Logos Theology In Pre-christian Judaism (john 1:1-3)

“1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being…”

It is absolutely true that this Gospel’s original author, in his midrashic [1] prologue to the rest of the book, states that there is an entity referred to as “God,” as well as an entity referred to as the “Word of God.” Both God and his Word, in the Evangelist’s mind are divine and existed eternally. Whether one’s theology allows for such interpretation or not, is in some way irrelevant. This is after all theology of the Gospel of John and this is how the author sees God. Take it or leave it.

Some people would say that the rhetoric of “difference and equality” between God and His Word begins with Christian Literature; and particularly in these first verses of John’s Gospel, while others may object to this since this is the language used in creation in Genesis. He created everything by the power of His Word. Both ideas are inadequate, however. It is true, that God spoke (or worded) everything into being, but nowhere (at least not in Genesis) does it imply that God and the Word he spoke were “distinct and yet equal” in their nature, and therefore power and glory. So, while Genesis 1 does not contradict this idea, neither does it prove it.

The Scriptures of the Hebrew Bible [2] were not the only books people of ancient times were reading and hearing at their religious communal readings. They were also exposed to a wide variety of Jewish texts that people thought of as spiritually profitable and many times also sacred. (Remember during this time the Canon (both Jewish and Christian) was not yet firmly established, the rough idea of what would become the Canon was already emerging).

In the Jewish treatises of Philo and others, authored in Greek, a very similar, if not the same, concept is also present. It is referred to by the use of the Greek word Logos just as in the Gospels(Heir 205-6), while in the Aramaic/Syriaic/Hebrew Jewish materials the same (or a very similar) idea is very often, though not always, is signified by the word Memra (Targum Neofiti in Gen.3.13). Once a student of history of religion begins surveying Jewish pre-Christian ideas about the Word of God in para-biblical literature, pre-dating or contemporary with John’s Gospel, that student is quickly beginning to realize that up to this point (John 1:3) the author of the Gospel has not yet introduced any new ideas (and surely nothing foreign) to the Jewish first century thought-world as it existed at the time.

This will change sharply with vs. 14, with the introduction of the almost totally unexpected idea of the Word of God coming in the form of human flesh and eternally joining its divine nature to frail humanity of which he himself, in Christian tradition, was the creator.[3]

© By Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Ph.D.

 


[1] Midrash is a way of interpreting biblical stories that goes beyond simple meaning. It fill in gaps left in the biblical narrative regarding events and personalities that are only hinted at in the text itself.

[2] Jews call it Tanach – an acronym for Torah (Five Books of Moses), Neviim (Prophets) and Kituvim (Writings), while in the Christian tradition it is customary to refer to the same set of Scriptures as the Old Testament.

[3] For a more detailed explanation of logos theology in pre-Christian Judaisms, please, see Prof. Daniel Boyarin’s essay “Logos, A Jewish Word: John’s Prologue as Midrash” in The Jewish Annotated New Testament, pg. 546-549.

About the author

Dr. Eli Lizorkin-EyzenbergTo secure your spot in our new course “The Jewish Background of New Testament” - CLICK HERE NOW

You might also be interested in:

Shanah Tova!

By Julia Blum

Who Was Melchizedek?  (3)

By Julia Blum

Join the conversation (85 comments)

Leave a Reply

  1. Ester Blomerus

    I am now, for the first time, looking at Robinson’s very interesting treatise on John’s Gospel, His sharp observations – his day and age definitely considered! – indeed call for indepth probing. It would surely be worthwhile scratching deeper so that his audience, the Jews – generally referred to as a collective and seemingly applied as such up until 150 AD, i.e without proper distinction between Jew and Jew – can be properly defined. The outstanding academic work of this author has indeed opened channels that can help us understand, what I would like to call, the dilemma that had then faced the first-century Church and when this apostle was used as God’s anointed instrument, i.e to stand against apostasies that were gradually falling in place among especially the Jewish believers.
    Proper dating of this Gospel is therefore crucial as this dating is essential with this type of study. It is often the insignificant that is of greater importance than obvious conclusions. Any suggestions for a “proper” dating of this Gospel?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I do not know when the Gospel written. I think that it is reacting to Mathew’s anti-Samaritanism, however.

      1. Ester Blomerus

        Thanks Dr Eli, I will keep this in mind.

  2. Sheila

    Hi Dr. Eli,

    I’ve recently started reading, “Two Powers in Heaven…” by Alan Segal. While arguing for the heresy of two powers and what then became known as “Christianity” he inadvertently shows that the two powers idea was indeed present before 1st century Judaism! Interesting.

    Thanks for your detailed writings!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Sheila, look at the first article featured here – http://iibsblogs.wpengine.com/featured-articles/

  3. Ester Blomerus

    Shalom Fred, thanks for your comment and well-meant advice. But as I have previously said, let’s agree to disagree as for me reasoning God’s existence and His revelation in and through His Son, is indeed a matter of interpretation of the Scriptures and, yes, always keeping in mind the development of doctrinal stances against the backdrop of so much more than what is often taken for granted . What we believe therefore depends, not only on what is generally believed, but rather on our personal vantage points – whether we are prepared to accept what has been delivered to us carte blanche, or question it. Besides, God never instructed any of us to believe in a Trinitarian God, in other words, dogmatically worded as such and as we have been instructed to do since Nicaea (325) – I don’t find this doctrine per se in the Scriptures (written/recorded in the Scriptures).

    Christological issues were of course debated and conclusions were drawn, based on a majority vote. Yet, as you will know, the successful ruling arrived at Nicaea did not mean consent by one and all – and it is still the case! Therefore as the debate on the Trinity has never subsided, I think it is good to, for the sake of unity in the Body of Jesus, make room for more than just that one-and-only “infallible” stance that had caused so much misery for many believers, both Jews and Gentiles throughout the ages.

    If you and I should enter in debating “proofs”, “interpretations” , and “inferences”, we would just be keeping ourselves busy trying to convince each other all the time. Believe me, I have made a thorough, well-grounded study of this issue. So I am not just trying to be on the other side of the fence. I want to be there! But I will not drown you or barbecue you if you should label me a “heretic”! By the way, I too believe in one Almighty God revealed in and through His Son, Jesus our Precious and only Lord and Saviour, who had a pre-existence with the Father and who also gave us the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.33). And with this I am ending my commenting on this issue as I don’t think I, or anybody else, will ever succeed in bringing closure to this age-old debate! God bless you my brother in Christ!

