Julia asks a good question and has one answer. Some questions have answers.
Do I read to find out who I am? No - I don't think so. At least not consciously. At first I read because I was taught to read. It was fun to see the colour. Then I read because I was good at it and could read a story in the hour between awakening and rising. Then I read too fast because I was told speed reading was good for you. Wrong. Then I met the metaphysical poets and my screeching tires paused for a moment. Then I read to search for a solution to insoluble problems. Then in the anointed Jesus, I found a solution.
Then I read fast to make up for lost time and I read so much drivel wrongly and so much that is good with next to zero understanding, trying to stuff everything into a word like 'justification'. I read to define and to bolster the truth I had discovered. Wrong again.
Funny - I read comics as a child so now I can read Kavalier and Clay and enjoy a great story (even though it would be possible to draw false conclusions from it). That's a book I read quickly to find out what 'happened'. I have a much greater appreciation for comics and my own history after this lighthearted prize winning fare.
Now I read to hear the voice of past authors or to rejoice in the authority of the one whose banner is over me and who has left for me his mark on the texts I now read very slowly. I no longer read for fear that I am left out or so totally screwed up that there is no escape. Perhaps I am reading to know who I am - but also to know that I have things in common with those whose voice I hear in the text whether author, redactor, or interpreter.
It's a good meme - why do you read?
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Julia asks a good question and has one answer. Some questions have answers.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
It has taken me a long time to start another translation project. I continue to consider doing a detailed analysis of Ruth and its grammar. So much study and work to do though. John Hobbins has some nice detail on a few posts, most recently here.
An early morning thought - faith is not blind nor vainly hopeful. Faith is based on a growing body of personal evidence. Come hell or high water - I believe because the evidence for love is greater than the evidence of the finality of death. My evidence is congruent with the invitation in Psalm 34 - taste and see that the Lord is good. Taste is evidence based. Nothing about moral behaviour here, just trust. Happy the one who trusts in this Lord. Happy - as in 'what? me worry?' That and more. And I am not on a power trip. The problem for an observer of me - even me myself - is the subjective nature of the evidence and the deceptive nature of my inference engine. But still, given the uncertainty, my evidence is in me. This growing body of personal evidence is sufficient to the evidence of my growing body. There are no rules but the rule of the Spirit in the self-giving of Jesus leads to acts of maturing love even in me. Foolish perhaps? My human stubbornness transformed into tenacity, my inordinate desire into adoration, my darkness into light, his death in me and I in him into life. The other practical things do not go away: I still have investments, I still do business, I still must find words and works in community, I still worry over the state of things, and there are plenty of problems over which I do not have control. But the day by day, moment by moment hope does not leave me an orphan.
I repeat what I wrote yesterday because I hope it begins to get away from triumphalist Trinitarianism: I learned this personally in the death of Jesus through which I have learned to know the teaching of God. In itself, such Torah is anointing. And I add that this death is for me a beginning and a continuing because of his life in God that I believe is his resurrection. Don't believe me - if you have or if you haven't, try it for yourself.
Monday, September 28, 2009
In response to the claim here (a nice one - ht on all these links to exploring our matrix) my thought is that God is not a dualist.
In response to truth - various philosophical blogs like this one - I think that it is all in what one perceives. Last night I had some severe muscle spasms in both lower legs. As I stumbled into the bathroom, a floor as flat as any I know, each tile appeared to me as a mixing bowl, concave and deeper in the centre than the edges - at least 3 or 4 inches deeper. And as I put each foot down, the truth of their concave reality was presented in the signals to my brain. Clearly, the normal signal processes were delayed and what was flat (really?) appeared not so. How do I know the difference?
Various folks are responding to hve (or חוא) about who and why vs how and what and other interrogatives.In my field of work, software development, the distinction between requirements and design was said to be between the what and the how. This distinction is only partly useful since making such judgments depends on what tools you have available and therefore what 'how' you can imagine for your 'what'. In the same way, our perception is limited by our theories of the whole.
I don't usually read this blog. The arguments there against various forms of 'creationism' are not mine but I like the way the article on 'earth' is put. I try to avoid these discussions. The problem of evil is too close to the human problem. Why would God allow cats to play with mice or wasps to indwell caterpillars? Why would a loving God allow humans?
