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242 Telling about God Vol. I Promise and fulfillment

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Van Roo William A.    

 “Analecta Gregoriana” 242

1986, pp. XII - 376



First, a reflection on the key word in the title of the whole work, telling. It was occasioned by reflections on a verse of John’s prologue, which I translate thus: “No one has ever seen God: the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has told us about him”(Jn 1.18). I have italicized the words in which I differ from the translation of the RSV, NEB, and JB: “he has made him known”. Eventually my choice of translation here suggested the title of the whole book. To tell is to mention one by one, relate in detail, make known or manifest, disclose, divulge, reveal, inform, report to. Telling suggest all of the mystery of the revelation by which God told us of himself, and Jesus told us of the Father. It suggests too the mystery and the frustration of all subsequent telling about God, as the message is passed on. It suggests the limitations, the eternal inadequacy of all divine-human symbolizing. God can tell us about himself only by some sort of human symbolizing: and evidently we can pass on the word only by symbolizing which, through it is taken up into the divine self-manifestation, is always human. Jesus told about the Father. He did so gradually by the words with which he spelled out the message. He did so by all of the human actions, and the whole of the human life which he lived. In both word and action, and by the whole of his human reality, he could reveal only bit by bit.

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