The Jewish Targums
John's Logos Theology
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|On March, 12th 2010 Christianbook.com's Academic Blog will interview John Ronning about his new book The Jewish Targums and John's Logos Theology.
In this book, Ronning argues that the origin of John's use of Logos as a concept for the divine did not come from Greek philosophy, but rather the Targumic tradition practiced in Jewish synagogues.
While the Synagogues at this time used the Masoretic and/or the Septuagint, they also made great use of the Targums. Yet, unlike the Scriptures, the Targums were changed and updated from generation to generation (10). They began to use the Hebrew words memra and dibbera in place of YHWH and/or "the word of the Lord" terminology when referring to God's name.
While some overlap exists, the two words also retain their own semantic domains. Memra
refers to "God's acts in the world," while dibbera refers to actual divine speech. For example in the Targums, it was "not the dibbera of the Lord [that spoke with Moses], but rather that "the dibbera spoke with Moses" (14-15).
In Ronning's view the usage of these words in this manner has great significance for the way we understand the Gospel of John, its intentions, and how the the body of the Gospel is related to its opening theology of the Logos.
Quite obviously, if Ronning's argument is sustained, the implications for how we understand John's Gospel are immense. It will affect, according to Ronning, how we think about John's intended audience; the semantic character of the Gospels; the unity and traditional Johannine authorship of the Gospel; the deity of Christ; Jesus' self understanding; and John's understanding of Jesus.
So join us in February for what should prove to be a fascinating interview from an author whose book may very well revolutionize study of The Gospel of John.
See the full interview on my blog at "Christianbook.com/academicblog" on March, 12th 2010.
View Interview Here