Re: hO QEOS in Mt 1:23b

From: Brian Swedburg (
Date: Mon Nov 29 1999 - 18:49:02 EST

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Greetings Steven and B-Greek.&nbsp; I must admit that I have not been able
to enjoy list activity much lately with the holiday preparations upon us.&nbsp;
Yet, I am motivated once again by Steven Craig Miller to join the fray.
<p>Frankly, what troubles me most in this discussion is Steven's posture
and tone in this discussion.&nbsp; I recall to mind Pa Ingles once saying
to a hot headed young man on "Little house on the Prairie" that 'being
positive often just meant being wrong at the top of your voice.' I too
am interested in first, what the valid grammatical options for 'ho qeos'
are.&nbsp; Then we enjoy one anothers opinions about why we might choose
one valid grammatical option above the others.
<p><i>Steven Craig Miller wrote:</i>
<blockquote TYPE=CITE><i>To: Gordon K. Goltz, Steve Puluka, et al.,</i>
<p><i>GKG: &lt;&lt; Why would Matthew need to refer to Jesus as God again,
when he has</i>
<br><i>already done it so early in his gospel and then consistently gives
<br><i>of his divinity throughout his gospel? >></i>
<p><i>Your first assertion seems to beg the question, since it is unclear
to me</i>
<br><i>whether Matthew ever referred to Jesus as God anywhere in his Gospel
<br><i>fact, it seems to me that he hasn't).</i></blockquote>

<p><br>I believe we have already established through list discussion that
this is a valid option.&nbsp; I might further the discussion by noting
two things from this pericope.&nbsp; Vs. 21 notes that the child shall
be called 'Ihsous', because he will save his people from their sins.&nbsp;
If the writer is a good Torah believing boy or girl, then this description
of the child 'saving <i>His</i> people', is understandably noteworthy,
and begs the question, 'who should be referred to in such a way but Adonai?'&nbsp;
Secondly, it seems noteworthy to me that the gospel author translates only
the name 'Emmanouhl', focusing on this as an identity of the child, rather
than taking in the breadth of context from Isaiah.&nbsp; This choice could
be intentional.
<blockquote TYPE=CITE><i>Your second assertion is puzzling,</i>
<br><i>since I'm hard pressed to understand how presenting Jesus as a</i>
<br><i>miracle-worker "gives examples of his divinity throughout his gospel."</i></blockquote>

<p><br>I here in this commentary the assumption that Jesus is being portrayed
in the motif of miracle worker, as was evidently common in the Greco-Roman
biographies of holy men.&nbsp; This list may not be the place to debate
this option, but I find it an unsatisfying assumption, given the presence
of other literary and theological motifs such as 'Jesus as the Messianic
Son of David', 'Jesus as the Son of God', etc...
<blockquote TYPE=CITE><i>But</i>
<br><i>if we assume that Matthew was written by a Torah-observant Christian
for a</i>
<br><i>Torah-observant Christian community (as most Matthean scholars seem
<br><i>suggest), one would think that a straightforward and unambiguous
<br><i>of Jesus' divinity would be in order if that is what Matthew wanted
<br><i>audience to understand. And that is precisely what we don't have
<br><i>Matthew's gospel.</i></blockquote>
Once again, I am not convinced that 'Matthew's' assertions concerning Jesus'
virgin birth, fulfillment of Messianic expectations, partnership with John
the baptist, etc... might not have suggested more explicitly to first/second
century Jews and LXX familiar gentiles that Jesus was 'ho Qeos', ie.&nbsp;
God himself, fairly clearly.?
<blockquote TYPE=CITE>&nbsp;
<br><i>SCM: &lt;&lt; Some scholars seem to understand MEQ' hHMWN hO QEOS
without any</i>
<br><i>verb so as to imply that Jesus is:&nbsp; "God with us." This last
<br><i>I would personally find very unlikely since no where (else) does
<br><i>refer explicitly to Jesus as "God." >></i></blockquote>

<p><br>From a literary standpoint, if this verse is a thesis statement
of significance in the book, it would not need to be restated, merely demonstrated
and illustrated.
<blockquote TYPE=CITE>&nbsp;
<p><i>SP: &lt;&lt; This is exactly the view of the early Christian writers.
<p><i>I would concur with you here completely. In fact, it is just what
one would</i>
<br><i>expect, namely that as Christian Christology evolved, these "early</i>
<br><i>Christian writer" (as you call them) with a higher Christology would</i>
<br><i>anachronistically read ambiguous statements in the earliest Christian</i>
<br><i>writings to confirm their high Christology.</i></blockquote>
In their work " The Five Gospels", one of the pillars which the Jesus Seminar
states boldly in defiance of the 'left and right wings' of Biblical scholarship
is "Beware of finding a Jesus entirely congenial to you." (p5)&nbsp; Yet
just as they shoot themselves in the foot by asserting a naturalistic world
view and "secular heaven" (p2) at the outset of their quest for the historical
Jesus, I fear that your assumption of evolving Christian Christology have
wounded your powers of persuasion as well.
<p>My point...let's not loudly and proudly bash one anothers reasoning
so long as we are within the valid grammatical options.&nbsp; I very much
enjoy hearing your viewpoint Steven, I just don't need it crammed down
my inferior throat.
<p>Always thankful for this list.
<br>Brian P Swedburg
<br>Western Sem student.
<blockquote TYPE=CITE>&nbsp;
<p>-Steven Craig Miller
<br>Alton, Illinois (USA)
<p>"O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this"
<br>(Shakespare, "Much Ado About Nothing", 4.2.60-61).
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