  4. Fred Aguelo

    Dear Ester Blomerus,

    It is always good to search for more knowledge as I search for it myself and this journey is never-ending. I always appreciate that our G-D is all powerful and all knowing and always present and He created all things by His incomparable and great knowledge. In our search to understand the Trinity and reality of YHWH, it would help a lot if we remember that the very foundation of all Truth and knowledge for that matter is Scripture itself and not the writings of mere men, no matter how highly we may regard them.

    It is only the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who will enlighten us with regard to spiritual matters and not the opinions of philosophers. That’s not to say that we disregard wise counsel from anointed men but even they we must discern to be ‘anointed’. The Tanach is replete with references to the reality of the Trinity but these can only be gleaned with utmost care by the Holy Spirit who guided the prophets to record it faithfully. So, a personal investigation with the guidance of the Holy Spirit will yield understanding. But you must open your heart and believe in the Holy Spirit. Unbelief in the Holy Spirit will mean exception from the knowledge of the holy.

    All discussion of all theological subjects and our understanding of it hinges on the guidance of the Paraclete. Since He prodeeds from the Father and the Son, believers ignore the Holy Spirit at their peril.

    YHWH bless you!

    Fred

    1. Rafael

      Fred, I do not intend to belittle your knowledge. But if God thought that it was important for us to recognize the Holy Spirit as a person, He would have made it unmistakably clear. And if He thought it was important to believe in the trinity, he would have left little room to debate it. I happen to believe in the trinity myself. I was taught that from an early age. But I also confirmed it when I later found that it is a matter of debate. Nevertheless, the trinity, as well a the personage of the Holy Spirit, they are mysteries that cannot be gleaned merely by a superficial reading. And I believe that only the things that are clear from a superficial reading are essential for salvation. Furthermore, I don’t agree with you that it is necessary to believe in the person of the Holy Spirit in order for the Holy Spirit to guide your quest for truth. It is only necessary that you seek the truth sincerely. God honors all who sincerely seek the truth, even if they’ve never even heard of the scriptures. There are remote tribes who were expecting the missionaries who came, because God gave them visions of the visit due to their desire to know the true God.

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        good points, Rafael.

  5. Ester Blomerus

    Concerning the Trinity, I am prepared to agree to disagree as the debate on the Trinity has never subsided and it will always be with us.

    Concerning Calvin, I steer away from the traditional, Calvinistic viewpoint, giving Calvin a totally clean slate. Calvin most certainly had enough authority in Geneve to have intervened for Servetus had he indeed wanted to. He called Servetus derogatory names (his famous Institutions…. ) confirm this, proving hatred and definitely entailing hate speech. I think all is not always told about this unhappy event in the history of the Reformation as there are indicators that Servetus was his superior at varsity. If I must carry on, I will have to need more space so I’ll leave this tacky issue at this. Calvin’s so-called “blue laws of Geneve” portrays a man of extreme rigidity and is yet another proof of the impatience of the Trinitarians, he clearly had placed on a pedestal, e.g. Chrysostom, and even Athanasius, against all but their own kind. According to one of the earlier sources Calvin kept Miguel Servero in goal in Geneve for quite a couple of months before his death in Champal, visiting him regularly and debating with him on Christological issues. It is said that Servero, when he realized his pending fate, begged Calvin to rather have him killed by the sword. I don’t think we always hear the full truth. Sorry, but I am not trying to be difficult but the so-called confession is just, for me, not acceptable as it is also said that he was holding his MS in his hand whilst dying on a “slow” fire – wet wood! – singing until his voice was silenced by the fumes. Besides, he was named the “jewel of the Anabaptists” and he was clearly a man of high principles and faith in God (i.e. now apart from his type of belief in Jesus – he did not believe in Christ’s pre-existence as far as I know and there are of course divers types of Nazarene viewpoints on Jesus).

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Ester, thank you for your comment. I do not feel that I know enough to debate or affirm some of the things you pointed out here. Thank you for making this comment and welcome to our group!

  6. Ester Blomerus

    I know that the Trinity is deeply embedded in Christian Theology. I also know all too well that it will always be the vantage point from which the majority of theologians will reason. Scripture is on the whole always applied with the Trinitarian perspective in mind. I like your reasoning but I also think we must remain objective, in other words, always keeping in mind that the Trinitarian theology developed over a period of time, and what I therefore would like to call here, modern-day “applied theology” – if one should be bold rejecting the traditional stance, one would immediately be acclaimed a heretic ( I for instance heard this morning on a Sunday radio talk, i.e. that Servetus, whilst burning at the stake, was pleading for mercy, as though he was asking forgiveness for his rejection of Calvin’s Trinity!. Who can say for sure what Servetus had on his mind? But it is just taken carte blanche that he was confessing his gross dogmatic “error” to Calvin! It is then just assumed that Servetus was playing in the hand of Calvin, who of course had assigned him to the stake so that the heretic could repent! It is then just assumed that the Trinitarian theology is what we have received from the apostles and I think this is a misconception and therefore there were two protagonists at Nicaea although the one’s opinions were clearly favoured. In your opinion, what exactly is Christ’s pre-existence? Was He mere Thought/ Logos//Reason/Mind or was He a Being that could also be manifested as alive among God’s People? ? For it, surely, is the way we visualize the pre-existence of the Son of God (or the way we declare it) that will determine how we will approach our understanding of the New Testament, not so? And therefore the so-called ëver-green” Trinity will always be accepted as the only authentic Scriptural Truth for it is reasoned to be such and definitely in accordance with Trinitarian theology. And as you know, there are MANY believers in Jesus who cannot accept the Trinity as sole Biblical Truth. I would love to see an out and out objective approach, stripped of preconceived Trinitarian perspectives, in other words, just dealing with the text and stating diverse perspectives thereof. And especially with this type of Hebrew Online “educational/reconciliatory tool” in mind. I love your input, don’t take me wrong. I also highly respect it. I do think you succeed in remaining objective to a very large extent, but who was Christ in His pre-existence? Surely we cannot just keep on making Him a mere Thought or Reason just to keep the traditional Trinitarian perspective well in place. I am putting my foot into it here, as honestly, I cannot and will never accept the Trinity as I think it is the cause of so much confusion when it comes to approaching the Scriptures that were meant to uplift, not to confuse. And then I just want to add, there were indeed, and we cannot deny this any longer, external (pagan) influence on pre-Christian Jewish thought as well. We cannot reason, e.g. Babylonian et al influence away as though it is a myth. I also think that one must see the pastoral letters of John, and especially 2 and 3 as a backdrop to the Gospel of John. There were clearly influences at work that were paving the way for post-apostolic thought, and which perspectives have been handed down to us throughout the ages as the full Truth.

