Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Smoking Gun - Clement of Alexandria Identified ΙΣ as the 'Mystical Angel' איש.

The business of writing blog posts is pretty straightforward.  I sit here at the end of the day with the few minutes or hours I have at my disposal and try to 'make something' it.  I usually start by asking a question and then I go where the evidence leads me.  If I am to be completely candid, I liken this sort of writing to musicianship more than scholarship.  I don't see myself as part of a broader debate.  I don't set out to 'prove something.'  The closest thing I can liken this process to is jamming with musical instruments or making up songs.  Most of the time what you come up with is garbage, but every once and a while, if you are lucky, you strike gold.

The latest line of reasoning I have been working on has taken months and months of research.  I don't quite know how I got the idea to read the nomen sacrum ΙΣ which appear in the earliest Christian manuscripts as a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew word איש (= man).  There were probably a lot of little bits and pieces that all came together; quite a few dead ends.  But in the end, I think I come up with the right answer - not only for the origin of the nomen sacrum - but for the true identity of the Christian god.

As I noted before, there must have been a very early tradition of identifying ΙΣ with the Greek name  Ἰησοῦς.  Nevertheless at a very early date a secret, mystical tradition associated with St Paul undoubtedly argued that at the head of Christianity was an angel - nay, the angel, the being with the name above all names - איש.  In a previous post we started taking a look at Esther J Hamori's work on the 'Ish theophany in the Bible - namely that in two notable passages an anthropomorphic heavenly being is depicted engaging the Patriarchs.  If I am right, Christianity was developed from the idea that this hidden and ultimately unknown power, ultimately came to earth in the year 6000 AM to warn of the impending destruction of all things (= the Temple) forty nine years later.

The being that did this announcing was identified as ΙΣ in the manuscripts but instead of 'filling in' a bunch of extra letters to make Ἰησοῦς the earliest Christians read them as a Greek word - a transliteration of איש.  As we saw in our previous posts איש wasn't just a hidden figure lurking in passages like Genesis 32:23 - 33, the Jewish mystics from a very early period understood that this name represented an acronym of the three traditional names of God in the Bible.  איש as such represented a totality or 'fullness' of the three other powers and as such 'the name above all names,' the 'being of all beings.' 

As it stands now, we haven't found a 'smoking gun' - an example which proved that Christians read their scriptures taking ΙΣ to be representing a transliteration of  איש. Yet this is about to change, as I found an important section of writing in Clement of Alexandria which clearly shows he supported just such a practice.  In Book One Chapter Seven of his work, the Instructor, Clement makes clear that his god  ΙΣ was the איש figure at the heart of the theophany of chapter 32.  Clement and many others of the early Church Fathers borrow the idea from Philo that the name 'Israel' - the mystical appellation given to Jacob after wrestling with a 'Man' (= ἄνθρωπος) named איש (Philo et al [mis]takes the name Israel to mean ish ra el = 'a man = איש seeing God' reinforcing the identity of the mysterious 'Man').

When you read the following extract from Clement's Instructor I think you will see that his Alexandrian Christian tradition understood that their god was named איש.  Just look carefully at what follows, further analysis to follow tomorrow:

But our Instructor is the holy God ΙΣ, the Word, who is the pilot of all humanity, the loving God Himself is our Instructor

Ὁ δὲ ἡμέτερος παιδαγωγὸς ἅγιος θεὸς ΙΣ, ὁ πάσης τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος καθηγεμὼν λόγος, αὐτὸς ὁ φιλά νθρωπος θεός ἐστι παιδαγωγός

Somewhere in song the Holy Spirit says with regard to Him,

Λέγει δέ που διὰ τῆς ᾠδῆς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον εἰς αὐτόν

"He provided sufficiently for the people in the wilderness.

αὐτάρκησεν τὸν λαὸν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ,

in the thirst of summer heat in a dry land,

ἐν δίψει καύματος, ἐν ἀνύδρῳ

He led him about and instructed him, and kept him as the apple of His eye,

ἐκύκλωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐπαίδευσεν αὐτὸν καὶ διεφύλαξεν ὡς κόρην ὀφθαλμοῦ

as an eagle protects her nest, and shows her fond solicitude for her young,

Ὡς ἀετὸς σκ επάσαι νοσσιὰν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖς νε οσσοῖς αὐτοῦ ἐπεπόθησεν

spreads abroad her wings, takes them, and bears them on her back.

