Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Angels and spirits

Josephus was not averse to mentioning angels in his rewriting of sacred history. He did so when he discussed the fallen angels who married women producing a race of giants. He also mentioned angels in discussing the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, Hagar, Jacob wrestling with the angel and Balaam the talking mule. As noted earlier, he did omit the reference to Gabriel in discussing Daniel. Of these examples, and I am sure I missed a few, the most interesting is probably the story of Balaam (Ant. 4.111).

One Greek phrase of particular interest is πνεῦμα κυρίου
translated as “spirit of the Lord.” This Greek phrase appears in Isaiah 61:1 and throughout the Septuagint, Luke 4:18, Acts 5:9; 8:39, 1 Cor. 3:17-18 but no where else in the NT. This Greek phrase does not appear in the writings of Josephus but on eight occasions Josephus does use “divine spirit.” Attempting to ascertain why πνεῦμα κυρίου does not appear in Josephus or more frequently in the NT may be related to the Two Powers in Heaven controversy (or the binitarian heresy) which Matthew and Mark avoided by deleting πνεῦμα κυρίου from their rewriting of Luke.

Josephus did likewise and included “divine spirit” on eight occasions thereby implicitly acknowledging that he too was avoiding πνεῦμα κυρίου. Josephus regularly omitted references to the divine spirit. Therefore his first three references to the divine spirit which occur in his rewriting of the story of Balaam probably deserve a separate article.

Copyrighted 2008


Post a Comment

<< Home