Katabasis in reverse: Heraclitus, the archaic, and the abyss

Bishop, P. (2022) Katabasis in reverse: Heraclitus, the archaic, and the abyss. In: The Descent of the Soul and the Archaic: Katábasis and Depth Psychology. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 31-51. ISBN 9780367514983 (doi: 10.4324/9781003054139-4)

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In his sermon for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, the German mystic Johannes Tauler quotes Psalm 42:2, ‘deep calls unto deep’. In this sermon, Tauler exhorts his listeners: entsink, entsink in den grunt, i.e. ‘sink into thy inmost soul, into they nothingness’, and he goes on to draw a link between the exhortation and what Pseudo-Dionysus the Areopagite says about the soul’s knowledge of God. Now in the late 1930s, classical scholarship noted the similarities between these passages in Tauler and one of Jung’s major intellectual reference points, the Presocratic thinker Heraclitus. These similarities turn around the concept of the abyss. Using a specific interpretative framework, this paper explores the link in Heraclitus between the archaic and the abyss, and it concludes (to paraphrase Oscar Wilde) that we are all in the abyss, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Item Type:Book Sections
Additional Information:eISBN: 9781003054139
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bishop, Professor Paul
Authors: Bishop, P.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > German
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