διεὶς τὰ ς πτέρυγας αὐτοῦ ἐδέξατο αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀνέλαβεν αὐτοὺς ἐπὶ τῶν μεταφρέν ων αὐτοῦ

The Lord alone led them, and there was no strange god with them." [Deut 32:10 - 12]

κύριος μόνος ἦγεν αὐτοὺς καὶ οὐκ ἦν μετ ' αὐτῶν θεὸς ἀλλότριος

Clearly, I trow, has the Scripture exhibited the Instructor in the account it gives of His guidance.

Σαφῶς, οἶμαι, τὸν παιδαγωγὸν ἐνδείκνυται ἡ γραφὴ τὴν ἀγωγὴν αὐτοῦ διηγ ουμένη

Again, when He speaks in His own person, He confesses Himself to be the Instructor:

Πάλιν δὲ ὅταν λέγῃ διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου προσώπου, ἑαυτὸν ὁμ ολογεῖ παιδαγωγόν

"I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt." [Ex 20:1]

ἐγὼ κύριος ὁ θεός σου , ὁ ἐξαγαγών σε ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου

Who, then, has the power of leading in and out? Is it not the Instructor?

Τίς οὖν ἔχει ἐξουσίαν τοῦ ἄγειν εἴσω τε καὶ ἔξω; Οὐχὶ ὁ παιδαγωγός

This was He who appeared to Abraham, and said to him,

Οὗτος ὤφθη τῷ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ

"I am thy God, be accepted before Me;" [Gen 17:1, 2]

ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ θεός σου· εὐαρέστει ἐνώπιόν μου

and in a way most befitting an instructor, forms him into a faithful child, saying,

Τοῦτον δὲ παιδαγωγικώτατα ὑποκ ατασκευάζει παῖδα πιστόν, καὶ γίνου φήσας ἄμεμπτος

"And be blameless; and I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and try seed." [Gen 17:7]

καὶ θήσω τὴν διαθήκην μου ἀνὰ μέσον ἐμοῦ καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον σοῦ καὶ τοῦ σπέρματός σου

There is the communication of the Instructor's friendship.

Φιλίας ἐνταῦθα ἐπιστατικῆς ἐστι κοινωνία

And He most manifestly appears as Jacob's instructor. He says accordingly to him,

Τοῦ δὲ Ἰακὼβ ἐναργέστα τα παιδαγωγὸς εἶναι φαίνε ται. Λέγει γοῦν αὐτῷ

"Lo, I am with thee, to keep thee in all the way in which thou shalt go; and I will bring thee back into this land: for I will not leave thee till I do what I have told thee." [Gen 28:15]

ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μετὰ σοῦ, διαφυλάσσων σε ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ πάσῃ, οὗ ἂν πορευθῇς· καὶ ἀποστρέψω σε εἰς τὴν γῆν ταύτην, ὅτι οὐ μή σε ἐγκαταλείπω ἕως τοῦ ποιῆσαί με ὅσα ἐλάλησά σοι .

He is said, too, to have wrestled with Him.

Τούτῳ δὲ καὶ συμπαλαίειν λέγεται.

"And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled with him a man - the Instructor - till the morning." [Gen 32:24]

Ὑπελείφθη δέ, φησίν  Ἰακὼβ μόνος, καὶ ἐπάλαιεν μετ'αὐτοῦ ἄνθρωπος,ὁ παιδαγωγός, μέχρι πρωί .

This was the man who led, and brought, and wrestled with, and anointed the athlete Jacob against evil.

Οὗτος ἦν ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὁ ἄγων καὶ φέρων, ὁ συγγυμν αζόμενος κα ὶ ἀλείφων κατὰ τοῦ πονηροῦ τὸν ἀσκητὴν Ἰακώβ

Now that the Word was at once Jacob's trainer and the Instructor of humanity appears from this--

Ὅτι δὲ ὁ λόγος ἦν ὁ ἀλείπτης ἅμα τῷ Ἰακὼβ καὶ παιδαγωγὸς τῆς ἀνθρω π ότητος, ἠρώτησ εν ,φη σίν , αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ

"He asked," it is said, "His name, and said to him, Tell me what is Try name." And he said, "Why is it that thou askest My name?" [Gen 32:30]

ἀνάγγειλόν μοι τί τὸ ὄνομά σου . Καὶ εἶπεν· ἵνα τί τοῦτο ἐρωτᾷς τὸ ὄνομά μου

For He reserved the new name for the new people--the babe; and was as yet unnamed, the Lord God not having yet become man.

Ἐτήρει γὰρ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ καινὸν τῷ νέῳ λαῷ τῷ νηπίῳ· ἔτι δὲ ἀνωνόμαστος ἦν ὁ θεὸς ