hO QEOS in Mt 1:23b

Brian Swedburg brian at discoveryhills.org
Mon Nov 29 18:49:02 EST 1999

Greetings Steven and B-Greek.  I must admit that I have not been able to enjoy list
activity much lately with the holiday preparations upon us.  Yet, I am motivated
once again by Steven Craig Miller to join the fray.

Frankly, what troubles me most in this discussion is Steven's posture and tone in
this discussion.  I recall to mind Pa Ingles once saying to a hot headed young man
on "Little house on the Prairie" that 'being positive often just meant being wrong
at the top of your voice.' I too am interested in first, what the valid grammatical
options for 'ho qeos' are.  Then we enjoy one anothers opinions about why we might
choose one valid grammatical option above the others.

Steven Craig Miller wrote:

> To: Gordon K. Goltz, Steve Puluka, et al.,
> GKG: << Why would Matthew need to refer to Jesus as God again, when he has
> already done it so early in his gospel and then consistently gives examples
> of his divinity throughout his gospel? >>
> Your first assertion seems to beg the question, since it is unclear to me
> whether Matthew ever referred to Jesus as God anywhere in his Gospel (in
> fact, it seems to me that he hasn't).

I believe we have already established through list discussion that this is a valid
option.  I might further the discussion by noting two things from this pericope.
Vs. 21 notes that the child shall be called 'Ihsous', because he will save his
people from their sins.  If the writer is a good Torah believing boy or girl, then
this description of the child 'saving His people', is understandably noteworthy, and
begs the question, 'who should be referred to in such a way but Adonai?'  Secondly,
it seems noteworthy to me that the gospel author translates only the name
'Emmanouhl', focusing on this as an identity of the child, rather than taking in the
breadth of context from Isaiah.  This choice could be intentional.

> Your second assertion is puzzling,
> since I'm hard pressed to understand how presenting Jesus as a
> miracle-worker "gives examples of his divinity throughout his gospel."

I here in this commentary the assumption that Jesus is being portrayed in the motif
of miracle worker, as was evidently common in the Greco-Roman biographies of holy
men.  This list may not be the place to debate this option, but I find it an
unsatisfying assumption, given the presence of other literary and theological motifs
such as 'Jesus as the Messianic Son of David', 'Jesus as the Son of God', etc...

> But
> if we assume that Matthew was written by a Torah-observant Christian for a
> Torah-observant Christian community (as most Matthean scholars seem to
> suggest), one would think that a straightforward and unambiguous assertion
> of Jesus' divinity would be in order if that is what Matthew wanted his
> audience to understand. And that is precisely what we don't have in
> Matthew's gospel.

Once again, I am not convinced that 'Matthew's' assertions concerning Jesus' virgin
birth, fulfillment of Messianic expectations, partnership with John the baptist,
etc... might not have suggested more explicitly to first/second century Jews and LXX
familiar gentiles that Jesus was 'ho Qeos', ie.  God himself, fairly clearly.?

> SCM: << Some scholars seem to understand MEQ' hHMWN hO QEOS without any
> verb so as to imply that Jesus is:  "God with us." This last interpretation
> I would personally find very unlikely since no where (else) does Matthew
> refer explicitly to Jesus as "God." >>

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