Novak (novak) wrote,
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Theological Notebook: The Name of God for the Merkabah mystic

“… the name of God, as implied in Hekhalot Zutarti, is the decisive revelation of a transcendent God to the Merkabah mystic.” (Jey J. Kanagaraj, 'Mysticism' in the Gospel of John: An Inquiry into Its Background, p. 84)

The Gospel of John, framed as it is with the revelation that Jesus is God “tabernacled” among us, with us as a human being, is also characterized by a repeated identification of Jesus with the name of God, “I AM.” The Gospel, which to my amazement was offhandedly dismissed by such a brilliant rabbinic scholar as Jacob Neusner in his important A Rabbi Talks With Jesus as being a Gentile, anti-Jewish document (he apparently had just accepted the older 20th century scholarship of liberal Protestantism like that of Bultmann), is anything but. The Gospel in this is seen to be an “in-house” Jewish text, debating with other Jews of similar spiritual background in the Merkabah mode (which focuses on visions of God on his Merkabah/throne after the mode of the prophet Ezekiel in the Jewish scriptures). As a Jewish text, written to both Jews and non-Jews, the Gospel in this way is arguing that the sheer presence of Jesus had been a Merkabah vision of a most unusual kind: that God in being one of us was revealed to everyone, and not to just the “select” group of mystics, if only we have wit to recognize it.
Tags: dqes, jewish mysticism, prologue to john, theological notebook
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