Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Sinai and Zion

“To the victors belong the spoils.” Andrew Jackson did not tell us what he meant by the “spoils” but it is well known that the victors write the history of their victory. The Bible is remarkable in that it includes the competing traditions that did battle.

The relationship between the Sinai and Zion traditions is a complex one. One way to examine the two is to say that the Torah is represented by Sinai and the Temple is represented by Zion. When presented in this manner, the two traditions are not incompatible. However, when the complexities are introduced, the traditions are competing.

The Sinai theology includes the covenant torah traditions of Sinai with its strong belief in God’s saving role in the history of his people living in an extended family clan society. Zion theology includes the belief in the unconditional grant and promise to the royal Davidic kingdom and the centrality of Jerusalem. These two competing traditions “arrived” in Jerusalem when King David appointed two chief priests, Abiathar and Zadok. Jeremiah and Ezekiel as their “heirs” represented Sinai and Zion respectively.

Related to this is something I been thinking about for some time. Luke includes Sinai theology which I consider to be a dominant theme in his gospel as well as Zion theology as a minor theme. The question is thus presented as to why has Luke blended the two as if one? I believe the model and source for Luke may have been Micah which is a book about a small town prophet criticizing the temple establishment, and unlike all other prophets, enjoyed some success in that Sinai theology is adopted yet Micah acknowledges some of the Zion ideas as still important.

This is a work in progress.

Copyrighted 2007


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