RELIGIOUS ANTHROPOLOGY: AN ARCHETYPAL HERMENEUTICS OF BAPTISMAL SYMBOLIC IMAGERY FOR THE EMERGENCE OF THE RELIGIOUS AND THE POETIC CONSCIOUSNESS

A. NICHOLAS FARGNOLI, Marquette University

Abstract

In the present study, I attempt to establish the theoretical foundations of a religious anthropology as a way to approach a study of man from the inherent and primordial interrelation between the religious and the poetic. In explaining the meaning, the purpose, and the direction of a religious anthropology, an archetypal hermeneutics, shaped from the works of C. G. Jung, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, and Mircea Eliade, is developed in order to disclose the fundamental significance of the symbolic imagery for the emergence of the religious and the poetic consciousness. More specifically, the symbolic imagery upon which I concentrate is that of the Christian sacrament of baptism with its archetypal and hermeneutical dimensions becoming the focal point of this study. Because baptismal symbolic imagery, such as immersion and emergence, water, darkness and light, the cross, the Spirit, and spiritual transformation, is polyvalent and prototypical of the primordiality of the emergence of the religious and the poetic consciousness and because its analogous presence is found within the creative expressions of this emergence, it becomes central to my archetypal and hermeneutical examination of the innate relationship between the religious and the poetic. The symbolic imagery of baptism is of fundamental importance in uncovering and in explicating this relationship and is the basis for meditating between the religious and the poetic expressions of the spiritually transformative experience of human consciousness as it arises through participation in the mystery of creation. Although the larger question of the relationship between theology and literature is addressed, my concerns are expressly with developing a proper archetypal and hermeneutical foundation that allows a dialogue between theology and literature to be based upon the dynamics of symbolic imagery. Symbolic imagery is essential in revealing the anthropological depth structures in the human imagination as it comes to expression in the religious and the poetic consciousness of the cosmogonic mystery. It is precisely with the symbolic imagery for consciousness in general and, more particularly, with the baptismal symbolic imagery for the emergence of the religious and the poetic consciousness that an archetypal hermeneutics of a religious anthropology is ultimately concerned. Consciousness itself, Jung would assert, is a cosmogonic act; thus the symbolic imagery for the emergence of consciousness can rightly be approached through the transformative experience of and participation in the creative mystery, religious and poetic. The mystery of creation confirms that consciousness is more than just a mere projection but that it arises from the matrix of man's spiritual nature and provides an integrating apprehension of the meaning and purpose to the cosmogonic mystery through and in which Psyche and Cosmos merge and become manifest. In order to substantiate the claims of a religious anthropology as an archetypal hermeneutics of baptismal symbolic imagery, I concentrate upon an analysis and synthesis of such symbolic imagery in selected cosmogonic-anthropogonic myths and in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. These texts are used as paradigmatic examples containing the analogous presence of baptismal images and symbols, a presence which is of hermeneutical importance in exemplifying the emergence of a religious and a poetic consciousness. The images and symbols of baptism are examined synchronically and point to the human and the inner archetypal dynamics that both the Christian sacrament and the emergent religious and poetic consciousness share in revealing, through image and symbol, the cosmogonic mystery.

Recommended Citation

A. NICHOLAS FARGNOLI, "RELIGIOUS ANTHROPOLOGY: AN ARCHETYPAL HERMENEUTICS OF BAPTISMAL SYMBOLIC IMAGERY FOR THE EMERGENCE OF THE RELIGIOUS AND THE POETIC CONSCIOUSNESS" (January 1, 1981). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI8203761.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI8203761

Share

COinS