Re: Divine name in NT

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Sep 29 1998 - 14:12:52 EDT

I think we need to exercise some care in handling the subject here; I have
the sense that different theological assumptions may be in play in the very
formulation of the arguments, and we do want to distinguish as clearly as
possible in our discussions on B-Greek between our theological and
faith-stance differences and our differences of opinion on what the Greek
text itself means. Sometimes it's not so easy to make that distinction, but
I think we ought to try to do so.

At 12:10 PM -0500 9/29/98, Pawel Lutze wrote:
>Commenting on the thread concerning the Divine Name, which supposedly "was
>lost to the Gentile church except insofar as it was reflected in the
>contracted surrogates or remembered by scholars.", I would like to state,
>that there is a Divine Name clearly pronounced on nearly every page of the
>Greek New Testament, and this Name is JESUS.

While I think that I understand well enough what is being asserted here, I
believe that the argument being set forth for this proposition is
fundamentally a theological one rather than one grounded in and
interpretive of one or more specific NT Greek texts. For my part, I am
somewhat uncomfortable about understanding the name "Jesus" as itself a
divine name, and I have tried to be careful to distinguish in my own usage
between what I take to be a human name, whether written as Jesus or Yeshua
or Yehoshua, and that name with an epithet "Christ" or "Messiah" or "Lord"
attached to it.

>God, who made himself known to the Israelites under the Name of Jehovah, in
>these last days "has spoken to us by a Son" and the Name of the Son of God
>Jesus Christ is the only Name in which both Jew and Gentile alike may come
>to the Father. The Name of Jesus contains the Name of Jehovah (Joshua =
>Jehovah the Savior).
>Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under
>heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Again, I want to be very careful here. It is certainly true that the name
Joshua=Yeshua=Jesus is formed in part from the OT divine name; nevertheless
this is a very common personal name in the NT era and has continued since
then to be used as a personal name for individuals. But does this mean that
the personal name "Jesus" itself bears this sacred status? I think that the
passage from the opening of Hebrews and the second passage cited from Acts
4 both refer to the compounded name "Jesus Christ" as a designation of the
person about whom Christological--and ultimately theological--affirmations
are being made--and that these are not indications that the name itself is
to be understood as a divine name.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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