    What I would very much like to see is discussions on the Samaritans – I like your perspective on the Gospel of John and the Samaritans – the Samaritan influence on the Gospel of John, early Essene thought, and then of course the Greek text in comparison with the Aramaic – which is, as you know, currently hotly in demand – and which would naturally bring us to Aramaic thought over against Greek thought. It seems it is the Aramaic text that has paved the way for equality in the Godhead, and that one God in three persons are propagated to this day – it seems that Stoic thought had a bearing on the threefold personification of the one God of the Shema.

    I think there is sense in what I have said here as there are many traditional Jews who just accept that the Trinity is revered by all Christians and I know that, e.g., Rabbi Singer is totally against the Trinity and, surely, one cannot just accept that he is 100% wrong in his criticism thereof.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Dr. Blomerus,

      thank you for writing. Please, see my responses under each of your point. In the future please make your valuable comments shorter for everyone’s reading convenience.

      I know that the Trinity is deeply embedded in Christian Theology. I also know all too well that it will always be the vantage point from which the majority of theologians will reason. Scripture is on the whole always applied with the Trinitarian perspective in mind. I like your reasoning but I also think we must remain objective, in other words, always keeping in mind that the Trinitarian theology developed over a period of time, and what I therefore would like to call here, modern-day “applied theology” – if one should be bold rejecting the traditional stance, one would immediately be acclaimed a heretic ( I for instance heard this morning on a Sunday radio talk, i.e. that Servetus, whilst burning at the stake, was pleading for mercy, as though he was asking forgiveness for his rejection of Calvin’s Trinity!

      A.: I agree that Trinitarian perspective is deeply embedded one and it is not even possible to do Christian theology without it. Having said that I do not think it is problematical :-), I think that one should simply be aware of it and watch the dangers of reading in meanings when they are not really there. We all have perspectives that guide our trajectory’s of thought? (by the way where is your phd from, mine is from Stellenbosch). About Trinity and Calvin, I think there is a lot misconceptions about Calvin’s role and status in Geneva.

      Calvin was not granted citizenship in Geneva for a very long time. He received it just few years before his death not being nearly as politically powerful as his critics and lovers think. Trinity also was hardly Calvin’s :-). Calvin lived way too late in history for it to be “his” Trinity. He was trinitarian of course, but I don’t think either trinity or Calvin deserve to be linked in such a way :-).

      Who can say for sure what Servetus had on his mind? But it is just taken carte blanche that he was confessing his gross dogmatic “error” to Calvin! It is then just assumed that Servetus was playing in the hand of Calvin, who of course had assigned him to the stake so that the heretic could repent!

      A.: This a mistake. The city counsel was in those turbulent times charged with these decisions. Calvin actually interceded with them on behalf of Servetus (though he surely thought that the man was a heretic) and in the last moments he went pleading with Sarvetus to his jail cell as well. I think we must be careful anachronistically look back in time. Those were strange and dangerous times when Calvins missionary European disciples were dawning in the blood of Catholic counter-reformation.

      It is then just assumed that the Trinitarian theology is what we have received from the apostles and I think this is a misconception and therefore there were two protagonists at Nicaea although the one’s opinions were clearly favoured.

      A.: I do not think that Apostles believed in Trinity. However, if they were different men living at a later time (I THINK) they would have probably agreed with it! 🙂

      The quotation from Westminster Assembly that was authored to unite Ireland, England and Scotland, but failed to do so is good description of the Christian doctrine of Trinity:

      I. There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory, most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most just and terrible in his judgments; hating all sin; and who will by no means clear the guilty.

      II. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone foundation of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature; so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.

      III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

      In your opinion, what exactly is Christ’s pre-existence? Was He mere Thought/ Logos//Reason/Mind or was He a Being that could also be manifested as alive among God’s People? ? For it, surely, is the way we visualize the pre-existence of the Son of God (or the way we declare it) that will determine how we will approach our understanding of the New Testament, not so? And therefore the so-called ëver-green” Trinity will always be accepted as the only authentic Scriptural Truth for it is reasoned to be such and definitely in accordance with Trinitarian theology. And as you know, there are MANY believers in Jesus who cannot accept the Trinity as sole Biblical Truth. I would love to see an out and out objective approach, stripped of preconceived Trinitarian perspectives, in other words, just dealing with the text and stating diverse perspectives thereof. And especially with this type of Hebrew Online “educational/reconciliatory tool” in mind. I love your input, don’t take me wrong. I also highly respect it. I do think you succeed in remaining objective to a very large extent, but who was Christ in His pre-existence? Surely we cannot just keep on making Him a mere Thought or Reason just to keep the traditional Trinitarian perspective well in place.

      A.: I lost you a bit here: Sorry. I do believe that Logos of God was always with God and was always God. How? I have no idea 🙂

      I am putting my foot into it here, as honestly, I cannot and will never accept the Trinity as I think it is the cause of so much confusion when it comes to approaching the Scriptures that were meant to uplift, not to confuse.

      A.: It is wise not to ever say never, I think. But once again… I think it is NOT heretical to have a difficulty with how exactly the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equal in power and glory and how it all works. If one does not accept “the Trinity” on this ground, I do not have a problem with that at all.

      And then I just want to add, there were indeed, and we cannot deny this any longer, external (pagan) influence on pre-Christian Jewish thought as well.

      A.: Pagan is anachronistic term. So it is better not to use it here. But non-Israelite influences are common in Israelite literature. I think it is an established fact. The question is not whether or not there were influences, but to what degree they influenced the Hebrew texts, how and what it all means 🙂

      We cannot reason, e.g. Babylonian et al influence away as though it is a myth. I also think that one must see the pastoral letters of John, and especially 2 and 3 as a backdrop to the Gospel of John.

      A.: Perhaps.

