Saturday, June 29, 2013

איש as God in Hosea Chapter 2

Plead with your mother, plead. For she is not My wife, neither am I her husband (איש) and let her put away her harlotries from her face, and her adulteries from between her breasts ... And she shall run after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them, and she shall seek them, but shall not find them; then shall she say: 'I will go and return to my first husband (איש) for then was it better with me than now ... And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call Me אישי, (my husband) and shalt call Me no more בַּעְלִי (my Lord)

Doesn't it now seem apparent that John chapter 4 is little more than a literary development of this material, especially if ΙΣ = אישו

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:16 - 18)

The interest is explicit in the Nag Hammadi text Exegesis on the Soul where a large section from Hosea chapter 2 is cited.  The woman must have been understood to have finally recognized the Christian god as her husband (אישי).

This is certainly how the second century heretic Heracleon understood the material.  Origen reports "The husband of the Samaritan woman mentioned by Jesus is her Fullness, so that, on coming with him to the Savior, she may obtain from him power and union and the mingling with her Fullness. For he was not speaking to her about her earthly husband and telling her to call him, for he knew quite well that she had no lawful husband. . . The Savior said to her, “Call your husband and come hither,” and meant by this her partner from the Fullness. . . In the spiritual sense she did not know her husband, in the simple sense she was ashamed to say that she had an adulterer, not a husband."

The early Fathers also took an interest in this chapter in Hosea because accompanying his recognition as husband there is the clear proclamation that the ritual observances of the Jews will also end - ""I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast-days, her new moons, and her Sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts." (Hos. 2:13)  In Adv. Marc. Book Five Tertullian makes clear the Marcionites used Hosea to frame their argument that the Christian god came to destroy Judaism.  Immediately after the last citation - already referenced once in Book One - Tertullian adds "The institutions which He set up Himself, you ask, did He then destroy? Yes, (I respond), rather than any other."

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