Modalism Redux? The Idea of “Person” in Classical Trinitarianism

The doctrine of the Trinity tells us there is “One Being, three Persons.” Of course, it’s more complicated than all that, but we’ll leave it there! In this definition, what is a “person?” That’s a hard question. Two main views are common today; the classical model and the social model. The Church has traditionally held to the classical view. However, if you ask the right questions, you’ll likely find most Christians actually believe in the social model.

Why does this matter? Well, because it’s probably the most practical question you can ask about the Trinity! If the Scriptures show us three Persons who relate to one another in the Gospels, it’s important to know what “Person” means. If you hear “Person” and think of an autonomous individual with his own self-consciousness and will, then you don’t believe in the classical view, you’re at odds with all the great creeds of the Church, and you’ve abandoned the Nicene and post-Nicene understanding of God. Depending on who you ask, you may be a heretic.

Are you interested, now? 

Classical view of personhood

The Church has done most of the heavy lifting about divine Personhood in the context of Christology, so we ought to begin there. That first Christmas, the divine Son added a human nature to His divine nature. That’s why we confess that Jesus is one divine Person with two natures.1

How does this help us? It helps us by defining the terms “person” and “nature.” The latter is the seat of the will, mind, emotion and self-consciousness. The former is the active subject or owner of a nature. Think of a “person” as the engine that actuates a nature. The nature gives shape and color to a person, who is simply the active subject who animates or gives life to the nature.2

This is why, for example, the Church believes Jesus has two wills; because “will” belongs to a nature.3 Jesus the Person acts in accordance with the will of either nature. Most Christians aren’t used to this kind of metaphysical thinking, but there it is. I won’t explain the long and difficult road the Church traveled to reach these conclusions from Scripture; a good historical theology text can do that for me.4

If this definition of “Person” is sound, and we have the host of Christological creeds to assure us that it is, then we know a “Person” is simply the active subject of a nature. But, God is “One Being, three Persons.” So, now we have a metaphysical conundrum. Because they’re “Persons,” are Father, Son and Spirit different active subjects of the same divine nature?

The classical position says they are.

The Church says Father, Son and Spirit share the same substance, nature or being. The Nicaean Creed says Christ is “of one substance [essence] with the Father.”5 But, here’s the catch; the Church doesn’t understand this to mean that Father, Son and Spirit share the same category of class of “deity.” I’m a human being. You’re a human being. So, we’re each human. We share the attribute of “humanhood.”

That’s not what the Church believes about the Father and the Son.

The Church believes Father and Son are the same Being, and thus have the same essence, energy and concord of mind. They are, quite literally, identical (“I do not say similar, but identical”) and so these three Persons “have one and the same movement.”6

This distinction, that Christ was not a similar essence but literally the same essence as the Father, was the flashpoint for decades of bitter theological combat.7 It’s the basis for every orthodox Church creed of any denominational flavor. We’ve already seen Nicaea. Here are a few more:

  • 1647 Westminster Confession; 2.3: “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance …”8
  • 1561 Belgic Confession; Article 8: “we believe in one only God, who is one single essence, in which are three persons …”9
  • 1530 Augsburg Confession, Article 1: “there is one divine essence which is called and is God, eternal, without body, indivisible …”10
  • 39 Articles of the Church of England, Article 1: “in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance …”11

God is not divisible. God is One. This is why you’ve likely heard your pastor say that each Person is fully God in and of Himself. Jesus is not 1/3 God, etc. In a way that’s beyond understanding, each Person is fully God because each Person is the same, identical essence. In the words of these same creeds, God is simple or indivisible.

Long ago, Augustine explained “the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit intimate a divine unity of one and the same substance in an indivisible equality; and therefore that they are not three Gods, but one God.”12 There has always been one God. And, the Son isn’t a creature. This means, by default, He must be of the same numerical substance with the Father.13

Words basically fail us at this point as we seek express the inexpressible. Augustine famously said that we use these terms because we don’t know what else to say!14 John of Damascus lamented that these things are “dimly understood,” but advised “we cannot do else than express ourselves according to our limited capacity.”15 R.C. Sproul, commenting on the excerpt from the Westminster Confession we saw above, explained:

The subsistences, or persons, are more than offices, more than modes, more than activities, more than masks, and more than ways of appearing. The church historically has said that we do not understand how God is three in one. But we do understand that He is not three gods, and that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all divine.”16

How to tell ‘em apart?

