From: Edgar Foster (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Apr 14 1998 - 13:34:14 EDT
---"David L. Moore" wrote:
>Besides the 7th-century papyri that Moulton cites as attesting "Jesus
Christ our God and Savior" (_Prolegomena_, p. 84), there are also many
papyri that refer to one or another of the Ptolemies and which honor
these individuals with these same tiltles. See BGU 1735 from 99 BC
and BGU 1736
from 78/77 BC. Papyrus BGU 2374 from 88-81 BC begins as follows:
BASILEI PTOLOEMAIWNI QEWI SWTHRI XAIREIN. Of special interest to us,
because of its date and its reference to a Roman emperoror, is PRein
95 from 49 AD which cites the month of August with these words, MHNOS
SEBASTOU ANIKHTOU QEOU ME GALOU SWTHROS.<
I am suspicious of any documents produced AFTER the fourth century.
IMHO, this contributes nothing to a discussion of what the first
century EKKLESIA believed. By the seventh century, the Councils of
Nicea (325), Constantinople (381) and Chalcedon (451) had affirmed the
Godhood of Jesus Christ. I fail to see how this would shed light on
the beliefs of the apostles Peter and Paul. In 1 Cor. 8:5, 6, Paul
seemed to militate against the Roman concepts of QEOS KAI KURIOS.
>>A search for SWTHR between 100 BC and 100 AD in the Perseus papyrus
database search engine found the references above, although locating the
pertinent hits took some sifting. It appears that the Christian
writers of the NT documents believed such titles as QEOS and SWTHR
be used in reference to Christ, even though earthly rulers
illegitimately appropriated such titles for themselves. And it is
possible that their use
in reference to these rulers provided an impetus for Christians to
contemplate their appropriateness in reference to Christ.<<
SWTHR was legitimately applied to Christ, but it is debatable whether
or not QEOS was EVER used of Christ in the NT. In the book _The Rise
of Christianity_ by WHC Frend, we are informed that deacon Pontius
defined the relationship between God and His Son as Deus pater et
Christus judex. This definition found "ready acceptance" in Carthage.
Frend also writes:
"Fourth century inscriptions if anything emphasize the subordination
of the Son to the Father. God was "Omnipotent," Christ was "SAVIOUR"
So according to the archaeological evidence presented by Frend, North
African Christians in the fourth century made a distinction between hO
QEOS PANTOKRATWR KAI SWTHR IESOUS XRISTOS. This earlier evidence is
much more compelling in my eyes.
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