Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
December 8th, 2014 by Joel Watts

The Angel of Great Counsel #advent14ccumwv

Angel of Great Councilhr

 

“because a child was born for us, a son also given to us, whose sovereignty was upon his shoulder, and he is named Messenger of Great Counsel, for I will bring peace upon the rulers, peace and health to him” (Isaiah 9:6 NETS)

This famous verse is different — and vastly so if you are considering Christological implications — between the Hebrew and the Greek.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

3 Responses to “The Angel of Great Counsel #advent14ccumwv”
  1. Know More Than I Should says

    There are two difficulties with chasing biblical morphemes and other exercises in word parsing of copies and most probably revised ancient texts.

    First, the meaning – especially the nuances derived therefrom – change over time. This can become a major source of confusion when one is translating between languages. While having a foot in both cultures helps, it doesn’t always remedy the problem.

    Second, is presentism. Even a lifespan is better understood when seen in retrospect. On the other hand, divining the future is infinitely more difficult at the beginning. This conundrum in compounded as one attempts to peal back layers of history through centuries.

    In sum, we neither precisely understand the thoughts nor the linguistic implications of our predecessors any more than we can predict the language and circumstances of our descendents.

    Thus, while it may be entertaining to engage is such speculation, taking it too seriously is not without its perils. To claim otherwise firmly plants one’s cerebral capacity in the fertile fields of folly.

    More interestingly, it is quite doubtful that the life of the historical Jesus was what the writer of Isiah had in mind.

    After all, even with the benefit of hindsight, since the gospels were written between about 65 to 95 AD, Jesus was an unmarried and apparently unemployed village 30-something. He hung out with the boys and consorted with less desirable members of society while bedeviling both religious and secular authorities.

    If Jesus were in the United States today, he’d probably have a prison ministry from behind bars!

  2. Joel. . . interesting insights. I agree that the vision that the prophet has, and the actual result are not usually the same. Nevertheless, is not the ‘burden of connection’ (as it were) on the person applying the prophecy to the circumstance? If the writer of the Gospel saw the connection, regardless of linguistic challenges etc, and was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, does that not iron over those kinds of challenges?

    • I’m not overly challenged, Matthew. I think that the LXX reading, taken in concert with other NT readings doesn’t do much damage to a high christology. The same is with Isaiah 7.14.

      I usually only throw this out when we need to challenge proof-texting!

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