It’s clear the main conceptual problem is how to distinguish the Persons if they are, in fact, the same Being. The Church has done this by highlighting incommunicable, unique characteristics each Person has that the others do not. John of Damascus explains:

For in these hypostatic or personal properties alone do the three holy subsistences differ from each other, being indivisibly divided not by essence but by the distinguishing mark of their proper and peculiar subsistence.17

These distinctions are:18

  • The Father begat the Son.
  • The Son is eternally begotten in an incorporeal, non-physical (“begotten, not made”19) and timeless manner (“begotten of the Father before all worlds”20) in a way we can’t ever understand. But, this does not imply subordinationism, temporal priority or that the Son was created.
  • The Holy Spirit is sent forth from both the Father and the Son.

How can you distinguish the Persons, then? By these unique characteristics. The Son doesn’t beget; the Father does. The Spirit isn’t begotten; the Son is. The Father doesn’t sally forth; the Spirit does. This is how the classical position avoids the charge of modalism.21

Robert Letham, perhaps the current dean of Reformed scholarship regarding the Trinity, calls the principles of identity of nature + personal distinctions “the heart of the doctrine of the Trinity.”22 This is why those same creeds each speak of eternal generation and procession. However, theologians have long struggled to explain these doctrines. John of Damascus admitted they are “quite beyond comprehension,” and could not explain the functional difference between the two concepts.23 Gregory of Nazianzus built a polemical fence more around what the doctrines are not, rather than what they are.24

These doctrines have been criticized by numerous 20th century evangelicals,25 and it’s likely many non-confessional seminary students and graduates don’t understand them and can’t coherently explain them. It’s telling that the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message26 and the GARBC Articles of Faith27 do not mention eternal generation and procession at all. It’s as if the doctrines don’t exist.

The fruit of this negligence, in the eyes of the classical advocates, is that many conservative pastors and seminary graduates don’t understand the Trinity at all. They likely don’t appreciate that homoousia (“same substance”) means identity of essence, and that eternal generation and procession are the linchpins holding the doctrine of the Trinity together. They likely assume a modern version of “personhood.”

Lewis S. Chafer epitomizes this tendency. He explains the Persons act as agent and object to one another and “exhibit intelligence, consciousness, and moral agency.”28 If Christology tells us that self-consciousness and moral agency are attributes of nature (and it does), then Chafer is quite wrong. This is why, in the eyes of some classical trinitarians, many evangelicals are functional tri-theists.

The 20th century has seen an explosion of interest in the doctrine of the Trinity. That’s why it’s no surprise this past century saw some re-considerations of classical trinitarianism. The idea Father, Son and Spirit were merely active subjects or subsistences of the same exact Being seemed abstract and stale; like a flat Diet Coke. Does that sum up the Gospels? Does it sum up Jesus? When we worship Jesus, are we worshipping a “distinct manner of subsisting?”29 Is that all there is?

When we read the Gospels, there’s a relentless urge to see the Persons as real individuals with their own self-consciousness, will and intelligence. But, remember, this is not what “same substance” means at all! It means an identical sameness of Being. For if you have three independent centers of consciousness and volition with the Godhead, you have tri-theism. Thus, you have heresy.

Donald Bloesch offers perhaps the best analogy for the classical model. “I prefer to speak of one space with three dimensions – height, length and depth.”30 This is why two evangelical theologians have dismissed the classical model because “it seems to reduce to classical modalism.”31

Some theologians, Emil Brunner in particular, believe it’s dangerous to probe into this metaphysical abyss. It’s “a temptation for the intellect,” he warned, “to which we ought not to give way.” For it is impossible, Brunner believed, to understand “three persons” otherwise than in a tri-theistic sense.32 To him, it’s a fool’s errand.

We may order people to think thus: ‘Thou shalt think these Three Persons as One,’ but it is no use: there still remains an uncertain vacillation between Tritheism and Monotheism. Not only the idea of ‘substance,’ but also this idea of ‘Person,’ was much too wooden to express the mystery of the unity of the Revealer and what was revealed.33

Thomas Watson warned that the Trinity is a mystery, “but where reason cannot wade, there faith may swim.”34 Nonetheless, some Christians are content to continue wading. So, what do social trinitarians have to offer in return? We turn to that in the next article.

Notes

1 As the Chalcedonian Creed says, “… the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence …” (Philip Schaff, ed. The Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols. [New York: Harper & Brothers, 1890], 2:63).

2 For a great discussion of these concepts in relation to Christology, see especially Stephen Wellum, God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2016), 424ff. 

3 See the decrees from the Third Council of Constantinople (680-681) in Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, 2 vols., ed. Norman J. Tanner, S.J. (Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1990), 1:124-130.  

