John 1.1: The Memra, Word, of God.

Christ, the creator
June 1, 2018
My Lord! and my God!
June 29, 2018

John 1.1: The Memra, Word, of God.

It has been said that the Christians came to speak of Christ as the Word, because, in the Jewish Targums, Memra, or the Word, was substituted for the ineffable name Jehovah. The fact appears to be partly true; but the argument deduced from it is extremely falla­cious. When we read of God acting or speaking by himself, he is said in the Targum to have acted or spoken by his Word; and it has been asserted, that Memra, or the Word, is used distinctively for the Messiah.

But it has been proved satisfactorily, that Memra is never used in the Targurns for a distinct and separate person: it is, in fact, only another form for the pronoun himself.  It was at first applied only to Jehovah, as when he is said “to have sworn by himself,” or “to have made a covenant between himself and any one.”

The use of the term was afterwards transferred to human actions; and, though the Targums apply it in those places which they interpret of the Messiah, yet this application of it is by no means exclusive; and, as I have said, it is never used for a person separate and distinct from the principal subject of the sentence.

Dr. Burton: Theological Works, vol. iii. Bampton Lectures, pp. 221-2.


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