Wednesday, September 20, 2023

There is a development of the idea, though

It is worth noting, however, that these definitions do not carry over into the New Testament. The Greek hagios translates qdš in the Septuagint (and also several other words, most notably “clean,” ṭahôr, in Lev 10:14, and “nazirite” in Judg 13; these interpretive choices indicate that Greek hagios has a broader range of meaning than the more technical Hebrew qdš), but by the Second Temple period the definition of divinity and metaphysics in general has been reconceived in terms of essential categories. Since the purpose of the categorical system was to fix rigid boundaries between what a thing is and what it is not, some of the fluidity of the ancient, pre-Aristotelian classification system, used in the ancient Near East and the Old Testament, is lost (see Selz, “Prototypes,” 16, and especially Hundley, “Here a God,” 70–72). Accordingly, qdš/hagios does not describe the essential nature of divinity and divine identity (the theological ousion) in New Testament metaphysics. If there is any parallel to the ancient divine fluidity (described by qdš) inherent in the term hagios as used in classical and postclassical theology, it would be along the lines of theosis (participation in divine energeia, e.g., “God became man so that man might become God” (Athanasius, On the Incarnation 8.54), not Trinity.— The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, 117 n. 41

<idle musing>
They must have been reading my mind from yesterday's post! They do believe there is a development of the idea through time. I still think the idea of yesterday that holiness is a status conferred by God is a good one to hang onto. After all, the Corinthians are called holy ones (saints), despite their obvious flaws. So, holiness is deeper than behavior, even while it calls for a change in behavior—remember that the priests had a set of rules that was stricter than the general population on how they were to live, "lest they die."
</idle musing>

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