Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jesus as the Supreme Agent
bearing God's Name /

Ο Ιησούς ως ο Ύψιστος Εκπρόσωπος
που φέρει το Όνομα του Θεού

«Paul uses "Lord" (Greek kyrios) to represent the divine name (i.e., the tetragrammaton) that has been given to Jesus. This is seen most clearly in Philippians 2:10-11, where Paul applies to Jesus language that is applied to God in the Jewish Scriptures. This use of "Lord" as the divine name can easily be misunderstood, however. In at least some streams of thought within the diversity of first-century Judaism, it was not felt to be incompatible with monotheism for God's supreme agent to bear God's name as part of his empowerment to serve in this capacity. A striking example, which provides an instructive parallel to Paul's own statements, is the case of the angel Yahoel in Apocalypse of Abraham. The name Yahoel is clearly made up of the two divine names, Yah(weh) and El. Yet the reason the angel bears this name is not because he has been confused with or absorbed into God but because the angel has been given the divine name by God. This is made clear in Apocalypse of Abraham 10:3, 8, where God is portrayed as saying, "Go, Yahoel of the same name, through the mediation of my ineffable name." This presumably represents an interpretation of Exodus 23:21, which refers to an angel in whom God's name dwells. Nevertheless, David Capes has actually suggested that when the name "Yahoel" appears in the hymn in Apocalypse of Abraham 17:8-14, the angel is in fact being included in the worship of God. But "Yahoel" in this context is the name of God, the name which the angel bears. That this is the case is clear from 17:2, 7, which depicts the angel as kneeling with Abraham and reciting the hymn of worship with him. The angel is among the worshippers of God and is not confused with God, even though as God's agent he bears the name of God himself. Paul's statement about Jesus in Philippians 2 is comparable; upon his exaltation, God has given to Jesus the name that is above every name, that is, the name of God.

That Paul's application of the divine name "Lord" and of Yahweh texts from the Hebrew Bible to Jesus is intended to present Jesus as God's agent, who shares in God's rule and authority, becomes clear when one considers Romans 14:9-11, where Paul takes up the language of Isaiah 45:23 once again, but here emphasizes that the throne of judgment is ultimately God's, even though Christ is the Lord through whom judgment is carried out. In 1 Corinthians 15:27-28, Paul makes clear the roles played by Jesus and God: Jesus is the "(son of) man" to whom all things are to be subjected. That is to say, Jesus is the representative of humankind whom God has chosen to be his agent and mediator of judgment, and through whom he  intends to bring all things into subjection to himself. Thus however united and "at one" with God the agent may be, the two remain ultimately distinguishable for Paul. Monotheism is preserved not because Jesus is absorbed into God or included in the divine identity but because even though Jesus reigns over absolutely everything else on God's behalf, God himself is not subjected to Christ, but Christ is subjected to God.»

«Ο Παύλος χρησιμοποιεί τον όρο "Κύριος" ως αντιπροσωπευτικό του θεϊκού ονόματος (δηλ. του τετραγράμματου) που έχει δοθεί στον Ιησού. Αυτό φαίνεται ξεκάθαρα στο Φιλιππησίους 2:10-11, όπου ο Παύλος εφαρμόζει στον Ιησού γλώσσα η οποία εφαρμόζεται στον Θεό στις Ιουδαϊκές Γραφές. Εντούτοις, αυτή η χρήση του όρου "Κύριος" ως του θεϊκού ονόματος μπορεί εύκολα να παρερμηνευθεί. Σε κάποια τουλάχιστον ρεύματα σκέψης εντός της πολυμορφίας του Ιουδαϊσμού του πρώτου αιώνα, δεν θεωρούνταν ως ασύμβατο με τον μονοθεϊσμό να φέρει το όνομα του Θεού ο υπέρτατος εκπρόσωπος του Θεού ως μέρος της εξουσιοδότησής του να υπηρετεί με αυτή την ιδιότητα. Ένα χαρακτηριστικό παράδειγμα, το οποίο αποτελεί διδακτικό παράλληλο στις δηλώσεις του Παύλου, είναι η περίπτωση του αγγέλου Ιαωέλ στην Αποκάλυψη Αβραάμ. Το όνομα Ιαωέλ αποτελείται σαφώς από τα δύο θεϊκά ονόματα, Ια(χβέ) και Ελ. Μολαταύτα ο λόγος για τον οποίο ο άγγελος φέρει το όνομα δεν είναι επειδή έχει γίνει σύγχυση με ή επειδή έχει αφομοιωθεί από τον Θεό αλλά επειδή εχει δοθεί στον άγγελο το θεϊκό όνομα από τον Θεό. [...]»

* James F. McGrath,
The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context
[Ο Μόνος Αληθινός Θεός: Ο Πρώιμος Χριστιανικός Μονοθεϊσμός στην Ιουδαϊκή του Συνάφεια],
University of Illinois Press, 1st ed., 2009,
pp./σσ. 49, 50.

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