My Analysis of Recently Released Hebrew John 1:1-13
By James Scott Trimm
Recently a short manuscript containing two pages of Hebrew Text was released from the Vatican Library.
The front of the first page contains Luke 1:1-9 (excepting the last word of verse 9).
The obverse of the first page begins with the last word of Luke 1:9 and continues through 1:29a
The front of the second page begins with Luke 1:29b and runs through Luke1:35
I discussed this Luke material in a blog written yesterday.
However the obverse of the second page contains John 1:1-13
The fact that the text ends at Luke 1:35 and resumes on the obverse with John 1:1 is a mystery. It appears that this manuscript was never, itself, part of a complete manuscript of either book (though it might have been a sample copied from one for some reason).
The manuscript itself dates to a post Masoretic period (no earlier than the 9th Century CE) and probably much later. The manuscript is "pointed" using Masoretric vowel markings, and the Luke portion has the Name of YHWH pointed in the traditional Masoretic fashion (Yehovah).
The title for John (Yochanan) in the manuscript is "The Set-Apart Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah according to Yochanan".
There are some very interesting readings in this text of Yochanon.
To begin with we have an extraordinary reading in John 1:1-2
1:1 In the beginning was the Word (Davar)
And the Word (Davar) was an emanation of (אצל) Elohim
And Elohim, He was the Word.
1:2 This [One] was in the beginning an emanation of (אצל) Elohim.
This word אצל is so profound in meaning, that it is difficult to translate into English. The Greek (or Aramaic) translator simply translated "with" which is a possible meaning, but I think misses so much that is implicit in this word. This word could be translated "with";"near"; "next to"; "a side of" (as in 1Sam 20:41 "from the south side" and 1Kings 3:20 "at one's side" ) or "an emanation of".
So this could be translated:
"The Word was with Elohim"
"The Word was near Elohim"
"The Word was next to Elohim"
"The Word was a side of Elohim"
"The Word was an emanation of Elohim"
Some will recognize this word as the root of the word אצלות "Atzilut" as in the "World of Atzilut" (World of Nearness, or World of Emanation.)
This correlates with a statement in the Zohar:
He then proceeded: ‘A king had several buildings to be erected, and he had an architect in his service who did nothing save with his consent (Prov. 8:30). The king is the supernal Wisdom above, the Middle Pillar is the king below: Elohim is the architect above, being as such the supernal Mother, and Elohim is also the architect below, being as such the Divine Presence (Shekinah) below. Now a woman may not do anything without the consent of her husband. And all the buildings were created through his Emanation (אצלות), the Father said to the Mother by means of the Word,, “let it be so and so”, and straightway it was so, as it is written, “And he said, Elohim, let there be light, and there was light”: i.e. one said to Elohim, let there be light: the master of the building gave the order, and the architect carried it out immediately; and so with all that was constructed in the way of emanation (אצלות).
Another very interesting reading occurs in John 1:5
And the light was shining in the darkness,
And the darkness [could] not contain (הכילוהי) it.
This reminds us of the concept of the vessels that shattered at Creation because they were to fragile to contain the light, as well as the klipot (shells of darkness by which light in concealed).
John 1:7 also has a very interesting reading:
This one came by testimony to witness concerning the light
in order that they would believe The All (הכל) by his testimony.
The Greek (and Aramaic) have misunderstood the grammar here and taken this to mean that "everyone" or "all men" might believe, rather than that they might believe "The All."
This hails back to a reference in the Hebrew text of the Wisdom of Yeshua ben Sira who writes a lengthy description of all of the beauty of the creation (Sira 42:15-43:33) and concludes with this:
25 Therein are wonderful things, the marvels of his work.
Variety of all living; and the mighty ones of Rahab.
26 For his own sake, he makes his messenger to prosper--
And by his Word is his work fashioned.
27 There are many more things like these,
and we cannot exhaust them;
And the end of the matter is: He is The All (הכל).
Let us still magnify Him, for He is unsearchable,
And He is greater than all His works.
29 He is Exceedingly wonderful.
And marvelous are His works.
30 You that magnify YHWH, raise your voice.
As much as you are able, for there is still more;
You that exalt him, renew strength.
And faint not, for you have not searched him out.
32 There is a multitude of hidden things beyond these,
[But] a few of his works I have truly seen;
33 All things has YHWH done,
And to his Set-Apart-Ones has He given knowledge.
(Ben Sira 43:26-33 HRV)
John 1:10 mentions that the world was "made" (נעשה) by the light/Word. Many will notice the connection between this verse and the concept of the "World of Making" (same Hebrew words) and the "World of Emanation/Nearness" implicit in verses 1-2 above.
John 1:11a has an interesting reading in that the Hebrew tells us that the Word/Light came to his "real native land" closely identifying the Messiah with his Jewish people.
Finally John 1:11-12 contrasts those who "receive" the Word/light with those who do not "receive" with the word קבלהו (Kabbalah) which is a very interesting word in context of verses which speak of "light"; "the Word" "emanation" and alludes to that "World of Making".
In the near future I will post my complete translation of these verses of John (1:1-13)
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