Jörg Frey zum Geburtstag: Present and Future Eschatology in the Johannine Farewell Discourses

I had not planned to write a blog post today, but having discovered that it was Jörg Frey’s birthday, I was inspired to create a new blog category, namely zum Geburtstag, which I hope will become a bright spot in Facebook’s multifaceted Wirkungsgeschichte. And rather than continuing my series of Frey posts on Johannine Interpretation, it seemed fitting to select an excerpt from his Habilitationsschrift, namely Die johanneische Eschatologie (cf. Google Books).

As indicated by my title, the selected excerpt is focused on one of the major contributions of this book, namely its nuanced discussion of the relationship between present and future eschatology in the Johannine Writings (cf. also J. Frey, “Eschatology in the Johannine Circle”, pp. 47-82 in Theology and Christology in the Fourth Gospel).

Due to time constraints I will not include a grammatical analysis for this category.

Translation (wmc):

(b) The accent set by the Johannine author lies, however, clearly on the present certainty of salvation. The temptation/trial of the addressees should not be met through a mere strengthening of the traditional expectation, but precisely by giving the community assurance in the salvation grounded in Jesus’s death and mediated through the Spirit-Paraclete…

(c) On the other hand, the thus-opened perception of the Christ and God fellowship inaugurated in the present and of the fullness of salvation bestowed through the Spirit-Paraclete does not make obsolete the promise of the coming consummation of salvation handed down in Jesus’s words. One can sooner assume that the reference to the present reality of salvation also newly strengthened and stimulated the expectation of the addressees. The promise of the ‘coming’ of Jesus to ‘bring home’ his disciples is never explicitly contested, and in the concluding petition of the farewell prayer in 17.24 the expectation of the definitive consummation of the fellowship with the exalted in the unveiled beholding of his glory is explicitly confirmed. In the whole of the Johannine farewell discourses there can therefore be no talk of Easter, Pentecost, and parousia being somehow identified with one another, neither in the sense of a fusion of the Easter Christophanies into the post-Easter reality determined by the Spirit-Paraclete nor in the polemical thesis that the true parousia has already happened and every other expectation is therefore superfluous. The intention of the author is—much more concretely and less dogmatic-polemically—to comfort and assure his addressee community in their λύπη and ταραχή.

Die johanneische Eschatologie III, p. 238:

(b) Der vom johanneischen Autor gesetzte Akzent liegt jedoch deutlich auf der gegenwärtigen Gewißheit des Heils. Der Anfechtung der Adressaten soll nicht etwa durch eine bloße Bekräftigung der überkommenen Erwartung begegnet werden, sondern gerade dadurch, daß die Gemeinde in dem in Jesu Tod begründeten und durch den Geist-Parakleten vermittelten Heil vergewissert wird…

(c) Andererseits macht die so erschlossene Wahrnehmung der in der Gegenwart eröffneten Christus- und Gottesgemeinschaft und der durch den Geist-Parakleten geschenkten Heilsfülle die in Jesu worten überlieferte Zusage der kommenden Heilsvollendung nicht obsolet. Man kann eher annehmen, daß der Hinweis auf die gegenwärtige Wirklichkeit des Heils auch die Erwartung der Adressaten aufs neue bekräftigt und stimuliert hat. Nirgendwo wird die Verheißung des ‘Kommens’ Jesu zur ‘Heimholung’ seiner Jünger ausdrücklich bestritten, und in der abschließenden Bitte des Abschiedsgebets in 17.24 wird die Erwartung der definitiven Vollendung der Gemeinschaft mit dem Erhöhten in der unverhüllten Schau seiner Herrlichkeit ausdrücklich bestärkt. Im Ganzen der johanneischen Abschiedsreden kann daher keine Rede davon sein, daß Ostern, Pfingsten und Parusie in irgendeiner Weise miteinander identifiziert werden sollten, weder im Sinne einer Einschmelzung der österlichen Christophanien in die nachösterliche, vom Geist-Parakleten bestimmte Wirklichkeit noch gar im Sinne der polemischen These, daß die wahre Parusie schon geschehen sei und jede weitere Erwartung sich deshalb erübrige. Die Intention des Autors ist – viel konkreter und weniger dogmatisch-polemisch -, seine Addressatengemeinde in ihrer λύπη und ταραχή zu trösten und zu vergewissern.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! Unfortunately, I have found it increasingly difficult to write a new post each Monday, but I hope to be able to write at least two or three Monday blog posts each month. We’ll see. Best, Wayne.

Jörg Frey on the zeitgeschichtliche Approach to Johannine Interpretation

This week’s post comes from my 2016/2017 translation project, namely Jörg Frey‘s collection of essays titled Die Herrlichkeit des Gekreuzigten: Studien zu den Johanneischen Schriften I / The Glory of the Crucified One: Studies on the Johannine Writings I. For all my posts on this book see here.

More specifically, it continues my series of posts on Frey’s introductory chapter “Ways and Perspectives of the Interpretation of the Gospel of John. Reflections on the Way to a Commentary”. Today’s key quotation comes from section 1.3: Der zeitgeschichtliche Zugang: Der historische Ort des Evangeliums als Schlüssel der Lektüre, which I am currently translating as “The Time-of-Composition Approach: The Historical Position of the Gospel as the Key to Reading”.

As usual I will begin with the English translation so that the (selective) grammatical commentary directly follows the German text.

I. Translation and German Text

The Glory of the Crucified One (trans. wmc): Decisive, however, is the hermeneutical insight that results from the two-level model: The Gospel of John is evidently consciously configured—not only in chapter 9—in such a way that the horizon of the time and history of Jesus is interwoven with the horizon of the author and his addressees. In this way the narrated (hi)story of Jesus becomes transparent in relation to the experiences of the addressees; conversely these experiences are interpreted in the light of the earthly history of the eternal Logos. This hermeneutical insight brings at the same time a fundamental qualification in relation to every pure carrying out of the time-of-composition reading approach. If in the Johannine text the narrative of circumstances from the spatial, temporal, and material horizon of the earthly Jesus connects itself with problems, theological insights, and language forms from the Johannine author and his addressees or is overlayed by them, then the Johannine text can be understood neither solely as a ‘historical’ account of the activity of Jesus nor exclusively as a mirror of events in the horizon of the addressee community or their history, but the two horizons are instead fused with each other in a complex and usually no longer clearly separable manner. Thus neither the historicizing nor the time of composition approach is hermeneutically sufficient, although both highlight in their own way the Johannine text’s connection to history.

Die Herrlichkeit des Gekreuzigten (p. 15-16): Entscheidend ist jedoch die hermeneutische Einsicht, die sich aus dem Zwei-Ebenen-Modell ergibt: Das Johannesevangelium ist offenbar bewußt – nicht nur in Kapitel 9 – so gestaltet , daß sich der Horizont der Zeit und Geschichte Jesu mit dem Horizont des Autors und seiner Addressaten verschränkt. Damit wird die erzählte Geschichte Jesu für die Erfahrungen des Adressaten transparent; umgekehrt werden diese Erfahrungen im Lichte der irdischen Geschichte des ewigen Logos gedeutet. Diese hermeneutische Einsicht bringt zugleich eine wesentliche Einschränkung gegenüber jeder reinen Durchführung des zeitgeschichtlichen Lektüreansatzes. Wenn sich im johanneischen Text die Erzählung von Begebenheiten aus dem räumlichen, zeitlichen und sachlichen Horizont des irdischen Jesus mit Problemen, theologischen Einsichten und Sprachformen aus dem Horizont des johanneischen Autors und seiner Adressaten verbinden oder von diesen überlagert wird, dann läßt sich der johanneische Text weder allein als ‘historischer’ Bericht über das Wirken Jesu noch ausschließlich als Spiegel von Vorgängen im Horizont der Adressatengemeinde oder ihrer Geschichte verstehen, vielmehr sind beide Horizonte in komplexer und meist nicht mehr klar auflösbarer Weise miteinander verschmolzen. Damit sind weder der historisierende Zugang noch der zeitgeschichtliche hermeneutisch suffizient, obgleich beide auf ihre Weise den Geschichtsbezug des johanneischen Text zur Geltung bringen.

II. (Selective) grammatical analysis

While it reads smoothly in German, this quotation presents many challenges for the translator or at least for this one. The first problem is presented by the name of the approach. How should one translate Der zeitgeschichtliche Zugang? It usually works to translate zeitgeschichtliche with “contemporary”, but unfortunately I don’t think the meaning of “The Contemporary Approach” is very clear. But perhaps it would work to translate it as “The Contemporary-Historical Approach”? For now I am favoring “The Time-of- Composition Approach” since this seems to bring out the intended meaning, but I am certainly open to a better solution should one be presented! Other tricky points include the translation of Ort in the heading (is “position” the best solution? Or would “place” or “location” be better? The problem with the latter solutions is that they could make the reader think of a geographical location when something broader is in view); sich … verschränkt, which I have rendered with “is interwoven with”; für die Erfahrung des Adressaten transparent, which I have rendered with “transparent in relation to the experience of the addressees” since the point seems to be that the experience of the addressees is able to find its way into the narrated history of Jesus; sachlichen Horizont (I am unsure what exactly is in view here and therefore uncertain whether “material horizon”, “thematic horizon”, “substantial horizon” or some other solution would work best); wesentliche (is “fundamental” the best solution here [I think it probably is] or would “essential” or “substantial” be better?), verbinden (it seems to me that the subject of this verb is die Erzählung, so I am confused as to why it is not verbindet; but perhaps sich verbinden is dependent on wird?); überlagert wird (is “overlayed” acceptable? Or would it be preferable to rework the sentence and write something like: “or if the latter is superimposed on the former”?); Vorgängen (is event the best solution here or would another option such as “processes”, “occurrences” or “affairs” be better?); zur Geltung bringen (would it be preferable to translate more woodenly and write “bring to bear” or is “highlight” preferable with a view to readability and clarity?).

III. Substantive analysis

While some aspects of Martyn’s two-level reading of John 9 have rightly been criticized (see e.g., herehere, and Frey’s discussion of Martyn in this same section), I do not think that weaknesses in Martyn’s particular version of the two level reading as such (cf. Andrew Lincoln, The Gospel According to Saint John, p. 47). Instead, I remain convinced of the validity and fruitfulness of a two-level reading of John 9 in particular and of the Gospel of John as a whole, and I find Frey’s nuanced articulation of this perspective to be especially helpful, both in its description of the interweaving or fusion of the two historical horizons and in its acknowledgment that it is often not possible to disentangle them clearly from each other.

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Michael Wolter, Martin Hengel, and the Titles of the Gospels

Happy New Year! With reference to an article by Simon Gathercole and Michael Kok’s new bookJames McGrath and Michael Barber have recently written substantial posts on the titles of the Gospels. As a contribution to this discussion, today’s key quotation will look at the way in which Michael Wolter differs from the influential viewpoint of Martin Hengel (cf. here and here) in his treatment of the probable date of these titles. I found this to be an especially fascinating quotation and am curious to learn what others think of the way that Wolter attempts to reverse Hengel’s logic at a key point. But before turning to Wolter, let me first provide a link to my freshly updated German Resource Tab!

Translation and German Text

The Gospel According to LukeThe formulations εὐαγγέλιον κατά + name or κατά + name are the same in all the gospels. It can be inferred from this that they arose and were attached to the respective works at the earliest (not “at the latest” as Hengel 1984, 47 thinks) at the point in time when at least two different gospels existed alongside one another. The superscripts had the task of distinguishing the gospels from one another and avoiding mix-ups. This procedure took place not earlier than the first half of the second century (see also Petersen 2006, 273), for in the superscripts the word εὐαγγέλιον is used as a designation for a literary work and elsewhere this meaning is relatively certain first in the middle of the second century in Justin (Apologia i 66.3) and at best perhaps already attested in the 120s in the Didache (cf. Kelhoffer 2004; see also section 6.1 below).

Das Lukasevangelium (p. 4): Die Formulierungen εὐαγγέλιον κατά + Name or κατά + Name sind in allen Evangelien gleich. Daraus lässt sich schließen, dass sie frühestens (nicht “spätestens”, wie Hengel* 47 meint) zu dem Zeitpunkt entstanden sind und den jeweiligen Werken beigegeben wurden, als mindestens zwei verschiedene Evangelienschriften nebeneinander existierten. Die Überschriften hatten die Aufgabe, die Evangelien voneinander zu unterscheiden und Verwechslungen zu vemeiden. Dieser Vorgang wird nicht früher als in der ersten Hälfte des 2. Jahrhunderts stattgefunden haben (s. auch Petersen* 273), denn in den Überschriften wird das Wort εὐαγγέλιον als Bezeichnung für ein literarisches Werk gebraucht, und einigermaßen sicher ist diese Bedeutung ansonsten erst in der Mitte des 2. Jahrhunderts bei Justin (1. Apol. 66,3) und höchstens vielleicht schon in den 120er Jahren in der Didache belegt (cf. dazu Kellhoffer, “How Soon…”; see auch u. Abschn. 6.1).

Grammatical Analysis: I will provide a detailed analysis of the crucial first two sentences as a model sentence. The plural subject is Die FormulierungenName. The verb is sind/are. Here in takes the dative allen Evangelien/all the Gospels. The predicate is gleich/the same. I usually render lassen + infinitive as “can be x-ed”: here lässt sich schliessen = it can be inferred + daraus/from this. dass/that indicates what can be inferred. sie = they (= Die Formulierungen … Name). The verbs entstanden sind/arose (or emerged) and beigegeben wurden/were attached (or added) move, as usual, to the end of the subordinate clause. frühestens = at the earliest. nicht “spätestens” = not “at the latest”. wie Hengel meint = “as Hengel thinks/says, believes/holds/reckons/fancies(not sure what is the best translation of meinen here; “fancies” seems to strong and “believes” has its drawbacks; but “says” or “reckons” might be better than “thinks”).  zu dem Zeitpunkt … als = “at the point in time … when“. The dative plural den jeweiligen Werken/”the respective works indicates” what they are attached to. mindestens zwei verschiedene/at least two different modifies the plural noun Evangelienschriften = gospels (gospels seemed better than gospel writings or gospels writings), which is the subject of existieren/existed. nebeneinander = alongside one another (or next to one another). As a rule I use “one another” when more than two things are in view and “each other” when only two things are in view (since two or more are in view I used “one another” here).

Substantive analysis: As I noted above, I am curious what others think about Wolter’s argument that the uniform character of the formulations indicates that they were attached “at the earliest” (Wolter) rather than “at the latest” (Hengel) when at least two different gospels existed alongside one another.

For other posts (in alphabetical order by last name) on the titles of the Gospels, see e.g. Michael Barber (cf. here), Nicholas Covington, Simon GathercoleBart Ehrmann (cf herehere, here), Matthew Ferguson, James McGrath, Michael Kok (here; cf. here), Michael Kruger (cf. here).

For my Roundup of “Top Posts Posts” from 2014, see here.

For a complete list of my blog posts, please see here.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! Unfortunately, I have found it increasingly difficult to write a new post each Monday, but I hope to be able to write at least two or three Monday blog posts each month. We’ll see. Best, Wayne.

Top 5 Posts in 2014

I have very much enjoyed my first year of blogging and even more being part of the blogosphere community! So thanks to all who have taken the time to read this blog and especially to those who have encouraged me along the way.

For the last Monday of the year, I thought it would be appropriate to provide links to my 5 most popular posts from 2014. For links to other “top posts in 2014″ posts, see here.

1. Jens Schröter on the character of every historical (re)presentation – with special guests Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne

2. Hengel and Schwemer on Historiography and the Messianic Claim of Jesus: with special guests Jens Schröter and Dale Allison

3. Gerd Theissen’s Critique of the New Perspective on Paul

4. Always Choose the Stronger Word and Beware of False Friends: A Translator’s Memories of Martin Hengel (1926-2009) and John Bowden (1935-2010)

5. Volker Rabens, “‘Schon jetzt’ und ‘noch mehr’: Gegenwart und Zukunft des Heils bei Paulus und in seinen Gemeinden” (JBTh 2013)

Other popular authors-topics-series included Schröter/HistoriographySchröter/Jesus of Nazareth, Käsemann-Baur-LincicumFrey/John, Schliesser/Pistis, Markschies/Theology-Institutions-Canon, Wolter/Quirinius, Wischmeyer/Bibelhermeneutik,  Bultmann-Käsemann/Righteousness,  Koch/Septuagint, Jüngel/LoveKonradt/Matthew, Paulus Handbuch Series, German Scholars Series.

I wish everyone a great 2015!

For three interviews with me about the BMSEC series, see here, here, and here.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! Unfortunately, I have found it increasingly difficult to write a new post each Monday, but I hope to be able to write at least two or three Monday blog posts each month. We’ll see. Best, Wayne.

Matthias Konradt on Jesus as Son of God by Birth and Son of David by Adoption

In today’s post I will share another key quotation from this year’s BMSEC volume, namely Matthias Konradt‘s book Israel, Church, and the Gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew, which has been translated with great precision and elegance by Kathleen Ess. For my other posts on this book, see here

Since it is nearly Christmas, I have chosen a quotation from Konradt’s discussion of Matthew 1, and since it is rather long, I have decided to forgo my usual grammatical analysis. (For a related post on Romans 1.4, see Chris Tilling/Tom Wright here; cf. also Jens Schröter, From Jesus to the New Testament, p. 233, which compares Rom 1:3-4 and Acts 13.32-34, and Michael Wolter, The Gospel According to Luke, which develops a similar line of argument as Konradt in relation to Luke 1.32).

Israel, Church, and the Gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew (p. 28-29; trans. K. Ess): With the correlation of Jesus’ divine and Davidic heritage that comes to light here—Jesus is, so to speak, the Son of God by birth, and the Son of David by “adoption”—Matthew is to be distinguished from other such correlations found in early Christian texts. In the Jewish-Christian tradition behind Rom 1.3-4, Jesus’ double sonship appears to be fixed in a two-level Christology, in which Jesus’ earthly mission is linked with his status as the Son of David, while his status as the Son of God is connected with his exaltation in the resurrection. Similarly, in conjunction with a quotation from Ps 2.7, Acts 13.33-34 (cf. Acts 13.23) links Jesus the Son of David’s divine sonship with his resurrection. In Ps 2.7 itself, God accepts as his son the king who sits on the throne of David in the sense of an “adoption” procedure (cf. Ps 89.27-28; 2 Sam 7.14). In Matt 1, however, we see an inversion of this process: rather than Jesus the Son of David being adopted as the Son of God, Jesus the Son of God is adopted as the Son of David. The status as Son of God, which expresses Jesus’ unique proximity to and affinity with God, takes precedence and appears as the overarching identity of Jesus. This appears, at first glance, to confirm Kingsbury’s approach. But Matthew does not thereby seek to diminish the value of the status as Son of David. Matthew 1 does not intend to express that Jesus is the Son of God and not just a son of David. Rather, the emphasis here lies on the assertion that Jesus the Son of God is integrated into the history of God’s promises to Israel and first makes his appearance as the Son of David—that is, he first has to fulfill the task that is assigned to him as the messianic Son of David. In other words, with the motif of the Davidic sonship, the fulfillment of the promises of salvation given to Israel emerges already in Matt 1 as a principal aspect of Jesus’ mission. One fundamentally misses the point of Matthew’s conception if the significance of Jesus’ divine sonship is pitted against that of his Davidic sonship. Indeed, already in Matt 1, the two sonships are positively correlated, whereby Matthew, as we have seen, takes up and modifies the Old Testament and Early Jewish tradition. At the same time, the inversion of the process of adoption goes hand in hand with the fact that Jesus’ status as the Son of God encompasses other and more extensive aspects than his Davidic sonship. The second framing text (22.41-46), where Jesus’ two sonships are again made the central theme, suggests this very idea. On the other hand, we must remain mindful of the fact that both titles form one conceptual nexus: behind Jesus’ appearance as Son of David lies his dignity and majesty as the Son of God, and conversely, the earthly ministry of the Son of God is centrally defined by the task assigned to him as the Davidic Messiah.

Israel, Kirche und die Völker im Matthäusevangelium (p. 30): Mit der hier zutage tretenden Zuordnung von Gottes- und Davidssohnschaft Jesu—Jesus is sozusagen von Geburt an Sohn Gottes, während er zum Sohn Davids durch Adoption wird—unterscheidet sich Matthäus von anderen Zuordnungen, die in frühchristlichen Texten griefbar sind. So erscheinen Davids- und Gottessohnschaft Jesu in der Röm 1,3f zugrunde liegenden judenchristlichen Tradition in eine Zweistufenchristologie eingespannt, in der Jesu irdisches Wirken unter dem Vorzeichen seiner Davidssohnschaft steht, während seine Gottessohnschaft mit seiner Erhöhung bei der Auferstehung verbunden erscheint. Ähnlich verknüpft Apg 13,33f im Zusammenhang einer Zitation von Ps 2,7 die Gottessohnschaft des Davidssohns Jesu (vgl. Apg 13,23) mit dessen Auferweckung. Blickt man auf Ps 2,7 selbst, so geht es hier darum, dass Gott den König auf dem Throne Davids im Sinne eines Adoptionsvorgangs als seinen Sohn annimmt (cf. Ps 89, 27f; 2Sam 7,14). In Mt 1 liegt dagegen ein umgekehrter Vorgang vor: Nicht der Davidssohn Jesus wird als Gottesohn adoptiert, sondern der Gottessohn Jesus als Davidssohn. Die Gottessohnschaft, die Jesu einzigartige Nähe zu und Verbundenheit mit Gott zum Ausdruck bringt, geht voran und erscheint als übergreifende Identität Jesu. Dies scheint prima facie Kingsburys Ansatz zu bestätigen. Aber Matthäus sucht damit gerade nicht die Davidssohnschaft abzuwerten. Aussageintention von Mt 1 ist nicht, dass Jesus nicht bloß Daviddsohn, sondern Gottessohn ist. Der Ton liegt hier vielmehr darauf, dass der Gottessohn Jesus in die Verheißungsgeschichte Gottes mit Israel eingestellt wird und zunächst wesentlich als Davidssohn, d.h. in seiner ihm als Davidssohn zukommenden Aufgabe in Erscheinung tritt. Anders gesagt: Mit dem Motiv der Davidssohnschaft lässt schon Mt 1 die Erfüllung der Israel gegebenen Heilsverheißungen als zentrales Moment der Sendung Jesu hervortreten. Man verfehlt Matthäus’ Konzeption grundegend, wenn man die Bedeutung von Davids- und Gottessohnschaft gegeneinander ausspielt. Schon in Mt 1 sind sie vielmehr positiv einander zugeordnet, womit Matthäus, wie gesehen, alttestamentlich-frühjüdische Tradition modifiziert aufnimmt. Davon bleibt unbenommen, dass die Inversion des Adoptionsvorgang damit einhergeht, dass die Gottessohnschaft Jesu noch andere und weiterreichende Aspekte umfasst als die Davidsohnschaft. Der zweite ‘Rahmentext’ 22,41-46, in dem Davids- und Gottessohnschaft Jesu erneut gemeinsam thematisiert werden, deuten ebendies an. Umgekehrt ist aber eben nicht weniger zu beachten, dass beide Titel einen konzeptionellen Zusammenhang bilden: Hinter Jesu Auftreten als Davidsohn steht seine Würde als Gottessohn, und umgekehrt ist das irdische Wirken des Gottessohn zentral durch die ihm als davidischem Messias zukommende Aufgabe bestimmt.

Substantive analysis

I like three things about this quotation. First, I think Konradt convincingly points out that in Matthew Jesus the Son of God is “adopted” as Son of David rather than vice versa. Secondly, I think he effectively shows both the problem with pitting the two sonships against each other and the value of fleshing out the particular associations of each sonship. Finally, while giving proper attention to the distinctive aspects of each sonship, I think Konradt rightly stresses the fact that the two titles belong to one conceptual nexus, so that they must be held together and allowed to mutually inform each other.

Facebook Page: To receive notifications of future blog posts, please subscribe to this blog and/or like my facebook page here.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! Unfortunately, I have found it increasingly difficult to write a new post each Monday, but I hope to be able to write at least two or three Monday blog posts each month. We’ll see. Best, Wayne.

Eberhard Jüngel: Love is Still Able to be Intensified

As a preface to today’s post, let me note that I have recently discovered five promising German resources, which may also be of interest to readers of this blog: (1) In July 2015 the Johannes Guttenberg Universität Mainz will be hosting an International Summerschool on German (and) Theology; (2) the Conversational Koine Institute has announced that it will be offering a new Conversational German Class; (3)  the Goethe Institut has recently launched an online game entitled Lern Deutsch; (4) Alexander Sager has started a new blog on raising children bilingually, (5) finally, some German TV recommendations can be found here.

Today’s key quotation is taken from a recent interview with Eberhard Jüngel, which my friend Jay Weldon kindly drew to my attention.

German Text

Ich wende mich gegen eine Rede vom Jenseits, in dem alles “totaliter aliter”, in dem alles total anders ist. Dann müsste man ja schweigen. Das ist aber nicht die Einstellung der Heiligen Schrift. Hier greift das Modell der Analogie: Nicht “totaliter aliter”, wohl aber wird es “aliter”, also anders sein. Aber wie? Es gibt schon hier auf der Erde das Phänomen der Liebe in unterschiedlichster Gestalt. Weh dem Menschen, der das nie erfährt. Die Liebe, die uns widerfährt, wenn wir Gott von Angesicht zu Angesicht sehen, ist auch Liebe – aber gesteigert. Es gibt Phänomene hier in Gottes Schöpfung, die sind in der Ewigkeit steigerungsfähig: Lieben, Loben, Danken, Gemeinschaft.

English Translation

I am opposed to a speech about the beyond in which everything is “totaliter aliter“, in which everything is totally different. Then one would actually have to be silent. But this is not the outlook of Holy Scripture. Here the model of analogy comes into play: Not “totaliter aliter“, but it will be “aliter“, i.e. different. But how? There exists already here on earth the phenomenon of love in the most different forms. Woe to the person who has never experienced this. The love that befalls us when we we see God face to face is also love—but intensified. There are phenomena here in God’s creation that are able to be intensified in eternity: love, praise, thanksgiving, fellowship.

Selective grammatical analysis

For Jenseits I went with “the beyond” rather than “the hereafter”, since the latter shifts the force from place to time. In the second sentence I considered leaving ja untranslated but decided to render it with “actually’, which is hopefully on target. In sentence three I struggled with Einstellung and settled on “outlook” rather than “attitude” or “mindset”. I was uncertain how to render greift but opted for “comes into play”, which hopefully captures the sense. I am often uncertain about the force of wohl: sometimes it means “probably” but sometimes it seems to have a strengthening force so that the meaning is something like “surely”; I think the latter may be the case here, but I decided to leave it untranslated since the force was somewhat unclear to me. Though Gestalt is singular it seemed necessary to write “in the most different forms”. I was not exactly sure how to render das, which I translated as “this”, in the phrase der das nie erfährt. I am not sure if I have made the best choice in the translation of the key word gesteigert/steigerungsfähig: I settled on “intensified”/”able to be intensified”, but perhaps another alternative would be better such as “increased”/”able to be increased”? I chose to render Gemeinschaft with “fellowship”, though “community” might be preferable here.

Substantive analysis

I like this quotation, which I think conveys well something of the manner and content of Jüngel’s thinking. It allows one’s hopes for the world to come to extend beyond what one knows and experiences in this life, while connecting it to the best of what we experience in God’s good creation.

For more on Eberhard Jüngel, see here.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! Unfortunately, I have found it increasingly difficult to write a new post each Monday, but I hope to be able to write at least two or three Monday blog posts each month. We’ll see. Best, Wayne.

Matthias Konradt on the Soteriological Significance of Jesus’s Death in Matthew

In today’s post I will look at another key quotation from this year’s BMSEC volume, namely Matthias Konradt‘s book Israel, Church, and the Gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew, which has been translated with great precision and elegance by Kathleen Ess. For my other posts on this book, see here.

As usual I will begin with the English translation so that the selective grammatical analysis can directly follow the German text.

Translation and Text

Israel, Church, and the Gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew (p. 298; trans. K. Ess, bracketed material added by W. Coppins): While the soteriological dimension of the Matthean model of Jesus’ divine sonship is made clear already in 1.18-25 as well as in the pericope of Jesus’ walk across the water in 14.22-33, this dimension is emphatically reinforced in the Passion Narrative. Matthew concisely expresses the soteriological significance of Jesus’ death by adding εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν [for the forgiveness of sins] to the words of institution in 26.28. Matthew left out these very words in the portrayal of John the Baptist, in contrast with Mark 1.4. In Matthew, the forgiveness of sins is linked not with the baptism of John but with Jesus’ death. In the preceding narrative, this soteriological significance is reflected in the authority of the Son of Man to forgive sins in 9.6, as well as Jesus’ ministry to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” in general. Both elements together develop the basic christological statement of 1.21: “For Matthew the forgiveness of sins stands at the center of Jesus’ mission.” The connection between 1.21 and Jesus’ passion is not only achieved through 26.28 but also further substantiated in that the name Jesus, which in 1.21 is explained in the statement of salvation, is inserted in the titulus crucis in 27.37: the Markan ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων [the king of the Jews] becomes in Matthew οὗτός ἐστιν Ἰησοῦς ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων [this is Jesus the king of the Jews]. It is plausible to assume that Matthew here creates an intentional reference to the interpretation of the name in 1.21, and thereby, in line with 26.28, connects Jesus’ death with the forgiveness of sins.

* The quoted sentence is from the translation of U. Luz’ commentary on Matthew 21-28 (p. 381 = p. 116 in vol 4 of the German version).

Israel, Kirche und die Völker im Matthäusevangelium (p. 320): Wurde bereits in 1.18-25 sowie durch die Seewandelperikope in 14.22-33 die soteriologische Dimension der mattäischen Profilierung der Gottessohnschaft Jesu deutlich, so wird dies durch die Passionserzählung mit Nachdruck untermauert. Die soteriologische Bedeutung des Todes Jesu findet bei Matthäus einen konzisen Ausdruck in der Hinzufügung von εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν im Kelchwort in 26.28. Ebendiese Worte hat Matthäus bei der Präsentation des Täufers gegenüber Mk 1,4 ausgelassen. Sündenvergebung wird von Matthäus nicht schon an die Johannestaufe, sondern an den Tod Jesu gebunden. In der vorangehenden Erzählung steht dem in 9,6 die Vollmacht des Menschensohns zur Vergebung der Sünden wie überhaupt die Zuwendung Jesu zu den “verlorenen Schafen des Hauses Israel” zur Seite. Beides zusammen entfaltet die christologische Basis-aussage von 1,21. “Die Vergebung der Sünden ist für Matthäus das Zentrum der Sendung Jesu”. Die Verbindung zwischen 1,21 und der Passion Jesu erfolgt dabei nicht allein durch 26.28, sondern wird noch dadurch untermauert, dass der Name “Jesus”, der in 1,21 durch die Rettungsaussage erläutert wird, im titulus crucis in 27,37 eingefügt ist: Aus dem markinischen ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων wird bei Matthäus οὗτός ἐστιν Ἰησοῦς ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων. Die Annahme liegt nahe, dass Matthäus hier einen gezielten Rückvereis auf die Namensdeutung in 1,21 setzt und damit ganz auf der Linie von 26,28 den Tod Jesu als Ort der Sündenvergebung ausweist.

Grammatical Analysis

Rather than providing a selective analysis of the entire passage, let me now treat the last two sentences in detail as a model sentence: Die Verbindung … Jesu forms the subject of the verb erfolgt. Die Verbindung = the connection; zwischen = between + dative (1.21 und der Passion/the passion); Jesu is genitive (of Jesus); K. Ess has translated erfolgt with “is … achieved” rather than adopting a more wooden solution such as “takes place”. She appears to have left dabei untranslated (as I often do). nicht allein = not only. durch 26.28 = through 26.28 (it might have been preferable to write “is achieved not only through 26.28). sondern = but. I like the translation “is substantiated” for wird untermauert. She has rendered sondern … noch as “but also further”, which works well, since “not only” needs to be followed by “but also” in English. dadurch … dass has been translated with “in that”, which works well, though I might have gone with “but is further substantiated also by the fact that”. der Name Jesus / the name Jesus is the subject. It is modified by the non-defining relative clause der … wird: der = which; as usual the verb wird erläutert is moved to the end of the subordinate clause; durch die Rettungsaussage (acc) = “by the statement of salvation”. The verb of the main sentence, eingefügt ist has been moved to the end of the subordinate clause introduced by dass: I might have translated it with “has been inserted” rather than “is inserted” though I think it works well as it stands. In the German I would have expected (no doubt incorrectly!) the accusative (into the titulus crucis) rather than the dative im titulus crucis, which is correctly translated as “in the titulus crucis“. Aus X wird Y can be translated as “X becomes Y” (as K. Ess has done here). I always struggle with the translation of liegt nahe, and I might have rendered this phrase as “The assumption is suggested that” or “the assumption lies close at hand that”. But I much prefer K. Ess’s translation of this phrase as “It is plausible to assume”: dass introduces what is being assumed; that Matthäus … setzt und … ausweist. The object of setzt/creates is einen gezielten Rückverweis/an intentional reference, which is probably better than adopting a more expansive solution such as “an intentional reference back”. auf = to + die Namensdeutung/the interpretation of the name (accusative). damit is always troublesome. As K. Ess has done, I often translate it with “thereby”, which I think works well here, though I have increasingly begun to leave it untranslated or use “in this way”. K. Ess has left ganz untranslated, writing “in line with 26.28″ rather than adopting a more cumbersome solution such as “completely in line with”. She has translated the last part of the sentence freely with “connected the death of Jesus with the forgiveness of sins” rather than adopting a more wooden translation such as “and thereby designated the death of Jesus as (the) place of the forgiveness of sins”, which might be preferable insofar as it retains the emphasis on place in the German.

Substantive analysis

I found this quotation to be a wonderfully compact presentation of the soteriological significance of Jesus’ ministry and death in Matthew. And for me at least Konradt’s interpretation of the significance of Matthew’s addition of Jesus’ name to the titulus was both convincing and new (it does not, however, appear to be a new idea as such; in his footnote to this point, Konradt writes: Compare Senior 1985, 131; Heil 1991a, 80; Luck 1993, 305; Repschinksi 2006, 264 (= CBQ 68); and Herzer 2009, 139).

Let me conclude this post by thanking Jason Maston again for interviewing me last week about the BMSEC series at Dunelm Road!

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! Unfortunately, I have found it increasingly difficult to write a new post each Monday, but I hope to be able to write at least two or three Monday blog posts each month. We’ll see. Best, Wayne.