Thursday, June 10, 2010

Scripture Over All Else?

The finally definitive move for the Rabbis was to transfer all Logos and Sophia talk to the Torah alone, thus effectively accomplishing two powerful discursive moves at once: consolidating their power as the sole religious virtuosi and leaders of "the Jews", aand protecting one version of monotheistic thinking from the problematic of division within the godhead. For the Rabbis, Torah supersedes Logos, just as for John, Logos supersedes Torah. Or, to put it into more fully Johanine terms, if for John the Logos Incarnate in Jesus replaces the Logos revealed in the Book, for the Rabbis the Logos Incarnate in the Book displaces the Logos that subsists anywhere else but in the Book. This move on the part of the Rabbis at the end of the rabbinic period effectively displaces the structure of western thought, embodied in the Fourth Gospel, whereby Logos is located most directly and presently in the voice of the speaker, Jesus, with the written text understood at best as a secondary reflection of the speaker's intention.

Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines: the partition of Judaeo-Christianity, pg. 129.

1 comment:

  1. I mentioned this in my blog post on the cultural context of 'faith':

    "The superiority of 'faith in Christ' over 'works of the law' is being advocated by Paul in an attempt to point his fellow Jews towards the true Memra of God. "To the Jew, Wisdom was the Torah. Wisdom was the Law. They believed that the Law was eternal. That it was there when God was there. That Law given to people in scripture and put down in writing was the mind of God...They made the Law the focus of all that they were about...It was as though the Law had an existence and a personality all of its own. It was an extension of Yahweh." ...Paul's epistles are filled with the consistent message "that righteousness doesn't come by the Law. It comes by this person, Jesus. And Paul and the other writers are going to say that that God. He is Wisdom. He is the Word. He is the Angel. He is all these things that we associate with embodied deity in the Old Testament. So, you can see that the conflict is just transparent. It's Christ and the Law. Which Wisdom is it? Which Word is it? Is it this person, Jesus of Nazareth, or is it the Torah?" (Michael S. Heiser, "Where Did the NT Writers Get the Idea of Jesus as Co-Creator?" Presentation given at Grace Church Bellingham, 12/6/2009).