How can I be 'Christian' and not be a dualist? Simple: whatever is and whatever is to be is too deeply loved by Spirit to be orphaned. I learned this personally in the death of Jesus through which I have learned to know the teaching of God. In itself, such Torah is anointing. I think Julia gets to these reality images in posts like this one.
On the cunning serpent I made a comment. Perhaps it will get by moderation.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
For the joy that was set before him, despising the shame, endured the cross, and sat down on the right hand of the throne of God
Humans would rather this - for the rightness of his moral character, increasing shame, forcing the enemy to endure it, and putting everyone out of the Holy Place
We just don't get it.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I say there is a brilliant paragraph on page 131 of Jesus and Yahweh by Harold Bloom - it might be what follows in my notes
The very phrase "cult of Yahweh" has an aura of the ridiculous. Equally opaque is monotheism and anthropomorphism. Yahweh is person and a personality - Divine Man. Jesus is theomorphic in ways that transcend the subtle complexities of his predecessors.Ain't that a pair of sentences. That's why I will pick up and keep reading Bloom. Why do we bother with the abstract conclusions about God that we were fed as children? Non-sense.
Nowhere does the NT directly confront Jesus with Yahweh.No kidding. But Bloom confuses Yahweh with Father, person with substance. All confuse Christ and Spirit. How can we speak of these? How can I as one who is not trained in Chalcedon or Nicaea?
Spirit, Anointing, Christ, Paraclete - not separated from me but in me / on me / with me / through the death of the fully Anointed Jesus. Does this mean my anointing is partial? Can I be persistent? Not of myself - but the unpredictable Lord / Spirit / Yahweh is in me / on me / with me / at one.
An what shall I do with the forsakenness of the cross? Atonement is not a misreading of the cross. But it is not cheap. It is by the Spirit - so the process of self-giving violates the second law of thermodynamics just as the Sun breaks in on the body .
Page 145 - he asks wonderful questions: what is to be made of a Yahweh incarnate? Is Jesus the anointed consciousness of John?
Page 147 - who can Jesus talk to? I answer: he talks to the accuser. He talks to his Abba. He pleads that his disciples pray with him - And they cannot.
Here's a note to all those wrestling with the feminine. Was the J writer Bathsheba the Hittite?
Page 150 - To call Yahweh anthropomorphic is a redundancy - No God has been more human.
Page 152 - Out of the strong came not forth sweetness but a sword - American Religion (the Crusades) and Wahhabi Islam.
Throughout the book he sees Yahweh as act. This is a fruitful statement.
P 172 Is Jesus Christ part of the Trinity or even "Trinitarian"?
What am I to say, my Love?
If yes we have a mixed metaphor
If no we have no dialogue.
God the Son is of the Trinity
Trinity is an odd word.
God is Spirit - Spirit encompasses all
The Spirit is the Lord - Hashem
The Lord is the Spirit
The Spirit is the Paraclete
Such Comfort as remakes - it is Act
Spirit Anoints - and teaches as no human can
Spirit is sent and is Father and Son
Spirit indwells and cries Abba
Spirit gives what belongs to the Son
Son, Spirit, Father are seen, known, in Jesus
Song, God absent and known
I am just about finished
Distance is metaphor
Presence is reality
Absence is never
I am entangled in Christ
by the Spirit my glory is in his body
by the flesh of Jesus I am in the mercy
My gift I attribute to his death
a resurrection in him
Others - Sufi, Kabbalist, beloved
must know this bridal aspect
but have no words for it.
Page 202 - Tanach gives us no account of Yahweh's origin... he seems to tumble out of the pages of a book he may have written. Perhaps he wrote before he spoke and had to fashion an audience to read and to hear him. Should that be his elusive motive for risking creation then he would differ only in degree, not in kind from any other author I know.
