Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday is for Ad Fontes - Exagogue

In Ezekiel the Tragedian, we find this interesting dream sequence:

"68 MOSES [SPEAKS]: There seems to be a throne on Sinai's mountain peaks,
69 so great it reaches from the hillside up to heaven,
70 and on it sits a noble man,
71 with diadems all crowned, with mighty scepter held
72 in his left hand. And with the right to me
73 he waved, and I was set before the throne.
74 To me he gave the scepter, and on that great throne
75 he said to sit. The kingly being gave to me
76 the diadems, as he himself stepped off the throne.
77 And I was looking at the earth all circling round,
78 the things of earth below, of heaven up above.
79 The multitude of stars to me upon their knees
80 fell down, and I was counting all of them
81 as they passed by like troops of mortal men.
82 Then being startled, I was wakened out of sleep.
83 [REUEL]: O stranger, God has given this good sign to you
84 of life: these things will happen to you at some time.
85 Will you, then, be exalted on a mighty throne,
86 and be yourself a judge and guide for mortal men?
87 And you will see the whole inhabited earth,
88 both things below, and things above the heaven of God
89 And you will see the things that are, that were, things that will be."
(ETR 1:68-89 OPE)

Interesting tale. Moses dreams of God on his throne and God generously gives up his throne and puts Moses on it! What does this mean for our understanding of Jewish monotheism? Could some Jews quite easily assimilate other beings (angels, humans, demons) into the sphere of divine sovereignty? Or is Jewish monotheism relatively strict (i.e. exclusive) and the story here should be interpreted hyperbolically in celebrating Moses' role as deliverer and God's exaltation of him?

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