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

13 September 2004
Theo 383: Holy Spirit from Second Temple Judaism to Augustine
Dr. Michel René Barnes
Notes by Anthony Briggman


The vast majority of this day’s discussion was a continuation from the previous class. Dr. Barnes desired to address 3 points with regard to the Holy Spirit in the early common era in response to discussion that began, but was not concluded on September 8.

The Holy Spirit in the Early Common Era

1. Targums (Neofiti, Ps.-Jonathan, Onqelos)

We observed last week that the Targums do not render the text of Gen 1:2b as the “Spirit of God moved over the water” (Brenton’s LXX), but rather as something along the lines of “air/wind blowing over the face of the waters.”

Mr. Bucur remained curious, and so investigated the matter a bit more extensively. He found that while the nouns remain ruah, the verbs in the Targum are no longer “hovering,” but are now “blowing.” So, in response to the verbal change, ruah in the Targums is translated as “air/wind” instead of as “spirit.”

2. From 200 BCE to 200 CE a factor begins to limit the role of the Spirit in Judaism
4 observations have lead us to this conclusion:

a) Targums – as noted in the previous point the Targums moved away from the theological tradition of the Spirit as involved in creation (the tradition to which Gen 1:2b alludes). In addition, the Targums actually insert “Holy Spirit” into the MT manuscripts (where H.S. did not previously exist) in passages that support the H.S. as involved in prophecy. We will later note that 2 tracks existed in Judaism: 1) a pneumatology of creation (which includes prophecy); 2) a pneumatology of prophecy (which excludes creation).
b) In Philo and Josephus the Spirit is still involved in prophecy, which corresponds to the pneumatology that we find in the Targums.
c) Philo, in De Opificio Mundi (On the Creation of the World), completely ignores the Spirit in his comments on Gen 1:2b. Elsewhere, he declares that both light and spirit are created. Clearly, Philo has a low pneumatology.
d) Jubilees – as with Philo, the Spirit is not mentioned at all with regard to Gen 1:2b.



What does this mean? If in Gen 1:2b we see the tip of the iceberg of an early creation pneumatology, Judaism clamps-down upon this pneumatology by the time of the early common era. So that today, all we have left is the tip of the iceberg (which survived the global warming that must have occurred from 200 to 200) in Gen 1:2b, and some passages in the Psalms and Job that seem to allude to Gen 1:2b or Gen 2:7. While it turned from this creation pneumatology, Judaism continued to hold to a prophecy pneumatology.

So, we likely had two trajectories present in Judaism. First, a “P” trajectory which understood the Spirit as behind prophecy (Jubilees, Philo, Targums); second, a “C” trajectory which understood the Spirit as creator, or at least involved in creation (Judith, 2 Baruch, DSS). The P tradition excluded creation theology of the Spirit, while the C tradition did not exclude prophecy theology of the Spirit (the creation texts also contain points with regard to prophecy). At some point, both traditions encountered Christianity, and perhaps both traditions are found in Christianity.

Menzies argues that Luke represents the P tradition, but does not recognize the exclusivism with regard to creation that the P tradition normally contains. However, it should be noted that Menzies is Pentecostal, so he naturally wants to show Luke as oriented toward prophecy.

3. Angelomorphic Pneumatology (see handout on Isa 63-9-14, 48:16)

Dr. Barnes began this discussion by noting that his grand-daughter possesses the spirit of Thecla, as did Macrina. Three observations may be inferred from this declaration: 1) Despite usually successful attempts to conceal it, Dr. Barnes believes in reincarnation; 2) Dr. Barnes believes that his grand-daughter is the most wonderful little girl in the world; 3) Dr. Barnes would like to see his wonderful little girl join a convent when she grows up. Since it seems to me that nearly every little girl begins to plan her wedding at the age of 5, she may object to this point in a little while.

Dr. Barnes desired to address to points/things with regard to this topic:
1) What does Isa 63:9-14 say?
2) What is the context of this passage – how is it utilized?

1) What does Isa 63:9-14 say?
This is the classic passage for angelomorphic theology. Here is the syllogism:
a) The angel of his presence is functionally equivalent to the angel of the Lord (Ex 3:2)
b) The one who is referred to as the angel of his presence, is then referred to as his holy spirit (H.S. mentioned twice)
c) This one is then referred to as the spirit of the Lord
d) Therefore --> this is the classic example of angelomorphic pneumatology



The DSS preserves the reading of this passage, which keeps with the DSS’ theological perspective that we have observed. The LXX explicitly cuts out the angelic material, leaving the Holy Spirit alone. This is important since the LXX was the early church’s OT – Tertullian uses the LXX to crush angelomorphic pneumatology, for Tertullian the being was not an angel, it was the H.S.

Isaiah 48:16 is another OT pneumatology passage that possesses two interpretations.
1) The Lord God sent me and also sent his spirit
2) The Lord God and his spirit sent me

In the LXX interpretation #2 is present (which reflects the ambiguous Hebrew of the time). In the Targums the spirit disappears, which reflects an interpretive decision.

Comments on Luke selections (will be read on September 15):
In Acts 8 Philip is sent to an Ethiopian eunuch who is reading Isaiah. The typical point made from this passage is that Isaiah is important for Christology because of its Messianic passages. However, Isaiah is also important for its pneumatology – see the spirit-creator passages in the stapled handout from Sept 8.

