The personification of the Shekhinah

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
iskander
Posts: 2091
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:38 pm

The personification of the Shekhinah

Post by iskander » Mon Sep 14, 2015 12:25 pm

Hi Semiopen, I am reading , The bodies of God and the world of ancient Israel, by Benjamin D. Sommer.

Sommer writes in page 127 about the personification of the Shekhinah, but the references he gives --Shafer, Mirror 96 and Goldberg Untersuchungen --are beyond my reach . He also mentions, Midrash Mishle to Proverbs 22.29

Can you help ? :)

Kunigunde Kreuzerin
Posts: 1324
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:19 pm
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Contact:

Re: The personification of the Shekhinah

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:12 am

iskander wrote:Hi Semiopen, I am reading , The bodies of God and the world of ancient Israel, by Benjamin D. Sommer.

Sommer writes in page 127 about the personification of the Shekhinah, but the references he gives --Shafer, Mirror 96 and Goldberg Untersuchungen --are beyond my reach . He also mentions, Midrash Mishle to Proverbs 22.29

Can you help ? :)
The Google book preview is of course in German.

SheilahDave
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:03 am

Event Organizers

Post by SheilahDave » Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:08 am

Event Organizers

iskander
Posts: 2091
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:38 pm

Re: The personification of the Shekhinah

Post by iskander » Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:34 am

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
iskander wrote:Hi Semiopen, I am reading , The bodies of God and the world of ancient Israel, by Benjamin D. Sommer.

Sommer writes in page 127 about the personification of the Shekhinah, but the references he gives --Shafer, Mirror 96 and Goldberg Untersuchungen --are beyond my reach . He also mentions, Midrash Mishle to Proverbs 22.29

Can you help ? :)
The Google book preview is of course in German.
thank you.

What do you think ?

iskander
Posts: 2091
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:38 pm

Re: Event Organizers

Post by iskander » Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:35 am

SheilahDave wrote:Event Organizers
How far apart from each other were the Christian and the Judaic theological beliefs?

In The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel, Benjamin D. Sommer provides an answer to this difficult question as follows:
This study forces a revaluation of a common Jewish attitude towards Christianity. Some Jews regard Christianity's claims to be monotheistic with suspicion, both because the doctrine of the trinity ( how can three equal one? ) and because of Christianity's core belief that God took bodily form. What we have attempted to point out here is that biblical Israel knew very similar doctrines, and these doctrines did not disappear from Judaism after the biblical period....

No Jew sensitive to Judaism's own classical sources , however, can fault the theological model Christianity employs when it avows belief in a God who has an earthly body as well as a Holy Spirit and a heavenly manifestation, for that model, we have seen, is a perfectly Jewish one.
The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel
Benjamin D. Sommer
Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (January 17, 2011)
ISBN-13: 978-1107422261
Page 135

semiopen
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: The personification of the Shekhinah

Post by semiopen » Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:06 am

I don't think I have anything very deep to add to this subject but -

Midrash_Proverbs
Midrash Proverbs (Hebrew: מדרש משלי) is the haggadic midrash to the Book of Proverbs, first mentioned under the title "Midrash Mishle" by R. Hananeel b. Ḥushiel (first half of the 11th century) as quoted in the Mordekai on B.M. iii. 293.
Shlomo Sands correctly points out how weird the preceding period in Jewish history was. We have very little knowledge of Judaism in the last centuries of the first millenium CE.

The transition of the Shekhina from it's "original" aspect of Godly presence to Phatass Goddess looks totally Rabbinic and later.
The noun shekina does not occur in the Hebrew Bible, although the verb shakan, and other terms from the root škn do occur. There is also no occurrence of the noun in pre-rabbinic literature such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is only afterwards in the targums and rabbinical literature that the Hebrew term shekinah, or Aramaic equivalent shekinta, is found, and then becomes extremely common.[5] McNamara (2010) considers that the absence might lead to the conclusion that the term only originated after the destruction of the temple in 70AD, but notes 2 Maccabees 14:35 "a temple for your habitation", where the Greek text (naon tes skenoseos) suggests a possible parallel understanding, and where the Greek noun skenosis may stand for Aramaic shekinta.[6]
Even after seeing McNamara's comment, one might still reasonably conclude that the term originated after the destruction of the temple.

Leonard Nimoy might have gone too far with this in his book Shekhina - http://www.amazon.com/Shekhina-Leonard- ... nard+nimoy

dedicated to Jewish PAWGs (Phatass white girls)

I've been very slowly reading Peter Schaffer's The Origins of Jewish Mysticism - http://www.amazon.com/Origins-Jewish-My ... er+schafer

The index is probably the worst part of the book but it doesn't mention Shekhina.

Schafer (who isn't Jewish) writes extensively on Jewish Christian relationships - for example -http://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Jesus-Juda ... er+schafer

The evolution of Shekhina was analyzed by Gershom Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah - http://www.amazon.com/Mystical-Shape-Go ... om+scholem

Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah: New Insights and Scholarship - http://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Mysticism- ... n+insights

has a chapter - Gender in Jewish Mysticism by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson

The Kabbalah is quite sexual -
... the kabbalistic worldview revolves around sex, sexuality, and gender. Indeed, kabbalistic theosophy, anthropology, psychology, ethics, and religious praxis are all expressed through gendered symbolism, pertain to the mysteries of creation and procreation, and are imbued with erotic energy carried out within the institution of marriage.
Dr. Tirosh-Samuelson has to throw a wet blanket on things with the last seven words there.
The feminist critique of Western culture in general and of patriarchal Judaism in particular compelled scholars of Kabbalah to place sex and gender at the center of their approaches to Kabbalah. The French postmodernist variant has made the most impact on the study of Kabbalah, perhaps because its critique was directed against the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan and their understanding of the role of sexuality in the individuation and maturation of the Self. Under the sway of French feminists, especially Luce Irigaray, Elliot R. Wolfson has offered a comprehensive, well-documented theory that the God of the Kabbalist was a male deity with feminine characteristics rather than a deity that comprises two separate principles, one male, the other female. According to Wolfson’s reading of Kabbalah, the female aspect of the divine, the Shekhinah, was but an extension of the male God. Wolfson’s powerful interpretation of Kabbalah has not been endorsed by all, and several alternatives were proposed by other scholars of Kabbalah. This chapter surveys the major interpretations of gender in Kabbalah, highlighting the interplay between historicism, feminism, and psychoanalysis.
This is probably right. But, as I commented on grave humping in the names of God thread, the Baal Shem Tov did a lot to remove the overt sexuality of Lurianic Kabbalah in the 18th century. Still one has to wonder if the two methodologies yield the same results.
As we have seen, all discussions of new directions in Kabbalah scholarship must begin with the legacy of Gershom Scholem, since he shaped the modern study of Kabbalah. His essay, “The Feminine Element in Divinity,” is still a seminal study of the main literary motifs of Shekhinah symbolism.4 The essay originated in the lecture that Scholem delivered in the Eranos Society in Ancona, Switzerland, in 1952.
As a historian of ideas, Scholem was primarily preoccupied by the attempt to explain “the emergence of the female Shekhina.”7 Although Scholem structured the essay chronologically and provided the ancient sources of the medieval concept, he insisted that in medieval Kabbalah “a new concept of the Godhead begins to be developed … this new concept often takes up old themes of the rabbinic tradition, combining them rather peculiarly into a new understanding, reinterpreting them and placing them in unexpected contexts.”8 The novelty of the kabbalistic concept of the Shekhinah was twofold: first, the fact that the Shekhinah was not identical with God but was a female entity, and, second, that the Shekhinah was identified with the national symbol of the Congregation of Israel (Knesset Yisrael).
Quotes are from Questia.

My impression is that the Shekhina is mostly medieval and later.

That's not to say that Christianity and Judaism don't have similarities, etc. I tend to regard Christianity as non-monotheistic, but maybe that's just prejudice. Of course, it's possible to argue that Judaism also pushes the envelope with Kabbalah. I wonder if it is significant that Yoshke died; we don't see any godly aspects doing that in Kabbalah.

iskander
Posts: 2091
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:38 pm

Re: The personification of the Shekhinah

Post by iskander » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:02 am

Thank you. Excellent work, thanks again. The shekhinah is not found in the Jewish Bible .

Sommer appear to be saying that before Maimonides the existence of an actual physical Presence of God was a common belief of Judaism. Kavod is the corporeal presence of God; God is at some particular time and place, there and not here .Hashem behaves like a Hindu avatar does.

In page 136 of The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel, Benjamin Sommer writes,

The Maimonidean, of course, still has the right to reject Christianity's theological model; but many a modern Jew recognizes the extraordinarily strained nature of the hermeneutic through which Maimonides attempts to deny the corporeality of the biblical and rabbinic God . For such a Jew, Maimonides' rejection would also compel a rejection of most of the Written and Oral Torahs. It would entail , in other words, the creation of a new religion whose earliest sacred document would be found in the tenth-century C.E. philosophical writings of Maimonides' predecessor , Saadia Gaon.
In this website there are four mp3s in which Sommer discusses his book with Jewish colleagues. I found these audio recordings interesting.
Benjamin D. Sommer on God’s Body

https://biblicalstudiesonline.wordpress ... gods-body/
mp3 iTunes

( 1,2,3,4)

outhouse
Posts: 3550
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: Event Organizers

Post by outhouse » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:58 am

iskander wrote: How far apart from each other were the Christian and the Judaic theological beliefs?

In The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel, Benjamin D. Sommer provides an answer to this difficult question as follows:
When is the real question, and then what version of Judaism when? are you questioning.

