Seeing and not Seeing the Face of God: Overcoming the Law of Contradiction in Biblical Theology

Authors

  • Steven Kepnes Colgate University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.24204/ejpr.v12i2.3312

Abstract

This paper attempts to illuminate and interpret the contradictory portrait of God as both seen and unseen in the Torah. Thus Moses is commanded not to look on the face of God yet also praised for having spoken to God “face to face". We seek ways to reconcile the contradictory portraits of God through the use of the term “doubled-mindedness” in the theology of Jerome Gellman, in the logic of  “thirdness” in C.S. Peirce’s semiotics, and in the use of both particle and wave models in Einstein’s physics of light. The paper concludes by disusing the practical consequences of theological double-mindedness for the religious life and the philosophical meaning of redemption as the time when the contradiction of the unseen and seen God is resolved.

References

Gellman, Jerome. 1994. The Fear, The Trembling and the Fire. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Halbertal, Moshe, and Avishai Margalit. 1992. Idolatry. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

Heschel, Abraham J. 2001. The Prophets. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Kierkegaard, Soren. 1954. Fear and Trembling and the Sickness Unto Death. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

Lebens, Samuel. (forthcoming). The Principles of Judaism. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

Maimonides, Moses. 1963. Guide of the Perplexed. Edited by Shlomo Pines. Chicago, IL: Univ. of Chicago Press.

Ochs, Peter. 1998. Peirce, Pragmatism, and the Logic of Scripture. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Peirce, Charles S. 1958. Collected Papers, Vols. 1-6. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

Priest, Graham. 2006. In Contradiction. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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Published

2020-06-30

How to Cite

Kepnes, Steven. 2020. “Seeing and Not Seeing the Face of God: Overcoming the Law of Contradiction in Biblical Theology”. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 12 (2):133-47. https://doi.org/10.24204/ejpr.v12i2.3312.