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Polytheism and Archetypal Theology: A Discussion - David L. Miller

Polytheism and Archetypal Theology: A Discussion - David L. Miller

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Published by Schnacht
David L. Miller's book The New Polytheism: Rebirth of the Gods and Goddesses (Harper & Row, 1974) proclaims that the gods and goddesses are returning to modern America.

Some of the basic ideas in that book were earlier set forth in the author's above posted "Polytheism and Archetypal Theology: A Discussion," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Dec., 1972), pp. 513-520.

http://mythologicalstudies.org/david-l-miller/

David L. Miller is the Watson-Ledden Professor of Religion, Emeritus, at Syracuse University. His teaching and writing are in the areas of Religion and Myth, Depth Psychology and Literary Theory.

Dr. Miller participated in an adjunct capacity at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California, beginning in 1991, and he served in the Mythological Studies Program at Pacifica as a Core Faculty Person from 1993 until 2004.

Davis’ website is:

http://web.syr.edu/~dlmiller/

Also:

The Imaginal Institute, David L. Miller, Ph.D., Founding Fellow.

http://www.imaginalinstitute.com/FellowDavidMiller.htm
David L. Miller's book The New Polytheism: Rebirth of the Gods and Goddesses (Harper & Row, 1974) proclaims that the gods and goddesses are returning to modern America.

Some of the basic ideas in that book were earlier set forth in the author's above posted "Polytheism and Archetypal Theology: A Discussion," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Dec., 1972), pp. 513-520.

http://mythologicalstudies.org/david-l-miller/

David L. Miller is the Watson-Ledden Professor of Religion, Emeritus, at Syracuse University. His teaching and writing are in the areas of Religion and Myth, Depth Psychology and Literary Theory.

Dr. Miller participated in an adjunct capacity at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California, beginning in 1991, and he served in the Mythological Studies Program at Pacifica as a Core Faculty Person from 1993 until 2004.

Davis’ website is:

http://web.syr.edu/~dlmiller/

Also:

The Imaginal Institute, David L. Miller, Ph.D., Founding Fellow.

http://www.imaginalinstitute.com/FellowDavidMiller.htm

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Published by: Schnacht on Apr 30, 2011
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PolytheismandArchetypalTheology:ADiscussion
DAVID
L.
MILLER
Theissueisnotmerely,norisitpri-marily,anyofthefollowing:"poly-phonichumanmeaningandbeing"(CharlesBaudouin),"plurisignifica-tiveknowingandunderstanding"(PhilipWheelwright),"polymorphoushistoricalandpsychicreality"(NormanO.Brown),"polysemousfunctionsofimaginaldiscourse"(Ray
1.
Hart),or"pluralisticsocietiesofradicallyun-meltableethnics"(MichaelNovak).Thesearealltothepoint.Butthereisastilldeeperandapriormatter.Thematterisultimatelyreligious,andtheissueis
polytheism.
Itwasaparticularcontextthatfirstjarredmypolytheisticconsciousness.Aclassofnearlyonehundredunder-graduatespetitionedmetospendanentiresemesterinan"IntroductiontoAncientGreekReligion"lecturingonanddiscussingwiththem
thecontem-porarymeaning
ofGreekpolytheism.IdecidednottodecideonaresponsetotheirrequestuntilIhadsometimetomullthepetition'smeaning.AtriptotheAtlantaAmericanAcademyofReligionmeeting(1971)wouldgivemetheappropriaterespite,orsoIra-tionalized.ButagainIwasjarred.WilliamHamiltonmadeacoincidentalcommentinanall-daycaucusoftheolo-giansinAtlanta.
Therevolutiondoesnotlooklikemonothe-ism,Christianorpost-Christian.Whatitlookslikeispolytheism....Thenewre-ligiosity,seensofrequentlyinourstudentsandinourchildren,can
be
readasthebeginningofamajorpolytheisticrevival.Studentscomingtotheuniversityusedtodefinetheirreligioussituationbylocatingfirsttheirinheritedtradition,andthenask-ingtheuniversitytoclarifythattraditionforthem,sotheymightbetteraffirmordenyit.Todayitappearsthatfewerandfeweracceptareligiousself-definitionintermsofpersonalbiographies.Whattheyareaskingoftheirteachersofreligionisnolongerthattheyserveasasophisticatedorupper-divisionSundaySchool,butthattheyofferthemamassiveandtotalaccesstoallthegodsofmen:easternandwestern,prim-itiveandmodern,hereticalandorthodox,madandsane.Thegodsarethere,nottobebelievedinortrusted,buttobeusedtogiveshapetoanincreasinglycomplexandvariegatedexperienceoflife.
Hamiltonhopedthatwewouldresistsuchpolytheism,buthewarnedthatinthefutureteachersofreligionmaymoreandmorehavetowrestle,notwiththegreatunbelievers(Nietzsche,Freud,andtherest),butratherinthepolytheisticarenasofElijahversustheprophetsofBaal,OrigenversusCelsus,andAthanasiusversustheArians.Theissueisclearlytheological,yettheologiansaresayinglittleaboutpoly-theism,atleastinitsessentialmode.
DR.DAVID
1.
MILLER(Ph.D.,DrewUniversity)isAssociateProfessorofReligionatSyracuseUniversity,andauthorof
GodsandGames:TowardaTheologyofPlay.
JAARXL/4(Dec.1972)
©
AAR
 