2) What is the context of this passage in Isaiah – how is it utilized?

The theology of deutero-Isaiah, along with Deuteronomy, and Josiah’s finding the scroll in the walls (and the following reformation), represent a moment in Israelite history in which the myth of self-definition centering around Moses and YHWH leading the people out of Egypt becomes dominant almost to exclusivity.

In 2 Isaiah the Exodus story is being reworked to become the fundamental story for how Israel relates to YHWH. So, this is the background for Isa. 63, thus, Isa 63 has the Exodus in mind. Therefore, the understanding which holds the angel of his presence to be synonymous with the Holy Spirit, would also hold that this one would also have been the cloud/fire/angel with my name, who lead the people during the Exodus. Consequently, Isa 63 is explicitly stating angelomorphic pneumatology. While Exodus is an interpreted/exegeted/glossed case of angelomorphic pneumatology, wherein the H.S. led the Israelites across the desert.

Or, at the very least, the Holy Spirit = [whatever] = the one who led Israel, i.e., that angel. Thus, defining the HS as that one who led Israel out of Egypt. Once the character of that angel is examinee, it begins to seem to be divine (e.g., my name is in him; won’t forgive people if they cross him, etc.).



The remaining portion of the class was spent examining the Thanksgiving hymns with regard to the Spirit. Dr. Barnes began the discussion by noting the comment in FF Bruce’s article, which stated that “It’s now a given” that early Christian pneumatology was dependent upon Qumran pneuma. Consequently, Barnes’ analysis has an early foundation, as represented by Bruce’s declaration.

Thanksgiving Hymn texts were taken from Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English.

Thanksgiving Hymn 15 (formerly 11)
• “thou hast shed thy Holy Spirit upon me that I may not stumble” -- Definite “holy spirit” language – Qumran uses the term “holy spirit” regularly.
• “thou has made me like a strong tower, a high wall, and hast established my edifice upon rock” – Reminiscent of Shepherd of Hermas. There may have been an Essene community that existed in the prisoners at Rome.
• “thou hast established my heart…in the land [of the living]” – Reflects 2 ways/spirits theme.
• “thou hast upheld me with certain truth…and [hast opened my heart] till this day” – Exegetes have long wondered about the combination of “spirit and truth” in Jesus’ discussion of worship in John 4, since “spirit and truth” are not associated with each other anywhere in the OT. The coupling of terms occurs here in the DSS, and not in the OT – NT Christianity must have been familiar with the DSS.
• “for thou art a Father… so dost thou rejoice in them” – God is referred to as both Father and Mother

Thanksgiving Hymn 20 (formerly 12)
• “when light emerges from [its dwelling place], and when the day reaches its appointed end” – Points toward the creation story, and is similar to the Psalms material, which alludes to creation, that we discussed earlier in the class.
• “by the certain law from the mouth of God” – “mouth of God” is a reference to the spirit.
• “I, the master, know thee O my God…in thy mercies” – This passage contains an anthropological and theological use of Spirit. Furthermore, the wisdom trajectory of pneumatology is represented.
• “[Thou hast unlocked for me] the fountain of thy might” – fountain = water
• “and thou hast shed [thy Holy] Spirit over dust” and “thou hast shed they [Ho]ly [Spirit] to atone for guilt” – What do these passages mean?

Thanksgiving Hymn 9 (formerly 1)
• “by thy wisdom [all things exist from] eternity… and nothing is known unless though desire it” – This represents Sophic theology, see also Prov. 8
• “Thou hast spread the heavens for thy glory and hast [appointed] all [their hosts] according to thy will” – A similar passage exists in the Psalms and in the Chaldean Oracles.
• “Thou hast created the earth by thy power…and hast appointed all that is in them according to thy will” – see, 1 Cor 1:24 and Rom 1:20.
• “[And] to the spirit of man” – see, Gen 2:7

Thanksgiving Hymn 12 (formerly 7)
• “They have banished me from my land like a bird from its nest” – see, Gen 8:7ff, and then Gen 1:2b, via Gen 8’s connection to Gen 1
• “And they withhold from the thirsty…and assuage their thirst with vinegar” – see, the crucifixion story.
• “It is thy purpose that shall be done and the design of Thy heart” and “They seek the with a double heart and are not confirmed in Thy truth” and “those who walk in the way of thy heart shall be established for evermore” – Note the heart references. This is eschatological language – Qumran theology thinks that now is the end time, that the spirit has been poured out (see the prophecies in Ezek & Joel), and that the law has been written on hearts via the Holy Spirit. In this perspective the Holy Spirit is present in the community through the Holy Spirit writing the law on their hearts.

Key features of Qumran theology include the HS as purifier, and the medium through which the law is written on the heart. The gift of the HS is the sign of the end times, and the fulfillment of prophecy. As with Paul and 2(4) Esdras, Qumran theology places a strong emphasis on the idea that humanity is just clay, and the only thing that gives human beings value is the HS. So, if God breaks the clay pot, who are we to complain (Rom 9)?
Tags: barnes, holy spirit course, jewish mysticism, judaism, patristics, theological notebook
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