Re: Addendum: a holy spirit
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, December 5, 2004, 22:37|
On Saturday, December 4, 2004, at 08:13 , Steg Belsky wrote:
> On Dec 4, 2004, at 7:01 PM, Ray Brown wrote:
>> And a proper discussion of _pneuma hagion_, which seems consistently to
>> preserve the Semitic order of noun+adjective, cannot be done without
>> considering its Hebrew antecedent. We need to consider how the concept
>> God's "holy breath" is used in the Jewish scriptures, beginning with
>> the second verse of the very opening chapter of Genesis where we read
>> God's breath (_pneuma Theou_ in the Septuagint version - notice lack of
>> articles before either noun!) hovered over the waters.
> Could "Theou" and the other forms of it without a definite article be
> being used as a name, like "God" in English or "E-lohim" in Hebrew?
Yes, of course, it obviously is. The Septuagint was made by Jews for Jews
and the very idea of "a god" in contexts like this is quite out of the
question. It is clearly being used as a name and I amazed that this has
not been recognized in New testament parallels.
> "holy breath/spirit" in Hebrew is actually a noun+noun construct
> compound, not a noun+adjective one - _ruahh haqodesh_, "(the)
> wind/spirit of (the) holiness" -
Right - Yep, this type of construction IIRC is common in Hebrew. I should
have said "head + qualifier". It is clear that _pneuma _hagion_ was a set
> or, if you want to interpret it
> theologically, "(the) wind/spirit of The Holiness", i.e. God.
> It doesn't seem possible to distinguish based on the term whether it
> means something like "God's non-corporeal existence" or just "a
> wind/spirit that belongs to God".
Thanks - that really is the point I was alluding to.
According to John's Gospel, Jesus speaks of the 'Holy Breath' as a person,
nameing him 'ho Parakle:tos' (the advocate) who he says his father will
send in his name. Now this makes it fairly clear that the 'Holy breath' is
not the same as the father. It has been traditional to take _pneuma
hagion_ basically as the first of your meanings and, as the doctrine of
the Trinity, the "non-corporeal existence of God" was acoounted one of the
three 'persons' (hypostaseis) of the one God.
Now some groups who accept the Christian scriptures do reject the teaching
of the trinity, making Jesus the greatest of God's creatures - but a
creature no less - and _pneuma hagion_ a breath/spirit that belongs to God.
On Saturday, December 4, 2004, at 05:35 , Sally Caves wrote:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Philip Newton" <philip.newton@...>
>> It's also the only passage of the four that has a definite article in
>> my edition of the Greek NT.
> This is most interesting. I'm also interested in what looks like a
> doubling of the definite article in Mt 12:32 tou pneumatos tou hagiou?
> spirit the holy? It I'm right, that's quite some definition! Is this
> common in Greek?
It is required if the adjective follows the noun. The common, unmarked
word order in both ancient & modern greek is: [article +] adjective + noun.
Just as in English, in fact. But if you wished to place the adjective
after the noun for reasons of emphasis, the definite article, if there was
one, had to be repeated.
>>> Also, Acts, 2:4; Romans 14:17 and 15: 16. etc.
>> No definite article before "holy spirit" in any of those three passages.
> Strange: the holy Spirit here seems to indicate the "substantially
> Acts 2:4 KJV: "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to
> speak with other tongues like as of fire as the Spirit gave them
> (Ghost and Spirit seem to refer to the same thing.
Yes, in both cases the greek uses the same word _pneuma_, so one wonders
why the KJV uses two different words.
> I suppose one could see
> this as "a holy spirit," but it seems wrong, somehow. How many holy
> are there?)
In this case, 12 - one for each apostle, if you understand it to mean just
"a breath God", which is possible - but as far as I can see somewhat odds
with the idea of the Paraclete.
> Romans 14:17 KJV: "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but
> righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." ("a holy spirit"
> would seem massively inappropriate here.)
Well, yes, I would think so. But the greek texts do not have a definite
> Romans 15:16 KJV: "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the
> Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the
> Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."
> this passage seems to refer to the ONE Holy Spirit).
The literal translation is: "sanctified in holy breath."
"in a holy breath" and "in the Holy Breath" do not mean the same, but 'in
holy breath' is actually acceptable English but carries IMO a rather
different meaning from that normally understood.
> I wonder why the definite article emerges, then, in the passage from
I suspect it is balancing _tou hyiou tou anthro:pou_ where the second
article is not attached to _anthro:pou_ (man) - it is not "of the son of
the man" - it is a repetition of the article because the attribute follows
the noun: of-the son of-the-one of-man --> the son of man. We have:
article noun article attribute. So _tou pneumatos tou hagiou_ balances it
nicely and could well mean literally 'of-the breath of-the-one of-
holy[person]' cf _ruahh haqodesh_ above.
> I also just read Ray's response. Touche. I can't imagine why
> anyone would assume that it is not the Holy Spirit that entered Mary
> because of the absence of a definite article.
I have met people who do think it was not.
> Or that in the first passage
> from Romans it is joy in "a holy spirit." How many holy spirits ARE
One IMO - but I guess in the opinion of others it could be infinite.
Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
which is not so much a twilight of the gods
as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]