Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yet another Bloom in this garden

(Bloom Jesus and Yahweh various quotes from notes)

Until John the Incarnation is not central, perhaps because it depends on the pre-existence of Christ.
Well - there's a provocative sentence. 'Until' - what is this - I suspect a sequential reading of the NT as a 'book'. OK - fair enough. John is fourth and the birth stories of Matthew and Luke are not 'incarnation', I guess - at least not from a point of view of a literary critic. But pre-existence? Is that a requirement? John is the work of 24 hours - maybe several years but in essence, one day, perhaps even one hour, the hour of creation and redemption and sustenance. The hour that puts the man into the temple of reality. The hour of "the day in which the Lord God created the heavens and the earth". (Today at a conference on Darwin, we were treated to a delightful reading of Genesis 1 where once the temple is ready on day 6, after its formlessness is corrected on day 1-3 and it is filled up on days 4-6, then it is ready for the image of God, and humanity in that image is placed in it.) Pre-existence assumes a linear time and a three dimensional cosmos. This is hardly a sufficient model of reality. What is real is presence in all time and space. What is required is the dimension of glory where time is not of the essence.
Paul evades incarnation in favor of incorporation into the Spiritual Body of Christ Resurrected.
This is a more accurate assessment of the Apostle to the Gentiles. But his chapter on Paul is slight (as is his chapter on Mark where Marcan priority is assumed - are Matthew's and Luke's Jesus so different?)

Of John, Bloom remarks that there is no Rabbinical interest in ehyeh asher ehyeh (page 74). I am surprised that there would be no comments on Exodus 3 from the Rabbis. Does John put himself ahead of the writer of the Torah? No - John is invisible as author. Bloom doesn't get the prologue at all. The word became pneuma? This would be Gnostic of some sort? The word became flesh - this is incarnational. The doctrine is one thing. The point is that physical creation is sanctified in this move by God so that nothing should be left out.

Bloom puts Paul on a power seeking path motivated by hatred. This is blindness. But he did tip me off to what he calls Paul's 'misreading' of 2 Corinthians 3:12-13, Moses' veiling himself while the glory faded. Bloom (as I note do others) considers that Moses always wore the veil to hide the tselem restored, the image and likeness of God in the restored human. It is a cool reading - but what should we learn from it? And were there other readings of this text? Oh how I am being dragged back into the NT and the theological and scientific 'arguments' long before I am ready.

Do you think Romans 9:3 is the "daemonic counter-Sublime of hyperbole" with a "repressive force" enormous and very revelatory (of Paul's power seeking)? I don't but perhaps a psychology that has had to endure Christendom would.

Yes - I agree with him that John is revisionist and that Jesus replaces every feast. This gospel can be read as anti-Judaic but "Salvation is from the Jews" is not.

P 87 Bloom's reading is
informed by an awareness of the ways of the antithetical, or the revisionary strategies devised by those latecomers who seek strength and who will sacrifice truth to get strength even as they proclaim the incarnation of truth beyond death.
I suspect this book was over my head. He sees misreading, power-seeking, anti-Jewish polemic and no possibility of collaboration between Christian and Jew. His NT has a"revisionary desperation". I understand negative attitudes.

He considers the Holy Ghost as non-Judaic! (P101) I bypassed many fun misunderstandings.
  • What can Trinity mean to Jew or Muslim?
  • Is Father a "pale reflection" of Yahweh?
  • Does Son usurp throne of Father?
  • What is relationship of Yahweh to God?

For Bloom Christianity is polytheistic - but he doesn't "get" Spirit at all. It seems to me he has failed to distinguish fear from joy. A man who knows metaphor should be able to see light better.

There is an interesting quote from his mentor Northrope Frye - who admits trouble with the Gospels in his posthumously published "Notebooks"
  • unpleasant reading for the most part
  • lurking and menacing threats
  • the emphases placed by Christ himself and his uniqueness - me or else status
  • miracles as irrefutable stunts
  • pervading sense of delusion about the end of the world
It is important to have read this book in that it shows me what others hear and read in the NT. At least one more flower left... I may be guilty of misquoting him since I no longer have the book and must make sense of my notes.

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