Christianity in Jewish Terms

By Tikva Frymer-Kensky; David Novak et al. | Go to book overview

the doctrine of incarnation. Indeed, the Judaic perspective should induce us to alter our views regarding corporeality in general. Proper attunement to the idea of the divine body in ancient Israel (and subsequent periods of Jewish history) may lead one to appreciate that the body is a complex construct of the imagination rather than a material artifact that can be measured by the dimensions of three-dimensional space. The phenomenological parameters of embodiment must be significantly expanded if we are to comprehend the enigma of incarnation, the limitless delimitation of the delimited limitlessness. To place YHVH before one constantly is to confront the holiness of the Holy One in the otherness of his being, a confrontation that is both encounter and resistance. Facing the face that cannot be faced in hearing the name that cannot be pronounced--therein lies the secret of incarnation in Judaism, a mystery of transcendence that the imagination alone is capable of rendering imminent. As Gaston Bachelard put it, "To enter into the domain of the superlative, we must leave the positive for the imaginary. We must listen to the poets." 63 In the end, the Christological doctrine of incarnation is not, as Paul surmised, a stumbling block particularly to the Jews, but rather to anyone whose religious sensibility has not been properly nourished by the wellspring of poetic imagination.


The Christian Doctrine of the Incarnation

RANDI RASHKOVER

The belief in the incarnation, arguably the centerpiece of the Christian worldview, has often shocked and perplexed Jews. In his essay, Elliot Wolfson helps Jews appreciate the Christian belief in the incarnation by using classical Jewish sources to outline "a philosophical conception of incarnation that refers specifically to the imaginal body of God, a symbolic construct that allows human consciousness to access the transcendent reality as a concrete form." However, the Chris

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