There we are folks - that's all the Blooms in my garden for the moment.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
(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
My Love I say you fill a lamp
Such chrism teaching Torah-love
- I have prevented your plain meanings
- I have koshered the reptile
And you have cleared me
Signs a-pointing such a birth
Clever sins rendered obedient
We say we see
We miss the middle
Muddling still you find us
By stark mythic typical death you satiate
Friday, September 18, 2009
Here is a commentary on Job (S. R. Driver d 02.1914 completed by Buchanan Gray) that reflects the allusion in chapter 41 of the eyelids of dawn and Leviathan from chapter 3. I doubt if I will manage to read the whole 800 pages online but there are a few passages I would like another opinion on. ..
e.g. 34:36 my father - they say 'is out of the question' p265. Or what do they do with Job 19:25? (As expected they are hung up on the perceived linearity of time p171-172 ff - too much information for the moment.) Or is there any confirmation of Ticciati's thesis concerning the referee? (Umpire p96 - the note does not suggest much - in fact the word is not used in Isaiah 2.)
מוכיח is here one who gives a decision in a dispute between two parties: cp the use of the vb. in Gn. 31:37 and Is. 2:4 (Yahweh will arbitrate in the disputes arising among many nations).See this post on the characters in Job for more info on the umpire.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
April, this morning in September, makes a plea to separate confessional from historical reasoning. Der Evangelische Theologe invites us to see a different view of logic in Calvin. We need to follow the ana-logic of obedience and the Christo-logic of faith.
April insists that temporal physical resurrection is anhistorical*. The canonical writings show that Anointing makes present all time and space - our faith entangles us wholly with the faithfulness of the Anointed Jesus and in so doing brings us that same Anointing through the Spirit. This too is exactly the experience of Hashem to the witnesses of Tanach. The cost of the 24 hour day of Creation (Genesis 2:4 'in the day the Lord God created the heavens and the earth') is well laid out for faith in the 24 hours of the Gospel of John.
As George Herbert says of days at the end of his poem, I got me flowers,
We count three hundred but we missThe middle verse expresses the presumption of history over the analogy of love.
There is but one and that one ever.
Update - see Doug's response here for more on the philosophy of history and the circularity of April's argument in September.I got me flowers to strew thy way; I got me boughs off many a tree: But thou wast up by break of day, And brought'st thy sweets along with thee. The Sun arising in the East, Though he give light, and the East perfume; If they should offer to contest With thy arising, they presume. Can there be any day but this, Though many suns to shine endeavour? We count three hundred, but we miss: There is but one, and that one ever.
* anhistorical is a deliberate coinage
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
It seems sometimes easier to note other people's published personal opinions than to write my own. Here are a few quotes from Harold Bloom's book Jesus and Yahweh.
P 24 Yahweh cannot be dismissed though I do not trust or love him, because both absent and present he is indistinguishable from reality be it ordinary or an intimation of transcendence.
P 27 Jesus is the Jewish Socrates and surpasses Plato's mentor as the supreme master of dark wisdom.(Tyndale - Now we see in a glass - even in a dark saying.)
Bloom counts seven portraits of Jesus in the NT: Matthew, Mark, Luke-Acts, John, Paul, James and revelation. Are these composite or conflictual? and what about Hebrews?
P 36 The New Testament is a creative misreading of TanachMuch later in the book (p238) he claims that Shakespeare evades the Holy. I think As You Like It might be one case where the Holy is present. I'm no expert on Shakespeare. (I even thought that HB - Harold Bloom that is, not Helpful Bear nor Holy Bible - might be our beloved Iyov - but I think that though there is some meeting of character and erudition, HB does not reveal quite the same love of the Word.)
On Jewish - Christian incompatibilities, he cites trust vs believe. I think Christian may have much to learn about faith and walk but his is too simplistic a submission. He calls Judaism a post-Christian religion! and notes that Akiva also rewrites Torah in Mishna and Talmud. Did/does the NT complete/answer/fulfill the TNK? Does TNKNT belong together? (Note the multi-lingual chiasm. Shall we call it Tanachanit?)
Bloom on page 37 denies without substantiating that NT fulfils TNK. He I think - remembering and interpreting my notes - speaks of the death of Torah - no no no. These words won't do. There are many places where his words won't do. If the NT misreads the TNK, I think in some places, HB is misreporting NT in his reading of Paul: 'his Yahweh shrinks to God the Father' (?) - 'Christ is cut off from the historical Jesus' (? in the minds of many that may be true - but is there a reading that makes it false?) Resurrection - entirely spiritual (? so? what is spiritual? and how does the Anointing and the Anointed relate to that Reality that he does not trust or love (in his own words).
