(1) At 1:29 PM -0600 11/22/96, James H. Vellenga wrote:
>I agree with Carl that an understanding of "glory" is key
>to understanding the sentence (or phrase -- in the absence
>of a verb). However, I am not happy with the idea of
>dismissing it as a mere "locution."
I'm sorry it appeared I was dismissing it by calling it a "locution." I was
trying, first of all, to understand what the expression may have meant in
its traditional usage, and I am very much inclined to agree with Randy
that, if there's a verb--a form of EIMI--implied here, it is EIH, the
Optative 3 sg., rather than ESTI: "Glory BE to God in the highest!" I think
this is the traditional conception of "praising God," "magnifying God"
(Luke's Mary in the "Magnificat" says MEGALUNEI hH PSUXH MOU TON KURION. I
think what the angels in our passage are doing is the very same thing. (2)
I was also questioning, philosophically whether it makes sense to say that
God's glory can be increased by anything human beings do or whether
humanity can "give" God something that he has in infinite abundance and
humanity does NOT have. In a sense, and here, I think, is the real point,
"magnifying" God is not a matter of raising God to higher stature but of
recognizing that stature and its implications for one's own lowly stature
and creaturely obligation.
>It seems to me that a good conceptual equivalent for the
>NT concept of "glory" is the New Age concept of "aura"
>-- a kind of invisible but powerful radiance effective
>mainly in the spiritual plain. Correspondingly, "glorify"
>becomes "make aura for" -- as in Luke 2.20: "The shepherds
>went back, [constantly] making aura for God and praising
>[him] over all [the things] they had heard and seen ..."
I'm not sure that I understand what this means. I am still inclined to
think that what the shepherds did was what Jews traditionally did (cf.
Paul, over and over again, as, e.g., Phil 1:11, declaring his prayer for
the Philippians that they be PEPLHROUMENOI KARPON DIKAIOSUNHS TON DIA IHSOU
XRISTOU EIS DOKSAN KAI EPAINON QEOU. I think that the shepherds are
represented by Luke as saying loud and long to any who will hear them (even
to angels, when human beings are not present), "Great is the Lord and
greatly to be praised, for he has done wondrous things within our
experience this night!"
>In this conceptual framework, it is possible to increase
>God's aura -- at least in the the arena of this KOSMOS.
>By actually speaking good things about someone, we in effect
>increase their aura. And an event like that that the angels
>announced in Luke 2 can result in
> "Aura for God in highest [places],
> and on earth peace for people of kindly purpose."
>In this case, viewing the incarnation as one of God's
>superlative actions, the author sees the action itself
>as increasing God's aura.
Well, now this raises what is perhaps a still larger question: what is the
meaning of DOKSAZEIN (I prefer to use KS for Xi for clarity's sake rather
than attempt to transliterate it with a single Roman letter). Something, I
suppose, like "let one's light shine" or "make discernible what is really
invisible." Is that the sense intended of "make aura" here? Maybe so,
although I'm inclined to find that "make aura" itself is a strange
"locution." Most illuminating of all in the NT, I think, is the usage of
DOKSAZEIN in John's gospel, where it's generally used in the passive
(DOKSASQHNAI) of Jesus when his divinity becomes fully manifest in the
crucifixion and resurrection. We have the "High Priestly Prayer" 17:4-5:
EGW SE EDOKSASA EPI THS GHS TO ERGON TELEIWSAS hO DEDWKAS MOI hINA POIHSW:
KAI NUN DOKSASON ME SU, PATER, PARA SEAUTWi THi DOKSHi hHi EIXON PRO TOU
TON KOSMON EINAI PARA SOI. Here it would appear to be the MANIFESTATION,
the MAKING-VISIBLE of a holiness not normally visible in this world-order.
Does this help?
I would suppose that "glorifying God" when ordinary human beings do it is a
matter of CALLING ATTENTION TO God's glory rather than increasing it in any
way; "magnify" then means "point out the greatness" rather than "make
Why do I have the feeling that all this is little more than a tautology?
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com