MA Thesis Defense of Fr. Sergio Shoiti Matumoto, SCJ

On April 2, 2018Fr.Sergio Shoiti Matumoto, SCJ, member of the Philippine Region, has defended his MA Thesis entitled “Shema Israel! An Investigation into the Meanings and Significance of ‘Ehad in Deuteronomy 6:4-5”  The Board of Examiners was composed of Fr. Marian​​o Cisco, C.S., S.T.L., S.T.D. and., Fr. ​Rogel Anecito Abais, S.J., S.T.D. ​and.​, and Fr. Manuel Montesclaros, S.J., S.S.L  The MA Thesis Adviser was Sr. Helen Graham, ​M.M., ​Ph.D.  The defense was held in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Theological Studies with field of specialization in Biblical Theology.

The Shemaʿ Yisrael (Deut.6:4-5) is an important verse of the Old Testament. It is recited by the religious Jews twice daily and even Jesus quoted this passage in Mark 12:29-30. It states that God is One and also the commandment to Love the Lord. This thesis investigates the meaning of ’ehad in the context of the Shemaʿ since there is no consensus among the translators if it should be translated as “one” or “alone”. The study notes grammatical as well as theological and historical arguments of the possible translations. It is considered that a more appropriate translation for today’s reader is “the Lord is One”. Also, the study discusses the meaning of Love in Deuteronomy and its significance since “Love the Lord” is a consequence of believing that “the Lord is One”. Moreover, it gives some meanings for the “Lord is One” and its relevance for today’s believers. This thesis also proposes a spirituality of unity and tolerance through the Shemaʿ and through the belief in One God because for believers in the past and for some in the present belief in One God leads to violent attitude towards those who who have other beliefs.