Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary Pt. 3 of 4

Classic lines of wisdom from the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary:

'The real value of LXX resides not so much in its function as a corrective to some Hebrew text of which we have a copy, but rather as a record of the way in which a group of Jews in the 3d century and for some time thereafter understood their traditions. In the pre-Christian centuries, there was wide textual variety as is evidenced in the discoveries of materials both in Palestine and Egypt, and thus it is well established that the parent texts (and certainly the translators) for each book of the LXX were probably different. It is also quite clear that the revisional activity which took place after Origen was in fact taking place long before his time, both on the Hebrew and Greek texts. Thus, while it is convenient to use BHS or BHK as a starting point for understanding what undergirded the LXX translations, it is dangerous, dishonest and wrong to assume that Leningradensis B 19A (MT) lay before the pre-Christian translators (cf. Ulrich 1988). Even more reprehensible is the widespread practice of assuming that the text of one uncial represents LXX. It has been shown that the character of B, the ms most often mistaken for LXX, is by no means consistent throughout. In Daniel, for instance, it witnesses to the text of Theodotion' (Melvin K. H. Peters' article, "Septuagint" in AYBD, 5:1100)

Lines like that can forever change how we make comments on the supposed LXX reading of the MT. Reread and inoculate yourself against many a fallacious argument!

'Intelligible as the thesis might seem—a priori—that Christianity adopted the worship of Jesus to the extent that it abandoned exclusive Jewish monotheism under the influence of the pagan environment, the evidence does not bear it out. On the contrary, it indicates that from the NT period onwards Christians held to exclusive monotheism as tenaciously as they did to the worship of Jesus, because both features were already definitive of Christian worship when it emerged from its original Jewish context into the pagan world' (Richard Bauckham's article "The Worship of Jesus" in AYBD, 3:816)

Yes, Bauckham's position is disputed – by people who are more or less wrong. This classic article is compulsory reading for anyone interested in the shape of early Christology.



At 1/11/2009 10:52 PM, Anonymous Bob MacDonald said...

Chris - you show yourself to be a serious fellow in spite of the (delightful) Blog heading. So here are some questions to ponder. What did Luke mean by having the shepherds hear the word 'Christ' before the earthy life of Jesus? Is 'Christ' confined to Jesus? How should we understand 'anointing' in the OT (e.g. Psalm 45:7 or the New 1 John 2:27)? Should מֵֽחֲבֵרֶֽיךָ be rendered as 'above your companions' or 'with your companions'? Do you think such questions are sufficiently formed? Am I heading to the inferno just by raising them (augh)?

At 1/12/2009 12:05 AM, Anonymous James said...

Just bought "Jesus & the God of Israel", which I've been riveted by this afternoon. It conveniently contains Bauckham's ABD piece in Chapter 4.

At 1/12/2009 12:39 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hey Bob, great set of questions. Wish I had the time to look into them with you! You may be interested in Moltmann's take on Messiahship (cf. The Way of Jesus Christ). WHat has led you to specifically these questions?

Hi James, yes, Bauckham's book is a real cracker, and his essay in chapter 4 is quite a bit updated. Chapters 1 and 2 are particularly good, in my opinion. To be honest, whetever this guy writes is gold dust! He visit for the School of Theology in Feb.

At 1/12/2009 1:00 AM, Anonymous Bob MacDonald said...

Chris - I don't know why I started asking these questions. I think it comes from reading the OT seriously and 2.5 years studying the psalms in Hebrew. When I heard the Christmas gospel this year it hit me like a ton of bricks - what would Christ mean to shepherds? It doesn't matter if Luke is portraying a pageant or a reality of curiosity at a strange occasion of a birth - he raises the question of how Messiah / Christ / Anointing was expected in that first century. I have repeated my question over at BBB since the subject arose there too independently.


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