Hellenistic Judaism divorced cultural oppressed Judaism.
This study forces a revaluation of a common Jewish attitude towards Christianity. Some Jews regard Christianity's claims to be monotheistic with suspicion, both because the doctrine of the trinity ( how can three equal one? ) and because of Christianity's core belief that God took bodily form. What we have attempted to point out here is that biblical Israel knew very similar doctrines, and these doctrines did not disappear from Judaism after the biblical period....
Yes some Jews were opposed to Hellenism other embraced it.


So by mentioning the trinity we are talking about later Judaism after Judaism rebuilt itself, and by this time the christian movement had evolved away from its foundation in Judaism.


Judaism was so wide and diverse a whole book is lucky to describe half of it. So yes we al know they were competing opinions and practices and doctrines that reflect one another. Christianity evolved away from Judaism and so wee see a Y and the further in time the further they traveled apart from one another, and studies like this can help provide a timeline provided you dont listen to any conclusions offered.

iskander
Posts: 2091
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:38 pm

Re: Event Organizers

Post by iskander » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:29 pm

outhouse wrote:
iskander wrote: How far apart from each other were the Christian and the Judaic theological beliefs?

In The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel, Benjamin D. Sommer provides an answer to this difficult question as follows:
When is the real question, and then what version of Judaism when? are you questioning.

Hellenistic Judaism divorced cultural oppressed Judaism.
This study forces a revaluation of a common Jewish attitude towards Christianity. Some Jews regard Christianity's claims to be monotheistic with suspicion, both because the doctrine of the trinity ( how can three equal one? ) and because of Christianity's core belief that God took bodily form. What we have attempted to point out here is that biblical Israel knew very similar doctrines, and these doctrines did not disappear from Judaism after the biblical period....
Yes some Jews were opposed to Hellenism other embraced it.


So by mentioning the trinity we are talking about later Judaism after Judaism rebuilt itself, and by this time the christian movement had evolved away from its foundation in Judaism.


Judaism was so wide and diverse a whole book is lucky to describe half of it. So yes we al know they were competing opinions and practices and doctrines that reflect one another. Christianity evolved away from Judaism and so wee see a Y and the further in time the further they traveled apart from one another, and studies like this can help provide a timeline provided you dont listen to any conclusions offered.

The book is a study of religious thinking and practices in Mesopotamia , Canaan , the Hebrew Bible and later Jewish mysticism. It also mentions Christianity . Hellenism is not mentioned.

semiopen
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: The personification of the Shekhinah

Post by semiopen » Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:06 am

The four mp3s reminded me about the assignment the "person of faith" gave me in the cave of shem thread. Of course, in the current context, Sommer is worthier of attention than the guy who claims dinosaurs coexisted with humans, the flood actually happened, etc. I got through almost 20 minutes of the first one- it seems these are somewhat interactive college lectures.

It is no secret that Maimonides had his own agenda -

The Body of G-d - http://www.daatemet.org/articles/articl ... icle_id=94
Moreover, Maimonides admitted that he really forced the Scripture to make it match his viewpoint -- his opposition to anthropomorphic conceptualizations of G-d. He wrote in "A Guide to the Perplexed," part two, chapter 25: "The Scriptures do not show that the world is created ex nihilo any more than they show that G-d has a physical nature. But the gates of interpretation are not closed before us…and it would be possible to interpret them [the verses speaking of the world created ex nihilo] as we have done when we rejected the physical nature [of G-d]…when we interpreted the Scriptures in a way denying G-d's physical nature."

This you should know -- all those whom Maimonides called apostates have explicit verses to support them! Maimonides has neither verses nor Gemara to back him up on this issue; not only is it not explicit in the Torah, repeated in the Prophets, and said a third time in the Writings, but the Scriptures show exactly the opposite, as the Ra'avad pointed out.
However, if we want to bitch about questionable Jewish_principles_of_faith, I'm not sure that Incorporeality is near the top of the list. Even if the sages thought the big guy was wearing three super bowl rings, we all know that's bullshit.

Personally, I'd vote for messiah to be removed.
Jews reject the idea that Jesus of Nazareth was the messiah and agree that the messiah has not yet come.
The twelfth of Maimonides' 13 principles of faith was: "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the messiah (mashiach), and though he may tarry, still I await him every day." Orthodox Jews believes that a future Jewish messiah (the Mashiach, "anointed one") will be a king who will rule the Jewish people independently and according to Jewish law. In a traditional view, the Messiah was understood to be a human descendant of King David (that is, of the Davidic line).[32]

Liberal and Reform Judaism does not believe in the arrival of a human messiah who will literally gather Jews in the Land of Israel and cause the physical resurrection of the dead. Rather, Reform Jews focus on a future age - the World to Come - in which there is a perfected world of justice and mercy.[32]
As usual, liberal and reform Judaism takes something absurd and turns it into something merely ridiculous. Why not just drop the whole concept?

Post Reply