Excelente es mejor que bueno: cristología y revelación progresiva en Hebreos
ResumenMediante una estrategia literaria y retórica consistente en destacar el valor superior dealgo contrastándolo con otro elemento comparativamente inferior, el autor de Hebreosllama la atención de sus destinatarios originales al hecho de que las revelaciones mediadasque Dios hizo de sí mismo en el pasado y que aparentemente les parecían más confiables(el santuario/templo, el sacerdocio levítico, el pacto del Sinaí, etc.) tenían en realidad aJesucristo mismo como fundamento, sustancia y clímax revelacional. Todas aquellas fasesprevias no eran insuperables ni fines en sí mismos, sino apenas segmentos de un todo continuo,progresivo e indivisible. Absortos como estaban en el tronco de la auto-revelacióndivina precedente, corrían el riesgo de perder de vista a quien era el Sustrato nutriente deltodo y su razón de ser. El Hijo pre-encarnado había estado alimentando todo el tiempo ydesde el mismo comienzo cada partícula del árbol de la revelación divina como su raíz y suesencia misma. La atención de ellos debía ser llamada a la copa que ofrecía acceso directoy libre al fruto maduro de la salvación en y por medio de la Persona y el ministerio de Jesucristo, primero en la tierra, luego en el cielo.
Unlike John P. Meier, “Structure and theology in Heb 1,1-14”, Biblica 66 (1985): 33-52, for whom the charting and programmatic prologue is focused and revolves around Christ’s nature and work. However, in the light of progressive revelation as the theme pervading the whole document, it seems that the prologue makes even more sense when read not as mainly having to do with Christ’s nature (ontology) nor work as such, but with his revelatory work and place within the history of mediated revelation, of which he is certainly the climax. So, we need to see the seven predictions in the prologue in the light of God’s superseding self-revelation through and in Christ as the main theme in the document: 1. God’s self-revelation in creation; 2. The Son as the agent of creation; 3. Christ behind all the stages of divine self-revelation: a. Through his creation; b. Through his incarnation; c. Through redemption; d. Through his glorification and enthronement, both at the cross as perfect representative and substitute of his fallen creatures and at heaven as their intercessor applying the effectiveness of his perfect sacrifice to their sal5vation and to the vindication of his name questioned in front of the universe by Lucifer before creation (Rev 12). On the protracted meaning of God’s salvation in and through Christ both on earth and in heaven, see Michael Kibbe, “Is it finished? when did it start? Hebrews, priesthood, and atonement in biblical, systematic, and historical perspective”, The Journal of Theological Studies, New Series 65, part 1 (2014): 25-61.
E.g., David W. Perkins, “A call to pilgrimage: the challenge of Hebrews”, The Theological Educator 32 (1985):69-81; Hughes, ibid., 21, 22. Matthew McAffee, “Covenant and the warnings of Hebrews: the blessing and the curse, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 57, n.o 3 (2014): 537-53; J. Julius Scott Jr., “Archegos in the salvation history of the Epistle to the Hebrews”, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 29 (1986): 47-54. Contrary to Clements, “The Use of the Old Testament in Hebrews”, 45 (based on two unconvincing and even anachronistic constructs: Uncertainty of the addressees on how to exactly approach the OT literature, and some proto-Marcionist trend contrary to such a scriptural heritage).
On the internal evidence seemingly favorable to a Jewish background of most if not all the addressees of Hebrews, see for instance 1,1; 2,16; 3,2, 5, 9; 3,7-19; 6,16 (cf. Matt 5,33-37); 8,9. Contrary to a scenario of current persecution, lest likely imperial, see Nicholas Elder, “The oratorical and rhetorical function of Hebrews 6:4-12”, Conversations with the Biblical World 34 (2014): 250-268. Unlike William L. Lane, for whom the original readers felt threatened in Rome by Nero’s persecution in AD 64. On this, see his “Hebrews: a sermon in search of a setting”, Southwestern Journal of Theology 28, n.o 1 (1985): 13-18. In this respect, the wilderness experience as the original context of the OT selection of passages Hebrews quotes and alludes to in its rebuke and warning sections suffices to propose a context of long term journey discouragement and longing to back to the Egypt comfort zone rather than persecution as the prevailing circumstance behind Hebrews. On environmental hostility prior to AD 70, both Jewish in and out of Palestine, and pagan (often triggered by local Judaism) in the Diaspora as more in tune with the passages on suffering in Hebrews, cf. the whole of Acts, 1 Thessalonians 2, and even 1 Peter.
