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Fiery Serpent: 火蛇与铜蛇

Author:zhang 日期:2012年4月29日


有时候在英语中会碰到这样的句子

In Sudan,a war is waged to eradicate the 'fiery serpent'

发动一场根治'火蛇'的战争,火蛇是象征,属于圣经文化的范畴,也就是圣经中的典故。旧约民数记第21章

Book  of  Numbers

And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

他们从何珥山起行,往红海那条路走,要绕过以东地。百姓因这路难行,心中甚是烦躁,就怨讟(诽谤,怨言)神和摩西说,你们为什么把我们从埃及领出来,使我们死在旷野呢,这里没有粮,没有水,我们的心厌恶这淡薄的食物。于是耶和华使火蛇进入百姓中间,蛇就咬他们。以色列人中死了许多。百姓到摩西那里,说,我们怨讟(诽谤,怨言)耶和华和你,有罪了。求你祷告耶和华,叫这些蛇离开我们。于是摩西为百姓祷告。耶和华对摩西说,你制造一条火蛇,挂在杆子上。凡被咬的,一望这蛇,就必得活。摩西便制造一条铜蛇,挂在杆子上。凡被蛇咬的,一望这铜蛇就活了。

这个故事是'fiery serpent'这个词的出处.更多的典故见这里,'idioms of the bible'。其引申意义则表示"受难与拯救"。

23:07 2010-4-17 Updated

目前唯一能看到的专门讨论这个故事的只有一本书«The Fiery Serpent: A Christian Theory of Film and Theater»,作者是Paul Kuritz.

作者呢明显是虔诚的基督徒,字里行间就可看出其对God的敬畏,崇敬之情.这本书只能在google上看到五分之一,不过Amazon上面还可以看到两篇书评,约略可以了解其余部分的内容.

火蛇与铜蛇是一个关于受难和拯救的故事,作者看来这乃是"神的范式"(Paradigm of God).具体是什么范式,我也不大理解,现将原话抄在这里:

The healing story of the fiery serpent is a paradigm,... describling God's ability to use the dramatic theater of stage and screen to illustrate the dynamic tension of living simultaneously in two kingdoms,in the Already and in the Not Yet,where His kingdom may burst dramatically into our human world.

所谓神的国度闯入人的国度是本书所讨论的核心,类似的说法不时出现,例如

  • invasion of the kingdom of God
  • kingdom of God burst into human world
  • break through of the kingdom of God
  • ...

亚里士多德说要认识一个事物就考察他的四个方面,就是所谓的四因说:质料因、形式因、动力因和目的因。蛇的形式是人经验的蛇形,对于观众而言那形态看起来如同真实的蛇,然而构成他的材料是铜,它的材料决定了它不能伤人,是无害的.为何人只需看一眼那铜蛇便可得活呢?为何一条铜浇铸的举在杆子上的蛇却可以救人脱离死亡呢?作者的解释是,因为举起的铜蛇乃是将来基督被举起的预演,因为神照着基督的十字架创造的这蛇来作为神的国度到来的序曲,因而获得了一种先验的力量.动力就是使之发生的力量也就是技能,打造蛇形的模具,从岩石中提炼出铜,浇铸成型都是技术,在这里,亦被解释为神的国的闯入的结果.目的,这铜蛇被创造出来就是将人从死亡中拯救出来,作者问道"带来死亡的蛇怎么又带来生命呢?".拯救人的不是铜蛇,而是神的意志,神的话语,全能的恩惠将人从死亡中拯救出来,摩西所铸造的铜蛇是连接人的国度和神的国度的连接物,是一件艺术品,存在于人的世界可以被人所感知,它发出的光会实实在在的投射到视网膜上,在这里神的国度介入,现在结论似乎很简单,那就是神所说的事情都必发生,发生的本源就是神的意志和话语,这就是神的范式,invasion of the kingdom of God.fiery serpent这个故事的意义就在于此,他揭示了神的国度的形态.看了几遍第一章的内容,以上是其大意.这个故事还有后续,后来希西家的王在位的时候,毁弃了摩西铸造的铜蛇,因为人们开始崇拜铜蛇本身,而不是其背后的神的意志.