Friday, June 21, 2013

Blake's Job

Job has been thought by many of us to be the most difficult book in the Bible; a descendant of many generations of Lutheran ministers, Carl Jung was one of them. In one of his last works he dealt with Job exhaustively .

Jung had to live through many years with many disillusions and with the freedom of old age before he addressed Job with the famous Answer to Job. The substance of the book might be described as the presence of an evil side of God.

Jung was a student of William Blake; the four zoas had a marked influence on Jung's development of the four functions. Here's a rough comparison of the relationship between the four functions and the four zoas:

Thinking ----- Urizen
Feeling ------Luvah
Sensation -----Tharmas
Intuition ------Urthona

Jung wrote Answer to Job quite late in his career; Blake's crowning achievement was his Illustrations to the Book of Job.

In the Marriage of Heaven and Hell, on Plate 5 Blake wrote:

"PLATE 5 Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason usurps its place & governs the unwilling. And being restraind it by degrees becomes passive till it is only the shadow of desire. The history of this is written in Paradise Lost. & the Governor or Reason is call'd Messiah. And the original Archangel or possessor of the command of the heavenly host, is calld the Devil or Satan and his children are call'd Sin & Death But in the Book of Job Miltons Messiah is call'd Satan. For this history has been adopted by both parties It indeed appear'd to Reason as if Desire was cast out." 

Very late in his life Blake completed his Illustrations to the Book of Job.  On Jan 31, 1826 he wrote to his friend and benefactor John Linnel:
"Dear Sir I am forced to write because I cannot come to you & this on two accounts First I omitted to desire you would come & take a Mutton chop with us the day you go to Cheltenham & I will go with you to the to the Coach also I will go to Hampstead to see Mrs. Linnell on Sunday but will return before dinner (I mean if you set off before that) & Second I wish to have a Copy of Job to 
shew to Mr Chantry."

I've written extensively on Blake's Job here.

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