Monday, January 25, 2016

Charles Gieschen, Ontology, and Angelomorphism

Gieschen believes that ontological concerns (questions concerning the being of Christ) have "inhibited" Angelomorphic studies undertaken in the past. He proposes that we should now ask another question in place of the ontological ones, namely, "Where and how did early Christians use the variegated angelomorphic traditions from the OT and other sources to express their Christology?" Consult Angelomorphic Christology, 349.

His new formulation of the Angelomorphic question is designed to show that Angelomorphic traditions significantly influenced early Christology qua high Christology. Gieschen further maintains that traditions portraying Christ as the visible manifestation of God's Son (the malak YHWH) paved the way for later Christological affirmations such as "Jesus is Lord" (1 Cor. 12:3) or YHWH. See ibid. 350.

While he tries to downplay questions concerning the being of Christ in his study, it is evident that Gieschen espouses a high Christology, linking the Son in his role as an angel with a/the visible manifestation of YHWH.


David Waltz said...

Hi Edgar,

Charles Gieschen's, Angelomorphic Christology - Antecedents & Early Evidence is one of the most informative (and objective) treatments I have read on Christological issues. (A Google Books preview is available HERE.)

A related work by Darrell Hannah, Michael and Christ: Michael Traditions and Angel Christology in Early Christianity, is also worth reading (LINK).

As I am sure you know that not only have early CFs equated the preexistent Jesus with the Angel of the Jehovah (and/or Michael the archangel), but some prominent Reformed theologians have also done so. Back in 2009, I published a thread on this issue: LINK.

In the combox of that thread a respondent provided a link to 10 page document by Michael Daniels which lists numerous quotes from a number of diverse theologians who equate Jesus with Michael the archangel: LINK.

Anyway, an interesting topic for sure. Thanks for bringing Gieschen's substantive book back to mind.

Grace and peace,


Edgar Foster said...

Hi David,

As always, thanks for linking to these materials. I studied Gieschen, Hannah, and Stuckenbruck for the M.Th. thesis and some other works. All three of these books are worth reading along with the work of Christopher Rowland. I will definitely consider your links, though; it really helps to have things all in one place, which makes them easily accessible.


David Waltz said...

Hello again Edgar,

It is nice to hear that my small contributions are appreciated. As for Stuckenbruck, I have read his Angel Veneration and Christology, though it was about two decades ago. (Google Books preview HERE.) I just now pulled the book off of the shelf to refresh my memory, and what immediately comes to mind is the wealth of Jewish texts that he brought into play. I agree with you that the book is a must read, but those who undertake this task should be prepared for a somewhat 'difficult' endeavor, for the book's style is quite 'wooden', requiring (at least for me) a high degree of concentration.

I have not read Rowland's The Open Heaven, and have refrained from purchasing the book due to impressions I got from his Christian Origins, a book I found to be too liberal its approach to Bible. Do should think I should reconsider my reticence, and obtain it? Is it worth the money and time?

Grace and peace,


Edgar Foster said...

You're absolutely correct about Stuckenbruck's work: it is not an easy read. As for Rowland, your impression was correct. I would not recommend his book, if a somewhat liberal approach bothers you.

I also don't agree with many of his conclusions, but I've found his work on apocalyptic to be helpful.

All the best,