The Ram of God

by Rory Boid (personal correspondence)

You are right in connecting the tree on the model with the verse in Genesis. Yes, you are right about the Chagall painting. The author of Revelations has not misunderstood: he just has something he wants to add as a consequence or development.

I forgot to tell you that the majority reading in the Samaritan Arabic mss. is darn (a plural or collective), meaning (I think) any small fruit not edible by people. It translates “caught by its horns amongst the fruit”. This is an explanatory translation. You can see these fruit clearly in the Wikipedia picture of the Common Myrtle.

The Christian concept of Jesus corresponding to the Passover lamb is less than secondary. The secondary correspondence is to Isaac. The usual line of thinking connecting Jesus to the Passover is woolly-headed. The Passover lamb is NOT a sacrifice. It must by definition be killed OUTSIDE the Sanctuary. It is the EATING of it that is important, but even this is no more and no less important than the crispbread and the lettuce, or the liturgy. Connecting Jesus to the Passover is not to be done by simply thinking of him as a sheep. It can be done by sound theological reasoning connected with the whole Sabbath before the Resurrection. AFTER THAT the coincidence of the time of death at halfway through the afternoon on the 14th Nisan can be used symbolically. But even then, the correspondence is not limited to the Passover meal celebrated in later times. The correspondence is to the FIRST Passover. This is why Exodus XV MUST be read after the time of the Resurrection, that is, after it is fully dark on Saturday night. (The Greeks are off track in celebrating the Resurrection at midnight). In an attempt to get round this difficulty, the three synoptic Gospels set the Last Supper on the night starting the first day of Passover and condense the account of the arrest, trial by the Sanhedrin, hearing by Pilate, and execution so that it can be thought he died on the first day of Passover (the 15th Nisan) in the afternoon. The difficulty then is that the Passover sacrifice (not of a sheep) in the Sanctuary is on the morning of the 15th Nisan. And the other difficulties remain. It will be seen that the observance of Easter is by definition incompatible with any cosy trendy celebration of a Christian pseudo-Passover, because the observance of Easter BY DEFINITION NEGATES all observance of Passover except the first one in Egypt

In short, the Resurrection is of the same order as the parting of the Red Sea. THAT is the connection between Easter and Passover.

After that, at a secondary level, a connection can be made with Isaac, as depicted by Chagall.

Now to the text. The Hebrew of Gn XXII:13 does not say “a ram”. It says “one ram” (Alef-Ḥet-Dalet). This is the reading of the Samaritan and is also the original reading in the Masoretic text and the reading assumed by the Palestinian Targum. Contrary to popular belief, there are some variants within the MT. In most of the books they are limited and nearly always (but definitely not entirely always!) don’t change the meaning. In my book Variation within the Masoretic Text (Jerusalem 1973) I found about four dozen in the first half of Isaiah. Of these, a few signalled variants of meaning substantial enough to affect the general meaning of the sentence. In the historical books (the Former Prophets) the variants are numerous and significant. (Avigdor Aptowitzer, Das Schriftwort in der Rabbinischen Literatur, 1908). In the Torah there are a few. Most mss. of the MT have in this verse “a ram afterwards” (Alef-Ḥet-Resh) if you follow the unnatural Masoretic vocalisation and accept the impossible syntax. If you read the word naturally and vocalise it naturally and follow the syntax, it says “another ram” or “a different ram”. So the sequence would have been the original reading “one ram”, deliberately changed to “another ram”, and the artificial re-interpretation as “a ram afterwards”. The original reading in Targum Onkelos is “one ram”, but this has been changed to “a ram afterwards”, with some mss. having “one ram afterwards”. Now, why was the original reading uncomfortable? Because you don’t say “one ram” normally. In this context, a possible grammatical analysis would give the meaning “the unique ram”. And Jesus equals Isaac, or some Jewish group applied it to one of their figures. Changing it to “another ram” would have seemed to work, but probably led to the interpretation that Isaac was the real ram and this was a substitute. Same difficulty.

As you know, the changeover point in the Atbash list is with Kaf and Lamed. These two letters spell kol meaning “everything”. From the same root Kaf-Lamed-Lamed are kolel “including” and kelal “entirety, totality”. This last corresponds in meaning to the Greek plêrôma, even though this comes from a word meaning full. Kol becomes kelal by adding Lamed which equals thirty. Or you could say the original Lamed is reinforced. The kabbalistic interpretation of kol is that it corresponds to the tenth Sefira, Malchut, and means complete material realisation. The proof verse is Gn XXIV:1. But what is said immediately afterwards? His son Isaac is unmarried. So kol “everything” does not include continuation through Isaac. It is only transient. The plêrôma by definition is more than this. It includes what les behind the material. So you might say that the spiritual fullness comes with Isaac and then someone like Isaac. The words “grace upon grace” in John ch. I mean the grace ḥesed of the Torah with more grace on top of that. I think the words “of his fullness” are related to the difference between kol and kelal with its additional thirty, but that means an implicit identification with Isaac.

1 comment:

JaredMithrandir said...

Revelation is not mistaken because Ram not Lamb is the proper translation of Arnion.