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Naming the Name of the Lord

Dr. Bill Mounce

Dr. Bill Mounce is the the founder and President of BiblicalTraining.org, and the author of a major commentary on Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus. In a separate podcast titled “BiblicalTraining.org” we heard more of his life and work. In this episode he joins Dr. Capes to talk about the interpretation, translation, implications, and preaching of Paul’s reference to the “naming of the Name of the Lord” in 2 Tim. 2:19.

To hear the podcast click here. https://exegeticallyspeaking.libsyn.com/election-holiness-naming-the-name-2-timothy-219

“Exegetically Speaking” is a weekly podcast of the friends and faculty of Wheaton College, IL and The Lanier Theological Library. Hosted by Dr. David Capes, it features language experts who discuss the importance of learning the biblical languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—and show how reading the Bible in the original languages “pays off.” Each podcast lasts between seven and eleven minutes and covers a different topic for those who want to read the Bible for all it is worth.

If you’re interested in going deeper, learn more about Wheaton’s undergraduate degree in Classical Languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Latin) and our MA in Biblical Exegesis

You can hear Exegetically Speaking on SpotifyStitcherApple Podcasts, and YouTube. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at exegetically.speaking@wheaton.edu

Abba, Father

Dr. Scott Callaham, Baptist Theological Seminary, Singapore

Dr. Scott Callaham is Lecturer of Hebrew and Old Testament at Baptist Theological Seminary, Singapore. He has authored and edited a number of books and articles and is currently completing a new teaching grammar of Biblical Aramaic. Dr. Callaham discusses the form, meaning, and theological significance of the Aramaic term Abba, which Jesus uses in his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and which also appears twice in Paul’s writings.

To listen to the podcast (about 7 minutes), click here.

“Exegetically Speaking” is a weekly podcast of the friends and faculty of Wheaton College, IL and The Lanier Theological Library. Hosted by Dr. David Capes, it features language experts who discuss the importance of learning the biblical languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—and show how reading the Bible in the original languages “pays off.” Each podcast lasts between seven and eleven minutes and covers a different topic for those who want to read the Bible for all it is worth.

If you’re interested in going deeper, learn more about Wheaton’s undergraduate degree in Classical Languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Latin) and our MA in Biblical Exegesis

You can hear Exegetically Speaking on SpotifyStitcherApple Podcasts, and YouTube. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at exegetically.speaking@wheaton.edu.

One God, One Lord (Part 8)

With the death of my friend and mentor, Larry Hurtado, on November 25, 2019, I thought I’d take an occasion to re-read and blog through his classic book, One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism. It has been published in its 3rd edition recently by Bloomsbury T. & T. Clark, as a part of its Cornerstones Series.  When I visited Larry in early October, he gave me a copy and signed it “for David, trusted friend, Larry.”  With his passing, it is a hallowed possession. One God One Lord

I have spent seven posts blogging through the preface to the 1998 edition.  You can read those earlier posts beginning in December 2019.   Now I turn my attention to the epilogue of the book, which Larry wrote for the 3rd edition.

Larry’s interest in the questions that eventually became ONE GOD, ONE LORD came together for him not long after he finished his PhD.  He felt it was time for a substantial engagement with and against Wilhelm Bousset’s classic book KYRIOS CHRISTOS.  There were two overarching contentions in Bousset’s book.  First, one of the most significant historical developments of early Christianity was the emergence of the ‘Kyrios-cult,’ that is, the treatment of the risen/exalted Jesus as “the rightful recipient” of worship.  Second, Bousset argued that this development did not take place among the first Jewish followers of Jesus in Judea and Jerusalem; instead it happened in places like Antioch and Damascus under the influence of pagan worship where there were gods-a-plenty to be honored.   Jesus became just another of those gods.  Hurtado agreed with the first conclusion but not the second.

Hurtado thought that advances in knowledge and the availability of many Jewish texts—texts not available to Boussett—had rendered his historical judgments in error.  For example, Boussett thought the title “Son of Man” was a common title in second temple Judaism, and thus available for the earliest followers of Jesus to express his significance; it designated an eschatological figure who would appear to bring judgment and redemption to the world.  Therefore, the earliest Christians confessed Jesus to be the “Son of Man,” not the Lord (kyrios) because that word was too closely allied with the name of God and pagan gods; it could be thought to oblige worship of Jesus.  Kyrios-Christ devotion did develop, of course, at a secondary stage since Christianity eventually moved away from its Jewish moorings.  Further study has demonstrated, however, that Bousset was not correct; the “Son of Man” was not a familiar title in second temple Judaism.  Likewise, it is unlikely to have become a confession: “Jesus is the Son of Man.”  In the NT Jesus himself is the one who uses the expression of himself not his followers.

