"Thou shall have no other gods before me": a Jungian approach to understanding the first commandment

William Edgar Kopp
The author presents the thesis that the "gods" implied in the first commandment are to be found in the archetypal images of the collective unconscious and adds two corollaries to his hypothesis, first that Jung's psychological theories offer significant insight into our polytheistic nature, and second, that a methodology based upon Jungian psychology could assist persons in their personal struggle with a polytheistic psychology and facilitate movement toward a "radical monotheism" (cf H Richard Niebuhr). The hypothesis and accompanying corollaries were studied using an already existing Jungian study curriculum produced by the Centerpoint Foundation, called Centerpoint I. The curriculum was enhanced by the addition of Ira Progoff's journaling methodology, the personal journals of the participants being the major evaluative data sources for the research itself. The data was generally in support of the hypothesis and its corollaries, namely, that our polytheistic tendencies are rooted in the human psyche and that heightened personal consciousness equates with a movement from polytheism toward monotheism.
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