He quotes Emerson: there is no history, only biography. Our prayers are diseases of the will, our creeds diseases of the intellect. (There's a meme to develop.)
Bloom needs a complete reframing of all perspective : Christianity needs a similar reframing of Anointing.
I will continue later - these random thoughts do have an end (both termination and purpose).
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Is it possible to read this hymn without a triumphalist mind set (i.e. with a devotional mind set)?
At the name of Jesus
Every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess him
King of glory now:
'Tis the Father's pleasure
We should call him Lord,
Who from the beginning
Was the mighty Word.
I think it is. Imagine being bowled over by love after death, death in him that is. Wouldn't gratitude be appropriate - could a rebellious monarch kiss the son? What is such pleasure as should be for ever?
Living wittily just posted a couple of Herbert hymns.
What makes a hymn good?
Doug has posted a difficult meme.
Post a collection of 10 things you believe, ethical, philosophical or theological. You choose how much to connect them or make them coherent: do you want people to know where you belong, or do you want to mix and match to keep them guessing?
- When I look at what are supposed to be real things like war, I believe there are alternatives.
- Fear mongering is a large part of the news.
- There is no conflict between religion and science.
- The dominant models of behaviour in most societies are self-serving.
- The patriarchy of most of the ancient texts arose from male self-importance.
- Self-serving behaviour has a costly solution: death.
- Co-operation is suspect.
- There appears to be no escape.
- People like to think they have the right answer.
- Life is lived in the cracks between optimism and external attempts to control risk.
I had typed a bunch of stuff and then after watching a murder mystery and listening to the news, I scrunched it all up in a ball and tossed it on the floor.
We must not be logical when reading since we are not logical.
Re Abstraction, Intellect, and Cerebral
- who gets around the limitations of words?
- shema - open up - hear - obey
- not just 'see' though the eyes be open
- not just use words cleverly - fun though it is.
Harold Bloom, in Jesus and Yahweh, is clever, funny, and filled with his (like Frye's) playful erudition.
YHWH declares his unknowability. Jesus Christ is totally smothered beneath the massive superstructure of historical theology and of Yeshua all we can rightly say is that he is a concave mirror where what we see are all the distortions each of us has become. (Page 8-9)In one or two words: YHWH is a mad moralist, Jesus Christ a theological labyrinth, Yeshua forlorn and solitary.
Bloom has a point - become solitary - see your reflection - become known.
How can we respond to his 8 reflections?
- The belated covenant. All Western irony - Hamlet, Kirkegaard, Kafka is in the wake of Jesus' riddles amalgam with Socrates.
- Shakespearean "self-overhearing" derives from Chaucer (?) and Tyndale's Jesus in the Geneva Bible. Internalization derives from Jesus through Augustine. Reflected in Hamlet / Falstaff. (My question - is this all there is to hear?)
- Marcan Jesus - as primitive. (Bloom assumes Marcan priority.) Luke's Jesus darker. Matthew's softer. (Really?)
- HJ to Gallup, Allegory and Reality, TNK vs NT. (Impossible for me to understand my own notes!) Frye makes the NT swallow TNK. "No Jew known at all to History can be regarded as more loyal to the Covenant as Jesus of Nazareth. That makes it the irony of ironies that his followers employed him to replace the YHWH covenant with their New Covenant." (page 12)
- Gospels as conversionary inspiration (similar to the Hebrew Bible).
- Quests for HJ has failed. "The Hebrew God cannot be said to select Jesus except as another prophet." (page 13) "Son of Man fathers himself - or is the Father his own Son?" pragmatically.
- Eros and authority - central to Jesus, Paul, Freud. Crucial in Moses, Socrates, Lear, Henry IV, Hamlet, 12th Night. Jesus embraces both love and Torah (Bloom has heard). James the Just is his authentic disciple. In James we hear the voice of the prophets in the wilderness, of Elijah, and John the Baptist, and the voice of Jesus himself, for once abandoning his formidable irony.
