Spiritual Disciplines: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks. (Bollingen Series)

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He had the ability to re-tell the myth in a powerfully-engaging fashion, as exemplified in the PBS television series with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth. This series was first broadcast in , the year after Campbell's death. The series presented his ideas on archetypes to millions, and remains a staple on PBS.

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A companion book, The Power of Myth, containing expanded transcripts of their conversations, was released shortly afterward. Campbell often referred to the work of modern writers James Joyce and Thomas Mann in his lectures and writings. Campbell's ideas regarding myth and its relationship to the human psyche are heavily dependent on the work of Carl Jung.

The Jungian method of dream interpretation, which is heavily reliant on symbolic interpretation, is closely related to Campbell's conception of myth. Jung's insights into archetypes were in turn heavily influenced by the Bardo Thodol known in English as the The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Campbell had studied under mythologist Heinrich Zimmer while a young student at Columbia University. Zimmer taught Campbell that myth instead of a guru or person could serve as a mentor, in that the stories provide a psychological roadmap for the finding of oneself in the labyrinth of the complex modern world.

Zimmer relied more on the meaning symbols, metaphor, imagery, etc. Campbell borrowed from the interpretative techniques of Jung, but then reshaped them in a fashion that followed Zimmer's beliefs—interpreting directly from world mythology instead of through the lens of psychoanalysis. His "Follow your bliss" philosophy was influenced by the Sinclair Lewis novel, Babbitt.

In The Power of Myth Campbell quoted from the novel:. Campbell also referenced the Sanskrit concept of Sat Chit Ananda. I don't know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don't know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being. Joseph Campbell was fascinated by what he viewed as universal sentiments and truths, disseminated through cultures which all featured different manifestations.

In the preface of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, he indicates that his goal was to demonstrate the similarities between Eastern and Western religions. In his four-volume series of books The Masks of God, Campbell tried to summarize the main spiritual threads of the world, in support of his ideas on the "unity of the race of man.

Mythology is often thought of as "other people's religions," and religion can be defined as "misinterpreted mythology.

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In other words, Campbell did not read religious symbols literally as historical facts, but instead he saw them as symbols or as metaphors for greater philosophical ideas. Campbell believed all spirituality to be searching for the same unknown force which he spoke of as both an immanent and a transcendent force, or that which is both within and without, as opposed to being only without from which everything came, in which everything currently exists, and into which everything will return.

He referred to this force as the "connotation" of what he called "metaphors," the metaphors being the various deities and objects of spirituality in the world. Campbell defended his view exhaustively—some say at the expense of literary quality. The American novelist Kurt Vonnegut satirized Campbell's views as being excessively "baroque," offering his interpretation of the monomyth called the "In The Hole" theory, loosely defined as "The hero gets into trouble. The hero gets out of trouble. A few years after his death, some accused Campbell of anti-Semitism.


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Stephen Larsen and Robin Larsen, the authors of the biography Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind, argued against what they referred to as "the so-called anti-Semitic charge":. For the record, Campbell did not belong to any organization that condoned racial or social bias, nor do we know of any other way in which he endorsed such viewpoints. During his lifetime there was no record of such accusations in which he might have publicly betrayed his bigotry or visibly been forced to defend such a position. In his choice of academic discipline Campbell found great freedom—his work is not strictly scientific, and thus should not be subjected to criticism on these grounds.

Truly his work relates to the creative side of humanity, and thus can gain the latitude reserved for artists. Joseph Campbell's philosophy is often summarized by his phrase "Follow your bliss. The twentieth century was a time in great need of renewed meaning. Joseph Campbell offered a renewal of myth as the center of ancient meaning. Myth is central to the religious development that has historically provided meaning and stability for culture. Myth is close to dreams and the unconscious.

Campbell's work continues to help people to reconcile the challenges of the present with meaning from the past, through a closer examination and appreciation of mythology and the living lessons that can be found there. Joseph Campbell presented a way to understand the underlying unity of human culture, and he presented substantial evidence to support a belief in the unity of mankind. Whether Campbell actually proved this underlying unity remains to be seen. His literary and anecdotal analysis is logical, but lengthy and tends at times to go into such minute detail as to distract one from the main point.

The success of this technique is academically supported by the work of French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss , who made anecdotal evidence and verbal report an acceptable source of knowledge.

Levi-Strauss would not use content the way Campbell did, preferring structure as a basis for analysis, but his work has allowed the work of Campbell to be seen more favorably. American writer Tim Miller has cited Campbell's work as an essential early influence on his own poetry , which generally centers on mythology and religion. For Miller, what is useful and most valuable in Campbell's work is not his theories of how or why myths came to be, but rather his re-telling of the myths themselves, and his passion for the importance of myth and religion in modern society.

Shortly after giving his final lecture in , Neumann died from cancer at age fifty-five. Henry Corbin, a world renowned scholar of Sufism, appears with Jung in this photograph.


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Several years earlier, Corbin had been introduced to Eranos by Louis Massignon, also a scholar of Islamic mysticism. Corbin lectured at Eranos for twenty-seven years, between and During most of his academic life, he divided his teaching time between Paris and Tehran.

