Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some fuzzy math

Sometimes it is difficult for me articulate strands of my thinking. Last Sunday, as we were discussing the Sunday readings during the dismissal of catechumens, the scriptural chain below emerged and I have been chewing on it since. It is about identity, who we are, who God is, about knowing as we are known, which is what moves us from the partial to the perfect. In her brilliant novel, 36 Arguments For The Existence Of God: A Work of Fiction, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein puts the following observation in the mouth of Jonah Elijah Klapper, Extreme Distinguished Professor of Faith, Literature, and Values at Frankfurter University, ignominiously dubbed "the Klap" by the irreverent Roz: "Maimonides... was the rabbi who performed the mixed marriage between the Aristotelian Unmoved Mover and Yahweh." Undoubtedly, Moses Maimonides was guilty (if that is the right word) of identifying the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with the so-called God of the philosophers, a misidentification that causes much distress, especially as regards theodicy.

Prologomena:
Exodus 3:4-
"God called to him out of the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.'" "Here I am" in transliterated Hebrew= hinei, also transliterated enni, the same word Abraham says to God when he is commanded to sacrifice Issac Gen. 1:21-22. Hinei is most literally translated "behold me."

Exodus 3:14-
"God said to Moses, 'I am who I am [= אֶהְיֶה].' And he said, 'Say this to the people of Israel, "I am [= אֶהְיֶה] has sent me to you."' - U2 begins their song Vertigo "Uno"= first part (i.e., Hebrew Scriptures); "dos"= second book (i.e., Exodus); "tres"= third chapter; "catorce" (not quatro)- fourteenth verse, an ur verse in holy writ, wherein we encounter the sacred tetragrammaton, which is either never to be spoken, or, as in Christian practice, used sparingly and always with great reverence, as the Holy See reminded us awhile back.

Recent Sunday readings:

Sunday, 31 January:
Jer. 1:5-
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

1 Cor. 13:12-
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."


Sunday, 7 February:
Isaiah 6:8-
"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'" Again, hinei.

1 Cor. 15:10-
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain."

So, for what it is worth...

For those serious about Scripture study, here is a tremendous on-line resource, a Hebrew-English interlinear, with Hebrew, transliteration, and literal translation, then dynamic equivalent (i.e., the Hebrew Scriptures as we read them): Scripture4all. I can remember when doing this required me to have no fewer than three or four large volumes laid out before me, which is why I study on the floor and not at a desk.

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