- Torah (like the Qur'an) is God whereas the entire argument of the Belated Testament is that man has replaced Scripture. (man or 'a man'?)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
- Light is a key concept - even the beginning of Torah expresses this accurately.
- Aristotle thought the sun was a perfect circle (O well - shows that science isn't always perfect.)
- Eratosthenes of Cyrene measured the circumference of the earth based on the angle of the sun at Aswan and Alexandria. And he got a good result c 25000 miles.
- Magnifying glasses are as old as 1000 BCE.
- Seneca knew about prisms.
- Galileo made the first successful attempt at measuring the speed of light. (Remember Aquinas thought that light was instantaneous. And it is of course, but it also measures time - so instantaneous doesn't mean much.)
- Descartes 'invented' the ether.
- Huygens and Hooke proposed light as wave but Newton said it was a particle.
The work of John Bell in clarifying the Einstein Podolsky Rosen paper was very well presented. His reductio ad absurdam that 1 = -1 is the conclusion that must happen if the assumption of locality is accepted. This is a fascinating stimulus to thinking about the imaginary idea of having less than nothing.
The conclusion that two entangled particles are not two but are 'really' one and the same particle in two places at once suggests to me that entanglement transcends time and space. Just as a two dimensional creature in time while studying the science of the very small might have to postulate a third spatial dimension, it seems to me that we creatures of 3 dimensions while studying the very small and the very large need to recognize that we don't know what we can't know (this is noted in Torah also - somewhere in that 5th book of Moses) and we must postulate a fourth space dimension.
Doug's marvelous celestial kiss posted yesterday led me to this article on dark energy, another fascinating option on a hidden power that holds up the universe.
Theory and explanation are only a part of life.To really know, you must also be known. Then the grub will measure success differently. Perhaps this is how we search for the author behind the words. And it may begin to approach the refining of some of Julia's questions today.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I have been wondering if I would do a detailed blog list - it is a lot of work keeping up the blogging. I note that this year's (actually next year's) John Albert Hall lectures will be given by Janet Soskice. It turns out that most female scholars that I know of don't have blogs though some have books and lots of them seem to know my daughter who also doesn't blog. Sarah Coakley did the JAH lectures in 2007 - it was an introduction to priestly theology and the liminal role of the priest in the Eucharist that was as complex a set of lectures as I have ever heard. While looking for blogs I noted this one with some nice poetry. But my blog list is bursting and I refuse to read some that are famous because it's not opinions nor is it the confession of the obvious that I want from blogs or anywhere else.
I read some good and some bad books on my holiday. I was disappointed in David Adams Richards 'God Is'. It is simply poorly conceived, badly written, and marks an editor's failure. I read Jesus and Yahweh by Harold Bloom and have made 16 pages of notes which I may condense... Bloom is a delightful writer and I even delight that I disagree with most of his inferences. What do I find in his writing then? A real person, as opinionated about Judaism as Richards is about Roman Catholicism but Bloom is focused, and his work has cracks and crevasses (is it really spelt that way!) where the light can shine or might even emerge. I am being unfair to Richards - he does have a few good notes - but too many non-sequiturs, too many fragments, too many grammatical errors, and too many typos. (A second edition will not save it - it needs a story which I am told he is good at.)
I have finally caught up on the 500 unread posts and this time I read many of them.
Other females from whose writing or speeches I have learned:
- Susannah Ticciati - full marks for her delightful 'Job and the Disruption of Identity'.
- Tikva Frymer-Kensky, leading contributor to 'Christianity in Jewish Terms'.
- Jody Magness from whom I learned a bit about the Dead Sea Scrolls
- Carolyn Osiek - in 'Families in the New Testament World'.
- Mary Coloe whose books on John are very helpful and well written.
- Morna Hooker, who addressed us at Hebrew 2006 and I have read and enjoyed some of her work.
- and Elizabeth Schlussle Fiorenza whose book on Revelation I read some years ago.
Of course I must mention April who I met briefly in San Diego, and Suzanne who lives across the straits from me and Macrina (now alas offline) and Rachel, the Velveteen Rabbi and the Everyday Thomist and Irshad Manji (whom I have not heard from for a while) and Julia M Obrien. Some of these I have not met except perhaps through shared comments, but I look forward to the possibility someday.