The Achilles’ heel to Bousset’s argument (that the Kyrios-cult developed at some secondary stage away from Jerusalem and Judea) is 1 Cor 16:22: maranatha (Aramaic expression transliterated into Greek letters; cf. Rev 22:20). Most scholars take that as an acclamation, “Our Lord comes,” or an invocation, “Come, our Lord.”  If Paul is using an Aramaic phrase in a Greek letter to a congregation in Corinth in AD 56, it is likely that the original, “primitive” church in Judea/Jerusalem referred to Jesus (the risen and coming one) as the Mareh (Aramaic for “Lord”)Aramaic was the language of the first Jewish communities/ synagogues.  Research by various scholars delving into Qumran materials confirms that the term Mareh could refer to God as a divine title, in ways similar to kyrios in Greek.  Hurtado took this as evidence that devotion to Jesus begins not in Greek-speaking Antioch but in Aramaic-speaking Jerusalem.

ONE GOD, ONE LORD came out of the impulse that Judaism not Hellenism provided the rich seedbed from which the Jesus movement sprung.  It began in a Jewish context and drew initially from that background to express their beliefs regarding Jesus and his significance.  Rather than examining the worship of Jesus in light of the Greek world with all their gods, Hurtado understood the challenges involved in investigating Christ-devotion in light of Jewish beliefs and practices.  That was the essence of his project.

 

One God, One Lord (Part 5)

I continue to work through the preface of Larry Hurtado’s classic, One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism. It has been published in its 3rd edition recently by Bloomsbury T. & T. Clark, as a part of its Cornerstones Series.

Both Maurice Casey and Jimmy Dunn do not think that Jesus is truly reverenced by believers until the later NT period, that is, once the communities left behind the so-called constraints of Jewish monotheism. Perhaps it is first witnessed in the Gospel of John (hereafter GJohn). As evidence they cite the absence (prior to AD 70) of Jews condemning what Hurtado called “Christ-devotion.”  Since there is no condemnation, the reverence accorded Jesus must not have violated the Jewish sensibilities of God’s oneness. Larry Hurtado 3 Therefore, no mutation in Jewish religious practices, as per Hurtado, had taken place.

Hurtado responded that prior to AD 70 there is evidence that some Jews considered Christ devotion a “dangerous development” (xvi).  He has pointed this out in various publications.  In particular, L. W. Hurtado, “Pre-70 c.e. Jewish Opposition to Christ-Devotion,” Journal of Religion 80 (2000), 183-205.  We will take this up in a subsequent post.  We might well ask the question: what did Saul, the Pharisee, find so problematic about the church that he was willing to destroy it prior to his revelation (Galatians 1; Acts 9)?  While he does not say explicitly why he was so aggrieved, his letters might be a source of information for what he found so offensive.  Might it have been the reverence early Jewish Christians were according to Jesus?

Therefore, in historical terms Hurtado argues that it is accurate to say that a mutation in Jewish religious practices had already taken place and was a regular feature of Christian churches prior to AD 70. But clearly by the end of the first century AD–about the time GJohn is written–other developments had taken place.  He regards this as “a more advanced stage of polemical confrontation with the Jewish religious leadership of synagogues in the late first century” (xvi).  It may not be too much to say that Christ devotion caused profound outrage among some Jews; what Christians were saying about Jesus and how they were reverencing him alongside the God of Israel would have been a stumbling-block.

 

Work Out Your Salvation

In this 7 minute podcast I cohosted at Wheaton College . . .

Dr. Douglas Moo, Kenneth T. Wessner Professor of New Testament, considers how best to understand and translate the clause often translated as “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).wheaton-magazine_august-2017-103036-200x225

You can cut and paste the following address into your web browser:

http://exegeticallyspeaking.libsyn.com/work-toward-your-salvation-philippians-212?tdest_id=826940

Or click here.

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