Re: Context In Interpretation: was Sharp's Rule

From: Carlton L. Winbery (
Date: Sat Jun 29 1996 - 04:47:38 EDT

David L. Moore wrote in response to Wes;

>I think you understand my position better than your summation reflects. Try
>something like the following: It is quite plausible that certain of the
>writers of the NT took titles of deity, that the rulers of their present
>age usurped for
>themselves, and showed how these titles could be used legitimately in
>referring to
>Christ. The NT writers' use of such titles constitutes a statement, not
>only about the
>deity of Christ, but about His superiority to all principalities and
>powers since these
>titles may refer legitimately to Him, but not so to the latter.

I would agree with David's excellent statement. Recognition of the use of
such terms in apostolic and post-apostolic Christianity is significant.
About four years ago at the SBL someone (I do not have my notes with me)
made a presentation using coins from the Domitianic reign (this won't suit
some Neroniacs [ha ha]) from the American Numismatic Assoc. On two coins
the front depicted Domitian with his claim to divinity. On the back was
depicted his son who died in infancy sitting on the world holding out both
his hands. In an arch over his head and resting on his hands were seven
stars, depicting his control of the powers of the world. Perhaps the
Apocalyptic writer wanted to depict that the real powers of the universe
were those "messengers" (angels) who proclaimed the word of redemption. I
will find the name of the presenter and supply it. Perhaps some of you
were there and can remember better than I. I think also that his paper was
published, maybe in the seminar papers.

I would add that "John" seemed eager to explain this little piece of
symbolism in his picture of Christ in chapter 1 so his readers would
understand the basic message in much the same way he explains the number of
the beast in 13. The proclaimers were not afraid to use the language of
their world to paint in bold strokes the message of what God had done.

Carlton L. Winbery
Prof. Religion
LA College, Pineville, La

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