See Scott, “Archegos”, 47, 48. This would make even more sense if the public was close to an already extant temple; namely, in Palestine. Unlike Diaspora Judaism and its trend to spiritualize worship, mostly after AD 70; cf. on this Clements, “The use of the Old Testament in Hebrews”, 43 note 16.
Scott, “Archegos”, 48. Unlike Clements, “The use of the Old Testament in Hebrews”, 43. For some inner hints that seem to favor a pre AD 70 date for the document, see Heb 5,1-4; 7,5, 6, 8, 9, 28;8,3, 4, 5; 9,6-7, 9, 10, 13, 22, 25; 10,1-3, 4, 8,11, 28; 13,9-11. On a veiled critique of the irregularities in the appointment of the high priesthood under Rome in Heb ,:4, see Bryan Dyer, “‘One does not presume to take this honor’: the development of the high priestly appointment and its significance for Hebrews 5:4”, Conversations With the Biblical World 33 (2013): 125-146.
E.g., Victor Sung Yul Rhee, “The role of chiasm for understanding christology in Hebrews 1:1-14”, Journal of Biblical Literature 131, n.° 2 (2012): 341-362; Perkins, “A call to pilgrimage”, 71. On Hebrews as “a Christological treatise”, see Philip E. Hughes, “The christology of Hebrews”, Southwestern Journal of Theology 28, n.° 1 (1985):19-27; John P. Meier, “Structure and theology in Heb 1,1-14”, Biblica 66 (1985):168. On Christology as thematically subordinated to and dependent on progressive revelation as the main theme in the author’s agenda, see note 1.
Rhee, “The role of chiasm”; Meier, “Structure and theology in Heb 1,1-14”, 169.
Perkins, “A call to pilgrimage”, 72; Coetsee, ibid, 2; James W. Thompson, “Argument and Persuasion in the Epistle to the Hebrews”, Perspectives in Religious Studies 39, n.° 4 (2012): 364, 365.
The stylized repetition of the prologue at the end of the document (12:1-3) seems to confirm the proleptic and programmatic role of the prologue as a chart for the whole document. On Hebrews’ genre as a compound of homily and paraenetical pastoral letter, see Gabriel M. Cevasco, “Una aproximación al género literario de Hebreos en comparación con los recursos literarios de la epistolografía contemporánea” (Essay for the degree Master of Theology, Universidad Adventista del Plata, Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos, Argentina, 2015).
On paraenesis over thesis and on argumentation serving exhortation, see William L. Lane. Hebrews 1-8. Word Biblical Commentary 47A (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1991), c; Perkins, “A call to pilgrimage”.
On the phrase ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν as a designation of the eschatological “end of days” in the Old Testament, see LXX Num 24,14; Jer 23,20; 25:19; Ezeq 38,16; Dan 2,28; 10:14; Acts 3,5; Mic 4,1.
