Tuesday, August 12, 2014

De-hellenizing the Old Testament

“Indicative of the pattern of Old Testament piety is the fact that the dominant motives of prayer never included that of losing oneself, through contemplation, in the divine infinity. There was no room in Israel for mystical prayer; the nature of the Mosaic Yahweh with his mighty personal will effectively prevented the development of that type of prayer which seeks to dissolve the individual I in the unbounded One. Just as the God of the Old Testament is no Being reposing in his own beatitude, but reveals himself in the controlling will of the eternal King, so the pious Israelite is no intoxicated, world-denying mystic revelling in the Beyond, but a warrior, who wrestles even in prayer, and looks for the life of power in communion with his divine Lord. His goal is not the static concept of the summum bonum [the highest good], but the dynamic fact of the Basileia tou Theou [the Kingdom of God]”.

Eichrodt, Walter. Theology of the Old Testament, Volume One (Old Testament Library). Westminster John Knox Press, 1961. ISBN-10: 0664223087
ISBN-13: 978-0664223083

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