      There were clearly influences at work that were paving the way for post-apostolic thought, and which perspectives have been handed down to us throughout the ages as the full Truth.

      What I would very much like to see is discussions on the Samaritans – I like your perspective on the Gospel of John and the Samaritans – the Samaritan influence on the Gospel of John, early Essene thought, and then of course the Greek text in comparison with the Aramaic – which is, as you know, currently hotly in demand – and which would naturally bring us to Aramaic thought over against Greek thought.

      A.: Your last point is problematic, largely because Greek language spoken by Jews (in Aramaic or even more probably in Hebrew for that mater) does not make a text Greek in thought :-). In other words when I as a Jew think in Russian (my first language) I still think and write Jewishly :-). By the way it is not the origional semitic text that may be under the Greek Gospels, but simply this that it was Semits (Jews) writing in Greek retaining therefore many paters of thought characteristic thereof.

      It seems it is the Aramaic text that has paved the way for equality in the Godhead, and that one God in three persons are propagated to this day – it seems that Stoic thought had a bearing on the threefold personification of the one God of the Shema.

      A.: I don’t know enough about this to say yes or no.

      I think there is sense in what I have said here as there are many traditional Jews who just accept that the Trinity is revered by all Christians and I know that, e.g., Rabbi Singer is totally against the Trinity and, surely, one cannot just accept that he is 100% wrong in his criticism thereof.

      A.: What opinion of Rabbi Singer has to do with the truth or falsehood of Trinity I am not at all sure. Rabbi Singer is mistaken about all kinds of things about Jesus, so what? It is has opinion. He is entitled to it as do you and I 🙂

      Note: Once again if you continue make your comments make shorter please and I will respond (it will be easier on the readers this way). Thank you very much for writin and I hope you are ok with my honest answers. Dr. Eli

      1. Rafael

        Dr Eli, thank you for replying to such large posts. And I appreciate that you quote portions of the long post for context. But I have one criticism and request regarding that. It is easy for me to see where each of your responses begins. What confuses me is that it is not easy to see where your responses ere and your quoting the other person resumes. It’s disconcerting. At times, it seems like you have reversed your own position. Only then do I realize that I’m probably reading quoted material. Please make it more obvious when quoting continues. Your responses in this case always begin with “A.:”, which is great. But could you begin quoted portions with “Q.:”, or anything that makes the transition clear? Thank you.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          I will try to do this. Thanks. I was under impression that the comment system clearly states what comment belong to whom. Can you do a print screen and send it to me via email? Eli.Lizorkin@eteachergroup.com

          1. RamonAntonio

            Seems some of us are starting to write in tongues in this blog. Think we will need an interpreter of one’s own writing and of some others if we are to understand each other.
            Is this a “good” sign? That the Spirit is indeed talking through us and we need to discern? Or is this simply a Late 2013 Edition of the Tower of Babel story? 🙂 🙂
            Thanks God Almighty that there were no Ipads or tablets in Babel. Just imagine everyone talking to Siri at the same time trying to understand each other…

  7. Bill Martinez

    Dr. Dr. Eli:

    My understanding is that the definition of the Greek word “Logos” is the “sayings of God” and that these sayings of God embody an idea or plan, and so, John 1 communicates to humanity that when God began to create he had a plan for his creation, and it is through His Word or Logos God’s character is made manifest to humanity, John 1c, and “the Word was God”.

    His plan for humanity would be fulfilled through Jesus, and so, John 1 pertains to Jesus but is not him as sentient person. And so, all things were made by him and without him was nothing made that was made..

    And the Word was made flesh. The scriptures tell us that he was conceived of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary.

    Love in Christ,
    Marty

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      The Logos of God is probably to great to be precisely defined by us, but what you described here I agree with of course.

  8. […] Law. After all Mosaic Law is Jesus’ law, both because Jesus was the eternal Logos of God (read here and here) and, therefore, was its original giver. Moreover, because in his humanity he was a Jew, as […]

  9. Urbanos

    nice post and great dialogue in the thread. thank you everyone for playing nice! one thing is we all love his word! halleluyah

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      This first looks like a spam post :-), but then it did not. 🙂 Welcome to the study group, Urbanos! Dr. Eli

  10. […] authorities can simply accept or reject. He is Israel’s King, the one anointed by Israel’s God. He is God’s Logos/Memra, who has come from heaven to the Ancient Israelites to meet all their needs and unite them in the […]

  11. RamonAntonio

    In order for us to even consider this kind of direct re- reading of the Gospels as a personal portrait of Jesus speaking of Himself written by the apostles, we must “FRAME OURSELVES” (and this is a critical self definition) within our own epistemological situation. That is, we must abandon as much as possible our anthropocentric cultural cues and embrace to the utmost extent a supra natural discourse of reality. In so doing, we have to start from the premise that we are trying to read the Gospels as the presentation by the apostles to the posterity of Christendom the Person of Jesus, a supernatural being that incarnated Himself as part of humanity, (which is precisely word by word what John says in his introduction to his Gospel) who came to teach humanity that He Himself has been the Existing One (Yahweh, the thetragrammatron, the persisten existence) and that only by believing in His existence as the personal God of each one of us we can achieve Salvation by God the Father.
    To believe in that REFRAME OF MIND is what he calls to have Faith which is akin as He Himself says, to believe in Him, in His being a reality as God and not another prophet. And that is precisely what I read in Dr Van der berg comments previously and what sparked this proposition. That we must read the written past texts as if being present statements of a living One who is with us right now at our side.
    That is why I propose that the Prodigal Son is an anthropomorphic image of Jesus spoke by Himself to us in order for us to grasp a little the immense sacrifice that He made in order to achieve salvation for us.

  12. RamonAntonio

    Inspired by the Logos framework that Dr Eli suggests: Let’s make a re reading of Lk. 15: 11-32, the famous Prodigal Son Parable, also known as the Loving Father and/or the Immense Joy Parable as we are suggesting that all the time Jesus spoke of Himself. First of all only Luke has this parable so we have to determine its origin in Luke sources.

    The parable opens with a man with two sons, a trinity. There is no mother and the three are same gender, male. One of them asks for his share and the father gives his share to one of them who then goes to “another place” and dispenses his share to the point of losing everything and having to resort to the lowest condition possible in a strange realm which is not that of him properly. So the son becomes one of the lowest of the ones in the strange land, possibly the lowest one.

