[b-greek] Re: MORFH

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (mauros@iol.ie)
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 09:21:36 EST


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At 11:11 27/02/02, Jonathan Burke wrote:



>Still looking for any indication that the word MORFH was understood as
>'essential nature'.

One difficulty I detect here is your insistence on a _word_ ; as has been
pointed out on this list often enough, meaning does not operate on that
restricted level alone.

W. Poehlmann in his article on MORPHE in:
Balz, Horst, and Gerhard Schneider, eds. Exegetical Dictionary of the New
Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.

distinguishes sharply between MORFH ( as a _word_ ) in Mark, and as a
"antithetical expression " in Philippians.

>>the risen Lord appears in "another _form_" and therefore cannot be
recognized by his familiar physical form of appearance. The assumption here
is that supernatural forms were capable of changing their MORFH.<<<

But in Ph. 2:6 f. , he insists:
>>we should not relate the two-fold MORFH of Christ to the concept of
metamorphosis.<<
[ Here he expresses his difference with Spicq: Spicq, Ceslas. Theological
Lexicon of the New Testament. 3 vols. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 1996 ]

He goes on:
<< The antithetical expression of the preexistent and earthly Christ does
not derive from the idea of the adaptability of a divine being. MORFH QEOU
and MORFH DOULOU are metaphorical expressions that should be interpreted as
poetic approaches to the state of Christ before and during his work on earth.>>

He differs from both TDNT V 197 when he describes the change from MORFH
QEOU to MORFH DOULOU as " neither a simple change of appearance, leaving
the nature unchanged " and from Kasemann when he postulates " a change of
the Son's nature "

His most important point, though, is when he says:
"To contrast 'appearance' and 'substance' ignores the wording of the hymn
itself.........
MORFH in Ph. 2:6f refers not to any changeable form but to the specific
form on which identity and status depend ".

P.S
Just one note on your first example of MORFH from the LXX:

>Judges 8:
>18 Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What *manner* [MORFH] of men were
>they whom ye slew at Tabor? And they answered, As thou art, so were they;
>each one resembled the children of a king.

I don't know what text the LXX translator was relying on for this version
--- BHS has instead the question "where are they?", which is seen in the RSV :
<< 8:18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmun'na, "Where are the men whom
you slew at Tabor?" >>

Interestingly, the NRSV has an ambiguous translation, which can be seen as
straddling the two (? ) text traditions:
<< 8:18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, "What about the men whom you
killed at Tabor?" >>



Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]
mauros@iol.ie




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