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Theological Notebook--Holy Spirit from Second Temple Judaism to Augustine Notes

8 September 2004
THEO 383 Holy Spirit…
Professor Michel René Barnes
Notes by Michael Harris

High Angelology: We noted that the distinction between God and angels is not always clear.
Exegetical crisis: Christianity either inherits or solves a crisis in Judaism regarding the doctrine of God. (For a full discussion, see Mr. Novak’s excellent notes of 1 September 2004.)

Bold Pronouncement: Class Agenda
1. Spirit as creator (esp. as life giver)
2. Angelomorphic Pneumatology
a. Gen 1:2
b. Is. 63:8-10
Holy Spirit = Angel (Angel of the Presence, etc)

The Holy Spirit is related to creation.
Philo is an example of the belief that creation is a distinctly divine act. He believes that God by nature creates, and is always creating.
Therefore, if we find a tradition calling the Holy Spirit creator, this puts HS into the category of God.

Dr Barnes displays “dazzling humility” and informs the class that he has developed a reputation for revealing unacknowledged narratives at work in systematics. He is now spreading to other fields. He has long known that NT scholarship is full of Bultmannian presuppositions, but is now learning that OT scholarship is worse, developing ideological presuppositions and then forcing them upon everyone.

Genesis 1 (DSS) and Job 33:4 say nothing about YHWH, and so will be considered to be early. [These two were laid out side by side--I don't know how to make Live Journal do that--Mike]

Gen. 1:1-2
In the beginning God created
the heaven and the earth.
… and the Spirit of God (A)
was hovering over the (B)
face of the waters.

Job 33:4
The spirit of God has made me, (A)
and the breath of the Almighty (B)
gives me life

Somewhat later, Psalm 33:6 and 104:30 [Likewise, these two are intended for comparison, with the two Genesis and Job texts above]

Ps 33:6 (MT)**
By the Word of the Lord
the heavens were spread out,
And by the Spirit of His mouth
all their power.

Ps. 104:30 (MT)**
When thou sendest forth thy Spirit,
they are created;
and thou renewest the face of the ground.

After this, the DSS Isaiah text. In the earlier DSS, this is a two powers text, not a Yahwist text, as in MT. This is striking because 2 Isaiah is supposed to be the heart of Jewish monotheism.

Isaiah 42:5 (DSS)
Thus says the God (ha-el) and God (elohiym)
the creator of the heavens,
and the earth, and that which comes out of it
the Giver of breath (neshamah) to the people upon it, and spirit (ruah) to those walking in it:

The Targumim represent the latest phase in our sequence. The Targumim share an interesting trait. The “spirit” becomes a spirit of mercy or merciful spirit blowing from before the Lord. The opinion of the editors is that this is an attempt to diminish the anthropomorphism of the text.

Tg Ps.-J* Gen. 1:1-2
At the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth…
a merciful wind from before
God was blowing over the
the surface of the water.

Tg Nf* Gen. 1:1-2
From the beginning with wisdom the Memra
of the Lord created and formed the heavens
and the earth… and a spirit of mercy from
before the Lord was blowing over the surface
of the water.

Tg Onc* Gen. 1:1-2
In antiquity the Lord created
the heavens and the earth…
[and a wind] from before the
Lord was blowing on the
surface of the water.

* = Not in a chronological order or sequence
** = Chronological priority is not based upon MT versus DSS texts.

These are to be thought of as historically distinctive expressions, developing diachronically.

Genesis and Job contain “Spirit of God” language, and represent the earliest strata of pneumatology: Spirit Gives Life

Job 33:4 splits into two halves (labeled above). (A) relates to Gen 1:2, 1:25. (Spirit of God makes me). (B) on the other hand is related to Gen 2:7. Breath of the Almighty gives me life = then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (RSV=MT)

Psalm Material: Psalm 104
The first phrase (When thou sendest thy Holy Spirit, they are created) could refer to Gen 1:2, but the second, (face of the ground) reminds us of Gen 2:7 as well. (Adam made from dust = face of the ground)
Third option, Noah: Gen 5:7 “face of the ground” destroyed, 8:13 “face of the ground was dry.”

Note: during the search for the Noah reference, Mr. Harris, one of the resident Evangelical Protestants, was humbled by a Catholic, who found the correct reference first. “That goes in the notes!” Dr Barnes declared, and here it is. -MDH

In light of the continuing association between the HS and water, we can say that Psalm 104 is “about” Noah (receding of the waters), which is about Genesis 1&2. There is a "circular" Hermeneutical Movement between these texts:

Gen 1:2
Gen 1&2

Psalm 104

Gen 8:9&11

Genesis 1 HS material may be only a small part of the greater tradition behind it. The spirit clause could be dropped from the paragraph w/o loss of sense, but it is there, representing something.

Psalm 33, (with Judith and Baruch) [again, to be considered "side by side"]

Judith 16:14*
Let all thy creatures serve thee,
for thou didst speak, and they were made.
Thou didst send forth thy Spirit,
and it formed them….

Second Baruch 21:4*
'O you that have made the earth, hear me,
that have fixed the firmament by the Word,
and have made firm the height of the heaven by the Spirit,

Judith and 2 Baruch seem to depend upon Psalm 33 in the emphasis on the Word, speaking aspect of creation. There is a change of verb, however. In Psalm 33 the HS “spreads out” creation. In Judith this changes to “speak” and in 2 Baruch “fix.” Mr. Novak points out that although they are different, all are constructive.

Two Points from Psalms:
1 There is more to the idea in Genesis 1:2b than is extant
2 “Sending language is important for the Spirit in creation
If you use Noah as the interpretive matrix, this begins to become apparent.

1. All three Targumim are doing something to nail down Gen 1:1-2.
Early Christianity identifies en arche (Greek: "In the beginning") with the Son.
Philo also has an interest in en arche.

2. They also consistently downplay “Spirit of God.” You find no hint of this, instead you get a merciful spirit from God. They may be trying to roll back Jewish pneumatology.

Novak: Trypho seems to use HS in context of inspiration, but you get no sense that there is a need to roll back his pneumatology.
Barnes: Inspiration is the context they allow it in, This is a creation context so there is a problem. Increase HS role in prophecy, reduce in creation. Trypho and Justin are able to agree so long as they are talking about inspiration of prophecy.

Genesis 1:2b is a minimalist statement of a strong belief regarding the Spirit in creation.
From this come later materials that we looked at, which are related to Gen 1:2b, but seem to be aware of more material that didn’t show up there. This material builds and continues through the Isaiah material, but drops completely out in the Targumim. Why? Perhaps they have become hypersensitive monotheists, but there are other options and nothing yet conclusive for any.

Another thing that is going on is the struggle between Torah and Wisdom based Judaism (Deut 4). This enduring conflict may also be behind the Targumic move.

As advertised on the first day of class, we end class without answering the questions.

Tags: barnes, holy spirit course, jewish mysticism, judaism, patristics

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