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History Of The Trinity 5, Memra (aramaic Jewish Term For Theophany)

By Pavel Mosko · Apr 29, 2019 ·
  1. Yaw2.jpg

    I'm looking to wrap up things and start talking about other topics (most likely my objections to some Protestants on Sola Scriptura). So unlike most of my post's with my own original content, I'm just going to quote this verbatim from a interesting Theological blog (You might want to hit the link at the bottom and read the whole article). This is my last bullet point, I will make one more post with some form of concluding thoughts, analysis or a summary.

    Author's note for the preceding quote, the word Targum/s refers to the The Aramaic translations of the Earlier Hebrew Books of the Bible (that existed in the time of Jesus).


    Apart from this, the Jews in Aramaic speaking countries had a logos concept different from that of philosophically minded Jews in Egypt. The article “In the beginning was λόγος …” in Bible Researcher has this observation:

    “After the Babylonish captivity the Jewish doctors combined into one view the theophanies, prophetic revelations and manifestations of Jehovah generally, and united them in one single conception, that of a permanent agent of Jehovah in the sensible world, whom they designated by the name Memra (word, λόγος) of Jehovah. The learned Jews introduced the idea into the Targums, or Aramæan paraphrases of the Old Testament, which were publicly read in the synagogues, substituting the name the word of Jehovah for that of Jehovah, each time that God manifested himself. Thus in Genesis 39:91, they paraphrase, “The Memra was with Joseph in prison.” In Psalms 110 Jehovah addresses the first verse to the Memra. The Memra is the angel that destroyed the first-born of Egypt, and it was the Memra that led the Israelites in the cloudy pillar.”[30]

    In the Septuagint version the word logos is often used, but mostly in connection with the content of a message and in many places similarly to the use of Memra, as mentioned above.

    The Jewish Encyclopedia writes:

    “‘The Word,’ in the sense of the creative or directive word or speech of God manifesting His power in the world of matter or mind; a term used especially in the Targum as a substitute for “the Lord” when an anthropomorphic expression is to be avoided…

    “In the Targum the Memra figures constantly as the manifestation of the divine power, or as God’s messenger in place of God Himself, wherever the predicate is not in conformity with the dignity or the spirituality of the Deity.” [31]

    Some scholars claim that in the Jewish scriptures the memra cannot be regarded as personal, but this is contradicted by others.[32] Whatever the case, as we have seen above, terms such as wisdom and logos have been personified in the Bible although not originally personal beings.

    The question therefore is: did John, who evidently had Aramaic as his mother tongue,[33] use the word logos because of its connotations in Greek philosophy or were the connotations of John’s logos similar to those of the Aramaic memra?[34]

    Logos and Memra

    About Author

    Pavel Mosko
    (I am currently a member of parish in the Charismatic Episcopal Church, but have years of experience worshiping in the western and eastern end of Christianity).


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