The concept of glory and the nature of man : a study of Jewish, Christian, Buddhist and Zoroastrian thought
This study of the concept of glory across four different religions begins with Christianity. There the term 'glory' translates Greek doxa, a word which, deriving from a root meaning 'to seem', denotes 'outward appearance', and has in secular Greek the basic meaning 'opinion'. The New Testament, however, not only omits this connotation but gives doxa an entirely new one (radiance, divine Presence). Given that symbols are rooted in the experiential well-springs of a people, why did the Christian experience not bring a totally new symbol to birth. The answer is two-fold: (a) Christians took the word from the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible wherein it was used to translate Kavodh (glory) and (b) the meaning of doxa resonated with the Christian Encounter. It had first resonated with the Hebrew experience. It is this thesis that doxa was used by Christians and Greek-speaking Jews precisely because of its root meanings ('to seem' 'outward appearance' 'manifestation') and that these meanings, resonating also with the experience of Zoroastrians and Buddhists, are reflected in their ideas of glory, albeit within their different conceptual frameworks. 'Glory' in all four religions is related to man's experience of polarities: Immanence/Transcendence, Manifestation/Hiddenness, Presence/Absence, and it speaks of a Reality beyond appearance. Man longs for the Real; he seeks Self-transcendence. In the measure that he becomes 'selfless' he comes closer to that which he seeks and sees things as they really are. He grows from glory to glory until he becomes what he is. In Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism man is of the essence of glory.