Bravo Beit Berl

Bruce Gardner b.gardner at
Tue Feb 6 09:17:14 EST 2001

Just writing to support Jonathan Safen on his history of messianic writing. 
It seems to me laity's exaltation. The concept of the (Son of) Man reflects 
an exalted (Greek-influenced) position on human ingenuity grafted onto an 
ancient and (post-Zerubbabel) usually safely-defunct kingship.

Philosophical spiralling outwards from the sad royal facts can go one of 
either two ways: it can be taken literally, bringing repeated, wearisome, 
painful disappointment - as it did, many times before ill-fated Bar Kochva; 
OR, it can be taken for a representation of an evolving 'people'.

It seems to me Rabbinical caution about 'planting saplings' reflects the 
wisdom of the former and Christianity's history reflects a slightly 
convoluted version of the latter, in which the King-Man is divine but 
humans aspire through an assisted 'redeemed' humanity to 'Messiah's side'.

None of this is meant to denigrate the objective truth, in spiritual terms, 
of Christian reference. but perhaps we may find common ground in the 
dignity of humanity issue. In any case, I think what Jonathan says is true 
of redaction in the Pentateuch - it went through 'corrective updates' which 
were intended not to reflect literal, historic Past but a clarifying 
eternal Plan for believers.

That way, you can ally redactional history to progressive revelation, if 
you like, and get away from Greek-annalistic notions that things written in 
the Bible must be historically 'true'.

Bruce Gardner.

Bruce Gardner
b.gardner at
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