Do you wonder what was the Jewish view of God in the first few centuries CE? Daniel Boyarin wrote a landmark book in 2004 called Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Chrstianity. Boyarin establishes that Judaism and Christian had a common view of God in their earliest shared history. He states:
“The Gospel of John, according to this view, when taken together with the Logos of Philo and with the targum, provides further important evidence that Logos theology, used here as a general term for various closely related binitarian theologies, was the religious koine of Jews in Palestine and the Diaspora . . . In saying this, I am arguing . . . that in the doctrine of God there is no essential and crucial difference between Judaism and Christianity.” (pp. 126–27)
As the centuries wore on, Judaism and Christianity continued to define themselves in distinction from each other, and in contradistinction to shared Scripture and tradition out of which both Faiths arose. In Boyarin’s terms, these Faiths created artificial boundaries that removed any ambiguity to the extent that two distinct religions were established.
God is constant and unalterable, despite the increasingly divergent ways that Christianity and Judaism defined God. These Faiths may self-identify, yet should avoid redefining Divinity.
Will the future offer a convergence of views of Divinity—a reconceiving of Divinity as the One and Same God of two Faiths? Will Judaism and Christianity be restored to a conception of Divinity before there was a parting of ways? Will the future be a return to the beginning? The way back may seem blocked, yet the living God is the revealing God who may be pointing the way forward by having us look back.
Though Thomas Jefferson has said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past,” a glimpse of the past as well as a dream of the future may hold the greatest promise.
For further exploration, see Joshua Brumbach’s review of Border Lines in Kesher Journal at http://www.kesherjournal.com/Issue-25/Border-Lines-Daniel-Boyarin