Sunday, January 27, 2013

Subversive Wisdom in the Bible (video)

Ashley Wells, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly; Bert Newton (
Subversive Wisdom cover and author Bert Newton, Vroman's Pasadena, Jan. 27, '13 (WQ)
PASADENA, California - Lady Wisdom appears in many societies. To the ancients she was known as Sophia (from which we derive the English sophistication and Latin sapient). Before that, among Buddhists, she was known as Prajna Paramita (the "Perfection of Wisdom").

Even the Old Testament Jews, in Hebrew scriptures, recognized her as Hokma ("wisdom"). She was brash, she gave her opinion without being asked, she said things most could not understand and, you know, there was that guy made famous in the Bible. He did what she did in the Bible's Gospel of John.

1: Subversive Jesus presented as Lady Wisdom, Hokma (Wisdom Quarterly)

Author Bert Newton, author of Subversive Wisdom: Sociopolitical Dimensions of John's Gospel, makes the case that Jesus walks and talks just like Lady Wisdom. This would have been apparent to the intended early Jewish audience in Hellenized Asia Minor. Much of it is lost to us, however. We always benefit from placing literature, such as the Bible, in its social, political, and economic context: St. Issa (Jesus) was a subversive radical.

In the Gospel of John Jesus is portrayed as Wisdom incarnate. He speaks in koans (riddles) and parables the people understand even if they are misleading when taken literally. He is speaking and demonstrating the subversive wisdom of the way of the cross: He is a sort of trickster (a mischievous sprite, deva, troll, gnome, duende, or tomte], confusing and frustrating his enemies, acting in ways counter to convention, and driving out the "Rule of This World" through the upside down logic that come "from above," or in Zen terms, "from having gone beyond."

2. Subverting empire (Rome) and the dominant paradigm of material obsession
Newton and author Jill Shook (Making Housing Happen: Faith-Based Affordable Housing Model) delighted a capacity crowd at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena today making a case for the pre-diluted Jesus as a radical Jewish rebel [just back from India and ready to assert his insight and set rolling his ministry]. Jesus was making a mockery of convention. When he was called a king, he rejected the title. Then he accepted it. But rather than ride into town as other kings did, in a great show of military force, power, and prestige, he rode in on an ass -- the people's own animal.
Hebrew scripture indicates that much of today's Occupy Movement is based on ancient akasha deva wisdom handed down from above: resting every seventh day, allowing the fields to lie fallow every seven years, periodic debt-forgiveness every seven times seven years. More than one call for a heavenly modern-day jubilee has been called for to save us from ourselves, the money changers, tax collectors, lawyers, hypocrites, and Pharisees.

Will the military-industrial complex stand for such subversive talk?

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