27 January 2024

Digging into the psalms of the Divine Office (3)

 " ... Christ Jesus, who , though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the Name which is above every Name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father."

I have taken a liberty here, both with the text S Paul wrote to the Philippians and with you, dear reader: I have written LORD in capitals, although S Paul is writing in Greek ... so this can't be an example of an Anglican seventeenth translator expressing the Hebrew Tetragrammaton by English typographical conventions.

Christian devotion has often naturally assumed that, by the phrase Name which is above every Name, S Paul means the name 'Jesus'. But the academic consensus is undoubtedly correct: what S Paul is saying here in Philippians is that the Father bestowed on Jesus the Name which the old Hebrew Bible expressed by the Tetragrammaton but which Greek-speaking Jews expressed by the Greek term KYRIOS, the Greek stand-in for YHWH

S Paul is saying that the Man from Nazareth is none other than the god the Hebrews had always, and did, worship as YHWH or -- in Greek -- the LORD.

When we come across Kyrios or Dominus or Lord in our Greek or Latin or English Bibles, we need to be ready to spot a writer with a Hebrew mind-set who (even if he is using Greek or Latin or English) is really talking about the Hebrew Almighty God. Kyrie eleison!

Just as S Paul is doing here.

Of course, we've been here before, as we so often have ... we in our capacity as membersof the immemorially ancient Faith-community of which we are members. When our admirable kinsman Boaz went out from Bethehem to check up on his reapers, he said "The lord be with you!". Or rather ... as you have discovered if you use a Hebrew Bible or a translation in the Anglican tradition ... he said (Ruth 2: 4) "The LORD be with you". 

Just as Father Whatsit does at the start of Holy Mass ... meaning, of course ... "YHWH be with you!"  And Father says later (in the Preface) how right it is to Give Thanks to DOMINUM, by which he clearly means YHWH!


Ben Whitworth said...

"The word 'Lord' corresponds to the Tetragram in Hebrew, which the sons of the Hebrews say is not to be uttered and are accustomed to understand of God alone. But we have already shown that in many scriptural passages it refers to the Godhead of the Word." - Eusebius of Caesarea, as translated and quoted by Richard Price in "Meditations of the Heart", a festschrift for Andrew Louth.

Christopher Boegel said...

An unveiling. Thank you Fr. Hunwicke.