[b-hebrew] elohim versus aggelous, Psalm 8:6[5] MT verses LXX

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Sat Sep 27 11:38:37 EDT 2003

Dear Rolf:

I wonder if words have changed meaning, or our understanding thereof has.

Where in Tanakh is )LHYM used for something other than an object to be worshipped? My understanding is that that never happens, though the term is used for false gods worshipped ineffectually. Could this be a post-exilic understanding of the term?

Or is it that aggelos had a broader meaning than our present fairly restricted understanding? Or is this something peculiar to Jewish understanding of the term?

An example of a different word whose meaning has changed since ancient times is from ancient Greek religions: there were two main types that I was taught about, those whose truths were logically parsed and those where the truths were recieved as a result of a revelation. The latter were called “revelation” religions, however most people translate them as “mystery” religions because our modern understanding of “musterion” is almost opposite to the ancient meaning (maybe because to those who did not know the revelation, it was a mystery).

Likewise, I wonder if modern understanding of aggelos causes us to misunderstand the translator’s intent? Or did he have a different understanding of )LHYM?

Any clues?

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: furuli at online.no
> Dear Philip,
> The word )LHYM  is  a generic count-noun, and its reference must be 
> construed from the context. In addition to Peter's references (and 
> fine discussion) I would like to point out that the writer of Hebrews 
> (2:7) in the NT quoted Psalm 8:6 and applied it to the angels. In 
> some Qumran writings )LHYM refers to the angels as well.
> The reference of angels as "gods" in the Tanakh neither indicate 
> polytheism nor henotheism, because they are not in line of worship. 
> The angels are said to be sons of YHWH, and therefore they have the 
> same nature as their father.  In a world with different kinds of 
> Christian dogma it can seem strange that creatures can be referred to 
> as "gods" beside The God, but evidently this was not strange to the 
> Hebrew mind.
> Best regards
> Rolf Furuli

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