Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sophia & Jesus mixed


Sophia & Jesus mixed, January 23
Many scripture scholars have noted parallels between the Jesus portrayed in the Fourth Gospel and Sophia in the Books of Wisdom, Proverbs, Baruch, and Sirach.  “Sophia” in Greek means wisdom and is grammatically feminine.

So much do the two figures—male and female—resemble each other that verses about them are interchangeable, as the following list demonstrates.
I challenge readers to discern of each line whether it refers to the Divine Feminine in Wisdom Literature or the Divine Masculine in the Fourth Gospel. Translations are from the NAB and the Inclusive Bible. I changed words that gave away the gender.

Decide whether the original line was talking about Sophia or Jesus. Answers—next week.

. . . was present to God from the beginning.

. . . comes from God; . . .  dwells with God forever.

I came that they might have life.

The one who finds me finds life.

All who hold H__  fast will live, and those who forsake H__ will die.

H__ whom you have sent, . . . . 

No one has gone up into heaven except the one who came down from heaven.

___ is a breath of the power of God, a pure light of the glory of the Most High.

To H__ own ___ came, yet H__ own did not accept H__.

I called and you chose not to listen, . . . I beckoned and you ignored me.

___ showers the earth with insight and intelligence, and rewards those who espouse H__ gifts.

To love H__ is to love life; those who seek H__ win H__ favor.
Those who follow H__ follow the Holy One; the Most High loves those who love H__.
Obey H__ and you will be in a position of supreme authority;
Listen to H__ and you will live in H__ heart of hearts.

Draw close to H__ with all your heart and keep to H__ discipline at all costs.
Pursue H__, look for H__, seek H__, and you will find H__—and once you hold H__, never let go.

We have seen H__ glory . . . filled with enduring love.

___ will be your joy.

Whoever believes in H__ may not die but may have eternal life.  

All who cling to H__ will live, but those will die who forsake H__.

 “ . . . all nations would follow me”

Goddess or god?  January 31, 2013
I hope you had fun sorting out the Bible verses I quoted last week mixing Sophia with Jesus, two parallel personifications of God. I had fun choosing the verses.
Personifications are figurative images; they are poetic ways of referring to what is not human as if it were human. Saying the stars danced, I personify them. Saying the wind howled, I personify it. Saying time flew by, I personify time. Saying God told me something, I personify God. The personifications Sophia and Jesus help us relate to the mystery we call God.

Here are more parallels between the female and male God-images:
  • Both speak in long discourses in first person, and both speak poetically.
  • Both reveal God and give instruction on what pleases God.
  • Both walk the streets, crying out their message and offering their gifts.
  • Both lead people to life and immortality.
  • Both refer to their followers as children and both use metaphors of food and water to describe their spiritual gifts.
  • Both are rejected.
Following are the original Bible verses. Wisdom speaks in the Books of Wisdom, Proverbs, Baruch, and Sirach.  

Jn 1:2:  The Word was present to God from the beginning.
Sir 1:1:  Wisdom comes from YHWH; She dwells with God forever.
Jn 10:10b:  I came that they might have life.

Prov 8:35 The person who finds me finds life.
Bar 4:1 All who hold Her fast will live, and those who forsake Her will die.

Jn 17:3: ………him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ. 
Jn 3:13:  No one has gone up into heaven except the one who came down from heaven—the Son of Man.

Wis 7:25:  She is a breath of the power of God, a pure light of the glory of the Most High.
Jn 1: 11 To his own he came, yet his own did not accept him.

Prov 1:  I called and you chose not to listen, because I beckoned and you ignored me,
Sir 1:17  She showers the earth with insight and intelligence, and rewards those who espouse Her gifts.

Sir 4:15  To love Her is to love life; those who seek Her win Her favor.
Those who follow Her follow the Holy One; the Most High loves those who love Her.
Obey Her and you will be in a position of supreme authority;
Listen to Her and you will live in Her heart of hearts.

Sir 6:27-28  Draw close to Her with all your heart and keep to Her discipline at all costs.
Pursue Her, look for Her, seek Her, and you will find Her—and once you hold Her, never let go.

Sir 6: 29b        She will be your joy.

Jn 3:16b: Whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life.  

Baruch 4:1b:  All who cling to Her will live, but those will die who forsake Her.

Wis 8:14 “ . . . all nations would follow me”

My purpose in this exercise is to provoke realization that exclusive and repetitive HeHimHis God-talk keeps us from distinguishing between male images and the reality of God. It prevents appreciation of the Transcendent Mystery beyond our capacity to comprehend. It directs us toward worship of idols. If we want to advance in understanding of spiritual reality, we must change our habits.
For help in preparing this I used An Introduction to New Testament Christology by the eminent Catholic scholar Raymond Brown.
Theologian Elizabeth Johnson informs us further in She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse. She noted the scholarly consensus on the influence of pagan Goddesses on the Jewish Sophia.
The cultural context that made possible a Hebrew personification of God in female form was pagan Goddess worship.
So, following the trail of influences, we see that the Goddess is a prototype of Christ—a fact to mull over if you’re a Christian ready for this.


No comments: