northanger (northanger) wrote,



[2 Corinthians 6:]15. τίς δὲ συμφώνησις Χριστοῦ2013 πρὸς Βελιάρ, ἢ τίς μερὶς πιστῷ μετὰ ἀπίστου; The third opposition further sharpens the severity of the contrast. Unbelievers, already associated with darkness and inquity, are now linked with the prince of evil. This is the only occurrence of the name Beliar (more commonly Belial) in the NT. As a proper name2014 it does not occur in either the OT or the LXX, but is found as a personal name for Satan in later Jewish writings.2015 More particularly it occurs in some of the Qumram texts as a designation of the prince of the powers of evil.2016 Its use here2017 requires some explanation, since Paul's usual designation for the supreme demonic power is Satan.2018 Possibly he employs a less familiar term for rhetorical effect, to strike the readers with more force. But since he assumes that they will know what he means, it must be a term which he had himself used on occasion in Corinth or else a designation which he knew they were acquainted with from some other source, perhaps from Jewish usage known to the Jewish-Christian members of the church. Either possibility makes good sense. Moreover, the occurrence in 4.4 of the phrase ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου shows that 'Satan' was not his invariable usage.

The fourth rhetorical question puts the point in plain terms: believer and unbeliever have nothing in common.

2013 The reading Χριστοῦ …is correct. The alternative Χριστοῷ …is either a scribal error or an intentional alteration to conform this antithesis to the preceding contrasts where the first item of each is in the dative case.
2014 It derives from the Hebrew bĕliyya‛al, 'worthless': see BAGD, s.v. Βελίαρ.
2016 …see pp.86–8 on Belial in the War Scroll and the Damascus Document.
2017 The reading Βελίαρ is certainly correct…

Margaret E. Thrall, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Vol. 1, pp.474–5

Σ[12] GRK-78 βελιαλ

HEB-78 בהליאל · מזלא · איואס · החכמה
וחסד · ולאלוה · ולכבודי · לחם · ככוכבי · כנגה


symphonesis (sim-fō̘-nē′sis), n. [NL., ‹ Gr. συμφώνησις, agreement, orig. agreement in sound, ‹ συμφωνειν, agree, agree in sound: see symphony. The ‘ding dong’ or onamatopœic, theory of language. Alexander J. Ellis, Philolog. Soc., 1872. {The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia}


What harmonyNIV [concordKJV; accordESV] is there between Christ and Belial?

The Dingdong! theory has, so far as I know, received no other name; let us call it symphonesis. It is that advanced by Prof. Max Müller, and christened I believe by Prof. Whitney. "There is," says Prof. Max Miiller (Lect. Sci. Lang. 1, 370, first ed.), "a law which runs through nearly the whole of nature, that everything which is struck rings. Each substance has its peculiar ring… It was the same with man, the most highly organized of nature's works." The theory is, we are told in a note, originally Heyse's and was published by Steinthal. The "ringing" is stated to be used, "of course, as an illustration only, and not as an explanation." …But I am inclined to attach some reality to symphonesis, and to think that it is at least as active now as ever. It is certainly overridden among people who speak a cultivated language, to whom words have long been counters…

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And the reshimu of (Divine) light… was scattered within and amongst the [sinister] powers of judgment, and these were crystallized like containers which served as a body for a soul, and, thus, a light symbol is clothed by a profane container. Hence, each object and life form of Creation is composed of divine particles embedded within containers of less sacred and, in the lower spheres, downright profane matter. The barrier between Ego and transcendence must be hermetically sealed; otherwise, the creative interaction between experientially different entities cannot be effected. Ego is, thus, interacting with a less-than-perfect transcendence which needs him for its feeling of creativity, yet cannot allow him to know that he is part of it.

Creativity as a Sisyphean Dynamic

Creativity involves the projection and imposition of Ego's personality core vectors' goal onto his objective and human surroundings. We should recall that these goals are, by definition, unattainable. Hence, whatever ideals Ego might maintain in his core vectors of perfection, aesthetics, harmony, order, and omnipotence are first of all processed dialectically by intra-psychic developmental dynamics. The separant and participant vectors within the personality interact constantly to produce a mental system-in-balance which then is imprinted with Tantalic or Sisyphean patterns of culture through socialization. This configuration, which is a dialectical far cry from the original goals of the personality core vectors, influences Ego's perception of his surroundings. However, this aisthesis, Greek for perception and used by Baumgarten to denote the whole field of aesthetics makes for a unique conception of how and what his creative involvement should be.

