The first part of Edith Humphrey’s book, Ecstasy and Intimacy, is about Love and has three sections: the Holy Tryst and Story, Separation and Approach, and (today’s post’s topic) Word and Wisdom/Knowledge and Faith.
Word and wisdom and knowledge and faith are “ecstatic” gifts — God’s going out to us so that we might be intimate with God.
The section on Word and Wisdom maps the development of how Word and Wisdom and Torah become not only increasingly connected to one another but also become increasingly personal — with the climax of Word, Wisdom and Torah become Incarnate in Jesus Christ. This is the “crescendo into ‘personhood'” (55). I like that expression. Genuine knowledge and wisdom are not navel gazing but “move out to the other” (54). So, “The curtains are pulled back, and that shadowy figure encountered in the earlier writings emerges in full light and full force” (61).
Here Edith jumps into something that is deeply significant: “What does this tell us about personhood?”, she asks. Taking her cues from John 1 in that the Word was “toward” God and he was in the beginning “toward” God, Edith contends that genuine personhood is towardness (my term). “We are, in the first, place, persons because we are toward others, not over against them” (63). So, “personhood is neither defined by autonomy nor by autocracy” (63).
Worth the price of the chp: “Perhaps it is not in our nature to be true ‘integrities’ or to be complete ‘sacrificers'” (64). (Roughly, but I like her terms, individualists or givers.)
This personalization of Wisdom, Word and Torah show us also how to know and what it means to speak with others. Pushing proposition against person falls flat: Christian revelation is a Person who speaks — person and proposition.
Knowledge and faith … I’m running out of space. I like this: “So Jeremiah passes on the promise that God’s people will know about God’s will in an internal way, and so they will also know God” (68).
On faith she suggests taking every reference to “faith in Christ” in Paul’s letters and translating it as “faithfulness of Christ” in order to reveal how christocentric and divine the work of God is.