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Re: [mythsoc] Re: "Was Tolkien a Manichean?"

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  • Christine Howlett
    There is a great deal about the Jewish mystic tradition that captures my imagination - in a very healthy way, I think - and the tikkun olam is certainly an
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 13, 2002
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      There is a great deal about the Jewish mystic tradition that captures my
      imagination - in a very healthy way, I think - and the tikkun olam is
      certainly an aspect of that.

      Maybe I'm looking at this in too black-and-white a fashion, but to me there
      is a theological divide between those who engage themselves in the 'ethical
      property' of the universe and those who turn away from from it, whether from
      anger or indifference or love of self or any other motive. I don't see that
      big a difference created by the motive, except in so far as anger might be
      appeased by greater understanding and indifference probably will not be?

      Yes, I did say *Talmud*, but equally cannot handle the Torah as co-eternal,
      unless this is supposed to be a (limited? restricted?) manifestation of the
      Sophia of God. I don't quite like the thought of the third person of God as
      so much paper and ink, good and bad poetry, so much butchery, envy, malice
      mixed with so much love and self-recognition.
      Christine
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Jan Theodore Galkowski" <disneylogic@...>
      To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2002 2:09 PM
      Subject: [mythsoc] Re: "Was Tolkien a Manichean?"


      > On Wed, 12 Jun 2002 at 18:48:23 -0400 Christine
      > Howlett <chowlett@...> wrote:
      >
      > Christine,
      >
      > Let me invert the order of responses to your comments,
      > if you will forgive me, to deal with the more
      > important to clarify first. You wrote
      >
      > >The Talmud as coeternal with God?! Hm. Can't quite
      > >handle that theologically.
      >
      > No, I didn't write that. I said the Talmudists a.k.a.
      > "the Sages" reasoned that the Torah, meaning the
      > Pentateuch in this case, was coeternal with God. The
      > Talmudists had a high opinion of themselves, sometimes
      > deserved, but they weren't _that_ megalomaniacal. I don't
      > recall the precise line of reasoning but, as usual, it's
      > hermeneutical. I can look it up.
      >
      > >As a staunch Lutheran, I would strongly defend both
      > >statements, that God created everything that is, 'seen
      > >and unseen', and also that God endowed creation with
      > >freewill. Yes, I think that's a good way to phrase
      > >what evil seems to be at root - the diminishment of
      > >good or turning away from good, turning back on God as
      > >the author of all good.
      >
      > There are two kinds of turning away. One is turning
      > away in the sense of having anger at God and going out
      > to do harm in response or retribution. The other is
      > ignoring God or ignoring the spiritual and other
      > aspects of people and existence. Somehow they are both
      > manifestations of evil and a "turning away" but it's
      > hard to see how they can readily be lumped together.
      >
      > The mystical tradition, Jewish and otherwise, held that
      > the universe itself has an ethical aspect, that it is
      > a property of the universe and that wrongdoing introduces
      > disunity and disharmony into it. Thus, the original
      > meaning of "tikkun olam" or "the healing of the world"
      > (lit. "the healing of everything") was motivated by good
      > deads and compassion repairing these rifts. In the
      > Jewish mystical tradition there's also a lot of detail
      > about Shechinah, one of the aspects of God, the prototype
      > for the Holy Spirit of Christianity, being dispersed
      > through the universe and the mystic's job of going and
      > collecting this light back together again.
      >
      > I can't help but feel parallels between this and the
      > Valor, and a connection with that enigmatic line that
      > apparently moved much of Tolkien's work, quoted by
      > the Tolkien Society at
      >
      > http://www.tolkiensociety.org/tolkien/biography.html
      >
      > namely, the line from the Crist of Cynewulf:
      >
      > Eálá Earendel engla beorhtast
      > Ofer middangeard monnum sended
      >
      > or
      >
      > Hail Earendel brightest of angels, over
      > Middle Earth sent to men
      >
      > Thanks, Jan
      >
      >
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    • Jan Theodore Galkowski
      On Thu, 13 Jun 2002 at 16:29:05 -0400 ... [snip] ... I found a reference to the eternality of the Torah. I was wrong. You don t need to delve in Jewish
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 14, 2002
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        On Thu, 13 Jun 2002 at 16:29:05 -0400
        "Christine Howlett" <chowlett@...> wrote in part:

        >There is a great deal about the Jewish mystic
        >tradition that captures my imagination - in a very
        >healthy way, I think - and the tikkun olam is
        >certainly an aspect of that.

        [snip]

        >Yes, I did say *Talmud*, but equally cannot handle
        >the Torah as co-eternal, unless this is supposed
        >to be a (limited? restricted?) manifestation of
        >the Sophia of God. I don't quite like the thought
        >of the third person of God as so much paper and
        >ink, good and bad poetry, so much butchery, envy,
        >malice mixed with so much love and
        >self-recognition.

        I found a reference to the eternality of the
        Torah. I was wrong. You don't need to delve in
        Jewish mysticism or in the Talmud to encounter the
        eternality of the Torah. The Torah's eternality
        and its, therefore, coeternality with God, is the
        ninth of Maimonides' 13 principles of the Jewish
        faith, recorded as well in the ninth stanza of the
        poem and song Yigdal, e.g.,

        http://www.torah.org/qanda/seequanda.php?id=413

        The hermeneutical argument
        is captured at

        http://members.aol.com/eylevine/vezoshaberachah.htm

        It's interesting that some Islamic scholars
        believe the Qur'an is coeternal with God, e.g.,
        see


        http://www.namb.net/root/resources/beliefbulletins/religions/islam.asp

        in the section about the Qur'an.

        I want to make a clarification, one that may not
        really be necessary, but important for the record.

        In discussions like this, I think it's important
        to keep separated the things which a tradition,
        like Judaism, says are normative, tied up with its
        point of view, and the things which scholars and
        other students of these matters, present company
        included, might know and believe from other
        sources. The former are things like Maimonedes 13
        principles of faith. The latter come from
        science, other cultures and traditions, and
        individual insight.

        While I try to be familiar with what Jewish
        tradition says and believes, I very much feel what
        we call Torah or the Pentateuch was written by
        scribes and others during the time of Josiah --
        credited even in the tradition for "finding" the
        book we call Devarim or Deuteronomy -- or at least
        redacted from existing sources in such a major way
        that it constitutes a different book with a
        different outlook. That is, I agree with the
        FinkelStein and Silberman view described at


        http://www.bibleinterp.com/commentary/Finkelstein_Silberman022001.htm

        This doesn't diminish the wonder of the book, or
        its tradition, any more than embellishments in the
        Illiad or the Odyssey detract from the grandeur of
        those texts. The Torah is how Jews of all ages,
        and Christians, in part, think of themselves. But
        to take any part of the Pentateuch literally is a
        huge mistake, at least in my opinion. Others may
        feel it is self-contained, e.g., "the fact that
        the seed of all future Torah interpretation lies
        within the Torah itself", from

        http://www.ohrtorahstone.org.il/parsha/5762/terumah62.htm

        but, to me, this is a kind of unhealthy
        self-centerness.

        -- Jan



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      • Stolzi@aol.com
        In a message dated 6/14/02 8:45:12 AM Central Daylight Time, ... One might point out that Christians see Christ as The Word of God, coeternal with the Father
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 14, 2002
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          In a message dated 6/14/02 8:45:12 AM Central Daylight Time,
          disneylogic@... writes:


          > The Torah's eternality
          > and its, therefore, coeternality with God


          One might point out that Christians see Christ as "The Word of God, coeternal
          with the Father and the Spirit" (cf. Gospel of John, Ch. 1).

          Like the Torah, Christ represents "what God has to tell us."


          Diamond Proudbrook



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