Jung and Kierkegaard: Researching a Kindred Spirit in the Shadows, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Jung and Kierkegaard

Researching a Kindred Spirit in the Shadows, 1st Edition

By Amy Cook


288 pages

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Jung and Kierkegaard identifies authenticity, suffering and self-deception as the three key themes that connect the work of Carl Jung and Søren Kierkegaard. There is, in the thinking of these pioneering psychologists of the human condition, a fundamental belief in the healing potential of a religious outlook. This engaging and erudite text explores the significance of the similarities of thinking between Kierkegaard and Jung, bridging the gap between the former’s particular brand of existential Christian psychology and the latter’s own unique philosophy.

Given the similarity of their work and experiences that were common to both of their personal biographies, particularly the relationship that each had with his father, one might expect Jung to have found in Kierkegaard a kindred spirit. Yet this was not the case, and Jung viewed Kierkegaard with great scorn. That there exists such a strong comparison and extensive overlap in the life and thought of these towering figures of psychology and philosophy leads us to question why it is that Jung so strongly rejected Kierkegaard. Such hostility is particularly fascinating given the striking similarity that Jung’s own analytical psychology bears to the Christian psychology upheld by Kierkegaard.

Cook’s thought-provoking book fills a very real gap in Jungian scholarship and is the first attempt to undertake a direct comparison between Jung and Kierkegaard’s models of development. It is therefore essential reading for academics and postgraduate students with an interest in Jungian and Kierkegaard scholarship, as well as psychology, philosophy and religion more generally.

Table of Contents




Part One

1. Introduction

2. A Holy Kind of Healing

3. Some Striking Similarities: Personal and Philosophical

4. Introducing Kierkegaard

5. Presenting Jung

6. The Wounds of the Father: A Shared Inheritance


Part Two

7. An Unconventional Christianity

8. Jung and Religion

9. The Therapeutic Value of Faith

10. Grounding Ethics in Spirit: The Medium of our Self-Realization

11. Suffering and the Pain of Personal Growth: Perrissem, Nisi Perissem

12. Authenticity: The Creation of One’s Genuine Self


Part Three 

13. "That Religious Neurotic": Kierkegaard on the Couch

14. Keeping Mum: A Powerful Silence

15. Søren’s Spiritual Castration: A Father’s Influence

16. To Marry or to Martyr

17. The Final Years of Søren Kierkegaard: A Story of Archetypal Compensation


Part Four


18. The Nature of a Kierkegaardian Neurosis: Jung’s Reception of Kierkegaard

19. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche: Polar Opposites in the Mind of Jung

20. Summary of Discussion

21. Conclusion

22. Epilogue: Jung and Kierkegaard: A Legacy Considered


About the Author

Amy Cook graduated with a degree in History from the University of Aberdeen in 2005. She then went on to study a masters in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis at Essex University before completing another masters in Jungian and Post-Jungian Studies. After a brief spell teaching overseas, Amy returned to the UK and began a PhD at Bangor University. She currently lives in North Wales, where she works with young carers to support and encourage them to fulfil their full potential.

About the Series

Research in Analytical Psychology and Jungian Studies

Series Advisor: Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology, Essex University, UK.

The Research in Analytical Psychology and Jungian Studies series features research-focused volumes involving qualitative and quantitative research, historical/archival research, theoretical developments, heuristic research, grounded theory, narrative approaches, collaborative research, practitioner-led research, and self-study. The series also includes focused works by clinical practitioners, and provides new research informed explorations of the work of C.G. Jung that will appeal to researchers, academics, and scholars alike.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Religious
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Jungian
RELIGION / Philosophy