Friday, May 6, 2011

Quotes from Jewish Monotheism and Christian Trinitarian Doctrine (Lapide and Moltmann)

Lapide: "Israel grew up in the middle of a pagan world...with numberless gods...'In the beginning God created heaven and earth.' Here began the complete elimination of the power of all animal gods and idols; in fact, it emptied the heavenly bodies of all magic so that they, like all things in the universe, would be reduced to the instruments of the One God...the cosmos is explained as the order of nature providing humanity with a causal beginning..." (pg. 25)

Lapide : "Belief in One God is the foundation of Judaism...behind...all perceivable reality...which creation remains subordinated to God and to God alone. The Jew...can recognize the One God in all of God's raiments...The pagan...does not recognize God in God's numberless forms of appearance...the Lord set the family of humanity, to whom the Lord gave common parents, one and the same destiny of humanity, and a common hope along the way for a redemption at the end of time." (pg. 26)

Lapide : "Israel's monotheism...stems not so much from rational reflection as from the inextinguishable Thou experience which reveals the Lord of the universe...this I-thou experience of immediate relationship is so powerful, singular, and unique that it never allows the presentation of a plurality of principles or of a multiple personality of God to arise..." (pg. 27)

Lapide: "...the Hebraic concept of being denotes an effective-being, a dynamically living being, a co-being and a self-disclosing-being, which all together is experienced as a process of becoming without pause...God's dynamic essence that is becoming, and expressed itself by in-the-world, open, and always new are the three dimension which the three Hebrew words of the divine self-expression disclose: "I will be as the I will be" (Exodus 3:14)...concerns God's trustworthiness in helpful "co-being," God's being with us..." (pg. 29)

Lapide: "...the Trinity by the Church...not some kind of difference in number...rather a difference in essence...inner content...for "one" is not so much a quantitative concept as a qualitative one. Two or more cannot be absolute. Two or more cannot be timeless and eternal. If there are two or more, there can be no concept of omnipotence...the God of Israel is the only One." (pg. 30)

Lapide: "the Lord stands incomparably over against them, for the Lord alone is the Living One...from the Hebrew word echad we learn not only monotheism, not only that there is non outside of the Lord, but also that the Lord is One and therefore that the Lord cannot be viewed as something put together which would be divisible into various properties or attributes..." (pg. 31)

Lapide: "The average Jew today considers the  Trinity at best a kind of triumvirate, and at worst a tritheism which is reminiscent of a relapse into paganism...much too like polytheism to still earn the name of monotheism...." (pg. 32, 33)

Lapide: "'The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,' for it concerns three difference experiences of God which indeed fundamentally differ from each other..." (pg. 36)

Lapide: "Trishagion from Isa. 6:3...part of our daily morning prayer...spoken while standing...this so often repeated three-foldness of the holiness of God had led to a whole wave of quasi-trinitarian speculation...(pg. 36)

Lapide: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit." Here he appears rather to be speaking of a poetic triad, as faith, hope, and love in 1 Corinthians 13, rather than a dogmatic Trinity, of which indeed the Jew Paul could have had no knowledge, since that came into the world only centuries after his death..." (pg. 39)

Lapide: "In the first century God is still monotheistic in good Jewish fashion. In the second century God becomes two-in-one; from the third century on God gradually becomes threefold. Only in the fourth century...does the elevation of the Holy Spirit to a special hypostasis with its own value take place..." (pg. 39)

Lapide: "It was during the bloody intra-Christian religious wars of the fourth and fifth centuries, when thousands upon thousands of Christians slaughtered other Christians for the sake of the Trinity..." (pg. 40)

Lapide: "is it not time to take seriously the call of the General Synod of the Netherlands Reformed Church, which recommends a rethinking of the dogma of the Trinity?" (pg. 41)

Lapide: "Thus a God who was not communicable could not really be a Jewish God...we can only experience a God who gives himself to us to be known anthropocentrically. Hence all the Jewish attributes of God are oriented toward the human person..." (pg. 65)

Pinchas Lapide - Jewish Theologian and Historian

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