My translation. The object or complement of the verb ποιέω in 1,2 is the plural τοὺς αἰῶνας (lit. the times, eras or ages; thus the New Jerusalem Bible [ages], Young’s Literal Translation [ages] and Serafín de Ausejo’s Spanish version [los tiempos]; cf. The English Bible in Basic English [generations]), making room here for a possible allusion to revelatory stages former to that of Christ himself, in agreement with the main argument of the document (cf. Mt. 5,17; Luke 2,:25-27, 32; John 5,39; Rom 10,4; 1 Pet 1,10-12); unlike Rhee, “The role of chiasm”, 349. This use of αἰών in Hebrews is also attested in 6,5; 9,26; cf. Lc. 1,70, 72, 73; Acts 3,21; 15,18; Aph 2,7; 3,9,11; Col 1,26, 27. See perhaps the same idea behind the expression τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου in Gal 4,4. On the anarthrous use of ἐν υἱῷ in 1,2 as implicitly emphasizing the distinctive divine quality of Jesus Christ as the ultimate spokesperson of God’s revelation, see Rhee, “The role of chiasm”, 344-345; Moises Silva, “Perfection and Eschatology in Hebrews”, Westminster Theological Journal 39, n.° 1 (1976): 63; Ronald E. Clements, “The use of the Old Testament in Hebrews”, Southwestern Journal of Theology 28, n.° 1 (1985):38”; Coetsee, ibid, 2. Another option is that υἱός as a reference to Christ is a monadic, self-defined noun. On the Semitic concept of sonship as sharing in nature, cf. John 5,17-18.
See Craig A. Evans, Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: a Guide to the Background Literature (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2005), 336, 337.
On this superseding in terms of a sequence of historical faith-related earthly types anticipating also historical and earthly antitypes, unlike the two levels of reality in Platonic dualism, see George W. Buchanan, To the Hebrews, 2nd ed. The Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978), 25; unlike Clements, “The use of the Old Testament in Hebrews”, 43; Thompson, “Argument and persuasion”, 368. See also Buchanan, To the Hebrews, 30 on the Psalms citations in Hebrew in compare to those from the Pentateuch as implying superseding of the unbelieving Exodus generation that failed to achieve the goal by the latter generation of the Psalms and the
Prophets focused on the Messianic era.
Cf. Mishna, Yadayim 3.5.
See, for instance, John 1,16-18 (God’s grace and truth as revealed in Jesus and taking the place [χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος] of previous revelation mediated by Moses’ Torah; John 2,1-11 (Jesus and the gospel as a latter and better wine/revelation than ritual and ceremonies of Judaism void of their God-intended original messianic meaning); John 6,25-59 (Jesus a the true life-giving manna from heaven). On the Christological prologue of Hebrews vis-à-vis that of John’s gospel, see Perkins, “A call to pilgrimage”, 71.
Thompson, “Argument and persuasion”, 366; unlike Noel Weeks, “Admonition and error in Hebrews”, Westminster Theological Journal 39, n.° 1 (1976): 72-80. See Clements, “The use of the Old Testament in Hebrews”, 38, 39, 45.
On this, see appendixes 1 and 4. On comparison and contrast as stylistic and rhetorical devices to show revelatory superseding in the prologue and other parts of the document, see Coetsee, “The unfolding of God’s revelation in Hebrews 1:1–2a.”, 5; Thompson, “Argument and persuasion”, 365, 366; Timothy W. Seid, “Synkrisis in Hebrews 7: the rhetorical structure and strategy”, inThe rhetorical interpretation of scripture: essays from the 1996 Malibu Conference, ed. Stanley E. Porter and Dennis L. Stamps (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1999), 322-347; Gene R. Smillie, “Contrast or continuity in Hebrews 1,1-2”, New Testament Studies 51 (2005): 551.
See appendix 2.
Jubilees 1,27, 29; 2,1; LXX Dt 33,2; Acts 7,53; Gal 3,19.
On the original Semitic language (Hebrew or Aramaic), and therefore provenance, of most of these documents relevant to NT interpretation, see the introductions to them in James H. Charlesworth ed., The Old Testament pseudepigrapha: Apocalyptic literature and testaments, 2 vols. (New York: Doubleday, 1983), vol. 1.
This stress on divine transcendence is also witnessed in the targums and the LXX, for instance, in their avoidance of anthropomorphisms to depict God and his actions. On 1st century Jewish speculation on angels, see Hughes, The christology of Hebrews”, 21.
On a possible Pauline concern on angelology as related to revelation, cf. Gal 1,8; see also 2 Cor 11,14; Col 2,18. See also Ronald H. Nash, “The notion of mediator in Alexandrian Judaism and the Epistle to the Hebrews”, Westminster Theological Journal 40 (1977-1978): 109-112. 4 Ezra is a good example of such a rejection or reluctance and discontinuation after AD 70.
Note the emphatic position of the name of the leader at the end of the sentence (τίνες γὰρ ἀκούσαντες παρεπίκραναν; ἀλλ᾽ οὐ πάντες οἱ ἐξελθόντες ἐξ Αἰγύπτου διὰ Μωϋσέως;), thus stressing it as the most meaningful word in the unit. Cf. Weeks, “Admonition and error in Hebrews”, 76.
On the etymology of the name and of it as a pun or play on words from מָשָׁה , see Victor P. Hamilton, art. מֹשֶׁה in R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr. and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), 1:529, 530.
θεράπων (trusted servant or steward) as quote of Num 12,7 (MT , exceedingly poor, afflicted, humble or meek). There are several words for servant in Greek depending on the task and position of the person in regard to his/her lord and the lord’s property, with δοῦλος as the most frequent (123x). θεράπων appears only here in the NT and 10 times in the canonic LXX, 4 times designating Moses, once Joshua and twice Job.
On the typological use of Moses in compare to Jesus in Heb 11,23-28, see Samuel Wells, “Between Text and Sermon: Hebrews 11,23-28”, Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 66, n.° 4 (2012): 437-439.
Bryan J. Whitefield’s proposal, in the line of the pioneering work of J. Rendel Harris, of priest Joshua in Zechariah 3 as the necessary allusive link to account for the abrupt transition from Heb 2 on Jesus’ faithfulness to collective faithlessness in Heb 3, verse 7 in particular, seems unconvincing in light of the overall upgrading-through-downgrading plot of Hebrews, where only paradigmatic characters and institutions of Jewish history and Judaism are selected. The obscure Joshua of Zechariah 3 would surely be out of place here. In this respect, the superseding strategy of the document consists in highlighting the superb exploits of the national heroes only to outshine them in compare to Jesus far more successful performance. In the case of the priest Zechariah there is nothing to commend or outshine about him, but all to the contrary. Moreover, and unlike Abraham, Moses and the Joshua of Numbers, the priest Joshua has no typological pedigree in the New Testament. Finally, the fact that he had to be cleansed from his own sin before being able to intercede for the people would make him just one among the many anonymously counted in Heb 5,1-3; 7,27, 28; 9,7. Unlike Whitefield, “The Three Joshuas of Hebrews 3 and 4.” Perspectives in Religious Studies 37, 1 (2010): 21-35.
Cf. Heb 2,3; 4,3, 10; 10,14; 12,23; cf. John 1,11-13.
Cf. Heb 4,2 (ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀκοῆς as a designation of the gospel), 6; cf. Jn 1,9-13; 12,38; Rom 10,16, 17; Gal 3,2, 5; 1 Thes 2,13 (the gospel is called λόγος ἀκοῆς).
See also Heb 10,33, 34; 11,26; 35-38; 12,3; 13,6. On this likely background of social pressure perhaps exerted by an hostile Judaism against early Jewish-rooted Christians to bring them back to the synagogue fold, cf. Matt 10,17; 23,34; Mark 8,38; 13,9; Luke 12,11; 21,12; John 9,13-34; 12,42; 16,2; 19,38; Acts 9,1, 2; 22,19; 24,12; 26,11; 1 Thes 2,14-16. On ἔξω τῆς παρεμβολῆς (Heb 13,11, 13) and ἔξω τῆς πύλης (Heb 13,12) as seeming references to Jerusalem and Palestinian Judaism, cf. Rev 11,8; 18,24 (see Matt 23,34-37). See also the word ἔξοδος as used in Luke 9,31 and Jon Paulien on the leaders of Palestinian Judaism rhetorically turned in the fourth Gospel into a spiritual Egypt and Pharaoh oppressing the new Christian Israel by their violent and active opposition to Jesus and the early church (John: Jesus gives life to a new generation, The Abundant Life Bible Amplifier [Boise, ID: Pacific Press, 1995], 76); On social pressure from a hostile Jewish environ as a background option, see Raymond Brown, “Pilgrimage in faith: the christian life in Hebrews”, Southwestern Journal of Theology 28, n.° 1 (1985): 28.
According to rabbinic tradition, the Torah was the way, the truth and the life. See Hermann L. Strack and Paul Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch, 4 vols. (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1922–1928), 2:357-358, 362, 467, 481-483 on John 14,6 and related verses.
Cf. Heb 2,15-16. On assimilation to the pagan context as one of the problems contemplated in Hebrews’ warnings, see Jason Whitlark, “The Warning against Idolatry: An Intertextual Examination of Septuagintal Warnings in Hebrews”, Journal for the Study of the New Testament
On the similarities and differences between Hebrews elaboration on Melchizedek and that of Qumran, see Leandro J. Velardo, “La figura de Melquisedec en Qumrán”, DavarLogos XVI, 2 (2017):1–19. See the chart.
E.g., 2,17 (mercy, faithfulness); 3,2 (faithfulness); 4,15 (sympathy with weaknesses); 5,2 (gentleness toward the ignorant and misguided), 8 (obedient, trained in suffering). On Heb 5,4 as a veiled critique of the irregular appointment of the high priesthood under Rome, see Dyer, “‘One Does Not Presume to Take This Honor”, 125-146.
E.g., “No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” (8,11, NIV).
The word occurs 33 times in the NT, only 7 outside Hebrews (17x) and the Pauline longer corpus (9x).
The honorific title ὁ πατριάρχης is in an emphatic position, at the end of the sentence, the same as Μωϋσῆς in 3:16.
Cf. Matt 3,9 and parallels; Luke 16,19-31; John 8.
From δια-τίθημι: lit. “to put in between” or “in midst of.” Cf. : lit. “to cut a covenant”, as a reference to the splitting in two of an animal set between those two making an agreement (kings or heads of tribal clans) and their alternate standing in midst of the split victim while pronouncing a solemn oath of being loyal to each other lest they ended as it. Cf. Gen 15:9, 10, 17, 18; Jer 34:18 (LXX 41,18).
Even though the covenant is also mentioned in 10,16.29; 12,24, these are loosely connected to the main covenantal flow ending in 9,20. Moreover, Heb 10,16 is a partial echo of the quotation from Jer 31,31-34 in Heb 8,8-12, while 10,29 and 12,24 are already within the paraenetical core in the last part of the document. Besides, there seems to be a clear-cut thematic transition in 9,21 with the conjunction καί as a literary marker subtly splitting the waters between blood as a mainly covenant related motif (stressing ratification) and blood as a tabernacle linked one (stressing purification).
