But what does it mean? And what’s the response?

In my last post I responded to a rather bad exegesis of John 10:30-36 by Steve Hays, I say it’s bad with no disrespect, all trinitarians readings of this text are going to end up being bad exegesis. Steve has since replied to my response and I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t given his defense of his reading a good shot and a reply. So here it goes:

Some guy named Roman A. Montero–evidently a unitarian–attempted to respond on Tuggy’s behalf to a post of mine.

Not on Tuggy’s behalf, on my own behalf, I can only speak for myself.

The context is the true identity of Jesus. Moreover, messiahship is an umbrella category and something of a cipher. Nothing that precludes a divine messiah

It actually is explicitly whether or not Jesus is the Christ in verse 24 they say “if you are the messiah tell us plainly.” They didn’t ask for his identity they asked whether or not he was the messiah.

I suppose logically it doesn’t preclude a divine messiah, but then again you could say nothing logically precludes a divine something, someone being called a prophet doesn’t logically preclude a divine prophet.

But it does preclude it for all intents and purposes since messiah means “anointed one” and the assumption is that he is anointed by God, to do God’s will. God doesn’t need to be anointed by anyone. Also there is no precedent on Judaism for a messiah who is Yahweh himself.

i) That’s confused. To begin with, unless Montero imagines that the exchange originally took place in Greek, which is highly unlikely, Christ’s opponents didn’t hear him use ἕν rather than εἷς. Presumably, the exchange originally took place in Aramaic.

Whatever word Jesus used in Aramaic is irrelevant, John wrote the gospel of John and had he intended his readers to recall the Shema he would have used words that actually reflected the Shema. John used the LXX (as did all the NT writers and early Church) if he wanted to evoke he shema he would have actually done so.

ii) Since there’s a shift from a singular subject in Deut 6:4 to a plural subject in Jn 10:30, it’s logical for the narrator to shift from masculine to neuter in translating the statement into Greek.

Why couldn’t John have used the masculine form, had he wanted to cite the Shema there’s no reason he wouldn’t have . But there’s also no indication this is an evocation of the Shema.

John 10:30

ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν.

Deut 6:4

κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστιν

There is literally no parallel here, nothing is Parallel here other that ἕν ἐσμεν and εἷς ἐστιν which themselves are not actually parallel.

i) Notice that in v36, Jesus attributes to them the allegation that they accused him of blasphemy for calling himself the “Son of God”, when, in v33, they actually accused him of making himself “God”. So Jesus himself is using “God” and “Son of God” as interchangeable terms. They allege that he makes himself “God”. Jesus treats their allegation was equivalent to “Son of God”. Unless Montero thinks that Jesus is misrepresenting the charge of his opponents, he must concede that in this passage, Jesus uses “God” and “Son of God” as synonymous designations.

If you look at 24-29, Jesus never actually uses “son of God” as a title in that conversation. So they aren’t reacting to “son of God” as a title.

Also there is no reason we should favor a capital G God over a small g god, since θεόν is without the article.

So Jesus didn’t misrepresent their charge, he explained to them why they were wrong.

They were wrong because there are plenty of beings in the Bible called gods (had the Jews been claiming that Jesus was calling himself Yahweh citing psalms 82 would make no sense, since those beings are call gods in the lesser non-Yahweh sense), so him being called god or a god is not blasphemy. Also he didn’t call himself god or a god, but rather God’s son and is thus NOT making himself a god.

Where did he make the equivalence between God and gods son, they accusing him of making himself god (or a god) he replied that he called himself Gods son, it was a reply to the charge.

Let me ask you though, in your exegesis, what is Jesus’s actual reply? How does it answer the charge? What was the point of citing psalms 82?

ii) In the OT, there’s a king/prince motif that parallels a father/son motif, where the prince is the royal heir (e.g. Pss 2; 72; 89; 110; 132; Isa 9; Dan 7). The concepts of fatherhood and sonship are used in the context of royal succession. It’s easy to see how that implies a divine son of a divine father. Even if that’s merely latent in the OT (which is debatable), it’s patent in the NT.

Right but in these cases, in the OT, Gods son is always referring to a human son or an angelic son or Israel as a nation, a ontologically lesser entity than Yahweh. Psalms 2 was to David, 2 Samuel 7:14 and 1 chronicles 27:6 refer to Solomon. Genesis 6:2-4, Job 1:6; 38:4-7 and Psalms 89:6 refer to angels. Exodus 4:22-23 refers to Israel, and so on and so forth.

So yes it can mean a “divine” son, in the sense that created angelic creatures are “divine”, but there is an infinite gap between that “divine” and the kind of divinity that applies to Yahweh.

Since Montero himself says θεὸς can be employed in OT usage to denote figures that are not truly define, how can they accuse him of blasphemy unless they understand him to be making divine claims in the proper sense of Yahweh?

I don’t know what you mean by “truly divine”. Do you mean figures that can be rightly called divine? In that case sure, angels and humans are “truly” divine, do you mean divine in the sense that Yahweh is divine?

The thing is this is you equivocating. Define “divine” and then stick to it. If “sons of God” is a divine title, and by divine you mean something that can include human kings and angels, then yeah, sure it’s a divine title; but that doesn’t get you a millimeter closer to a trinitarian Christology. If you mean divine in the sense of only referring to Yahweh, then no, it’s never used as a divine title.

But to the question of why they accuse him of Blaspheming? First of all because they are just out to get Jesus, this isn’t the only time they laid a false charge on Jesus. Second, it could be they think that being called a god, or something from heaven, is blasphemy; in which case Jesus shoots them down by citing Pslams 82. Or it couldn’t be a number of other things. But Jesus responds, and he doesn’t respond in a way that would make any sense if he actually was claiming to be Yahweh.

i) The Father is deity. So is the Son.

Again, you need to define deity, in one sense so is Satan, so are angels and so on. In another sense only Yahweh is.

ii) It’s unclear what Montero is attempting to say in reference to Jn 1:1. In the second clause (“and the Word was with God”), θεὸς functions as a proper noun to designate the Father, whereas, in the third clause (“and the Word was God”), θεὸς functions as an abstract noun to denote the deity of the Word. An interpretive paraphrase would read:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the Father, and the Word was deity.”

Except it doesn’t say the Word was with the Father, it says the Word was with “God”, and the Word was deity. And Deity can be used of angels as well. But the Word was not τὸν θεόν, it was θεὸς. Now you’re right that it implies Deity, but again, it’s not the same kind of Deity as the God who he is with.

By the way he prologue is paralleling Philo’s logos theology. For Philo the logos is a secondary, created being through whome the god Yahweh creates. So John doesn’t identity Jesus as he creator, but the one through whome all things are created; echoing Philo’s language. Whether or not John drew from Philo or Plato himself or was simply using common language is besides the point, he point is John knew how his prologue would be read by his intended audience (non Jewish Christians).

And that recurs in Jn 10:28, where Jesus claims the stupendous prerogative to confer eternal life.

Common man, just read the next verse.

i) In makes perfect sense in an argument from the lesser to the greater (a minore ad maius), which is a common rabbinical type of argument.

1. Rabbis used all kinds of arguments, read the Mishnah, there are many different types.

2. In you’re interpretation what is the actual argument? I don’t see one.

ii) It makes no sense that Jesus would include himself in the category of heathen deities–or angels, for that matter.

Why wouldn’t he include himself in divine beings such as angels or the “sons of god” of Job and Psalms?

There’s OT precedent where father/son correspond to king/prince in settings where the son/prince is rightful heir to Yahweh’s kingdom.

Yes … again that’s infinitely separated from the son being identified as Yahweh himself.

My “entire argument” was never predicated on the use of θεὸς in Jn 10.  Indeed, my primary argument concerned the evocation of the Shema in Jn 10:30. That verse doesn’t use θεὸς. Instead, it does something even more powerful.

You equivocate with the term “Deity” or “divinity”.

If you’re argument is based on he claim that John 10:30 is evoking the Shema, you’re gonna have to make a case for it. It uses the wrong form of “one”, and none of the other words match? So where is the evocation?

The argument is not that κύριος in general is a Greek synonym for “Yahweh”, but in NT passages that quote or allude to Yahweh, then reapply distinguishing prerogatives of Yahweh to Christ.

The most quoted scriptures in relation to Christ in the NT are psalms 110:1 where Jesus is the non-Yahweh “lord”, and Daniel 7:13-14 where Jesus is the non-Yahweh “son of man”. Both those scriptures, used countless of times for Christ, exclude the possibility of him being Yahweh.

Jn 17 compares the unity of the apostles to the unity of the Father and Son. But these represent separate groups. The apostles constitute one group while the Father and Son constitute a different group.

Yeah, but there is nothing distinguishing the way they are “one”. In fact Jesus makes it clear that they are “one” in the same way Jesus and the Father are “one”; so it’s obviously not ontologically. So using your logic, why shouldn’t the apostles also be included in the Shema? Isn’t John 17 talking about them using the same language as John 10:30?

So in short, you need to do 4 things.

1. Make an actual argument that John 10:30 has anything to do with the Shema, given the lack of any linguistic similarity.

2. Define what you mean by “deity” and use it consistently.

3. Explain what Jesus’s response actually is and how it answers the charge.

Or you can not do that and instead read the NT afresh and see if perhaps the non-trinitarians are on to something.

As if unitarians have no axe to grind!

Don’t we all, he questions is what is he text actually saying.

But what does it mean? And what’s the response?

2 thoughts on “But what does it mean? And what’s the response?

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