From: David L. Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Apr 15 1998 - 18:17:23 EDT
Edgar Foster <email@example.com> wrote:
>- ---"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 agree that these references do not shed light on what 1st-century
Christians believed. They are of interest only as Greek expressions that
echo similar constructions from the papyri which employ QEOS and SWTHR in
constructions referring to deified rulers. Moulton, in his references to
these 7th Century papyri (_Prolegomena_, p. 84), also calls attention to
>>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.
Just a little knowledge of church history would give an adequate
explanation for such references to the subordination of the Son during the
4th Century in North Africa. But that would be getting into off-topic
subject matter for b-greek, so I'll not comment further.
David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
Home Page: http://members.aol.com/dvdmoore
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