Monday, April 04, 2016

Old time religion …

… “In Your Blood You Shall Live”: Marilynne Robinson and the Jewish Reader – The Book of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In the translation used by Robinson, the phrase b’damayikh hayi is translated as “though thou art in thy blood, live,” which could be paraphrased as “live, in spite of your blood.” However, a literal translation of the Hebrew is something much closer to “in your blood, you shall live.” It is this latter understanding that seems to undergird the incorporation of this mysterious passage in Jewish ritual. In the Passover story, on the eve of the exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel are saved from the Angel of Death by spreading the blood of the Paschal offering on their doorposts. In the case of circumcision, a covenant is forged between an individual and God as a “covenant of blood” in which faith alone is not a sufficient measure of commitment. Note the contrast with the Protestant doctrine of “sola fide,” that “faith alone” is necessary in order to receive God’s pardon. In Judaism, faith is not enough, and  the “dam” or “blood” of the passage in Ezekiel is itself an essential component of redemption rather than something that must be washed away. 
The principal difference between Protestantism and Catholicism is that for Catholics also salvation comes from good works as well as faith. As St. James says in his second epistle, "So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless."

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