Shlomo Giora Shoham, God as the Shadow of Man: Myth and Creation

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Through the empty void, a line (kav) or thread (ḥoot) or the form of the letter yod emerges, a sort of beam of light that illuminates divine efflux and causes it to descend. Yet the line itself does not descend continuously; rather, recurring moments of contraction cause an alternation of hiddenness and revelation. "Every instance of new lights appearing is preceded by ṣimṣum." It is the same process of breathing in and out suggested above.

One more point. The various descriptions offered teach us that even if contraction and involution did occur, some impression of the previous state of being nonetheless remains. "As it contracts, the receding light of ’Eiyn Sof leaves behind a trace [ roshem ], which fills the void and combines with the power of judgment revealed there along with the act of withdrawal. This composite trace provides, as it were, the material and basis from which the vessels come into being." In the sources, it is called reshimu. R. Hayyim Vital, however, omitted the doctrine of the reshimu, perhaps because that concept implies some kind of relationship. Here an important difference is brought to light between R. Hayyim Vital and another prominent disciple of R. Isaac Luria, R. Joseph ibn Tabul. Regarding the primary act of withdrawal, there is no disagreement between them. They part company, though, on the question of how reality outside of ’Eiyn Sof came into being. According to Tabul, and R. Isaac Luria as well, it seems (in the commentary on the beginning of the Zohar attributed to the latter), all that was engendered from the reshimu is separate from God and external to him. Vital, in contrast, took a more radical stance. In his view, the reshimu itself contained something divine; that would necessarily lead to the same fundamental problematic possibility of an enduring connection with the Divine, and thus Vital chose to repress the doctrine of the reshimu, preferring to deepen the schism between the Godhead and the created entities.

The doctrine of ṣimṣum as it is presented here makes one wonder how it could have been proposed at all, for if it truly had occurred, that would imply some change in ’Eiyn Sof, some constriction of his boundaries. The description of the event in certain works, such as those of R. Menaḥem ‛Azariah de Fano, is doubtless meant to circumvent such a problem. In them, ṣimṣum is said to have taken place within the light or will of ’Eiyn Sof—not, that is, within ’Eiyn Sof himself, but at a stage emerging, as it were, from him. Two trends of thought, however, may be distinguished. Some understood ṣimṣum in a literal sense, while others saw it as an analogy. In either case, the field remained open to a wide variety of interpretations.

Mosheh Ḥalamish, An Introduction to the Kabbalah, Translated by Ruth Bar-Ilan and Ora Wiskind-Elper, pp.199–200

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{322} The theory of tzimtzum was Luria's most original contribution to the Kabbalah. He took the idea from an anonymous early thirteenth-century text, but developed it into the cardinal principle of his teaching.
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{323} Why did God contract himself and create an empy space within himself? Lurianic Kabbalah gives several answers. One is that God willed the contraction in order to create the world as a result of his overflowing love. But another, much more radical answer is that the contraction was a cathartic act within God in order to rid him of certain elements which disturbed his inner harmony. These elements are called the shorshei ha-dinim (roots of judgment) which are understood as principles that limit God. Since the Infinite cannot, by definition, be limited, God had to expel these roots of limitation. In an even more radical formulation, the shorshei ha-dinim are the very roots of evil itself. Hence, the Lurianic Kabbalah — building on certain ideas in the Zohar — suggests that evil originates in God himself and is the root cause for the creation of the world. Creation is an act of divine expurgation. Moreover, this creation is not willed by God, but is instead determined by laws over which he seemingly has no control.
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We might note, parenthetically, that Luria's theory bears an interesting resemblance to the nineteenth-century philosopher Hegel's Logik in which Being passes through a moment of Nothing, turning into Becoming.
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{324} It is immediately evident that there are great similarities between the first contraction and the breaking of the vessels, especially in the more radical interpretations of Luria's teaching. Both were caused by a disturbance of the divine harmony due to small foreign particles that limit or explode God's homeostasis, and both attempt to purge God of the disturbing matter. In both cases, there is a strong undercurrent of determinism: God does not will either development, but is instead a captive of an inevitable process.
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{325} The creation of our world is therefore a result of what might be called "divine degeneration."

David Biale, Jewish Mysticism in the Sixteenth Century, from, "An Introduction to the Medieval Mystics of Europe", Edited by Paul E. Szarmach

The Treatise on Dragons


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