    Then, realizing his condition of rejection of His Father, the dispensing son decides to repent and ask for forgiveness to His Father and starts the long journey home. It is significant to note that right now, by returning to home, the dispensing son is subject to judgement in the land of the father because of the sin of rejecting him in the first place. But the all loving father is at the daily lookout for the son to return, vigilant and always expecting the return. Upon seeing the returning son, the father, although being old, runs with might and comes to the returning son embracing him with love. And as soon as the son starts his repentance prayer to the father, the father interrupts him, kisses him, puts his robe around him and his ring. The father re positions the dispensing son in his original place despite his original sin.

    The other son rebukes, but the Father simply says that everything he owns is owned by the other because the other is always with him and he can do whatever he wants with everything he has at his disposal which is everything the father has.
    Now, my dear friends, just capitalize where I wrote of the Father, the Son and the Other as Jesus initially calls the Holy Spirit when he first speaks of Him to the disciples. Doesn’t this parable story reminds us all the journey of the Son of God to a strange realm, a created reality in which He inserts Himself as one of the created ones, dispenses all His wealth of love and finally is rejected to the lowest position and then returns in repentance to His Father who despite the immensity of the sin of rejection an dispensing of wealth, pardons, protects and restores the Son to his proper place.

    Isn’t that the personal story of Jesus Himself as Savior? Wasn’t Jesus in fact then, speaking of Himself?
    Thanks for the possibility of rereading the Gospels this way. Only from the perspective of the rich Jewish heritage such a re reading is possible. But that is something for another post.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Very interesting, Ramon. I have to give it a thought. It could very well be. By the way, one of my favorite books is Henry Nouwen’s “Return of the Prodigal Son”. If you are not familiar (I doubt that this is the case), I provide here a link to the google books version – http://books.google.co.il/books?id=V_CxcdUw1uMC&pg=PA2&dq=return+of+the+prodigal+son+henry&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UxeiUYr-KoW9ObX3gIAJ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=return%20of%20the%20prodigal%20son%20henry&f=false

  13. RamonAntonio

    In 1981, Philip J. Davies and Reuben Hersh published a landmark book: The Mathematical Experience. I have been fascinated by it since then. Part 8 and the last three articles in it devote their attention to mathematical reality and mathematical intuition.
    Roughly generalizing the point they establish is that there are things (entities?) that have to be considered that exist in dimensions out of our ordinary sensory 3 we have. The existence of this entities a s a fact, can be demonstrated mathematically, they can be measured, their volume calculated and their existence subjet to a mathematical theorem. However, no one can “see”, describe or “experience” them a they are. The most we can is experience an approximation (a revelation?) of them into our realm of senses.
    Now to the Logos, to Elohim, to Adonai or whatever term we choose appropriate to “name” an entity that usually reveals itself in a non-burning burning bush, in three separate “angels” of His presence or angel of the Lord, “floating” above two cherubim above wheels that have four “faces” and move at the same time to wherever they move, in the figure of “the ancient of times” hovering over the clouds and someone who is not that ancient sits at his side and receives glory. Etc.
    Why we doubt that the authors of the ancient texts were faced with the same dilemma that our present mathematicians face when trying to describe a complex exponential wave function or a hypercube which mathematically exists but can’t be adequately described and only recently some of the most advanced computers have enough processing power to calculate in real time (our time) an image that we can observe in a computer monitor which is akin to nowhere in fact.
    I take God for granted and then continue my journey of discovery of Him guided by His Hand.
    A cup of wine or a rum martini helps to visualize…

  14. Ramonantonio

    Dr. Van der berg has opened a very interesting line of thought. In fact one that is very appealing to me for it follows closely, extremely closely, the “gravitas” if I may say that we can observe in the person of Jesus along the Gospels, specially in John.
    In fact, Dr. Van der berg focus in John and Proverbs and his insight that possibly John was making references to Proverbs as he wrote or guided his Gospel is a very specific observation that reminisces Jesus frequent comments on scripture in relation to Him.
    This provokes me a single question:
    May we read the Gospels in a more direct and personal way as the apostles homage to Jesus when after witnessing the Resurrection et al, they finally understood that Jesus was in fact all the way, all the time and at all moments speaking of Himself as the center of Scripture and that by doing so, He was not a lunatic as even some family members feared, but the Truthful Son of God right in front of them? If we just for a moment think this way, as Dr V suggests, all the Gospels take a significant new light and we, as Dr Eli says, begin to realize that the whole truth has been all the time in front of us, in our face.
    Not only the Gospels but all Scripture is about Jesus and He Himself was the only capable of explaining that to men of all ages. Through His living Word we are with Him at our side, walking down to Emaus while hearing Him explaining how Scripture was in fact, His Own Story among us from then to now and forever.
    For this insight, thanks to both!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Ramon,

      I drink from the deep fountain of blessings and grace when I read you comments. Thank you for taking part.

    2. Drs. Charles van den Berg

      Dear Ramon,

      I thank you for this beautiful addition.

  15. […] this curious occurrence is actually very important because it shows that when the God-Man (Logos of God) Jesus is in the boat with the disciples, the boat is able to disappear at once place on the map […]

  16. Ann Marie

    The word is the spoken word of God ,does not become a person until verse 14, of Jn.1,also the word sent;[ the prophets were sent, the angel of the LORD was sent and Jesus sent the Apostles into the world. Jesus was not “morphed, [incarnated], I believe Luke when he told Mary; “The power of the Most High shall overshadow you therefore the child to be born will be called holy: [for this reason, ]he will be called Son of GOD.” All good gifts come from above where GOD is; It is HIS plan. I don’t dimminish Jesus importance, GOD has made him to be salvation for us; but GOD is the True Savior of all humanity. Jesus is called GOD’s glory, His grace ;GOD is so powerful if HE came Himself to earth we would be incinerated. He sent This man to tell us of the kingdom; to be the last lamb sacrifice ever to be needed. Jesus is so many things for us ; a high priest, the coming king, to be inaugurated into office,GOD’S representative and so many other titles are his. Our GOD is incomparable to any one.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Ann Marie, I understand your position, respect it, but disagree with it. Be well. Dr. Eli

  17. […] cited from Daniel are then merged with the idea of the Royal Son of God from Psalm 2. (See also Logos Theology in pre-Christian Jewish Tradition and ReReading John 3.:16). We read in Psalm 2 the words that were once likely sang in Jerusalem […]

  18. Charlotte Mecklenburg

    I also believe that Proverbs 8:22-30 gives us a picture of how G-d took on the work of creating everything. Wisdom was first and had the plan for everything.If one thinks about what has been discovered in science and words being spoken to bring things into being, we begin to get an idea of how God made us in his image, because I believe Wisdom is that image (blue print). Another reason we must be born from above.