4 There are a number from which to choose. See (1) David Beale, Historical Theology In-Depth, 2 vols. (Greenville: BJU Press, 2013), 1:207-333; (2) Jaroslav Pelikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition: 100-600 (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1971), 226-277; (3) J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, revised ed. (New York: Harper One, 1978), and (4) Kenneth S. Latourette, A History of Christianity: Volume 1: Beginnings to 1500, revised ed. (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1975).

5 Schaff, Creeds, 2:59.

6 John of Damascus, “An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith,” 1.8, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. S. D. F. Salmond, in NPNF2, 14 vols. (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1899), vol. 2.9. 

7 J.N.D. Kelly argues convincingly that Nicea didn’t intend the phrase to mean Father and Son were identical. He believes they meant they shared the same category, like you and I do as human beings (Early Doctrines, 233-237). He argues the homoousia was a later development that was read back in. However, Kelly agrees that orthodoxy requires homoousia because of God’s simplicity.

8 Schaff, Creeds, 3:607-608

9 Schaff, Creeds, 3:390.

10 Schaff, Creeds, 3:7. 

11 Schaff, Creeds, 3:488.

12 Augustine, “On the Trinity,” 1.7, in NPNF1, 14 vols. (Buffalo: Christian Literature Company, 1887), vol. 1.3.

13 Augustine, “Trinity,” 1.9. 

14 Augustine, “Trinity,” 7.7. 

15 John of Damascus, “Orthodox Faith,” 1.2.

16 R.C. Sproul, Truths We Confess: A Systematic Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith, revised ed. (Sanford: Reformation Trust, 2019; Kindle ed.), KL 1262. Emphasis added.

17 John of Damascus, “Orthodox Faith,” 2.8.  

18 For the sake of my sanity and yours, I’m using the Western interpretation of the Holy Spirit’s procession and I won’t dare to discuss the filioque controversy. 

19 See the Nicean-Constantinople Creed of 381 (Schaaf, Creeds, 58). 

20 Ibid.

21 Thomas Aquinas observed, “the Father is denominated only from paternity; and the Son only from filiation. Therefore, if no real paternity or filiation existed in God, it would follow that God is not really Father or Son, but only in our manner of understanding; and this is the Sabellian heresy,” (Summa Theologica, Q28, Art. 1, Obj. 4).

22 Robert Letham, Systematic Theology (Crossway: Wheaton, 2019), 120.

23 John of Damascus, “Orthodox Faith,” 1.8; “… there is a difference between generation and procession, but the nature of that difference we in no wise understand.”

24 Gregory of Nazianzus, “Orations 29 and 30,” in On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius (Yonkers: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002).

25 John Feinberg, for example, says, “Despite their firm entrenchment in both Western and Eastern traditions, the doctrines of eternal generation and eternal procession are unclear and are not required by Scripture,” (No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God [Wheaton: Crossway, 2001; Kindle ed.], KL 11901).

For a critical look at the historical development of the doctrine of eternal generation, see Beale, Historical Theology, 2:142-170.

Millard Erickson noted, “It must be acknowledged that for many persons today, the doctrine does not seem to make much sense. Just what does it mean to say that the Father eternally generates the Son, yet that the Son is not therefore inferior to the Father? How can the Father be the basis of the Son’s being but without this constituting some species of creation of the latter by the former? It may well be that the difficulty of making sense of this concept today is because in our time we are working within a different philosophical framework than that which these earlier theologians were utilizing,” (Who’s Tampering with the Trinity?: An Assessment of the Subordination Debate [Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2009; Kindle ed.], KL 1874-1878).

See also (1) J. Oliver Buswell, A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, 2 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1962), 1:110-112; (2) Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), Appendix 6; (3) Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology (Chicago: Moody, 1999), 62, and (4) William L. Craig and J.P. Moreland, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove: IVP, 2003), 594.

26 See http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.asp

27 See https://www.garbc.org/about-us/beliefs-constitution/articles-of-faith/.

28 Lewis S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, 8 vols. (reprint; Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1976), 2:293.

29 Karl Rahner, The Trinity, trans. Joseph Donceel (New York: Herder & Herder, 1970), 110f. 

30 Donald Bloesch, God the Almighty (Downers Grove: IVP, 1995), 186. 

31 Craig and Moreland, Philosophical Foundations, 587. 

32 Emil Brunner, The Christian Doctrine of God, trans. Olive Wyon (London: Lutterworth, 1949), 227.

33 Brunner, Doctrine of God, 239. 

34 Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (reprint; Birmingham: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2016), 78. 

4785 reads

There are 21 Comments

T Howard's picture

Thanks, Tyler, for this helpful overview of a very difficult issue, especially in how it relates to Christology. To summarize, Jesus Christ is one person with both a divine and a human nature. These two inseparable, yet distinct natures each include a will and a center of consciousness or intelligence.