514Butthisdoesnotmeanthatthediscus-sionisnotbeingcarriedoninahighlysophisticatedway.Theacademictalkaboutthemeaningofpolytheism-yes,thetheologizing!-hasbeenun-derwayforsometimenow,butnotinseminariesorindepartmentsofreli-gion.
It
isasiftheologywererepeat-ingtherecenthistoryofbiology.Onemorningbiologistseverywherewokeupanddiscoveredsomeonehadrewrit-tentherulebook,andtheyhadnotbeeninonit.Whiletheyhadbeensleepingcomfortablytheirparticularversionofdogmaticslumber,otherdis-ciplines,notablychemistryandphysics,hadbeenreinventingthelogicoftheirsubject-matter.Theresultismolecularbiology!Itwouldbeoverlydramatictosug-gestthatfertiletalkaboutpolytheismoccurringinthefieldofarchetypalpsychologymayrepresentacaseintheology'shistorynotunlikethatofmodernbiology.Nonetheless,theeventfulsynchronicityoftherecentin-terestintheopeningphrasesofthefirstparagraphabove,alongwiththeconjunctionofmyclass'fascinationandHamilton'sobservation,andthen(especially)thediscoveryofseriousdebateaboutpolytheisminthe1971is-sueoftheJungianjournal,
Spring,
allserved
to
makemeawarethatthereisacontemporarytheologicaldiscussionofsomemomentextant,anditisnotbeingparticipatedbytheologiansorstudentsofreligions.Iknowthatschooltheologyhasal-waysbeenreticentaboutpsychology.AndIknowthattherehavebeensomespecialfearsaboutwhatistakentobeneo-orpseudo-Gnosticismamongjun-gians.Butthemattermaynowbe
DAVIDL.MILLER
moreimportantthanartificialdistinc-tionsbetweenacademicdisciplinesororthodoxastdefensivenessaboutso-calledheresy.Atleastonemightin-vestigatethepolytheismdiscussion
to
seewhatisgoingon,andtodothatthereisnomorearticulateplace
to
beginthanwiththemanaroundwhomthecontroversywhirlsinJungiancir-cles.JamesHillman,aZurichpsycho-therapist,isknowntosometheologicalaudiencesinAmericabyvirtueofavisitingprofessorship(Chicago)andmorerecentlyasthe1972TerryLec-turer(Yale).Actually,HillmanisanAmerican,borninNewJersey,buteducatedinParis,Dublin,andZurich.Hisearlypublicationsincludeaworkonthemeaningofemotions
(Emotion:AComprehensivePhenomenology,
London,1960),abookonsuicide
(SuicideandtheSoul,
NewYork,1965),apaperonmasturbation("To-wardsanArchetypalModelfortheMasturbationInhibition,"PapersgivenattheThirdInternationalCongressforAnalyticalPsychology,Montreux,1965),abookonreligionandpsycho-therapy
(lnsearch,
NewYork,1967),andacommentaryonaprimarytextinKundaliniyoga(GopiKrishna,
Kun-dalini,
NewDelhiandZurich,1967).Asonereadsthesewritingsretrospec-tively,fromthepointofviewofthepolytheismissue,onenotonlynoticesaniconoclastictone,atonenotunlikealesstheatricalversionof
R.
D.LaingandNormanO.Brown,butinadditiononecanalsoseethepolytheismdebatealreadysurfacing,asforexamplewhenHillmanasks,intheKundalinicom-mentary,"WhatdotheGodsandGod-
 