The use of μεσίτης (lit. the one in midst or in the middle) with the nuance of “mediator” in LXX Job 9,33 and in half the places where it occurs in the NT (Gal 3:19; 20: 1 Tim 2:5) besides the mediation motif in Hebrews (E.g., 2,2; 12,22) have perhaps inclined the translators and interpreters to read this meaning also in the covenantal material of Hebrews, thus rendering 45μεσίτης as “mediator” in Heb 8,6; 9,15; 12,24. However, the covenantal context and jargon where it appears, unlike in Job and the other places of the NT, together with its proximity to the covenantal technical term διαθήκη in Hebrews, seem to merit some second thoughts. Besides, the split in the argument made by switching from διαθήκη = covenant (from 7,22 on) to διαθήκη = testament in Heb 9,16-17 in most Bible versions is not only unnecessary and unjustified, but also means an unnatural interruption in the literary, rhetorical and lexical covenantal flow starting in Heb 7,22. Nothing is lost by rendering διαθήκη as covenant in Heb 9,16-17, but something is missing when one switches from covenant to testament there. Unlike Vos on διαθήκη as “testament” only in Heb 9,16-17. See on this his “Epistle of the Diatheke”, 181, where he says the translation “covenant” would imply “a tortuous, artificial appeal to symbolic suicide of the covenant-maker.” This misses the fact that the problem of the seeming “suicide” is not solved by rendering διαθήκη as “will” or “testament”, as it is clear even rephrasing Vos’s statement to “a tortuous, artificial appeal to symbolic suicide of the testament-maker”, but perhaps and in part by taking the genitive τοῦ διαθεμένου as a reference to the one providing the sacrificial victim for the covenant (a subjective instead of an objective genitive). On a theological ground, the NT in general and Hebrews in particular are consistent on the multiple role of the Deity within the covenant dynamics as its originator, the provider of the victim and the victim itself (E.g., John 1,29; 3,16). In this respect, Jesus death on the cross was seen by himself not as a suicide, but as voluntary surrender in the likeness of that by typological Isaac (John 10,18). On a source ground, the whole section on διαθήκη is built on Jeremiah 31,31-34, where there is no room for any shift from covenant to testament, a socio-cultural disposition foreign on another hand both to the Semitic world of the OT source and the OT-flavored setting Hebrews’ covenant section is embedded in. Finally, like with the parables and the apocalyptic visions, the covenant as a metaphor should not be pressed to the point of turning it into a point-to-point source of theology trying in vain to solve that way some logical limitations as that of the so called “suicide” of the covenant-provider. As for versions rendering διαθήκη as covenant here, see, for instance, the New American Standard Bible and The English Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible. For ancient versions, see the English translations of the Peshitta by Etheridge, Magiera and Norton. On διαθήκη as “covenant” instead of “testament” as the most natural exegetical option based on contemporary legal practice, grammar, syntax, the author’s use of the term elsewhere, and the literary-theological context of the document as a whole, see Scott W. Hahn, “A Broken Covenant and the Curse of Death: A Study of Hebrews 9:15-22”, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 66 (2004):416-436; G. D. Kilpatrick, “Διαθήκη in Hebrews”, Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 68 (1977): 263–265. Unlike Harold W. Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989), 255–256; Paul Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993), 462–463. On the rendering “mediator” of μεσίτης as falling short of the author’s overall covenantal argument in Hebrews and as taking it wrong for ἔγγυος (cf. 7:22), see Nash, ibid., 114, 115.
As with μεσίτης, the prevalent translation of ἐπαγγελία as “promises” in Heb 8,6 somehow obscures the covenantal connection the word has to the immediate context and within the thematic unit starting in 7,22, in whose light the term designates the privileges granted to a person as part of an agreement. In harmony with this, God’s Word translation renders ἐπαγγελία in Heb 8,6 as “guarantee”.
An implicit downgrading of the earthly tabernacle, where the Law, both Moral and Mosaic, was kept in the Most Holy, inside and by the ark of the covenant respectively, completely out of reach for people. The ancient Semitic covenant documents were usually kept in the temple of the deity. Cf. Heb 7,19.
See Clements, “The use of the Old Testament in Hebrews”, 41.
See Silva, ibid., 68; Albert Coetsee, “The Unfolding of God’s Revelation in Hebrews 1:1–2a.”, Theological Studies 72, 3 (2016): 1-8.
Cf. the use of the word ἔξοδος in Luke 9,31 in the context of Jesus’ transfiguration beside Moses and Elijah, and as a reference to his future crucifixion.
On the Old and New Testaments as a revelatory seamless continuum in constant need of being read both forwards and backwards, from promise/prophecy (OT) to fulfillment/climax in Christ (NT) and viceversa, and on this as one of the hermeneutical implications of Hebrews’ prologue, see Coetsee, “The Unfolding of God’s Revelation in Hebrews 1:1–2a.” , 7, 8; also Mary Healy, “Spiritual Interpretation in the Letter to the Hebrews”, Crux 48, 2 (2012): 28-36.