    1. Drs. Charles van den Berg

      All things that exist are brought into being trough the Word, the visible and the invisible. By to be born from above, we are in both worlds by the word.

  19. Ann Marie

    Dear Eli,[ My thought’s.] There was a body prepared for the Devine wisdom of God to enter into.A fulfillment of Adonia’s plan from the foundation of the world. It seem as if messiah is one of us;The first one of us. Messiah has been exalted, made perfect ;that would be unnessary if he were a second member of a Godhead, which he cannot be since he states he can do nothing of himself but what the Father shows him,[in vision;im sure]; [that he can do.] He is told by God to declare his [God’s] name.In Is.9:5-6. For unto us a son is given {for the purpose of,]setting up a Government,a kingdom of justice and peace. As an agent of God,doing the will of God. Declaring to the world that God does exist.The messiah is given God’s name to wear on his forehead and on his thigh when he come and I would think that the new name he will be given would be something like,”THE MIGHTY GOD HAS ACCOMPLISHED VICTORY”.

  20. […] Sabbath observance, but with his person, words and deeds. It is not that his claims to be the Son of Man/Logos of God did not have a place in Judaisms of the time, but simply that Jesus was not allowed to take that […]

  21. Fred Aguelo

    Thank you, Professor. Your teachings have been very enlightening to me. Shalom!

    Fred Aguelo

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thank you, Fred.

  22. Gary Westgeest

    Very good blog indeed. I’d like to find out more on the extent of Hellenization in the time of Jesus. Am reading Paul Johnson’s History of the Jews, and it would seem that the Maccabees certainly did their part in the diminishment of that tendency among the Jews. I’m surprised that there would be a pool dedicated to Asclepius.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      The study of material culture is of enormous importance. From the written sources we get one type of info, from the archeological another. Written sources of the ancient times (just as modern) carry within ideological band and therefore often times they write about not what was there in their time (because they are not trying to record history), but what they think needs to be!

  23. […] as the author of the Gospel continues to show Jesus as the incarnated divine Logos/Memra of Israel’s God, we see the real tension of the story: Who has the power to heal, the Greek god Asclepius, or the […]

  24. Darin

    Dr. Eli,

    What would be your response to those who claim John is referring to “Logos” in a Hebrew/Jewish mindset and would have never believed Jesus was Divine?

    They say the “Logos” is God only in that it’s the mind of God etc… thanks!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Of course John is referring to “logos/memra” concept fitting the world though of the 1st century Jews, but that IS the point that many Jews of that time believed that it was divine. That is why John could write his prologue and expect to be understood and believed. Ancient Jewish readings of Memra/Logos support Jesus’ divinity and not argue against it. Read “Jewish Gospels” by Daniel Boyarin. You will enjoy it.

      1. Cheryl

        Dr. Eli,

        Can you show how the Hebrew/Jewish worldview and the Greek worldview differ in their idea of “logos/memra”. It seems there is confusion between the noun logos (what something is) and the verb logos (the action inherent in the word).

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          The following is from the Jewish encyclopedia on MEMRA:

          The Logos (section on logos)

          It is difficult to say how far the rabbinical concept of the Memra, which is used now as a parallel to the divine Wisdom and again as a parallel to the Shekinah, had come under the influence of the Greek term “Logos,” which denotes both word and reason, and, perhaps owing to Egyptian mythological notions, assumed in the philosophical system of Heraclitos, of Plato, and of the Stoa the metaphysical meaning of world-constructive and world-permeating intelligence (see Reizenstein, “Zwei Religionsgeschichtliche Fragen,” 1901, pp. 83-111; comp. Aall, “Der Logos,” and the Logos literature given by Schürer, “Gesch.” i. 3, 542-544). The Memra as a cosmic power furnished Philo the corner-stone upon which he built his peculiar semi-Jewish philosophy. Philo’s “divine thought,” “the image” and “first-born son” of God, “the archpriest,” “intercessor,” and “paraclete” of humanity, the “arch type of man” (see Philo), paved the way for the Christian conceptions of the Incarnation (“the Word become flesh”) and the Trinity. The Word which “the unoriginated Father created in His own likeness as a manifestation of His own power” appears in the Gnostic system of Marcus (Irenæus, “Adversus Hæreses,” i. 14). In the ancient Church liturgy, adopted from the Synagogue, it is especially interesting to notice how often the term “Logos,” in the sense of “the Word by which God made the world, or made His Law or Himself known to man,” was changed into “Christ” (see “Apostolic Constitutions,” vii. 25-26, 34-38, et al.). Possibly on account of the Christian dogma, rabbinic theology, outside of the Targum literature, made little use of the term “Memra.”

          1. Cheryl Durham

            But there is a great difference between the Greek static ideas of things such as all the ones listed above with the article in front of them, and the manifest action of divine wisdom or the action of cosmic power through the actions of Yeshua. If I read John’s use of logos (which he uses to replace YHWH, and which alludes to the beginning of the Tanakh, as the manifestation of God’s action, then Yeshua is not a “thing” but rather is the manifestation of God’s action. Hence we “see” God’s action. It is a logical step in Greek to make both God and Yeshua actors, because Greek is concerned with objects, definitions and concepts. However Hebrew is all about the action not the nouns, which changes the object and subject of the sentence. I don’t think that they are the same at all.

          2. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

            Interesting. Although I must admit from the scholarly point of view the theory that says that Greek and Jewish “minds” are so different in approaches has fallen out of fasion as of late. The reason being is because we see a lot of Hellenization within Jewish sources and vice versa.

          3. Cheryl Durham

            I am not saying that Jewish ‘minds” are so different in approach to language, I am saying that the understanding or the meaning (while using the same words or concepts) translates differently. And while it may be out of fashion today, it seems to have been a rather prominent issue between Justin and the Rabbis.

          4. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

            This is an interesting topic of course. So, please clarify do you mean Justine Martyr and rabbis? How so? Share for the benefit of everyone.

