Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Trinitarian Shema

4"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deut 6:4-5)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Cor 13:14)
4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph 4:4-6)

As numerous scholars have pointed out, 1 Cor 8:6 is a binary reworking of the Shema. By the same token, does that make Eph 4:4-6 is a trinary reworking of the Shema? Paul already brought Jesus into the Shema in 1 Cor 8:6, so is he now extending that framework to the Holy Spirit in Eph 4:4-6? In other words, this seems to be his Trinitarian reformulation of the Shema.

A possible objection to this interpretation is that we have 7 ones rather than 3 ones in Eph 4:4-6 (i.e. Father, Son, Spirit, body, hope, faith, baptism).


i) The 4 ones (body, hope, faith, baptism) take the 3 ones (Father, Son, Spirit) as their devotional object. So it's a 3+4 relation, where the 4 are subordinated to the 3.

ii) Likewise, this, too, could be modeled on Deut 6:4-5, where love, heart, soul, and might take God/Yahweh as their devotional object.

Ephesians uses "one" whereas Deuteronomy uses "all," but both quantifiers are employed to express exclusive devotion to the only true God.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting and helpful.
    what sources can you point to on the "binary" aspect of the Shema of I Cor. 8:6 ??

    the Ephesians 4 take you make needs more fleshing out in the connections between the three ones of the Trinity and the four ones of baptism, body, faith, hope.

    Is there any significance to where in the gospels, the NT writers add "mind" to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength" ? (heart and mind are interchangable in Hebrew contexts, both are parts of the soul.)