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This portrait of Gershom Scholem was taken in , the first year he appeared on the conference schedule. One of the pre-eminent scholars of Jewish mysticism, Scholem was a gifted lecturer with a wonderful sense of humor. He spoke at Eranos for thirty years, from Corbin knew Eliade in Paris and introduced him to Eranos in Eliade lectured at Eranos from to Max Knoll, a professor of physics from Princeton University, lectured at Eranos between and on the history of science.

This photograph of Knoll was taken at the conference. In Knoll and Ernst Ruska, his student, invented the electron microscope. Knoll died in , seventeen years before his co-inventor, Ruska, would be awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their invention of the electron microscope. This photograph of Emma Jung sitting on the wall just outside of the lecture hall, was taken in Gerhard Adler, Neumann and Quispel are seen in this photograph sitting just outside the lecture hall at the conference. Jung requested that Gerhard Adler also be made a co-editor because of his understanding of the intricacies of the German language.

Spiritual Disciplines: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks

T h i s p h o t o - graph of conference participants milling around outside thelecture hall was taken at the Eranos. Herbert Read, the tall man with white hair on the left, was an English poet, art historian, and publishing editor. For twelve years between and , Read lectured at Eranos. This photograph of Ernst Benz and D. Suzuki was taken at the conference. Benz, on the left, is a world renowned scholar of comparative religions, who lectured at Eranos between and The Zen Buddhist, D. Suzuki, was in his 80s when Max Knoll recommended he be invited to lecture at Eranos.

Ira Progoff, Suzuki and Miroko Amura are seen in this photograph sitting at the round table. Progoff lectured at Eranos between and Campbell began a project in for the Bollingen Foundation to publish a series of English translations of selected Eranos lectures. In Campbell attended the Eranos Conference for the first time, and returned in and again in to lecture himself. This photograph of Kurt Wolff was taken at Eranos in the s. The founder of Pantheon Books, Wolff was the Bollingen Foundation publisher for almost twenty- five years.

Eranos has many beautiful terraced gardens with multiple paths at different levels connecting the three buildings. This photograph of Scholem and Quispel was taken at the conference. Each year lectures were divided between French, English, German and occasionally Italian. Quispel was the only speaker to lecture in three different languages: twice in French, seven times in German and four in English. He always lectured wearing traditional Japanese attire. This photograph of Izutu was taken at the conference. He had the intention of inviting Eranos speakers to lecture at the Institute. Ironically, he was invited, instead, to speak at Eranos.

In , David Miller lectured at Eranos for the first time. This photograph of Miller and Ritsema was taken in Henry Corbin presented at Eranos for over twenty-five years between and A distinguished French philosopher of the imagination, Gilbert Durand spoke at Eranos between and This photograph of Durand lecturing is from the conference.

Eranos presented a modest image to the public. From the road, this sign is the only visible indication of the Eranos foundation. Zeigler lectured for the first time in and again in On the right is Jean Brun, a distinguished French philosopher of religion who lectured at Eranos from to Erik Hornung, a world renown Egyptologist from the University of Basle, lectured between Hornung is seen lecturing at the conference in this photograph. Patricia Berry can be seen seated on the front right in this picture of the round table. David Miller is in the back on the left, and his wife, Patricia Cox, is seated opposite him with her back to the camera.

Erik Hornung can also be seen at the far side of the table. The seating at lunch and dinner during the conferences was carefully arranged in advance according to which languages each person spoke. Often French and Italian speakers were grouped at one table, with German and English speakers at the other. In this photograph, Wolfgang Giegerich is be seen delivering his first Eranos lecture. He received his Ph.

Between and , Giegerich delivered seven Eranos lectures. This portrait of Kawai, the first Jungian analyst in Japan, was taken at the conference. He lectured at Eranos between and on Japanese mythology, spirituality and fairytales. A professor of clinical psychology at Kyoto University and president of the Association of Japanese Clinical Psychology, Kawai currently holds the distinguished position of Minister of Culture in Japan.

Toshio Kawai, Wolfgang Giegerich and David Miller are seen in this photograph taken on the veranda just outside of the lecture hall. Toshio Kawai, at the time, was completing his Ph. Currently he is a professor at Kyoto University. In , and again in , Marie-Louise von Franz lectured at Eranos. This photograph of von Franz was taken at the conference. This picture was taken at the conference. Hillman, Giegerich and myself are looking over photographs taken during previous conferences.

The decision to stop the conferences came about for a variety of reasons, including financial concerns and a shift in focus as to the mission of Eranos. While seminars and conferences continue to be held at Eranos and a local hotel, was the last conference located at Casa Eranos in the format originally conceived by Olga Froebe. While the Eranos conferences officially came to an end in , the significance of its intellectual, cultural and psychological legacy continues to live on and grow in historical significance with each passing year. Fellerer used a Hasselbald medium format camera and photographed the conferences between and Luciano Soave, the second photographer used a 35 mm Nikon to photograph the conferences between I would like to express my gratitude to The Eranos Foundation for granting permission to use photographs from their archive in this presentation.

Susan M. Any discussion of mysticism is complicated by the variety of definitions of this term.

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Scholars disagree about whether mysticism should be regarded as a cross-cultural phenomenon or understood in relation to a particular historical and cultural context. CrossRef Google Scholar. William J. Catherine Rainwater and William J. Scheick Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, , p. Watson and Jenkins, p.

For a discussion of the land of unlikeness in Julian of Norwich, see Denise N. David N. Denise N. Jones Cambridge, UK: D.

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