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In ordinary, non-technical Greek, logos had a semantic field extending beyond "word" to notions such as reason, thought, account, consideration, esteem, due relation, proportion, and analogy.[1] When you are "wording" you are using that faculty that humans possess but animals lack which is the faculty of "reason". Hence "wording" also means "reasoning". Reasoning requires Objectivity.


In Christianity, the prologue of the Gospel of John calls Jesus "the Logos" (usually translated as "the Word" in English bibles such as the KJV) and played a central role in establishing the doctrine of Jesus' divinity and the Trinity. (See Christology.) The opening verse in the KJV reads: "In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word [Logos] was with God, and the Word [Logos] was God."

Some scholars of the Bible have suggested that John made creative use of double meaning in the word "Logos" to communicate to both Jews, who were familiar with the Wisdom tradition in Judaism, and Hellenists, especially followers of Philo. Each of these two groups had its own history associated with the concept of the Logos, and each could understand John's use of the term from one or both of those contexts. Especially for the Hellenists, however, John turns the concept of the Logos on its head when he claimed "the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us" (v. 14). Similarly, some translations of the Gospel of John into Chinese have used the word "Tao (道)" to translate the "Logos" in a provocative way.

Gordon Clark famously translated Logos as "Logic" in the opening verses of the Gospel: "In the beginning was the Logic, and the Logic was with God and the Logic was God." He meant to imply by this translation that the laws of logic were contained in the Bible itself and were therefore not a secular principle imposed on the Christian worldview.

On April 1, 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (who would later become Pope Benedict XVI) referred to the Christian religion as the religion of the Logos:

"From the beginning, Christianity has understood itself as the religion of the Logos, as the religion according to reason. ... It has always defined men, all men without distinction, as creatures and images of God, proclaiming for them ... the same dignity. In this connection, the Enlightenment is of Christian origin and it is no accident that it was born precisely and exclusively in the realm of the Christian faith. ... It was and is the merit of the Enlightenment to have again proposed these original values of Christianity and of having given back to reason its own voice ... Today, this should be precisely [Christianity's] philosophical strength, in so far as the problem is whether the world comes from the irrational, and reason is not other than a 'sub-product', on occasion even harmful of its development — or whether the world comes from reason, and is, as a consequence, its criterion and goal. ... In the so necessary dialogue between secularists and Catholics, we Christians must be very careful to remain faithful to this fundamental line: to live a faith that comes from the Logos, from creative reason, and that, because of this, is also open to all that is truly rational." [3]

Jung's analytical psychology

A 37 year old Carl Jung in 1912.

Carl Jung contrasted the critical and rational faculties of logos with the emotional, non-reason oriented and mythical elements of eros.[2] In Jung's approach, logos vs eros can be represented as "science vs mysticism", or "reason vs imagination" or "conscious activity vs the unconscious".[3]

For Jung, logos represented the masculine principle of rationality, in contrast to its female counterpart, eros:

Woman’s psychology is founded on the principle of Eros, the great binder and loosener, whereas from ancient times the ruling principle ascribed to man is Logos. The concept of Eros could be expressed in modern terms as psychic relatedness, and that of Logos as objective interest.
Carl JungAspects of the Feminine[4]

Jung attempted to equate logos and eros, his intuitive conceptions of masculine and feminine consciousness, with the alchemical Sol and Luna. Jung commented that in a man the lunar anima and in a woman the solar animus has the greatest influence on consciousness.[5] Jung often proceeded to analyze situations in terms of "paired opposites", e.g. by using the analogy with the eastern yin and yang[6] and was also influenced by the Neoplatonics.[7]

In his book Mysterium Coniunctionis Jung made some important final remarks about anima and animus:

In so far as the spirit is also a kind of "window on eternity"... it conveys to the soul a certain influx divinus... and the knowledge of a higher system of the world, wherein consists precisely its supposed animation of the soul

And in this book Jung again emphasized that the animus compensates eros, while the anima compensates logos.[8]


  1. Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek–English Lexicon: logos, 1889.
  2. C.G. Jung and the psychology of symbolic forms by Petteri Pietikäinen 2001 ISBN 951-41-0857-4 page 22
  3. Mythos and logos in the thought of Carl Jung by Walter A. Shelburne 1988 ISBN 0-88706-693-3 page 4 [1]
  4. Carl Jung, Aspects of the Feminine, Princeton University Press, 1982, p. 65, ISBN 0-7100-9522-8.
  5. Aspects of the masculine by Carl Gustav Jung, John Beebe page 85
  6. Carl Gustav Jung: critical assessments by Renos K. Papadopoulos 1992 ISBN 0-415-04830-3 page 19
  7. See the Neoplatonic section above.
  8. The handbook of Jungian psychology: theory, practice and applications by Renos K. Papadopoulos 2006 ISBN 1-58391-147-2 page 118 [2]
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Logos. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.