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Old 03-20-2001, 10:05 PM   #1
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Post Made in God's "Image"?

Precisely what does the Bible say in this regard? Does it really say "image" as in "appearance"?
 
Old 03-21-2001, 09:44 AM   #2
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Image in Hebrew
 
Old 03-21-2001, 09:59 AM   #3
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"tselem" does indeed mean an appearance of something - in fact, more accurately a likeness of something. The word is also used of statues and idols, for they represent the likeness of the foreign gods.

The Hebrew God is a bodily deity, a supreme king in human form sitting above the dome roof of the Earth, the sky. The idea of a transcendental, abstract infinite deity is a Greek idea, developed by Greek philosophers (notably Plato). Anthropomorphization was the norm among all Jewish commentators until the time of Maimonides (12th century), who got the abstract idea from Arab philosophers, who in turn got it from the Greeks. Rashi, the foremost commentator of the Torah, in the 11th century defines "b'tsalmenu" (in our image) as "bidfus shelanu" (in our imprint), meaning in the same shape. The idea of an abstract deity did not cross his mind.

devnet HaKofer HaGadol

[This message has been edited by devnet (edited March 21, 2001).]
 
Old 03-21-2001, 10:14 AM   #4
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So is it an actual misinterpretation to say that Genesis claims we are created according to the essence of Yahweh rather than according to Yahweh's appearance (tselem)?
 
Old 03-21-2001, 10:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">devnet:
devnet HaKofer HaGadol</font>
Ata HaIsh ! Someone who knows Hebrew!

I'm confused, though.

Are you "The Great Ransom"?

Or are you "The Big Tarball"? (loosely translated of course...)

Seriously though, is this from Job 36:18?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">SingleDad:
So is it an actual misinterpretation to say that Genesis claims we are created according to the essence of Yahweh rather than according to Yahweh's appearance (tselem)?</font>
The word seems to only mean appearance and not essence. Unlike devnet, however, I'm not absolutely sure of that. I'll do some checking.

Ish

[This message has been edited by Ish (edited March 21, 2001).]
 
Old 03-21-2001, 11:02 AM   #6
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If Adam was made in the "appearance" of god, one should go and find out what was attached to godīs belly button... a Cosmic Womb??
 
Old 03-21-2001, 03:31 PM   #7
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Clearly we're not made in gods "image". I, for instance, don't have a long white beard, and neither does my girlfriend. (At least not my current one)

Walter Matheau and Robert Redford have the same basic form, but don't look anything alike. So I'll vote for the form thing.

Isn't it cool. You can say the bible says anything you want and then call it God's word. Wish I had that much say with my tax forms.
 
Old 03-22-2001, 03:52 PM   #8
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I'm quite sure "tselem" doesn't mean essence. There are other words for essence, such as "tamtsit" (I don't think it's in the Bible, though). "b'tselem" can be interpreted allegorically as meaning "in the image of God's mind, having a mind just as God has a mind" (though this conflicts with the Tree of Knowledge story). But whenever you approach ancient texts sceptically it is logical to assume that the writers were literal believers, that is, they really believed God was in human form. That much we can gather from Jewish commentaries until Maimonides' time.

As for women, right, they haven't got a beard, but you must remember they were created as an afterthought, from Adam's rib. Man in God's image, woman in man's rib. Such is her value according to the Bible.
 
Old 03-23-2001, 03:21 PM   #9
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This seems like a pretty good question, So I hope Copernic and rodahi will excuse me bumping it.

Are we made in god's image? What does the Bible actually say and what does it actually mean?
 
Old 03-23-2001, 06:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SingleDad:
Are we made in god's image? What does the Bible actually say and what does it actually mean?</font>
The texts run as follows:

Gen 1:26&c - "vayomer Elohim na'ase adam b'tsalmenu kidmutenu...vayivra Elohim et ha'adam b'tsalmo, b'tselem Elohim bara oto", which means, "God said, we shall make man in our image, like our appearance...God created the man in His image, in the image of God did He create him".

We have two words here: "tselem", which is "image", and "d'mut", which is "appearance". Both can be used in reference to the statues of foreign gods, or to reliefs on carved stone (both of which are forbidden in Exodus 20). Trying to enter the mind of the ancients, I think there is absolutely no reference to an abstract concept here. As I said, the idea of an abstract, formless deity is a Greek one. We find hints of it in the Talmud only after the period of Alexander the Great. The canonization of the formlessness of God, meaning that it should be regarded as blasphemy to attribute body parts to Him, became established only in the 13th century, due to the influence of Maimonides, who was in turn influenced by Muslim theologians.

The Hebrew Bible is frankly anthropomorphic; therefore any convoluted rationalizations (like Maimonides' regarding "hand of God" as "Divine Providence" etc) are of a different mind than that of the authors.

[This message has been edited by devnet (edited March 23, 2001).]
 
 

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