Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More Ignatius of Antioch Dialogue

Bob wrote on [Ephesians] 3:3: Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the mind of the Father IHSOU CRISTOU TO ADIAKRITON HMEN ZHN TOU PATROS H GUWMH WS

In this passage Ignatius simply calls Jesus, the mind of God. If meant in the absolute sense, then Jesus is God in the unqualified sense. If Ignatius is being figurative, then Jesus would not be God in that sense. It seems rather hard to maintain that Ignatius was speaking figuratively because the text contains very few, if any, diagnostic indicators of symbolism or any other contextual clues to substantiate this notion.

Edgar: I think your transliteration should be GNWMH and not GUWMH. I am not being pedantic or mean but me thinks it is important that we understand Ignatius is comparing Jesus to the divine "will" of God and not to God's mind. GNWMH is at times used in Greek literature as a substitute for QELHMA. See Plutarch De def. orac. and Schoedel (page 50). Schoedel thus translates the passage: "Indeed Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the Father's purpose; as also the bishops appointed in every quarter, are in the purpose of Jesus Christ" (Schoedel 48).

Schoedel also points out, though he is a Trinitarian, it seems: "The theological implications of Christ as the 'purpose' of the Father are thus probably minimal" (50).

Bob: [Ephesians] 7:2-There is one only physician, of flesh and of spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passable and then impassable, Jesus Christ our Lord EIS IATROS ESTIN SARKIKOS KAI PNEUMATIKOS GENNHTOS KAI AGENNHTOS EN ANQRWPW QEOS EN QANATW ZON ALHQINH KAI EK MARIAS KAI EK QEOU PRWTON PAQHTOS KAI TOTE APAQHS IHSOUS XRISTOS hO KURIOS HMEN.

This passage is very interesting because of its structure. It speaks of Jesus as one physician of two natures, that of flesh and of spirit. It then goes on to develop each nature. Of the flesh it diagrams Jesus as begotten, man, mortality, of Mary, first one who could suffer, Christ. Of the spirit it diagrams Jesus as unbegotten, God, true life, of God, now unable to suffer, Lord.

Edgar: Schoedel writes that the distinctions made by Ignatius above cannot apply to the "internal relations of the Godhead" but it only applies to the incarnate Christ. However, I am puzzled over how one can apply Ignatius' words to the immanent Trinity or the economic Trinity. Subsequent believers [at Nicaea] declared that the Son is begotten, not created and that the Father is unbegotten. But how does one consider Christ "unbegotten" in relation to the cosmos (humanity) that he came to save? It is no wonder that Bart Ehrman writes in The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture that theologians would later find Ignatius' formulation in Eph 7:2 "vague." It does not seem to assist the Trinitarian case at all. It therefore has no theological force.

Interestingly Cyril C. Richardson plainly writes that Christ is called hO QEOS by Ignatius and he further points out that the bishop "does not explain, he only asserts that Christ is God" (Ignatius of Antioch, page 45). But Richardson goes beyond the surface structure or prima facie meaning of Ignatius' terminology and explores "what type of picture Ignatius has in mind when he employs the signifier QEOS. His conclusion?

"Unlike Theophilus of Antioch, he has nothing to say about God as creator; His eternity and invisibility are mentioned only in Pol. 3.2, and He is never predicated with immortality, the chief attribute of the heathen 'Gods.' For Ignatius QEOS means essentially a superhuman, moral being" (45).

He adds: "There is never a hint in his writing that Christ was in any way absorbed in God or confused with Him. He always stands in a place secondary and inferior to him" (44).

Consult The Christianity of Ignatius of Antioch. New York: AMS Press, 1967.

I also recommend Brown, Milton P. The Authentic Writings of Ignatius: A Study of Linguistic Criteria. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1963 for a solid analysis of the textual issues appertaining to the Ignatian epistles and a look at how he uses QEOS.


Matt13weedhacker said...

Medician MSS: γεννητὸς καὶ ἀγέννητος

Athanasius of Alexandria (circa. 296-373 C.E.) quotes the above passage differently De Synodiis 47.1: γενητὸς καὶ ἀγένητος

Theodoret of Cyprus (circa. 393-458/466 C.E.) quotes the above passage differently again Dialogues Orthodoxos and Eranistes, Dialogus 1: γεννητὸς ἐξ ἀγεννήτου

Athanasius: γενητὸς καὶ ἀγένητος
Theodoret: γεννητὸς ἐξ ἀγεννήτου
Medician: γεννητὸς καὶ ἀγέννητος

It's not hard to say that this passage has had some "altering" done through the centuries.

Here's an interesting passage to compare, out of Justin.

Dialogue 56.11 θεὸς ἕτερός ἐστι τοῦ τὰ πάντα ποιήσαντος θεοῦ, ἀριθμῷ λέγω ἀλλὰ οὐ γνώμῃ

Note what "kind" of god, compared to the Father, Jesus is described as = Gk., ( ἕτερός ).

E. R. Goodenough, translates the passage on Page 155 “The Theology of Justin Martyr” as:

“...distinct from ( Him ) who made all things : I mean he is distinct in number, but ( not ) in [Gk., ( γνώμῃ )] intellectual initiative.”

Yet he translates Gk., ( γνώμῃ ) in another passage, only a page later, as:

Dialogue 127.4: ἀλλ' ἐκεῖνον τὸν κατὰ βουλὴν τὴν ἐκείνου καὶ θεὸν ὄντα, υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἄγγελον ἐκ τοῦ ὑπηρετεῖν τῇ γνώμῃ αὐτοῦ

“ also God according to ( His ) [God's] will, ( His ) Son, and he is an Angel because he ministers to Gods [Gk., ( γνώμῃ )] purpose.” - Page 156 “The Theology of Justin Martyr”.

JUSTIN MARTYR (circa. 110-160 C.E.): “...Consequently, neither Abraham, nor Jacob, nor Issac, nor any other person from among mankind, saw the One Who is both the Father and Singular Lord [Or: “Single Lord” “Sole Lord” “One Lord” Perhaps: “without ambiguity Lord of”] ( of ) all persons [Or: “every person”], even ( of ) the Christ himself; but instead they saw that particular person, who accordingly, by the Father's purpose [Or: “desire” “wish” “will” Lit., “of that One”], actually existed as a god, [Or: “and was an actual god” “and was really a god”] as a Son of His, [Or: “His Son”] even an angel ; originating from the fact that he served as an inferior minister to the Father's purpose [Lit., “to the purpose of Him”]...” - (Dialogue 127:4, Matt13weedhacker)


GREEK TEXT: “...Κἀγὼ [4.] πάλιν· Ἃ λέγω πειράσομαι ὑμᾶς πεῖσαι, νοήσαντας τὰς γραφάς, ὅτι ἐστὶ καὶ λέγεται θεὸς καὶ κύριος ἕτερος ὑπὸ τὸν ποιητὴν τῶν ὅλων, ὃς καὶ ἄγγελος καλεῖται, διὰ τὸ ἀγγέλλειν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ὅσαπερ βούλεται αὐτοῖς ἀγγεῖλαι ὁ τῶν ὅλων ποιητής, ὑπὲρ ὃν ἄλλος θεὸς οὐκ ἔστι...” - (Chapter 56:4; Dialouge ed. E. J. Goodspeed, Göttingen : Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1915)

JUSTIN MARTYR (c. 110 to 165 C.E.): “...I again replied: “I shall attempt to persuade you further by my words, ([seeing] you men have understood{1} these scriptures), that he is being spoken of as a numerically additional god and lord, one that is both - INFERIOR AND OF DIFFEREN'T KIND AND NATURE TO{2} - the Maker of the entire universe ; also he is being called an Angel for the reason that{3} he conveys{4} to those of the [race of] men,{5} messages ; but only passing on these anouncements within the limitations of{6} what has been determined{7} by the One Who is the Maker of the entire universe ; above{8} Whom there is no other{9} god in addition [to Him] who is of the same kind and nature...” - (Chapter 56:4, “Dialogue with Trypho a Jew,” Translated by Matt13weedhacker)
[FOOTNOTE 1]: Or: “percieved the meaning of”
[FOOTNOTE 2]: Gk., ( θεὸς καὶ κύριος ἕτερος ὑπὸ )
[FOOTNOTE 3]: Or: “on account of” Lit., “through”
[FOOTNOTE 4]: Or: “communicates” “delivers”
[FOOTNOTE 5]: Lit., “those of mankind”
[FOOTNOTE 6]: Or: “to the extent of”
[FOOTNOTE 7]: Or: “willed” “purposed”
[FOOTNOTE 8]: Gk., ( ὑπὲρ ) Or: “over”
[FOOTNOTE 9]: Gk., ( ἄλλος )

Matt13weedhacker said...

I can't see how the idea that Ignatius was a Tri{3}nitarian, (in the modern sense), can be reconciled with statements by others like Justin above, that say the Logos was a god Gk., ( θεὸς καὶ κύριος ἕτερος ὑπὸ ) ontologically Gk., ( ὑπὸ ) subordinate/inferior to, and Gk., ( ἕτερος ) of a different kind and nature to the Father.

It just doesn't fit.

JUSTIN MARTYR (circa. 110-165 C.E.): “...I will endeavor to convince you of the truth of what I say ; namely, that there is said to be, and really is another God and Lord -- INFERIOR (OR SUBORDINATE TO) -- the Creator of all things ; who is also called the Angel (or Messenger), because he communicates to mankind all those things, which it is the will of the Creator of all things, ( ABOVE ) whom there is no God, should be communicated to them...”- (Chapter 56:4, Pages 218-219, “Justin Martyr's : Dialogue with Trypho the Jew,” Translated from the Greek into English, with notes, by Henry Brown, Oxford, 1745.)

JUSTIN MARTYR (circa. 110-165 C.E.): “...What I say, I will endeavour to prove to you who understand the Scriptures, namely, that another is God and Lord, and is so called, -- ( SUBORDINATE TO ) -- the Maker of all, who is also called Angel on account of his anouncing to men what things the Maker of all, ( ABOVE ) whom there is no other God, wishes to announce to them...” - (Chapter 56:4, “Dialogue with Trypho a Jew,” Page 229, Section XIV, “Christ,” Chapter III, “Justin Martyr,” Vol. II, “The Apologists,” “A Critical History Of Christian Literature And Doctrine, From the Death of the Apostles to the Nicene Council,” By James Donaldson, London, Macmillan & Co. 1886.)

Matt13weedhacker said...

Again, in the same place, there is another significant variant in the Middle [Medecian] Recension:

ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ θεός
ἐν σαρκι γένομενος θεός