Cf. 11,14-15; 13,13-16. On the temple as seemingly still in place when Hebrews was composed and delivered, see Heb 9,9-10.13.25; 10,1-126.96.36.199. Unlike Clements, “The use of the Old Testament in Hebrews”, 43.
See note 53.
E.g., Jubilees 15,27.
See Roberto Badenas, Christ the End of the Law. Romans 10.4 in Pauline Perspective, JSNTSup 10 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1985), 144-151
E.g., 1,1-3; 9,23, 26; 10,1, 9; 11,1-3; 12,1-3, 27; 13,8.
See Appendix 3 on this.
The phrasing closely resembles Gen 1,1 (cf. John 1,1; 1 John 1,1; Heb).
Cf. the de-creation language in Heb 12,25b-29 as a quotation of Haggai 2, where the future and further glory of the second temple is announced by God when “what is desired by all nations” (Hag 2,7, NIV; MT חֶמְדַּת ) finally arrives and only the immutable things remain (Cf. Heb 13,8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”).
Cf. the same twofold semantic phenomenon in ראֹשׁ , for instance in Gen 1,1 as a polemic with the polytheist cosmogonies of the ancient Near East. See also the twofold use of ἀρχή as beginning and ruler in John 1,1; 1 John 1,1-4; Rev 3,14.
Cf. 1 John 1,1-4: “That which was from the beginning (ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς), which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ”.
Several versions aptly grasp this nuance of the word when they render ἀρχηγός as author (E.g., New American Standard Bible), leader (E.g., New Jerusalem Bible), Prince (E.g., Etheridge Translation of the NT Peshitta), captain (E.g., The English Bible in Basic English), source (E.g., Holman Christian Standard Bible), founder (E.g., English Standard Version), head (E.g., Norton Translation of the NT Peshitta), champion (E.g., The Idiomatic Translation of the New Testament), lord (The Tyndale New Testament) instead of the mainly temporal or chronological
nuance “pioneer” (E.g., New English Translation), “initiator” (E.g., Complete Jewish Bible) and the like.
Cf. Silva, ibid., 67.
E.g., “original”, “the beginning”, “initial”, “first”, “the start”.
On this, see Heb 2,1-3; 3,6.10.12-14; 4,14; 6,11; 10,188.8.131.52; 12,1b, 3. Also Andrew J. Wilson, “Hebrews 3:6B and 3:14 Revisited”, Tyndale Bulletin 62.2 (2011), 247-267; Perkins, “A call to pilgrimage”.
See Perkins, “A call to pilgrimage”, 78.
See on this Silva, ibid., 69.
E.g., κρείττων, περισσοτέρως, πλείονος, μείζονος, etc.
Cf. Rev 1,8; 21,6; 22,13 on Jesus as the alpha and omega.
On this distinctive meaning of τέλος when modified by a genitive, cf. Rom 10,4 (τέλος νόμου). See Badenas, ibid.
In 10,14, the idea of completion intrinsic in τέλος is reenforced by the stative perfect τετελείωκεν.
J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan, Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997), 659.
Joseph H. Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,1974), 644-645.
Henry G. Liddell, Robert Scott and Henry S. Jones eds., A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 1895.
Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, 2 vols. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1988), 1:584.
Walter Bauer, William F. Arndt, Felix W. Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2000), 1040.
Thus, for instance, Young’s Literal Translation of the word in Heb 1,3. On the 27 ὑπό compounds present in the New Testament as mostly paralleled with Latin words containing sub, see James H. Moulton and Wilbert F. Howard, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, Vol. 2: Accidence and Word-Formation [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963], 327). See also Eduard Schwyzer, Griechische Grammatik auf der Grundlage von Karl Brugmanns Griechischer Grammatik. II. Syntax und syntaktische Stilistik, ed. A. Debrunner (München: C. H. Beck, 1950), 522. On the Latin prefix sub-, see Peter G. W. Glare ed., Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), 1835. On basically the same nuances as witnessed both in the LXX and the Greek Fathers, see Takamitsu Muraoka, A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Belgium: Peeters, 2009), 705 and Geoffrey W. H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961), 1456–1458 respectively.
