material, which illustrates that Jung’s psychological theories of the self are deeply aligned with, if not, directly inspired by classical Gnosticism especially those with a Platonizing/Neoplatonic emphasis and where Jung’s perceptions differed from the typology they could often be supported by Gnostic texts, suggesting that the typology may need to be enhanced where applicable. Jung’s focus on Gnostic cosmology highlights why his theories incorporated, but did not rest with Gnostic dualism, instead perceiving an underlying unity and correspondence between humanity and divinity that was capable of conscious reunification.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Victoria Hankinson
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2024 14:39
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2024 14:39

Administrator Actions (login required)

Edit Item - Repository Staff Only Edit Item - Repository Staff Only