22 September 2004
THEO 383 Holy Spirit from Second Temple Judaism to Augustine
Professor Michel René Barnes
Notes by Dragos A. Giulea
Topic of the day:
The Ascension of Isaiah and the Two Seraphim Tradition
The central terms in Greek: episkiazo (to overshadow) and eperchomai (to come upon).
Diagram of the interpretative traditions on angelomorphic pneumatology:
Exodus14:19; 23:20 -----> Isaiah 63:8-13 ----->Acts 8
Exodus14:19; 23:20 ----------------------------> Luke 4
[Gabriel] Luke 1:35
Is. 63 identified with the Holy Spirit the angel who guided Israel in the wilderness (Exodus)
In Luke there are two different ways of speaking about spirit:
1) Acts 8 follows Isaiah 63 in identifying spirit and angel; this case is an echo to Exodus.
2) Lk.1:35: the identification of the spirit with the angel is difficult, even possible in some interpretative traditions: (The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.) This tradition presents, at the same time, old and new aspects. Another instance: the spirit who bears Jesus.
"Two Angels" (Exodus 29:19-20)
There are three different trajectories on the two angels:
1) Ascension of Isaiah: both angels enthroned in heaven as Angel of the Son and the Angel of the Spirit;
2) Exegetical: Philo, Irenaeus, and Origen. Origen's possible sources: A) Philo; B) a Jewish Christian; C) a rabbi.
3) Elkasai: consort pneumatology.
Another trajectory can be present in Psalm 33: God's Word and Breath:
Two Agents = Word + Breath
Ascension of Isaiah shows two different aspects:
on the one hand, it is not something new, the author making continuously appeal to the scripture;
on the other hand, expresses the two-angel theology without reference to the traditional interpretation which does not consider Isaiah 6:2 (as Asc.Is. does) as referring to the two angels;
They have been, therefore, two Jewish Christian traditions (Asc.Is. and Elkasai) and a new interpretative articulation, of Greek expression (Irenaeus / Origen).
A very interesting case for angelomorphic theology seems to be docetism: according to docetic view, Christ was an angel who appeared, seemed to be a man. In fact, docetism is angelomorphism: a generic expression for angelic Christ. Jesus was not a hologram, but an angel. There is a good parallel in the Book of Tobit where there is description of an angel who makes miracles, heals, casts out demons, etc.
Discussion on the exegetical trajectories for Numbers 22-24 and, generally, on the angel or spirit of prophesy.
Philo & Josephus: cases of Greco-Roman pneumatology
Luke, who generally was a great Hellenizer, has a different spirit-angelology: see the above discussion on Acts and Lk.1:35.
In the interwar period there were configured two scholarly positions on the problem of neo-testamentary language:
in Leiengang it was an old-testamentary language
as a reaction, Buchse argued considering emblematic the language of LXX
Dr. Barnes' reaction: we recognize what we know and what is familiar. The best is to find what really is in the text.
Final discussion on identifying angels with the Greek daemons:
The logic of this fact has to reside in the intermediary status of the daemon – an intermediary being between gods and humans, without access into the realm of gods.
In this case, there are two different situations:
1) If God = Angel
God comes down
God can be seen.
2) If an angel < God
not a theophany
God does not come down,
he sends an angel (< God)
God cannot be seen, but heard,
the angel can be seen.
(see Philo & Josephus equivalence between angels and the Greek daemons)