Rich Paxson

El Elyon First Temple El-Shaddai YHWH Northern Kingdom
Maccabees 597 BC 164 BC Joshua Southern Kingdom
Babylon Monotheism Exile Omri Moses
720 BC 2nd Isaiah Masoretic Text Henotheism Adam
Monolatry Polytheism Solomon Judah Assyria

I have the odd feeling that the list of words for this lesson, like icons, reads me, and not I them. The persons, events and philosophies encapsulated in the words once stamped embodied individual awareness with their ‘social other’ image; just as persons, events and philosophies now imprint their social other likeness onto me.

And so while the term ‘social other’ is missing from the lesson’s list of words, yet social other forms the compost in the historical soil from which these words emerge. Abraham Joshua Heschel once wrote something like: ‘Where is the tree that can say fully the silent passion of the soil.’ This lesson’s words, now reading me like icons, reside in the soil holding my life in being. And yet, how the social other distorts my voice and biases my statement of their silent passion.

But I am free to respond not only to the presence of the social other in my life, but also to the presence of an ‘other other!’ My concept of what it means to be free has evolved through reading and writing this online course. More and more I think of freedom not through the conflict-laden text on offer by the social other. No. I am coming to think of freedom as the ability to respond to human being: life created by God; anchored by the silent passion of the soil; upright in the sunlight, and the dark night, of God’s presence.

In the video I’ll be listening for monolatry, monotheism, henotheism and Adam.