Original Research - Special Collection: Contemporary study of Religion

A post-Jungian reading of the Book of Baruch

Zacharias Kotzé
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 2 | a6679 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i2.6679 | © 2022 Zacharias Kotzé | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 April 2021 | Published: 28 February 2022

About the author(s)

Zacharias Kotzé, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


It is often claimed that the use of depth psychology in the interpretation of ancient texts is irrelevant and methodologically unsound. Several typical Jungian archetypes, such as the shadow, the primordial mother, and the hero, were identified, interpreted and commented on from a post-Jungian perspective. The apocryphal Book of Baruch has typically been studied as a prime example of penitential prayer in the late Second Temple Period. In this study, the book was approached from the perspective of post-Jungian literary criticism. While Jungian literary criticism has become unfashionable as a result of Jung’s anti-feminist and anti-Semitic ideas, the usefulness of his theory to criticise itself was demonstrated. Although Jung’s work is haunted by racism, anti-feminism, and antisemitism, his work may still be useful for literary criticism from a psychological perspective.

Contribution: The article demonstrated the value of the depth psychological approach to the interpretation of biblical material.


post-Jungian literary criticism; Book of Baruch; archetypes; shadow; anima; mother; individuation


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