Where is Hay’s argument?

Me and Steven Hays have been going at it over a couple posts, and we’re kind of going in circles and I feel like the points are being lost, so I’m going to focus on the main points here. The main points in this dialogue are, in my opinion, what was Jesus’ claim that his enemies were responding to, and how did Jesus reply to their accusations.

Steven sees an allusion to the Shema in John 10:30, I don’t, in fact I don’t see any evidence whatsoever for an allusion to the Shema, the only word that is the same is the word “one” and John 10:30 uses a different form of that word. Therefore, I’m going to ask Steve Hays again, what evidence is there that Jesus is alluding to the Shema, here is John 10:30:

ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν.

Here is the Shema in the Greek:

῎Ακουε, Ισραηλ· κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστιν·

Now, I understand Jesus and his enemies were not speaking Greek; but I don’t have the original Aramaic text and neither do you, what we have is what John gave us.

So tell me what your argument is for asserting that Jesus is alluding to the Shema.

Claiming that ἕν in John 10:30 means something different then εἷς in the Shema (the former being conceptual and latter being individual) only proves my point. Claiming that it is an allusion rather than your own illusion isn’t an argument; I’m sure other readers do see it, but that isn’t an argument either—Make your argument.

About the context:

The context is who Jesus is. If Jesus is Yahweh Incarnate, then that’s quite germane to the context. We see similar debates in Jn 5 and Jn 8.

The question was about whether or not Jesus was the Christ, not whether or not Jesus was Yahweh Incarnate. Look at the rest of Jesus’s answer in John 10 (NRSV):

25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

If verse 30 is an allusion to the Shema, how does it fit with the rest of the text? The entire point of the rest of Jesus’s answer is that he perfectly obeys his father and does the work of his father—because his father’s sheep have been given to him by the Father. This makes sense if the question he is answering is the actual question asked him i.e. are you the Messiah—it makes no sense if he decided to answer another question about whether or not he is Yahweh incarnate.

Here’s the point, instead of just making a claim, for goodness sakes—Make an actual argument for your claim.

Let’s move on to the accusation and Jesus’s response. You assume two things here: that the opposers are claiming that Jesus calls himself Yahweh, the text doesn’t say that, it only says that they accuse him of making himself god (which can mean a number of things); and that their accusation is valid—there is absolutely no reason we should think that the opposers understand Jesus correctly, or are making a valid accusation; all over the place in John the opposers misunderstand Jesus and slander him, why should we assume that in this one place they are perfectly lucid, rational and correctly understand Jesus and are correctly applying the Jewish law? It makes no sense to just assume that.

As for the title “son of God”. First of all, they considered it blasphemous for him to invoke Psalms 110:1 and Daniel 7:13–14 for himself, not to call himself the “son of God” (if that were a divine title, then all the angels, King David, King Solomon, Adam, and so on would all be Yahweh). Second of all the text doesn’t tell us why it is blasphemous, it could be any number of things: if could be that he used the divine name out loud (which would explain why Matthew replace Mark Yahweh, not with κύριος, as would be normal, but with δύναμις), it could be that they thought it blasphemous that someone who they considered unrighteous or unworthy would call himself God’s messiah, it could be that it was (gasp) a false charge, it could be any number of things.

Also, what I consider to be blasphemous or not (Jesus being a god, in the sense of a divine creature) has no bearing on what the opponents of Jesus considered to be blasphemous.

So how about Jesus’s reply. So in your reading is this supposed to be a historical account? If yes then how on earth does you reading make sense? So Jesus, in your reading, responded to a charge of blasphemy by citing Psalms 82, and then saying “those to whom the word of god came were called ‘god’” and in saying that he was citing the prologue of John—which didn’t exist yet, by the time it was written almost everyone in that conversation would have been dead—but then saying that they are called gods?

I still don’t understand your exegesis, where in Jesus’s reply is any thing regarding the not-yet-written prologue? Who are the god’s he is referring to? In Psalms 82 they are divine beings; to whom the word of God came (God was speaking to them in Psalms 82, it doesn’t matter who the text was written for, in the text God’s word came to them).

So before we go any further, give me a coherent exegesis of the text:

34 Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’—and the scripture cannot be annulled— 36 can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?

What exactly is being said here, point by point; and make an argument for your reading. This is what this entire dialogue is about—what is being said here. Saying it’s an a fortiori argument isn’t an exegesis, it’s a claim; demonstrate it from the text; saying that it alludes to the no-yet-written prologue isn’t exegesis, it’s a claim, demonstrate it from the text.

I’m getting quite bored of having claims thrown at me but no exegesis, no argument, not actual coherent reading of the text—let’s go there and then we can actually have a basis on which to discuss the meaning of the text. Once we do that, we can move on to other things, but you need to stop dodging the issue and actually give a proper exegesis and argument for your exegesis, otherwise you’re just playing pattycake and getting nowhere in getting to the bottom of John 10:24–39 … Please do that FIRST.

Where is Hay’s argument?

6 thoughts on “Where is Hay’s argument?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Equivalence of work in Jn 10:30 is not ontology.
    Tell me, which work do the disciples perform that is not equal or even more greater than what Jesus does?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, it is not ontology, Jesus was not talking ontologically.

      For one the disciples didn’t die for the sins of the world. But the disciples did do great Works, thus John 17 where Jesus says that the disciples will be one just as he and the Father are one, and in union With both him and the Father.

      Again, there is no ontology there.


  2. Sarin says:

    An alternative interpretation agrees that the “gods” are Israelite judges, but sees the use of the term “gods” as an ironic figure of speech. Irony is a rhetorical device in which something is said to be the case in such a way as to make the assertion seem ridiculous (compare Paul’s ironic “you have become kings” in 1 Corinthians 4:8, where Paul’s point is that they had _not_ become kings). According to this interpretation, the parallel description of the “gods” as “sons of the Most High” (which, it is argued, is not in keeping with the Old Testament use of the term “sons” of God), the condemnation of the judges for their wicked judgment, and especially the statement, “Nevertheless, you will die as men,” all point to the conclusion that the judges are called “gods” in irony.

    If the former interpretation is correct, then in John 10:34-35 Jesus would be understood to mean that if God called wicked judges “gods” how much more appropriate is it for Him, Jesus, to be called God, or even the Son of God. If the ironic interpretation of Psalm 82:6 is correct, then in John 10:34-35 Jesus’ point would still be basically the same. It is also possible that Jesus was implying that the Old Testament application of the term “gods” to wicked judges was fulfilled (taking “not to be broken” to mean “not to be unfulfilled,” cf. John 7:23) in Himself as the true Judge (cf. John 5:22,27-30; 9:39).[18] Those wicked men were, then, at best called “gods” and “sons of the Most High” in a special and figurative sense; and at worst they were pseudo-gods and pseudo-sons of God. Jesus, on the other hand, is truly God (cf. John 1:1,18; 20:28; 1 John 5:20) and the unique Son of God (John 10:36; 20:31; etc.)

    – “‘Ye Are Gods?’ Orthodox and Heretical Views on the Deification of Man” (Christian Research Journal, Winter/Spring 1987), Robert M. Bowman, Jr

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for Your comment Sarin.
      So let me try and apply Your interpretation to the text.
      They say:
      “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.”
      Jesus reples:

      “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?”

      By which he means “is it not written that you are “gods” ironically, who will actually die like men, thus you’re not really gods.

      “If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’—and the scripture cannot be annulled— can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?”

      See here is where Your interpretation has problems. How does the rest of Jesus’s reply fit With that? If he says that then how do you interpret this verse?
      If the Word of God came to those who were ironically called “gods” but aren’t really gods, how can you say that I balspheme when I was sanctified and sent into the world becuase I say I am Gods son?

      The argument Jesus is making is based on the fact that they were called “gods”, not based on the fact that they were unfaithful, Jesus doesn’t mention that. Not only that if “dying like a man” disqualifies someone from being a god, thus making the claim that they are gods ironic; then Jesus would fit that … he died like a man, but again, that wasn’t the point he was making.

      As to Your interpretation of Psalms 82, there is no reason to think these were not actual “Gods”, spirit beings.

      Israelite judges were never called “a Divine Council”, they are called gods in verse 1, not at all ironically, also the realm talked about here is not Israel … it’s the Earth. Also there is no evidence that Isrealite judges ever called themselves “gods”. The best explination here is that God is judging the Divine beings (angels) that rule over the nations of the Earth.

      Thanks for actually trying to make an exegesis of the text, you’re doing more than what Steve Hays did, but I’m afraid it doesn’t actually make sense of the text.


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