Friday, December 16, 2022

Psalm 110 in Biblical Theology

I just learned about this book. It contains a chapter on Psalm 110 and the Christology of Hebrews:
Matthew Emadi. The Royal Priest: Psalm 110 in Biblical Theology. New Studies in Biblical Theology 60. IVP, 2022.
"Despite its importance in the New Testament and the priestly messianic promise identified by King David, relatively little has been written on Psalm 110 from a biblical-theological perspective.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Authors Discussing Their Books

David Moffitt talks about some of the key ideas in his new book, Rethinking the Atonement, on Nijay Gupta's blog, Crux Sola. Meanwhile Bobby Jamieson converses about his book, The Paradox of Sonship, with Mike Bird on a Spotify podcast.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Suffering of Christ according to the Epistle to the Hebrews

I just received a copy of this book today. It has been out since 2008 but probably doesn't get much attention since it is written in Italian:

Ciccarelli, Michele. La sofferenza di Cristo nell’Epistola agli Ebrei: Analisi di una duplice dimensione della sofferenza: soffrire-consoffrire con gli uomini e soffrire-offrire a Dio. Supplementi alla Rivista Biblica 49. Bologna: Edizioni Edhoniane Bologna, 2008.
The title can be translated: "The suffering of Christ in the Epistle to the Hebrews: analysis of a double dimension of suffering: suffering-co-suffering with men and suffering-offering to God."
Here is a rough translation of a blurb on the book:
"The ripe fruit of intense work, this volume can boast many merits. The first lies in the way it deals with the theme of Christ's suffering, that is, distinguishing in it two clearly distinct and closely connected dimensions, a dimension of relationship with God and a dimension of relationship with us men, an attitude of sacrificial offering, and one of fraternal solidarity, one linked to the other, one producing the other" (from the Preface by Card. A. Vanhoye sj). Of the Letter to the Hebrews, of which the expository order follows, the study investigates the aspect of Christ's suffering in an analytical way, that is by examining in detail the six passages of the epistle that explicitly speak of it, and well documented, without sacrificing overview and original contributions." 
Albert Vanhoye gives a nice overview of the book here. Here is a translation of the summary:

The work intends to deepen an aspect somewhat neglected by the exegesis of the Epistle to the Hebrews: that of Christ's suffering both in relation to men and in relation to the offering that Christ himself raises to the Father. In this way, an attempt is made to grasp in Christ's passion and death the internal existential dynamic which, on the one hand, is linked by a strong bond of solidarity with his fellow men and, on the other, is linked to the offering sacrifice that he makes of his life.  
     Proceeding mainly according to the literary method, the study examines, according to the same order of presentation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, some significant passages that concern the theme of Christ's suffering and offering: Heb 2:9; 2,10-18; 4.15; 5,1-10; 9,24-28; 13.10-13.  
     The profound solidarity between Christ and men implies assimilation to human nature itself, the affective dimension of brotherhood and goes as far as sharing the painful experience of the trials undergone in life and death on the cross. Christ's sacrifice leads the latter to a transformation of his being which, overcoming existential weakness, places him in a new dimension and in a new dual relationship with God and with men: he becomes high priest accredited to God and merciful; moreover, having been tested like other men, he is able to come to the aid of those who are being tested (Heb 2:17-18) and to show compassion for our weaknesses (Heb 4:15).  
     Unlike the ancient high priest, Jesus is presented not only as the one who presents the offering, but also as the offering itself. His humanity, which already in the "prayers and supplications", presented "with a loud cry and tears", is manifested in its aspect of suffering and is accepted by God as a sacrifice (Heb 5:7: prosene,gkaj kai. eivsakousqei,j), is part of the generous offering of his entire life to God.  
     A considerable part of the work is dedicated to a well-known crux interpretum: the verb metriopaqei/n in Heb 5.2 which, on the basis of some ancient writings and the testimony of some Fathers, as well as some ancient versions of the biblical passage (Syriac, Coptic , Armenian, Vl, Vg, ) was understood as having feelings of modesty and humility in relation to sinful men. 
     In Heb 9:25-26, with the very close link between offering and suffering, Christ's death is presented as an existential sacrifice which brings together the dimension of offering with that of suffering. On the other hand, the blood of Christ, in addition to recalling the dimension of suffering of his sacrifice, is also linked to the concept of the new covenant (Heb 10:29), the novelty of which is highlighted by the link it has with the existential sacrifice of Christ and with his priestly mediation. It is this existential sacrifice of Christ which, unlike what happened in the sacrifices presented in the temple, is constituted by the oblative dynamism of his entire life which undertakes a painful path up to its most dramatic consequence and reaches its goal by presenting himself in heaven directly in the presence of God, thus producing the definitive abolition of sin (Heb 9:24.26). 
    In the last part of the Epistle the suffering of Christ is presented within a historical-geographical coordinate: "outside the city gate" (Heb 13:12). The verb e;paqen, in Heb 13:12, cannot be understood only in the meaning of dying, but also expresses all the suffering that Jesus underwent up to the shedding of blood. This suffering of Jesus does not have the connotations of the hero's noble death, but remains at the level of his fellow men with whom he establishes a relationship of profound solidarity, starting from which he courageously bears the atrocity of death on the cross and he becomes an object of admiration and a model to be imitated for Christians (Heb 12:2-3).  
   By going out of the camp, carrying his opprobrium (Heb 13:13), Christians distance themselves from the ancient cult and find in Christ who dies "outside the door" the foundation of their cult and the space to bear concrete and painful witness to their faith projected towards the future city (Heb 13:14). Finally, by bearing "the reproach of Christ", Christians enter into communion with his sacrifice and intertwine with his suffering-offering their own suffering-offering, an interweaving whose central node is constituted by the humanity that Christ shares in all its dimension of existential fragility."