Re: [Norton AntiSpam] Re: [Norton AntiSpam] Re: Vatican

From: janice matchett <>
Date: Fri Nov 11 2005 - 17:04:58 EST

At 01:23 PM 11/9/2005, wrote:
>In a message dated 11/9/2005 10:52:25 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> writes:
>On God's "gender": there are feminine images of God in the OT, as biblical
>scholars have pointed out. And from early times, Christian theology has
>insisted that God is beyond gender. When my (usually male) students
>insist that God is masculine, I tell them that they are making God in
>their own image.
>However, as I pointed out to my students in my NT Lit. classes yesterday,
>the correct translation for Gal. 3:28 is "...not 'male and female'." As
>N. T. Wright and others point out, Paul is clearly referencing Gen.
>1:27. They interpret Paul to mean that in Christ gender distinctions no
>longer obtain, because believers are "one" in a "new creation." The shift
>also contains an implicit rejection of all patriarchial systems of gender
>discrimination. Ephesians carries this forward in 5:21ff with "Be
>mutually submissive to one another out of reverence for Christ," and
>includes husbands and wives under that rubric.
>Jewish theology posits the messiah to be male and female. The reasoning
>goes this way: Before Eve was created from Adam's rib, Adam contained both
>male and female principles and therefore had NO DESIRE. Once Adam and Eve
>were separated, each lacked something the other had and desire was born.
>It was desire that caused the eating of the apple.
>Jesus is portrayed as celibate, like the pre-fall Adam the messiah has no
>desire. He is complete in himself.
>I do not see Christian theology departing from this schema. Also, the nag
>hammadi texts make much mention of male becoming female and female
>becoming male to enter the kingdom.
>For background see Gershom Scholem's the messianic idea in Judaism
>rich faussette

### Interesting guy, that Gershom Scholem.

Gershom Scholem: Kabbalah and Counter History, by David Biale

"for Scholem, there is something fundamentally antithetical between true
Judaism and 'bourgeois culture'. The overweening desire of partially
acculturated Jews to enter bourgeoisie motivated an apologetic stance that
sapped Judaism of any authenticity."

"Where the Wissenschaft des Judentums saw only a historical corpse,
Scholem, finds 'hidden life', 'a great living myth', which Scholem finds in
Jewish Gnosticism and the Kabbalah.

Not everything takes place on the plane of the obvious. I shall call
Scholem's historical method of unearthing the 'hidden virtue' from the W.
des J. 'counter-history'.

I mean by this term the belief that the true history lies in a subterranean
tradition that must be brought to light, much as the apocalyptic thinker
decodes an ancient prophecy or as Walter Benjamin spoke of 'brushing
history against the grain'.

Counter history is a type of revisionist historiography, but where the
revisionist proposes a new theory or finds new facts, the counter-historian
transvalues old ones. He does not deny that his predecessors'
interpretation of history is correct, as does the revisionist, but he
rejects the completeness of that interpretation: he affirms the existence
of a 'mainstream' or 'establishment' history, but believes that the vital
force lies in a secret tradition. For Scholem, the Kabbalah, a suppresses
and esoteric tradition, holds the key to the continuing vitality of Judaism
... myth and mysticism ... the motor forces to the forward progress of
Jewish history ... the true inner soul of Judaism."

"Molitor divided Jewish history into three ages: masoretic, legal, and
historical-mystical. In the first and at least early second stages, the
Jewish tradition integrated the Kabbalah with the esoteric law. When the
Talmud was written down, the two began to separate, at which point
Christianity emerged to renew the law from outside by appropriating and
transforming the Kabbalistic tradition.

Within Judaism, the codification of Jewish law in the Middle Ages by
Maimonides and Karo destroyed the unity of Jewish tradition. The Kabbalah
emerged as an independent, recognizable discipline in the 13 s. precisely
during the period when the law was being codified. The age of mysticism
could only begin when the law 'expelled' the Kabbalah, but the penalty the
law paid was fossilization through loss of its inner vital force."

"The only legitimate path back to the mystical reality of the Kabbalah lay
through 'the misty wall of history', which could only be penetrated with
the tools of philogical criticism. Here, then, is Scholem's belief that the
essence of an historical phenomenon can never be recaptured directly, but
only through the indirect means of commentary. The historian and not the
philosopher possesses the key to the metaphysical truth."

"The problem of language is particularly acute in the evaluation of
mystical experiences, since the mystic must express his experience of the
infinite in finite language. Moreover, most mystics feel an extraordinary
desire to communicate their experience, even as they acknowledge the
impossibility of doing so ... [one] can argue that language has an inferior
status to revelation and is unable to communicate more than a pale shadow
of the original experience. In the face of revelation, man is quite
literally dumbstruck and only later tries to translate divine silence into
inadequate human speech.

The essence of the mystical experience is silence; there is no relationship
between it and the language used to describe it [Buber]. The second
position, which both Scholem and Benjamin adopted argues that language
itself is of divine origin and that the experience of revelation is
linguistic. Since language is equivocally both divine and human, a basis
exists for using language to communicate an experience of the divine. The
profound implication of the language question is whether divine revelation
must remain a silent, individual experience or whether it can become a
public, communicable tradition, for a reliable tradition demands belief in
the language in which it is conveyed ..."

" [Buber, following Hume] argues that the world we perceive with our senses
is no more than a fragmented bundle of perceptions: 'I give the bundle a
name and call it World, but the name is not that unity that is intuitively
experienced ... language evolves out of the naming of perceptions. There is
actually no distinction between perception and language ... Whatever I call
world refers only to my sense perceptions and does not capture the essence
of the world ... Erlebnis is beyond all words and perceptions ... the true
ecstatic experience ... silent ... wordless. Because Erlebnis is utterly
silent, the mystic is also completely lonely: 'He has no longer any
community with him, no collectivity. Language, however, is the function of
community'. Without an effective language to communicate his experience,
the mystic is left totally alone ... Despite the inherent silence of the
mystical experience, the mystic is forced to articulate his experience.
Buber calls this the 'will to speak the unspeakable' ... the memory of the
experience becomes the symbolic representation of the original experience ..."

"The Torah, read mystically, was nothing but a series of esoteric divine
names. The hidden structure of the Torah was equivalent to the structure of
the world, and the task of the Kabbalist was to decipher the common
linguistic essence of creation and revelation. The Torah, as the Kabbalists
conceived it, is consequently not separate from the divine essence, not
created in the strict sense of the word; rather, it is something that
represents the secret life of God, which the Kabbalistic emanation theory
was an attempt to describe."

"The Kabbalist claims that there is tradition whose truth can be
transmitted. An ironic claim since precisely that truth which is the issue
here is anything but transmittable. It can be known, but not transmitted
and precisely that which is transmittable in it, it no longer contains.
Authentic tradition remains hidden; only the decayed tradition chances upon
a subject and only in decay does its greatness become visible."

"'Language is in every case not only the communication of the communicable,
but equally the symbol of the incommunicable.' Language is one of the
primary cognitive tools with which man gives intelligible form to chaotic
sense perceptions."

"Reason is a great instrument of destruction. For construction, something
beyond it is required..." [snip]

~ Janice
Received on Fri Nov 11 17:06:25 2005

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