Only here in the NT; also in LXX Lev 13,28; 2 Mac 4,10; 4 Mac 15,4.
Are the two genitive phrases parallel and thus synonym? (thus Ulrich Wilckens, χαρακτήρ. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974], 9:421). This would require a καί linking both not just connective, but appositional or even epexegetic or explanatory (“that is”, “namely”), which seems hardly the case in view of the shared genitive αὐτοῦ at the end of the sentence. This same fact makes also an intensive καί (“even”), more suitable to the main argument of the section and of the document as a whole, also grammatically
unviable. On vv. 2b-4 as a sevenfold distinct characterization of the υἱός introduced in 2a and linked to it through relative pronominal clauses and participles, see Meir, ibid.., 172-173.
Such translations of ὑπόστασις as “nature” fall short of the sub- idea conveyed by the prefixed preposition ὑπό. On this, Moulton and Howard comment: “Ὑπόστασις in its various meanings runs parallel with its Latin equivalent substantia, an underlying foundation being implied” ( James H. Moulton and Wilbert F. Howard, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, Volume 2: Accidence and Word-Formation [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963]), 328; cf. Rhee, “The role of chiasm”, 349.
On paronomasia as a stylistic device to emphasize semantic relationships in different parts of Hebrews, see Owen Nease, “Sound Familiar? Paronomasia in Hebrews”, Trinity Journal 33, New Series (2012): 77-94.
This short-term eschatology is consistently witnessed throughout the New Testament starting with the disciples themselves in the synoptic gospels (E.g., Mark 13 and parallels). For the New Testament writers, the eschatological era had been already inaugurated by and in Christ, to be consummated no far in the future in occasion of his glorious return (Heb 9:28; cf. John 5,21-29; 2 Thes 2,1-9). For them, the future had already irrupted into the present and both were moving forward together (cf. Luke 17,21).
On this reading as possible, for instance in the light of the phrase ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων (Heb 1,2), Coetsee says: “. . . this phrase also makes it clear that the hearers lived in a time of intense expectation and revelation of salvation” (ibid., 5). On the relation between an imminent expectation for the parousia and an early date for Hebrews, this would be perfectly in tune with most of an early NT canon, with the only exception of the Johannine corpus, granted their late date according to early tradition, which is still not a set matter.
While most translations stress the chronological or temporal nuance of the stems ἀρχ- in ἀρχηγός and τελ- in τελειωτής, some others opt for the hierarchical or qualitative shade of meaning simultaneously present in them. For instance, they render ἀρχηγός as chief (Etheridge Translation of the NT Peshitta) and captain (The Bishops’ New Testament), from the Latin capita: head (cf. ראֹשׁ ). As for τελειωτής, the spectrum include: goal (God’s Word translation), consummator (The Idiomatic Translation of the New Testament), and completion (Murdock
Translation of the NT Peshitta).
Cf. Silva, ibid., 68. On this prevailing nuance of progression from revelatory imperfection in the previous and foreshadowing covenant institutions to Christ as God’s perfect revelatory climax and foreshadowed reality, even in the much discussed Heb 5,14 and 6,1, see Craig A. Hill, “The Use of Perfection Language in Hebrews 5:14 and 6:1 and the Contextual Interpretation of 5:11-6:3” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 57, 4 (2014): 727-742.
On him as hierarchic Head ( ראֹשׁ / ἀρχή) of creation, cf. Gen 1,1; John 1,1; 1 John 1,1. On a Semitic background of the leader-ruler connotation of ἀρχηγός in Hebrews, see Scott, ibid.., 47.
The play on the word οἶκος and on the motifs of the house and the family in 3,2-6 acquires a more special sense within this scheme.
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