Re: [John_Lit] Two Shemas?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Bullin" <bill.bullin@...>
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 7:30 AM
Subject: Re: [John_Lit] 4G The Synoptic Problem Christology and Johannine
> 3: II All Things by Measure and Number and Weight: An analysis of I Cor.
8:6 in relation to the Shema and Number.
> In English the 6 Hebrew words or 25 Hebrew letters that form the core
Shema confession read:
> "Hear O Israel: The LORD our God the LORD is One.
> Immediately following the confession is the ten-word exaltation of 39
Hebrew letters: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and
with all your soul and with all your strength". Then follows the admonition
of nine words and 35 Hebrew letters, "Keep these words that I am commanding
you today in your heart."
> 1. We note that the Christian Shema is composed of the same number of
words, as the gematria of the divine Tetragrammaton, 26.
> 2. We note that the Jewish Shema uses the divine Tetragrammaton twice,
that twice 26 is 52, and that this is the same number as the number of
letters used in the two inner lines of the Christian Shema.
3. We note that the Jewish Shema is composed of the same number of letters
as the number of words used to compose the Shema, the Exhortation and the
Admonition together, 25; and that this is the same number as the number of
letters in the third phrase of the Christian Shema.
> 4. We note that the key word 'one' and the key word 'love' each have the
> value of 13, that together these make 26, and that the Christian Shema can
> be divided into exactly two halves of 13 words and 13 words totalling 26.
> 5. We note that the two outer lines and the two inner lines of the
Christian Shema are each composed of 13 words.
> 6. We note that the Jewish Shema and the Exhortation amount to 16 words
and that this is the same number of words as the number of words used in the
second and fourth lines of the Christian Shema when totalled together.
> 7. We note that the Exhortation is composed of 10 words and that this is
the same number as the number of words used in the first and third lines of
the Christian Shema when totalled together.
> 8. We note that 39 letters are used in the Exhortation and that this is
the total syllable count for the Christian Shema.
> 9. We note that the Exhortation and the Admonition are composed of 19
words and that 19 syllables are used in the two outer lines and the first
two lines of the Christian Shema.
> 10. We further note that the letters of the Jewish Shema have the total
> value of 1118, approximately the number of letters used in the Johannine
> 11. We finally note that the number of words in the Shema and the
> Exhortation, when taken together, are 4 x 4 or 4 squared whilst the number
> of letters used is 4 x 4 x 4, or 4 cubed.
> What, if anything, are we to make of these findings? We have noted that
the six words of the Jewish Shema are combined in this formula to create a
Christian Shema of 26 words, which divide into two equal sections of
thirteen words, (5 + 8 and 5 + 8), equivalent to the number of each of the
Hebrew words for 'One' and 'Love' by gematria; additionally the word count
> of 5/8/5/8 = 26, the gematria of YHWH, (10 + 5 + 6 + 5 = 26). Furthermore
the Christian Shema is literally woven on the numerical pattern of the
Jewish Shema, its Exhortation and its Admonition. Surely this is an
excellent example of what deSilva describes as "Recontextualisation".
There appear to be some major difficulties to the line of argumentation made
First of all, in the first bullet, the assumption is made that I Cor 8:6 is
the Christian Shema--a Christian replacement of Deut. 6:4. However, I see
no reason for assuming that I Cor 8:6 is a replacement of Deut 6:4. For
example, in its I Cor. context, it is not a replacement for the Shema but,
rather, a replacement for the notion of there being many gods and many
lords. Again, judging by Mark 12:29-30, early Christians accepted Deut.
6:4. Too, if what we find in I Cor 8:6 is the Christian Shema, then why is
it not mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament or, for that matter, in
any non-canonical early Christian documents?
Second, isn't it the case that the Shema was expanded to also include Deut.
6:5-9? However, in order to make this line of argumentation work, it must
be assumed that the Shema was expanded to also include only Deut. 6:5-6.
Third, in order to make this line of argumentation work, one must use a
Hebrew version of Deut. 6:4-6 and a Greek version of I Cor 8:6. I can't
think of a reason to justify comparing a Hebrew language passage with a
Greek language passage. Also, wouldn't the Corinthian Gentile Christians
and Corinthian Jews (both Christian and non-Christian) have been using a
Greek language Jewish bible, most likely the Septuagint? This makes it all
the more incomprehensible to me as to why I Cor 8:6 has to be compared to a
Hebrew version of Deut 6:4-6 rather than to, say, the Septuagint version of
Fourth, there doesn't appear to be any comparisons of apple to apple in
this line of argumentation.
For example, let us look at the first bullet:
1. We note that the Christian Shema is composed of the same number of
words, as the gematria of the divine Tetragrammaton, 26.
Here, the identical number involves two unlikes, i.e., the words in I Cor
8:6 (except for its initial word) and the gamatria of the divine
tetragammaton. So, we do not have an apple to apple comparison, but an
apple to orange comparison.
Since there doesn't appear to be any apple to apple comparisons in this line
of argumentation, ISTM that the identical numbers engendered in these
comparisons are more likely to be the result of coincidence than to be the
result of design.
How do you respond to these four perceived difficulties to the line of
argumentation that is used above?
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