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Theological Notebook--Holy Spirit From Second Temple Judaism to Augustine Class Notes

Here are some more notes, perhaps a little harder to follow, from last Wednesday's continuing seminar on the Holy Spirit. Here we were getting into the material in Luke and noting that there existed in Luke a far greater ambivalence regarding the Holy Spirit than is usually understood in a modern reading. It seems possible, for example, that the angel Gabriel was understood in an originally Jewish Christian reading as perhaps being the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, as there is a significant amount of earlier Jewish material associating or conflating the two. That makes the drama for the Annunciation read differently. (This can all be found in the great scholar Jean Cardinal Daniélou's book The Theology of Jewish Christianity, for which I'm still searching for a used copy of this out-of-print classic.) We became quite interested in the language of Mary being "overshadowed" by "the Most High" and that the Holy Spirit would "come upon" her, and we launched into a search in earlier Jewish literature for uses of these or similar words or phrases, suspecting that we would most likely find them in passages of the "glory" of God in the Temple, or Tabernacle, or on the Ark of the Covenant. But suffice it to say, it seems that angelic conceptions of the Holy Spirit (or "angelomorphic" for those of you learning the vocabulary!) may still be found in the New Testament in Luke (and I think I've seen it the beginning of Revelation, too).

15 September 2004
THEO 383 Holy Spirit…
Professor Michel René Barnes
Notes by Bogdan Bucur

Summary ("this is where we are"):
The Spirit is …
Instrument in creation
Life-giving ("we have breath from Breath, x from X," etc)
Led Israelites (Isa 63, MT)
Reveals, causes prophecy
Purifies, is repulsed by impurity
Puts Law "on" our hearts
Gift of HSp = salvation and election
Communal gift if HSp signal end-time

Isa 63:10, MT: "holy spirit" = that angel

Traditional Scholarship

Fusion of El and YHWH: circa 1000 BCE
Result: Jewish monotheism with occasional anachronistic expressions

Dr. Barnes
Fusion of El and YHWH: circa 650-500 BCE
Result: not entirely successful, two strands continue to exist:
1.) "El Elyon = YHWH" dominates, but
2.) "YHWH ben El Elyon" remains a significant minority position.
- the theology of exalted patriarchs + insistence on visions fits under 2.)
- 1) and 2) appear in mixed forms!

- the bulk of OT is not born after the fusion was completed, but represents an ongoing polemical process
- when reading the Bible, "Son of the Most High" passages should be taken seriously for what they say.

Exegetical Crises:
# 1 ("Matrix"): 650-500 BCE
# 2 ("Matrix Reloaded"): 200 BCE – 200 CE
"Hard monotheism" = an exegetical solution
- as opposed to "soft monotheism" (El + YHWH)
Christian ("binitarian") monotheism = another exegetical solution
("the elegant solution," Dr. Barnes)

Early Christology continues an old Jewish structure
Luke consistently applies this designation to Christ!
In light of the "YHWH ben El Elyon" theology, we may conclude that Luke has the same understanding of Christ as John: Christ is He-who-is (note "ego eimi"), the God of Israel. Precisely "the Son of El Elyon," YHWH!


Sources of Pneumatology:
- Annunciation: Luke (but less developed also in Mat, isn't it?)
- Baptism in the Jordan: all Gospels (John indirectly)
- Pentecost: contrary to what we may think today, it did not contribute significantly to reflection on the HSp. Cause: can be easily read as a "Stoic epiphany" (Dr. Barnes).

Luke 1:35
Q 1: "Power" = HSp?
- yes, if we have Hebrew parallelism;
- yes, if Luke wants to use a Greek fem. (_______) for a Hebrew feminine (ruach)
- no, according to 2nd-century authors: Power = Logos
Q 2: Gabriel = HSp?
- possible, since "spirit" language is used for angels;
Q 3: "overshadowing" = fertilization? ("Power" = potency?)
Watchers myth; the erotic adventures of Zeus et al.
Luke 20:35-37 (angels do not marry) probably means to prevent understanding the annunciation as a fertilization.
Probably not: Temple language is quite transparent: "overshadowing" suggests the divine presence above the mercy-seat, the Glory in the temple, perhaps even the Spirit over the Genesis waters.

Tags: barnes, gospels, holy spirit course, jewish mysticism, theological notebook

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