It's worth noting that conservative evangelical theologians are not all agreed on how Christ's person, nature, and will relate. In fact, Millard Erickson writes in his Systematic Theology that the relationship between the two natures in the one person of Jesus Christ is "one of the most difficult of all theological problems, ranking with the Trinity and the relationship of human free will and divine sovereignty" (p. 740).

 

Ed Vasicek's picture

A lot here, Tyler.  Good job.

I would say this statement is not quite accurate:

And, Jesus isn’t a creature.

The human nature of Jesus is a creature and had a beginning.  It would be more accurate to say, "the Son isn't a creature."

Also, what do you think of the view proposed by David Stern, that the one God has three PERSONALITIES.  When you don't have a body to contend with, is there a difference between a Person and a Personality?

Also: 

Donald Bloesch offers perhaps the best analogy for the classical model. “I prefer to speak of one space with three dimensions – height, length and depth.”

The problem here is that if you have height,  you don't necessarily have length or depth.  There is nothing each Person of the Trinity lacks.

 

 

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

Thanks for the clarification about "Son" vs. "Jesus;" I'll change it. the "personalities" thing sounds like social trinitarianism, but I don't know Stern so I'm not sure he'd own that label.

Bloesch's analogy is pretty good for the classical model, I believe, because his point is that God (in a triune sense) is Father, Son and Spirit at the same time, each with His own incommunicable characteristics. In his analogy, the height, width and depth are those incommunicable characteristics proper to each Person. That's why I think his analogy is best, and works better than Augustine's psychological analogies.

I tried very hard to be fair in the article. I do have a view on classical vs. social trinitarianism. I won't tell you what it is ...

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ed Vasicek's picture

I do think that most Christians fall into two categories:

1. Those who claim to be Trinitarians but are actually modalists (using water, ice, and steam as an illustration).

2. Those who claim to be Trinitarians  and claim to believe the Persons are of the same essence, but, in their minds conceived of three BEINGS.

 

If we refer to God (Elohim) as singular, despite the plural (the idea of "plural of majesty" is, I understand, without real foundation), then why do we refer to the Persons of the Trinity as "they.?"  I have often wondered about that.

I believe the Bible prioritizes the Oneness of God and that the Three Persons need to fit into that Oneness.  This may be a minor point, but it does affect our conceptualization (limited as it might be).

"The Midrash Detective"

Ed Vasicek's picture

Thanks for your good reply.

Tyler wrote:

In his analogy, the height, width and depth are those incommunicable characteristics proper to each Person.

That is not accurate, IMO.  The Father would have height, the Son would have height, and the Spirit would have height... and so forth.  No Person of the Trinity has anything the other Persons do not have.   Any illustration would have to be distinction in Role or Relationship (which is complex, I know, and you have addressed this),.   Height, depth, etc. are matters of essence, not personal characteristics.

Appreciate you sharing your great mind with us!

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

On the classical model:

  • The Father begets, nobody else does that.
  • The Son is eternally begotten; nobody else has that
  • The Spirit proceeds; which the Son and Father don't do.

So, I think Bloesch's analogy does work to get that across. On the classical model, if you didn't have these unique characteristics proper to each Person to distinguish them, then you'd have a monad; a Jello blob of a God.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

I forgot to mention; the books in the article photo are mine!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ed Vasicek's picture

I am very much enjoying this dialog.  Hard to find someone to chat with about these things, and I know I need to be "sharpened."

Tyler wrote:

 On the classical model, if you didn't have these unique characteristics proper to each Person to distinguish them, then you'd have a monad; a Jello blob of a God.

The point that there are distinctions between the Persons is quite valid. However, those distinctions could be distinctions besides procession and eternal generation.  There certainly has to be a distinction, I will concede.

Although you have not stated it, your comments seem to evidence that you reject Social Trinitarianism.  Yet, in that paradigm, there is plenty of room for distinctions of personality.

I very much respect your views and thinking.   Although procession and eternal generation have a lot of history to them, I think the Biblical foundation is far from conclusive, including viewpoints on monogenes.  And, of course, the East and West could not agree from Whom the Spirit proceeds (Father or Father and Son). I am not saying procession and generation cannot be accurate, but there is room for skepticism. 

