Minutes of Meeting

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Date: March 9, 2003

Location: University of Dayton, Alumni Hall Room 101

Meeting Topic: The Reclaiming of the Sacred: The Influence of Jacob Milgrom’s Research on Holiness for Christian Old Testament Theology

Speaker: Thomas B. Dozeman, United Theological Seminary


I     The Phenomenological Study of Holiness in Christian Old Testament Theology

                 A. Rudolf Otto: The Idea of the Holy

1.      The Nature of Religion

2.      The Nature of Holiness

a.       Holiness means separate

b.      The separation of holiness is “wholly other”

c.       The wholly other is a radical immanence, beneath the profane

d.      Holiness is an a priory numinous at the innermost core of religious experience; an “over-plus” of meaning; lacking content, “the void”

3.      The transfer of Holiness to Humans

a.       Holiness is a spiritual reality appropriated through feeling.

b.      Holiness is neither rational, nor psychological, nor moral.

c.       The religious feeling of holiness is creature consciousness, requiring the direct experience of the numen.

d.      The transfer of the numinous to humans is essentially charismatic – direct, personal, and immediate.

e.       The transfer of holiness gives rise to mysterium, tremendum, and fascination.

4.      Holiness and Morality

a.       Holiness is unique to religion.

b.      Holiness is applied to morality only in a derivative way.

c.       The rationalizing and holiness completes it.

d.      The capital instance of the intimate mutual interpenetration of the numinous and the rational and moral is Isaiah.

     B.    Walter Eichrodt:  The Theology of the Old Testament

1.      The Nature of Holiness

a.       Holiness is a mysterium, “that which is marked off,     

      separated from ordinary use.”

b. God is the Holy One in the Old Testament, signifying the entry of “a personal element into the theory of holiness.”

2.      The Transfer of Holiness to Humans

a.       The transfer of holiness is charismatic

b.      The feeling of divine nearness “is essential if the divine reality is to be truly transcendent.”

3.      Holiness of Morality

a.       Eichrodt historicizes Otto’s categories of the numinous and religious feeling:  Moses.

b.      The prophetic experience recaptures the original spirit of Moses. 

II     The Anthropological Study of Holiness in Jewish Biblical Theology:  Jacob  

        Milgrom and the Commentary on Leviticus 

A  The Nature of Religion

                    B   The Nature of Holiness

                                 1    Holiness means separation

                                 2.   Holiness is not an “over-plus” of meaning

                                 3    Holiness is not available directly or immediately to humans.

4.      Holiness is that which is withdrawn from common use, including persons, objects and places.

5.      Holiness is identified with life and it is incompatible with all forms of decay, impurity, and death.

6.      Holiness is “that which is unapproachable except through divinely imposed restriction.”

7.      A biblical theology of holiness will require a description of sacred space, sacrament, sancta, and rituals of sanctification, not a phenomenological analysis of religious feeling. 

       C   The Transfer of Holiness to Humans

1.      “Humans” is too anthropocentric; the transfer of holiness is not limited to humans

2.      Holiness resides within the physical space of the sanctuary precinct.

3.      Holiness is non-charismatic in its transfer to people or object. Meditation in proximity to the sanctuary is always necessary via ritual.

        D   Holiness and Morality

1.      Holiness and morality are interrelated in ritual.

2.      The historical evolution of holiness and morality in ancient Israel. 

III   Jewish – Christian Dialogue:  Interrelating The Two Views of Holiness and  

       Reclaiming the Sacred.

Respectfully submitted,

Donna Bealer, Secretary

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