POLYTHEISMANDARCHETYPALTHEOLOGY
desseswantwithus?"Andthenheanswerssomewhatvaguely,"OurtaskistoincarnatetheGodswithin"(303f).WhatisvagueinthiscommentisstraightforwardintheessaysHillmanlaterwritesonfeelingandontheGreekgodPan("TheFeelingFunc-tion,"invonFranzandHillman,
lung'sTypology,
NewYork,1971;and,"AnEssayonPan,"inRoscherandHillman,
PanandtheNightmare,
NewYork,1972).Andwhatisstraightforwardintheseessaysisdevastatinginthe
Spring
essayalreadyreferredto("Psy-chology:MonotheisticorPolytheistic?"
Spring,
1971,193-208)andinanewbookthatservesastheimmediateoc-casionforthisreview-discussion
(TheMythofAnalysis:ThreeEssaysinArchetypalPsychology,
Evanston,1972).Thepointcanbeputsimply:Hillmaniscallingforan"endofanal-ysis"whichisalwaysmonotheisticandfortheterminationoftheideologyofmonotheismwhichisalwaysanalytic,posinvrsnc,andbehavioristic.Hethereforefindshimselfintheawkwardpositionofwantingtoseparatearche-typalpsychologyfromwesterntheologywhileatthesametimebeingengagedinmountingatheologicalrevolutionasapsychologist.Sohesays,in
MythofAnalysis,
"itisnotgoodpsychologytomakeatheologyofthepsycheortopsychologizethedivine,"butsixpageslaterhearguesthat"throughtheimag-inationmanhasaccesstotheGods:throughthe
memoria
theGodsenterourlives"(174,180).ThepsychodynamicsoftheGodsenteringourlivesismadeclearinthepieceonPanwhereHillmanarguesagainsttheartificialseparationsofsec-
515
ularandsacred,"inhere"and"outthere,"andsubjectandobject.Allthesearebasedonapsychologicalmis-takethat"canberectifiedbyremem-beringthatbehaviourisalsofantasyandfantasyisalsobehaviour,andal-ways"(xxxix).Thismeansthatfan-tasyisphysical("Wecannotbeinthephysicalworldwithoutatthesametimeandallthetimedemonstratinganarchetypalstructure")andthatbe-haviorisimaginal("Behaviourisal-waysmetaphoricalandrequiresahermeneuticapproachasmuchasdoesthemostfantasticreverieofmysticalvision").ThisfundamentalviewingofJung'spsychologyasarchetypalratherthananalyticalleadsHillman
to
astatementofpolytheismasathera-peuticgoal,culturallyandpersonally.
Thepsychehas...needsfor
impersonal
satisfaction.Butuntilourculturehasre-establishedaharmonywiththemajorarche-typalforceswithinlife-thediurnalrhythmsandtheseasons,themarkingsoftimeinbiographyandthespiritsofplace,theancestors,offspring,familyandnation,themovementsofhistoricalevents,anddeath-intermsoftheGodsandGoddesseswhogovernthepersonal,ourfeelingfunc-tionnecessarilyremainsinoneessentialrespectinferior,evenpathological.Foritisdeprivedbythesecularworldinwhichwearesetfrombearingthevaluesofandconnectingexistencewitharchetypalreality.("TheFeelingFunction,"148.)
Itgoeswithoutsayingthatthisradi-callyarchetypal(dareonesay"theo-logical"?)orientationputsHillmaninsometensionwithhisownJungianbackground.Inthe"Polytheism"ar-ticlehewrestleswiththismatteropen-ly.ThereHillmandevelopsaviewoftheSelfthatislike"starsorsparksorluminousfisheyes,"aviewthatse-riouslysubordinatesaviewingofJun-gianpsychologythatconcentrateson

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