  25. Paul Cohen

    Dear Dr Eli,
    Thank you, for you monumental work, I’m looking forwards to reading more, on the Jewish view on the Gospel of John. Regarding the Logos, I tend to see a strong connection as McNamara does in his various studies in the Targumim on the Memra, and as summarised by Prof Boyarin.
    Thank you
    Paul

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Paul, thank you for your kindness. I do think that my work is groundbreaking; whether or not it will become monumental this will be for readers to judge. Thanks once again. Make sure to sign up for updates!

  26. Eric Rodríguez

    The word אחד(English Pron. ‘Echad, Spanish: ‘ejad)is used in Bible like a undefined pronoun (a, an, one, someone) and like a numerator (One, “one day”, “one Sheep”) but in these cases, is possible to sour some sense like “unique”, “one alone” (see Gn 11:6) So, the phrase ‘Adonay ‘echad/’Adonay ‘ejad, seems to refer more to The uniqueness- lonliness-isolation of God cause there are not other divinity or power outside him, but is not concentrated in issues like the “members” of that uniqueness, ’cause in other faiths, each divinity has a diferent power and field of action. God is one! God is Unique!

    1. Eric Rodríguez

      P.D. Note also the Verse Zech 14:9
      בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, יִהְיֶה יְהוָה אֶחָד–וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד.
      In that day, will be ‘Adonay ‘echad, and his name ‘echad… for won’t be other hosts, divinity, “god” or name of some power anymore

      1. Eric Rodríguez

        This means, invocated by mankind… Not only won’t exist, because only ‘Adonay is God, eternal, but won’t be memory of them in the mouth of peole, when the host of the devil will be destroyed and erased

    2. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I agree with what I think you are saying. I can’t figure out why you are saying it. Can you clarify, please?

      1. Eric Rodríguez

        BS”D

        Thank you very much sir. First place, I know that people use to have a mind conflict when the word “One” is found concerning to God and after appears the word “son” like in Prov. 30:4 Are there two deities/divinities? The answer is no! They are one, an unique God, for both has the same nature, the son isn’t independient from the father, outside the father, the son is nothing; in Messiah, The First-fruit of God (his Son, non-created), inhabits the fullness of the atributes of the Father. So this Uniqueness is sufficiently succesful for all things so that, is Almighty. In the future, there won’t be memory of any name, only that of the unique and real and true God.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          well put.

          1. John Thornton

            Interesting comment from BS”D and ‘supported’ by Dr Eli. I’m afraid I must break ranks and partially disagree on one aspect: “outside the father, the son is nothing”.

            Now I know we start to get into the ‘hypothetical’ here, since the Son is never ‘outside [or apart from] the Father’ (except for a short time on the cross). Just “as the Father has life in Himself, the Father has granted the Son to have life in Himself” (John 5:26) as an ‘independent’, eternal, self-sustaining Being (through the resurrection). One implied meaning of YHWH, (i.e. the One who became Christ), is ‘the eternal self-existent One’ (Was-Am-Will Be). This concept is repeated in Revelation 1:8 (cf. Isa 44:6 where He is identified as the God/King of Israel). Jesus in His final prayer to the Father said “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5). Thus in every sense He is again co-equal with the Father, albeit His nature is such that He always defers to the Father’s will — and I suspect when we meet the Father we will see Another who behaves exactly the same way. Both, despite their awesome power are the embodiment of humility and graciousness — and poles part from the adversary in that regard.

          2. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

            This is like an old joke.

            Rabbi: Moshe you are right. Chaim and you are right.

            Shlomi: “But they can’t both be right!”

            Rabbi: Shlomi and you also right. 🙂

            John, I have no objection to your comment what so ever.

      2. Eric Rodríguez

        BS”D
        Indeed, if we are talking about the Word (first fruit/Son) of God, flesh-dressed, it’s necessary to know He, the son, pre-existed with God in uniqueness, and then, voluntarily, He abandoned, took off his Eternal attributes for becoming a human thruough ”חיסור” as was writen Psalm 8: ותחסרהו מעט מאלהים, וכבוד והדר תעטרהו, תמשילהו במעשה ידיך, כל שת תחת רגליו
        So, Messiah, when he came, was not created but a reduced expression of the Eternal First fruit of God, the eternal Father!

  27. mirian

    Thanks for letting me have advisory for beautiful items that are a blessing

    gracias por permitirme tener aseso a estos preciosos articulos que son de mucha bendicion

  28. Eric George

    Shalom Eli,

    I enjoy your blog entries a lot, I am a Christian and also a Philosopher of Religion- so your entries are very interesting to me and I appreciate them greatly.
    Your ‘short-hand’ commentary on John is excellent, and is developing nicely. Thank you for trying your very best to remain objective, building a bridge is very important, especially between such closely linked Faiths like Judaism and Christianity.

    Best Regards,

    Eric G.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Eric, welcome aboard! Keep taking part in it with your comments. We need them too.

  29. Fabio

    Dr. Eli
    I have a question.
    In Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says: Hear, O Israel: YHWH our God, YHWH is one.
    And you shall love YHWH your God with all your heart, and with all thy soul, and with all your strength.

    But once scribes came to Jesus and asked what was the first and greatest commandment (Mark 12: 28-30), and Jesus answers them based on what the Scriptures say specifically what mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:4 and 5.
    Also, in the Gospel according to Matthew 4:1-10, we see how Jesus also used the scriptures to refer to YHWH as the one God.
    My question is: Do these verses proves the uniqueness of both the Father and of the Son? What is your view?

  30. Eric Rodríguez

    BS”D

    My traslation of this first verse directly from greek is:
    בראשית היה הדבר, והדבר, היה לאלהים, והדבר, היה אלהים
    The Word was (stand) for the First Fruit and that word (first fruit) was of God, and that word (first fruit), was God. Is like an Ice cube made from a frozen water point in a glass…both are water, one (the ice cube) is a frut of the other (the rest of the water). God and his first (and unique) fruit are one!

  31. Patti Sloan

    I can see this will be exciting!!

  32. John Thornton

    Shalom Eli,

    The deep things of God are searchable, the mysteries of God and of His Christ are knowable, and the simplicity that is in Christ the Logos is never complicated.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Not sure I agree fully. Let me take it back! 🙂 Actually I am sure that I don’t fully agree. 🙂 I think a better way to put it is that they are knowable to the degree to which they ought to be known by us, even when its very complex (given our human limitations).

