Citation of Psalm 68(67).19 in Ephesians 4.8 within the context of Early Christian uses of the Psalms
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Embargo end date31/12/2100
Ehorn, Seth M.
This thesis examines the citation of Ps 68(67).19 in Eph 4.8. Following an introduction that introduces the problem of the altered wording in the citation in Eph 4.8, chapter 2 comprises a History of Research that is organised around the possible sources for the author’s citation in Eph 4.8. One of several conclusions made is that the proclivity of NT scholars to attribute the source text to particular Jewish traditions has contributed to overlooking the import of Ps 68(67).19 within a normal pattern of christological reading of the Psalms in early Christianity. Following these opening chapters, the thesis is divided broadly into Part One and Part Two. The first is deconstructive in nature; the second is constructive. Part One examines textual traditions of Ps 68(67).19 within Justin Martyr, the Peshitta Psalter, and Targum Psalms. Each of these sources share the reading ‘give’ rather than ‘receive’, raising the question of the relationship between these traditions and Eph 4.8. Chapter 3 examines Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho, which contains two citations of Ps 68(67).19 that strongly resemble Ephesians. Nevertheless, as nearly all interpreters acknowledge, Justin never refers directly to ‘Paul’ or ‘Pauline’ letters in any of his writings. Is the parallel wording of Justin’s citations evidence for an early Christian tradition that was also available to Ephesians? I argue that although unmentioned by name, a reasonable case can be made that Justin is familiar with the Pauline corpus, including Eph 4.8. Chapter 4 considers the evidence of Peshitta Psalms, which agrees with the reading of Eph 4.8 in a strand of its copyist tradition. After examining scholarly construals of the Peshitta MS tradition, I consider direct evidence for the influence of Eph 4.8 upon some Peshitta MSS as intimated by Theodore of Mopsuestia. Chapter 5 examines Targum Psalms, focusing on translation techniques and the targumist’s tendency to add, alter, or modify his source in various ways. I argue that when the targumist’s techniques and tendencies are taken into consideration, the targum’s reading ‘give’ is better understood as a typical targumic insertion. The proclivity of many scholars to link Targum Psalms to Eph 4.8 is a classic example of ‘parallelomania’. Part Two turns to make a constructive case for the citation found in Eph 4.8. Chapter 6 is a close examination of the author of Ephesians’ approach to literary borrowing. I consider both his citations from the Jewish scriptures and his use of Colossians as evidence. Chapter 7 examines how early Christians read the biblical Psalms as prophecies. Following a survey of Jewish readings of the Psalms, this chapter surveys how early Christians read the Psalms in light of the death and resurrection- exaltation of Christ. Drawing insights from this, chapter 8 turns to consider the phrases ‘he ascended . . . he gave gifts’ in Eph 4.8. I argue that an ambiguity of the addressee in the text of Ps 68(67).19 allowed for the application of this text to Christ. Moreover, the ‘ascent’ language could easily be applied to the resurrection- exaltation and this association naturally led to the language of gift-giving in Eph 4.8. Chapter 9 considers how the citation of Ps 68(67).19 fits into the context of Ephesians 4, focusing on several important factors such as the language of descent in Eph 4.9–10. Part One and Part Two are followed by a short conclusion that summarises the thesis and draws out several conclusions and implications based upon this study.
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