Richard Bauckham on Christological Monotheism

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9 Responses to Richard Bauckham on Christological Monotheism

  1. whitefrozen says:

    I’ll have to give this a read when I’ve recovered from the holiday lack of sleep, since this is something I’ve been studying lately.

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      You may find of interest Larry Hurtado’s response to my question to him about monotheism and 2nd Temple Judaism:

      Whenever Isaiah 40-55 is to be dated (likely sometime during the 6th century?), you have there already the assertion that one deity (YHWH) created all else, including other heavenly beings (esp. Isa 45:12). YHWH is creator, never created, and YHWH there is ascribed universal creator role.

      If already in the 2nd Temple period God is understood by Jews as having created all intermediary beings, then it will not do to suggest, as some have done, that attributing divinity to Jesus was non-controversial or easy. There are no degrees of divinity, as in paganism. There is simply God and his creatures. I think one might well argue that the subordinationism that one finds in some of the second century Church Fathers (e.g., Justin Martyr) represents a Hellenization of the Christian faith, which is only fully recovered by the Nicene Fathers.

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      • whitefrozen says:

        How interesting, I was actually reading from that series of articles all this week during my studies. There is definitely no degrees of divinity in the Judeo-Christian idea of God, though. It definitely makes you have to think a bit harder and more subtly about christology.

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      I emailed an Orthodox rabbi friend last week about monotheism and 2nd Temple Judaism. He replied:

      From the standpoint of tradition, however, there is no question that the Biblical references prohibit not only worship, but even belief in any competing deity. Consider Deuteronomy 4:35 אין עוד מלבדו There is nothing besides Him. I imagine one could interpret that as “Of all the other gods hanging around out there, there is none other that should interest you.” But the text does not say that. It either says there is no other god, period, or (the way that Rabbis taught it), there is nothing else in the cosmos but G-d Himself. This is because His Unity is such that if He existed along with a maggot, He would not be a Perfect One, since there would be room for the maggot as well.

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      • whitefrozen says:

        Interesting. There are however references to other ‘gods’ in the OT, however, and you could argue that the the first commandment presupposes other ‘gods’, could you not?

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      • whitefrozen says:

        As a postscript: is this a kind of monism? If there is only God in the cosmos, is the cosmos nothing but God? If that’s the case, isn’t that pantheism? I’m hardly one to argue with a rabbi, but that seems to be what he’s saying.

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      • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

        “is this a kind of monism?”

        This was the first question that popped into my mind when I read my friend’s response. I’m confident that the answer is no, but it is something I’d like to pursue with him sometime.

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  3. I’m not certain if it matters how often one tells a non-Trinitarian that the Trinity is monotheism. Most would assert either a) the jury’s not quite sold on it or b) “it’s still not in the Bible”.

    Out of curiosity, I’m trying to get a book about pneumatology to explain why the Holy Spirit must be a person from the Father and Son, would you recommend Bulgakov’s work, “The Comforter”?

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