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Divine Wisdom

Another passage from my chapter 2, on divine beings in Judaism ****************************************************************************************************************** If you read enough scholarly literature, you will quickly see that scholars tend to use some technical terms for no good reason, other than the fact that they are the technical terms scholars use. This is true even when scholar could talk in language that normal human beings normally use. When I was in graduate school we used to ask, wryly, why we should use a perfectly good English term when we had an obscure Latin or German term we would serve the purpose instead? But there are some rare terms that simply don’t have satisfactory, simple words that adequately express the same thing, and the word “hypostasis” (plural: hypostases) is one of them. Possibly the closest thing to a more common term meaning roughly the same thing would be “personification” – but even that doesn’t quite get it, and it too isn’t a word you normally hear in line at the grocery store. The term hypostasis comes from the Greek, where it [...]

John’s Logos and Jewish Wisdom

In yesterday’s post I began to discuss the Prologue of the Gospel of John, which contains a poem that celebrates Christ as the Word of God that became human. This Word of God was with God in the beginning of all things, and was himself God; through him the universe was created and in him is life. This word took on flesh to dwell with humans, and that human – the divine word made flesh – was Jesus. Some readers over the years have wondered if this celebration of the Logos of God that becomes flesh owes more to Greek philosophy than to biblical Judaism. It’s a good question, and hard to answer. One thing that can be said is that this Logos idea does find very close parallels with other biblical texts – in particular with texts that speak of the Wisdom (Greek: Sophia) of God. Sophia and Logos are related ideas; both have to do in some respect with “reason.” Sophia is reason that is internal to a person; Logos is that reason [...]

Wisdom as God’s Consort in the Beginning

I'm pleased to say that I met my goal of getting the eight chapters on the Hebrew Bible for my Bible Introduction written now, just in time for me to fly outta here. I head to London for the rest of the summer on Monday. But I will keep up with the blog from there! Below is just a short little "box" that I include in my discussion of the book of Proverbs.   *********************************************************************************************************************** Box 1.2: Woman Wisdom as God’s Consort? We have seen that in ancient Israel Yahweh was sometimes thought to have a divine consort, his “Asherah.”  This was never accepted by the strict henotheists who wrote the historical and prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible, but in Proverbs, a book of Wisdom, there is a passage that some interpreters have thought represents a kind of modified or “tamed” view of Yahweh and his divine female companion from eternity past.  Here she is not Asherah, but Wisdom herself, shown to be speaking in Proverbs 8: FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log [...]

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