I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Bulgakov and the Jews

Bulgakov was the leading Russian Orthodox theologian of the 20th century.

"When Bulgakov talks of a revived Judeo-Christianity which will be the new heart of an eschatological Christianity, what does he have in mind? ... The question which arises then is the following: if Jews accept Christ, should they abandon their Jewishness? Bulgakov’s answer to this is clearly: no. For, as we have just seen, he yearns to see a Judeo-Christianity “as it existed in the apostolic church, because this latter was just that,” a type of Christianity which would resemble the early Jerusalem church, whose disappearance he mourns. But has Bulgakov thought about what this would mean? After all, the members of the Jerusalem church visited the Temple, were circumcised, and observed the Law.That is, like Christ, they were Torah-observant members of the Jewish people.

Of course, this is an old chestnut. Two thousand years later, is it appropriate for Jewish converts to observe the Torah in the way the Jamesian church did? Entering into the question is an interpretation of Paul: was he polemically arguing against Law-observance only for gentiles, while leaving it open for Jewish Christians to be Torah-observant, or was he in principle against Torah-observance by Jewish Christians too? Leaving those complex questions aside, if we focus simply on the spirit of Bulgakov’s approach we sense a new contribution to the debate. If we take him more seriously than he took his own suggestions about Judeo-Christianity, we should read what he writes very closely: “Israel even in its backsliding has not ceased to be the Chosen People, the relation of Christ and his Most Pure Mother, and this blood relation is not interrupted and does not stop even after the birth of Christ....this is a fact which one needs to ponder and grasp with all one’s strength, in its dogmatic meaning as it applies to the fate of Israel.” ..." ("Holy Russia, Sacred Israel: Jewish-Christian Encounters in Russian Religious Thought" Dominic Rubin p.134-136)

"...We have thus come to the end of our examination of Bulgakov’s “Judeology.”Though only a fraction of his output was devoted to exclusively Jewish questions, these writings mirror much in Bulgakov’s evolution from a young Solovievan philosopher of neo-Christianity to a mature theologian of Sophia, whose work continues to inspire many. While, of course, one of the great undecided questions in the study of Bulgakov is the place of Sophia in Orthodox theology, from the narrower perspective of this chapter, another controversial issue which Bulgakov left to his spiritual heirs was the – for him – closely related question of how Christianity should relate to a crying absence in her very heart. For if the divine-human Church should embrace all of humanity, where is that foundation-stone of humanity, Jewry? Bulgakov’s proposal that there must be a new Judeo-Christianity was, of course, not entirely novel – Soloviev had wrestled with the same question in his essay on Rabinowich, and Alexander I founded a society for Israelite Christians that he thought would be the kernel of a mass influx of Jews into the Church. Nonetheless, Bulgakov’s own grappling with this issue is profounder than Soloviev’s, even though it is enmeshed in contradictions, some of them inherent in the issue itself, which goes to the very heart of the mystery of Christ – as Bulgakov makes clear..." ("Holy Russia, Sacred Israel: Jewish-Christian Encounters in Russian Religious Thought" Dominic Rubin p.147-148).

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