From: Edgar Foster (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Oct 15 1998 - 08:04:16 EDT
---Kyle Dillon wrote:
>I find this quite interesting. I hope that I am not asking an
inappropriate question for B-Greek, but: What is the actual hard
evidence, if any, that the translators of the LXX thought the use of
the term "God" might belittle God? Many thanks.<
>It seems that the Jews of the third century(?) B.C. considered man's
place much, much lower than God's place. They probably thought that if
mankind, being so low, was only a little bit lower than God, than God
must also be low, so they intentionally viewed the passage as a
comparison between humans and angels (the "godlike" figures). This is
just a guess, but it seems to make the most sense in this case. Why
else would "elohim" be interpreted as "godlike beings" here when in
the majority of the instances it is found in the Old Testament it
refers to the true God ("elohim," although a plural noun, can be used
of single entities for intensification, which is true of several
Hebrew nouns, like "behemoth," which refers to a giant beast)?<
Your statement above is undoubtedly true. Based on the context of Ps.
8:5, it makes more sense to translate ELOHIM as "angels" or "godlike
ones" (over against "God"). While I would not disagree with all of
what you say, I must contend that there is good reason to view
ELOHIM/QEOI as sometimes referring to both angels and humans.
"I said, You are gods [ELOHIM], all of you sons of the Most High" (Ps.
Who are the "gods" mentioned by the Psalmist? In John 10:35, Jesus
seems to equate them with "those against whom the word of God came"
(EI EKEINOUS EIPEN QEOUS PROS hOUS hO LOGOS TOU QEOU EGENETO KAI OU
DUNATAI LUQHNAI hH GRAFH). While certain scholars have debated whether
Ps. 82:6 has reference to angels, men, or even false gods, Jesus seems
to apply the Psalm to ancient Hebrew judges. This also appears to be
the way the Psalmist understood ELOHIM in Ps. 82:6 (cf. Ps. 82:1; 58:2
Two other very important texts for consideration are Ps. 97:7; 138:1
Ps. 97:7 is particularly of interest because the writer of Hebrews
utilizes it in Heb. 1:6. He also applies the text to angels as does
hOTAN DE PALIN EISAGAGH TON PRWTOTOKON EIS THN OIKOUMENHN LEGEI KAI
PROSKUHSATWSAN AUTW PANTES AGGELOI THEOU (Heb. 1:6).
>From the foregoing information, I feel that there is good reason to
view ELOHIM in the sense of "godlike," "gods" (plural), or "angels" in
Ps. 8:5/Heb. 2:7. Of course, by godlike and gods, I mean the angels.
While putting forth this interpretation, I must admit that the
rabbinic literature demonstrates there was no uniform interpretation
regarding Ps. 82:6 in times of antiquity. Nevertheless, the idea that
ELOHIM was viewed as applying to angels or humans can be substantiated.
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