  33. Lawrence Boyce

    Regarding John 1:14 The Word dwelt among us. My understanding of this is that the Word tabernacled among us or He made His home in us.
    This amazes me as we have fallen short of God’s purpose, He has made His home in us. As the Apostle Paul puts it that we are the temple of God or the Holy Spirit in both 1 and 2 Corinthians,

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      yes.

  34. John Thornton

    Denis/Eli, There are schools of thought that identify Messiah the Word as the personification of the Wisdom depicted here in Proverbs. YHWH (‘I Am’ – Exod 3:14-15) by wisdom created the universe (Psa 136:7) and Jesus seriously upset the scribes and Pharisees (John 8:58) by declaring Himself “I AM”. A similar statement is made by Him in Rev 1:8, but from a rather more commanding position.

    Both plurality and unity is implied in Gen 1:1-2 where Elohim ‘created from nothing’ but so too did the Spirit of God, or at the very least God by His Spirit (cf. Psa 104:30, where the Heb ‘bara’ is also used). The latter is also the Imparter of wisdom to the Messiah (Isa 11:2). So by deduction Jesus had/has the wisdom of God, imparted by the Spirit of God (cf. Luke 4:1; 1 Cor 1:30).

    The individuality of the YWHH/Adonai personages within the monotheistic Godhead is depicted in Psa 2:7 and Psa 110:1 (the latter being quoted a number of times in the NT). The account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah hints at two ‘YHWH’s’ – One in heaven and One closer to the event, having just had a dialogue with Abraham (Gen 18:20-33, 19:24). While many OT scriptures identify YHWH and Adonai with the One who became Jesus Christ, Acts 22:14 seems to differentiate Him, the Just One, from the Theos of the NT (= ‘the Elohim of our fathers’ in the OT) – further evidence of the plurality and closeness depicted in John 1:1, but also the individuality.

    Then we have the account of the ‘Ancient of Days’ in Dan 7:9, 13 and 22. In two of these visions the ‘Ancient of Days’ appears very like God the Father before whom the ‘Son of Man’ comes ‘in the clouds of heaven’ — clearly both are Deity. However in v.22 the ‘Ancient of Days’ is more like the vision of returning Jesus Christ in Matt 26:64 and elsewhere in the gospels (cf. Rev 19:13 where He is again called the Logos). So it would appear that even the names and titles of the Godhead are interchangeable on the one hand to emphasise unity, but on the other the designations depict separate entities.

    Reverting to the Greek ‘pros ton theon’ = ‘to/toward ‘the’ God’ in John 1:1 clearly God and the Logos are close to the point of being what we might humanly describe in very poor English as ‘intertwined’. It should also be noted here that the text does not say the Logos was with God ‘the Father’, but simply that He was with/toward ‘God’. The Father is normally assumed as implied in this text, but the Holy Spirit is also God, so it might be equally valid to state that the Logos was with everything we perceive as ‘the’ (one true) God. Indeed since the Logos is mentioned first ‘In the beginning’, it further implies just how much ‘one true God’ He actually is — which then brings us back to the nature, character, rationale and wisdom of God — or ‘full circle’ as they say. I hope I have not promulgated ‘doctrine’ here at the expense of logic (also derived from the Gk. ‘logos’).

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Its complicated.

  35. eli

    Denis, I just posted a collection of Hebraisms by Dr. Bivin of Jerusalem School of Synaptic research. This is the kind of thing I am referring to here (my comment above).

  36. Dr. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    I am comfortable in this case with almost any translation that communicates either the sense of being “next to,” “beside”, “with” or as you suggest “towards”. An interesting question to ask would be how could this Greek phrase be rendered back into Hebrew or Aramaic. In other words what phrase/s could have been behind this Greek text that we are now discussing? Perhaps, this could be one direction for further research.

    1. Charles van den Berg

      You suggest that there is a connection between John 1:1 and Proverbs 8:30.
      It is indeed very interesting. But when you do so you have also to suggest a connection between Proverbs 8:31 and John 1: 14.
      Because without the ‘became flesh (incarnate) ‘ of the Word Proverbs 8:31 can not be true in that case. It seems to be true because in Proverbs 8:22 is also spoken
      is also spoken about ‘ the beginning’. Now the question is: was John thinking of Proverbs 8 when he wrote John 1?

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        Dr. Charles van den Berg, thank you for your contribution. In my opinion John was not thinking about Prov.8, I think his mind was too busy with many other Jewish para-biblical materials (also) that held the view of “duality” (begining of trinity, though not quite yet) of Israel’s God. (For a popular and quick overview see Boyarin’s Jewish Gospels). Was Prov. 8 part of that mix? Naturally! Was he thinking of Prov. 8 in particular, when he wrote John 1.1? I am not sure.

        The truth is that we will not know, until we meet the beleved disciple face-to-face.

        Eli

        1. Charles van den Berg

          Thank you Eli. I think you are right. But we shall ask him when we shall see him from face-to-face when Jesus is coming back with his saints. John believed that too (John 14:3).

          1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

            indeed.

        2. Dan O'Connell

          Dr. Boyarin discusses this topic extensively in his book, Boundaries: The Partition of Judeo-Christianity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 2004), particularly in Part II.

          Dan O’Connell

          1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

            Dear Dan, thank you. Boyarin is a friend and a mentor. This study group has his endorsement (see to the right of the page). Dr. Eli

    2. Rafael

      Greeks claim that the New Testament was penned in Greek. Chaldeans claim it was Aramaic. Messianics believe it was Hebrew. Each one believes all other manuscripts were translations. Is it even possible to derive the autographs?

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        I am not sure it is that simple, but you are probably right this is the trend :-). When we deal in reconstruction of history we must realize that we are dealing with probabilities and not with certainties.

        1. Rafael

          I can still yearn for the certainty (to either know that we have the NT in its original language, or to find it).

  37. Dr Denis Callaghan

    Dear Brother,
    First of all I like that you begin at the beginning. One thing that jumped out of me right away that most wouldn’t consider of much importance is that phrase “and the Word was with God”. In my translation I translated “and the Word was toward God” which leads me to consider Proverbs 8:30 Would you agree with my translation or point me in another direction in my understanding. Thanks,