It is evident, and acknowledged by a vast critical tradition, that the literary image of God in the Hebrew Scriptures is loaded with inner contradictions and ambiguities that are often left unsolved. The most relevant tension of this kind is possibly the one between the divine qualities of wrath and mercy. How did post-biblical Judaism, in its various forms and traditions of knowledge, try to make sense of this ambiguity within God himself both as a literary character and a religious concept? Answers can be found in early Rabbinic homiletic-exegetical tradition (targum and midrash) about such Biblical narratives as the destruction of Sodom and the punishment for the worshippers of the golden calf. Here, the aim of conveying a consistent, reassuring image of God to the masses is pursued by stressing only one aspect of his literary personality, usually his mercy, though sometimes also his severity is exhalted and preached. A deeper awareness of God’s ambiguities is seen in early Rabbinic mysticism as attested in some passages of the Talmud. Later, an articulate doctrine of divine wrath is formulated in the Zohar, where the idea of an “other side” of God – an idea that could easily generate dualistic theologies – finds mediation and solution in the representation of the Godhead as an organism, and is ultimately credited with a positive role. Early Qabbalah conceives of God’s inner tension as a polarity or a dialectic between different energies—a conception that is most productively investigated by resorting to the categories of Jungian analytical psychology, such as those of syzygy and integration.

The Motif of God’s Wrath from the Bible to the Zohar: Dividuation and Individuation of a Literary Character

Capelli
2021

Abstract

It is evident, and acknowledged by a vast critical tradition, that the literary image of God in the Hebrew Scriptures is loaded with inner contradictions and ambiguities that are often left unsolved. The most relevant tension of this kind is possibly the one between the divine qualities of wrath and mercy. How did post-biblical Judaism, in its various forms and traditions of knowledge, try to make sense of this ambiguity within God himself both as a literary character and a religious concept? Answers can be found in early Rabbinic homiletic-exegetical tradition (targum and midrash) about such Biblical narratives as the destruction of Sodom and the punishment for the worshippers of the golden calf. Here, the aim of conveying a consistent, reassuring image of God to the masses is pursued by stressing only one aspect of his literary personality, usually his mercy, though sometimes also his severity is exhalted and preached. A deeper awareness of God’s ambiguities is seen in early Rabbinic mysticism as attested in some passages of the Talmud. Later, an articulate doctrine of divine wrath is formulated in the Zohar, where the idea of an “other side” of God – an idea that could easily generate dualistic theologies – finds mediation and solution in the representation of the Godhead as an organism, and is ultimately credited with a positive role. Early Qabbalah conceives of God’s inner tension as a polarity or a dialectic between different energies—a conception that is most productively investigated by resorting to the categories of Jungian analytical psychology, such as those of syzygy and integration.
Reading the Bible in the Pre-Modern World: Interpretation, Performance and Image.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3720908
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