October 15, 2020

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October 15, 2020

BEN: In regard to the Transfiguration story, I had always thought that Moses and Elijah represented the Law and the Prophets attesting to Jesus as the Messiah, as God’s Son. One wonders how Peter knew it was Moses and Elijah—did they have Hebrew name tags J? And Luke says they conversed with Jesus about his ‘exodus’. I take your point about Peter perhaps thinking these were the 3 great figures of the messianic age, but surely you are also right… Read more

October 10, 2020

BEN: I agree that the first fully Trinitarian text in the Gospels (by chronological time since Mark comes before Matthew and Luke) is Mark 1—the baptism of Jesus story. The Isaianic background to the rent heavens is important. I take it that Mark is using apocalyptic language, and that we are being told Jesus had visions. Matthew makes this more of a public event, but Mark is quite clear this was a revelation to and empowerment of Jesus personally here…. Read more

October 9, 2020

BEN: I agree with you that it is very important to note how the discussion of the relationship between God and the patriarchs is one thing, and God with Moses and the Hebrews is another. The language of holiness does not really come up in Genesis. Furthermore, as you rightly stress, the character description of God as forgiving etc. doesn’t come up in any viable way before Exod. 34. And at the same time that very statement about God’s moral… Read more

October 8, 2020

BEN: Chapter 3 raises the whole issue of anthropomorphism. What is interesting to me is that God himself uses anthropomorphisms of himself— it’s not just that the Hebrew writer says ‘and God’s nose burned’, it’s that God says to Moses, you can’t see my face, but I’ll put my hand over you, and you can see my back. Now this is very striking language. Of course, the Mormons have a field day with this arguing God must actually have a… Read more

October 7, 2020

BEN: Let’s talk for a moment about a subject you indirectly bring up on pp. 50ff. I am referring to the early Jewish Christian use of marana tha. Do you think this was prayer language invoking Jesus to come (a second time), or was it more like ‘Immanuel’ ‘our lord has come’? RICHARD: I think it is a prayer to Jesus to come, and it is echoed at the end of Revelation in Greek: “Come, Lord Jesus” (22:20). BEN: I… Read more

October 6, 2020

BEN: Why was it that by the time of Jesus, or a bit before, Jews were avoiding pronouncing YHWH, the divine name, but rather were using circumlocutions, even using other divine terms like LORD. Help us understand this reticence. Is it because of the holiness of God, and out of respect for that? Some Christian theologians have suggested that by the time of Jesus, God’s people felt God was distant, after all they had endured exile, and that Jesus’s offering… Read more

October 5, 2020

BEN: While, as you say, God is self-determining, at the same time he has chosen to relate to people in ways that involve a love relationship, which inherently requires some freedom on the part of both parties. Love cannot be predetermined, manipulated, coerced etc. To me this means that while God is self-determining, what he has decided to do is limit himself, and allow other beings, angels and humans to have viable choices about how they relate to Him. They… Read more

October 4, 2020

BEN: In reading your second chapter in this book I was reminded of Luther’s language about ‘Deus Absconditus’ the God who sometimes hides himself or protects his identity from being fully known by humans. And I take your point about not giving Moses some kind of name that he or others might think they could use to control God or get what they want from God. Telling people ‘I will be what I will be’ is an avoidance of such… Read more

October 3, 2020

BEN: Particularly fascinating is what you say about John 1.51 compared to the Jacob at Bethel story. You point out that Jesus is saying he is the staircase to heaven, the means into an intimate relationship with the Father. But he is also somehow like the pole with the snake that Moses lifted up. I would imagine that these two concepts were very difficult for Gentiles not educated in the OT to understand. Both images seem to convey Jesus is… Read more

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