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

I totally get the skepticism about eternal generation. Beale's discussion is very interesting. Gregory of Nazianzus is also intriguing. The article about social Trinitarianism is coming this Monday. This concept is the most intellectually exciting thing I've ever read, no matter what you think about it. William L. Craig is a social trinitarian, and I'll share perhaps the worst analogy in the history of the Church that he coined to express the concept. It's pretty bad, and it harms the cause of the social trinitarians. Looking forward to sharing it!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

M. Osborne's picture

A few years ago I worked through Augustine's On the Trinity under Carl Trueman for a pre-Reformation theology class. I was struck by Augustine's statement that we use the term "person" because we're not sure what other term to use. I think that although I've known some of the classic-theology formulae to prevent tri-theistic explanations, every time I've tried to stick a definition on what exactly I mean by "person" (e.g., "center of consciousness"?) I fall into something tantamount to tri-theism whether I want to or not. Trueman definitely urged the point that contemporary Evangelicalism was tending toward tri-theism.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

TylerR's picture

Editor

I get what you're saying. The main pushback from social trinitarians would be that the conceptual framework the Greek and Latin fathers used to explain the doctrine of the Trinity makes little sense today (Erickson). Or, according to some others, it never actually made sense at all (Moltmann).

I suppose it depends on whether one thinks it's heresy to offer a new "translation" of the biblical teaching for a contemporary audience. Can we re-frame these same truths in a way that allegedly communicates better?

Erickson, in his systematic, has an interesting discussion about this. He discusses three categories; the transplanters who don't try to contextualize at all, the transformers who believe we must "remake" the faith for our times, and the translators who keep the doctrine but contextualize it for the audience you have. He makes the case that we must be translators, which has implications for the validity of social trinitarianism.

The KJV was a good translation, but it struggles to communicate today. Likewise, some social trinitarians argue, the categories of classical trinitarianism make little sense to contemporary Christians. Again, some argue it never made much sense at all. Obviously, the classical folks vehemently disagree!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

M. Osborne's picture

Tyler asked, "Is it really heresy to offer a new 'translation' of the biblical teaching for a contemporary audience?"

No.

As God entered history, a bunch of monotheistic Jews were driven to conclude that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, and that He was God. Then they had to explain it.

When choosing how to explain it, you turn to the vocabulary and metaphysical categories on hand. Your choice of vocabulary and categories will affect how far you get, and whether and how you risk miscommunicating, and whether and how you risk painting yourself into a corner you don't want to be in.

Words like homooousia had their use; there was a real heresy that needed to be ferreted out, and homoousia did a good job of that. Does that mean no other vocabulary or category could possibly have served? I think we should at least be open to new ways of framing it.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

AndyE's picture

M. Osborne wrote:
Trueman definitely urged the point that contemporary Evangelicalism was tending toward tri-theism.

I'm not sure about that.  I think contemporary evangelicalism in the West tends towards modalism.  We often dismiss ideas like eternal generation, and flatten the three persons to a single entity called God and rarely incorporate the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit distinctions to the degree Scripture does. I agree with Letham when he argues that "most Western Christians are practical modalists. Certainly, the Trinity is little more than an arithmetical conundrum to Western Christianity."  To me it is fascinating, how one little clause in a creed, or its absence, can impact a whole group of people without them even knowing.  https://www.midamerica.edu/uploads/files/pdf/journal/13-lethamEast.pdf

Ed Vasicek's picture

M. Osborne wrote: 

Trueman definitely urged the point that contemporary Evangelicalism was tending toward tri-theism.

I'm not sure about that.  I think contemporary evangelicalism in the West tends towards modalism. 

How about this thought?  Evangelical laymen, by and large, have turned to modalism without knowing it (they still claim to be Tinitarian) while evangelical academics have turned to Tri-theism without recognizing it.

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

Precisely. I think that's the best way to phrase the concerns. Social trinitarians, of course, deny they are tri-theists. They offer strong arguments that classical folks are functional modalists!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

M. Osborne's picture

@Ed: That is a fascinating thought. Now I'm curious to see whether I can take a pulse on that among church members. Our pastor has occasionally done "quiz yourself" times as a kind of catechesis (occasional change-of-pace for Wednesday night or something), and covered doctrines like the Trinity and christology. But we didn't collect results; it was just the lead-in to actual teaching and discussing the questions.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

AndyE's picture

TylerR wrote:

Precisely. I think that's the best way to phrase the concerns. Social trinitarians, of course, deny they are tri-theists. They offer strong arguments that classical folks are functional modalists!

  What is your definition of social trinitarianism?  Maybe I should just google it but I'm not sure what you are referring to here.

TylerR's picture

Editor

The next article is coming on Monday!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

The next article is now finished, and will likely run this coming Monday or the next. My apologies for the delay. It took a lot to get this done, amidst all the other things I have going on.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ed Vasicek's picture

Thank you!

"The Midrash Detective"

Help keep SI’s server humming. A few bucks makes a difference.