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Re: [textualcriticism] "Power" / "God" and Clement of Alexandria and Mark 16:19

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  • Jovial
    I would say there s another use of the term power that is more central to how this was understood. In English, we call the Father, Son and Holy Spirit 3
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 16, 2009
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      I would say there's another use of the term "power" that is more central to how this was understood.
      In English, we call the Father, Son and Holy Spirit 3 "Persons", but that's just English terminology.  Most of you are probably already familiar with the fact that Greeks, Latin, etc, all took whatever term was used in Hebrews 1:3 as the "standard" for describing the individuality of the Father, Son and Spirit.
      But in the first 2 centuries AD, the most original term may have been to refer to the Father, Son and Spirit as the 3 "Powers".  I have several examples of this in numerous early writings I can cite.  But I think the phrase "at the right hand of power" would have been interpreted as "at the right hand of The Power" (namely, the Father).
      This terminology got dropped around the 3rd century AD, probably because of confusion, and probably because of a drift towards the use of whatever term was used in Hebrews 1:3 for the language in question.
      Here's a few examples....
      Ignatius (30-107 AD) said:

      "The Ministering Powers of G-d are good.

      • The Comforter is holy,
      • and the Word is holy - the Son of the Father - by whom He made all things, and exercises a providence over them all.
      This is the Way which leads to the Father" (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, Chapter IX)

      Note here that the "The Comforter" (The Spirit) is being called a "Power" and the Son is also being called a "Power". 

      Hegesippus (c 170 AD) quotes James the Just as saying

         "Why ask ye me concerning Jesus the Son of Man?  He Himself sits in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power"

      Now here he is not quoting Matthew or Mark 14 or Mark 16 word-for-word, but simply describing the location where He is based on learned info.  So why does Clement have to be quoting one verse or another - but simply describing?

      Clement uses the term "Power" to refer to the Son as "the Power of the Word" in The Stromata, Book VI, Chapter III and tells us that when Paul says G-d "made all things by the`Word of His Power" this refers to the Son (The Stromata, Book VI, Chapter V) and says "the Lord is "the Power of G-d" (The Stromata, Book VI, Chapter VI). Clement even uses this term to refer to an angel in Chapter XV when he says

      "Did not the Power also, that appeared to Hermas in the Vision..." (The Stromata, Book VI, Chapter XV)

      So perhaps Clement simply used the term "right hand of God" because he thought it held more clarity than "right hand of The Power".  Luke 22:69 uses the term "right hand of the Power of God".  Clement's use of "right hand of God" would deviate from Luke 22:69 by an abridgement of one word, whereas Hegesippus' quote of James using the phrase "right hand of the Great Power" differs from Mark 14:62 / Matt 26:64 by the addition of one word. 

      For the most part, I don't think one can draw any firm conclusions one way or another from Clement's quote. 

      So there's my 2 shekels,

      Joe Viel


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: tvanlopik
      Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 2:45 PM
      Subject: [textualcriticism] Re: Clement of Alexandria and Mark 16:19


      Is it not time to consult commentaries?
      For example: Lohmeyer's on Mark (Meyer's Komm., 17. Aufl., 1967 = 10. Aufl., 1937) ad loc. 14,62, p. 328. Dunamis, power, Kraft, is a definition of the name of God, common in Jewish and earliest Christian environment: the circle of Galilean disciples. In a later phase the Jewish manner to apply an attribute of God as a name (Deckname) for God is replaced by direct use of "God". Luke's gospel is a witness for this development: ... of the power of God. Also the later longer ending, Mark 16,19: ... the right of God.
      The term Deckname is used by O. Michel in his Commentary on Hebr. (Meyer's Komm., 13/7. Aufl., 1975) ad loc. 1,3, p. 102. Dunamis in Mark and megaloosune are translations of the same Hebrew Deckname: ... ein feststehendes Sprachgebrauch des urchristlichen Bekenntnisses. In Cassiodorus' text is a translation "a dextris Dei" of the old-fashioned used dunamis with allusions to Hebrews (the angels in 1,4)?

      Teunis van Lopik,
      Leidschendam, the Netherlands

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