Wisdom as a model for Jesus' ministry in the 'Lament over Jerusalem' (Matt 23:37-39 Par. Luke 13:34-35)

Guenther, Eva (2018) Wisdom as a model for Jesus' ministry in the 'Lament over Jerusalem' (Matt 23:37-39 Par. Luke 13:34-35). PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis establishes the influence of the Jewish wisdom tradition on the shaping of the earliest christology. A concept which invests Jesus with Wisdom’s function as ‘Schöpfungsmittler’ appears already in the earliest Christian sources (1Cor 8:6; Col 1:15; Hebr 1:3; John 1:1-3), and the early patristic writers characterised the relationship between the heavenly Christ and God the Father by identifying Jesus with the pre-existent personified Wisdom of Prov 8. The object of the thesis is to explore a parallel movement, which already takes place during the formation of the gospel traditions, and which ascribes functions of the divine Wisdom, most prominently her active participation in Israel’s history, to the earthly Jesus.

Especially the Q-saying often called the “Lament over Jerusalem” (or Jerusalem Word) in Luke 13:34-35 and Matt 23:37-39, summarises Jesus’ earthly ministry in terms that remind of Wisdom’s function in the Jewish tradition. I demonstrate that Wisdom had come to be seen as an agent in Israel’s history in Second Temple Judaism, and each of the four elements of the Jerusalem Word, which describe Jesus’ mission (1. sending prophets and envoys; 2. gathering the children of Jerusalem; 3. representing God’s presence in the temple and withdrawing when he is rejected; and 4. returning with, or as, the eschatological Son of Man), presents an action, which had formerly been ascribed to personified Wisdom.

One important feature of the divine Wisdom, which allows her to act in the above mentioned functions that impact on historical reality, is her relationship to God: Wisdom can be nearly identified with God, but takes on features of a separate agent when she becomes manifest in the immanence. Therefore, Wisdom is a representation of God in the historical world, and as Jesus takes on the same role, he appears as a new manifestation of this very same representative.

I also demonstrate that the Jewish texts relate Wisdom to another representation of God, the Angel of the Lord, famously encountered as the pillar of cloud and fire on Israel’s wilderness wanderings, acting as a manifestation and servant of God at the same time. Wisdom is associated or identified with the pillar of cloud in Sir 24:4, 10 and Wis 10:17. Thus, the role of the previously known mediator, the Angel of the Lord, is transferred to the divine Wisdom, portraying Wisdom as a new appearance of this ‘older’ divine representative. Matt 23:37-39 par. Luke 13:34-35 continues the tradition of actualising the image of the divine mediator by presenting Jesus in an analogous way as the contemporary representative of God in the world like Wisdom or the Angel of the Lord.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Deines, Roland
Crouch, Carly
Keywords: Christology, Wisdom, synoptic tradition
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 48630
Depositing User: Günther, Eva
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2018 04:40
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2018 03:35
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/48630

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