As I continue to revamp my (weak) reading skills in French I have taken to reading Romans in the Segond 21 (LG21) translation while consulting Nouvelle Edition de Genève (NEG1979). I noticed something interesting tonight in Romans 1:3-4 that exposes the interpretive framework of the LG21. In the GNT it reads, περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ, τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα, τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν. Paul says that his Gospel is “about his Son, the one born of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Sometimes this passage is taken to be an indirect claim to deity, i.e., Jesus is the Son of God in one sense according to the flesh, which implies he is the Son of God in another sense as well.
Of course, Romans 4:1 asks whether or not Abraham can be called “our forefather, according to the flesh,” i.e., is our relationship to Abraham biological/genetic, primarily? This doesn’t imply deity, but the question is asking if there is another sense in which Abraham may be called “forefather,” so this may allow for Romans 1:3 to be hinting at another way to call Jesus the “Son of God.” I don’t know.
It appears that the LG21 understands Romans 3:1 to be addressing Jesus’ “dual nature.” It reads, «Il concerne son Fils que, en tant qu’homme, est né de la descendance de David.» My translation: “It [the Gospel] concerning his Son who, as a man, is born of David.” It is v. 4 that makes the LG21 interpretation more obvious: «et qui, du point de vue de l’Esprit saint, a été déclare Fils de Dieu avec puissant par sa résurrection.» My translation: “…and which, from the point of view of the holy Spirit, was declared Son of God with power by the resurrection.”
In the LG21 Jesus is the Son according to the flesh and the Son of God “from the point of view of the holy Spirit.” The NEG1979 reads, «il concerne son FIls, né de la postérité de David, selon la chair, déclaré Fils de Dieu avec puissance, selon l’Esprit de sainteté, par sa resurrection d’entre les morts.» My translation: it [the Gospel] concern his Son, born of the posterity of David, according to the flesh, declared Son of God with power, by the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
Actually this verse is beyond clear that He was declared a son by the resurrection of the dead
Actually first born of many to come
Ya – agreed.
Strictly speaking ‘avec puissant‘ can be taken as ‘with power’ however puissant as an adverb can be ‘potently, mightily, powerfully, forcefully’ so you could have gone “..and which, from the point of view of the Holy Spirit, was declared Son of God mightily (forcefully – pick your word) by the resurrection.”
The bit “Il concerne son FIls, né de la postérité (nf. offspring, descendant, posterity) de David, selon la chair, déclaré Fils de Dieu avec puissance, selon l’Esprit de sainteté, par sa resurrection d’entre les morts.” – I’d take as “Concerning his Son, descendant of David according to the flesh, declared Son of God mightily according to the Spirit of holiness, by his resurrection from the dead.”
If you read Romans as N.T. Wright reads Romans, with emphasis on the covenant aspect to justification, you could argue what makes Jesus ‘Son of God’ was his ability to keep covenant perfectly His entire life (beginning to end) through the Spirit of Holiness (His reliance on the Holy Spirit in everything). If you think about this – this is controversial.
It implies Jesus was declared ‘Son of God’ upon his death (and really throughout His life) – his life being a complete act necessitated a need for his death to be the exclamation point on that declaration. I don’t think people like the idea that Jesus’ entire life was that declaration of son-ship. People like to see the son of God aspect of Jesus before His birth (since He existed in heaven before His birth!), however his role in human form was to remain obedient His entire life – to keep covenant where Israel could not.
.. and you emphasis the role the Holy Spirit played in that – and that would be the correct emphasis – for how else could one live a perfect life even through the experience of crucifixion, except through/by (complete reliance on) the Holy Spirit?
True, and “Son of God” likely meant for Paul something more akin to Davidic ruler, though it seems that “Son” language became divine quite quickly in Christianity.
Ultimately, your last observation drives how I hope to read the text. The only way we can read the text and understand it the way it was intended to be, is to abandon the later perspectives and prejudices embedded in the text by the early church fathers (and subsequently, by the Reformers) in their interpretation – in favour of the perspective of the human (secondary) author who actually wrote the text, inspired to convey meaning from God. Though I believe the Holy Spirit inspired scripture perfectly, the character of the medium of inspiration who wrote who He used to document this inspiration is not lost in the process, and so can’t be ignored.
That said, trying to faithfully discard the baggage of later Christians in ones exegesis is not easy, or popular. From the reformation on, people have grown nostalgically attached to the perspectives of both church fathers and reformers. Neither of these views are in the same class as those biblical authors, yet the are effectively treated as such. (I recently heard a pastor speak about a reformed theologian’s legacy since reformation and just shook my head. Any theologian who was perfectly in sync with Christ would not have a ‘legacy’ of thir own but merely one in harmony and resonant with Christ. That the theology of any reformer can be seen to be innovative and novel, shows it to be a ‘new gospel’. If anything it should be ancient, and recognizable with the characteristic of an Israelite). This to be standoffish to church fathers and reformes is to not speak the shibboleth correctly.
Secondly, to find the actual perspective and prejudice of the original author is difficult even if it doesn’t seem so superficially. I find comparisons about word usage between the LXX Greek and NT Greek revelatory. Exegesis of NT Greek is often so far off typical Greek usage (prejudiced by later theology) and so uniquely typical of NT translation only (meaning atypical of other Greek translation) so as to be nearly useless. However, the LXX is nice because it shows how standard Greek was used in theological ways. (I oft cite the examples of ethnos and ekklesia, which in any other setting never means ‘Gentiles’ and ‘Church’; this should warn us, yet again, theologians have grown fond of these words – dont mess with them! People are more than comfortable with the false meaning they’ve been granted – they are held infallible) The only prejudice the writers of the LXX bring to the text is that shared by the writers of the NT (who show evidence of familiarity with the LXX citing itX) , so this prejudice actually makes for a very good lens.
Between respectfully disregarding theologians and persons respected by modern scholars, and implying (correctly) they are using word meanings of their own invention, ones not shared by the original writers of the texts, makes for a very lonely path (almost Jeremiah like) still, it is the correct path, even if it is not easy to be a Periah. The insight found here, is found no where else – simply because the Spirit behind the words lives again to quicken the insight, not drowned out by the cacophony of later voices, well intentioned as they may be, yet still infallible.
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