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Record Type: Review   ID: 670

The Unconscious Christian: Images of God in Dreams

Hall, James A.

 Based on the work of Jung and Polanyi, Jungian therapist James Hall's study of religious dream imagery is founded on the assumption that "there is a natural religious function in the psyche, and therefore in the universe, as we are permitted to know and experience it" (p. 104). The book takes its title from his observation that many people "deal unconsciously with religious problems and may have no conscious awareness of any religious conflict or concerns at all. Not all unconscious religious concern is Christian, but there are many Christians who are unconscious of their religion" (p. 13). After an introduction to the basic elements of Jung's approach to dreams, the second—and longest—chapter is devoted to religious images in dreams, including "religious images that are foreign to the conscious life of the dreamer," "images from the dreamer's religious tradition," "congruent religious images from diverse cultural traditions," "secular images with religious meaning," and "the unification of opposites as a religious symbol." A brief chapter on mysterious dream symbolism appears to relate to the future (precognition) and life after death. This is followed by a chapter on "The ‘Buddhism’ of Dreams," which deals with the nature of the self and a comparison of Christian and Buddhist structures in dreams. In a chapter on the Self as the dream-maker, he discusses meaningfulness, consciousness, and synchronicity. Chapter 6 is a reprise of the book and is followed by an appendix: "Is There an Innate Religious Function in the Psyche?" This slim volume is packed with useful guidance especially aimed at those searching for meaning in life, their individual lives in particular.
Publisher Information:New York: Paulist Press, 1993. 114p. Bibl: 110-112; 21 figs; 2 illus; Notes: 105-109
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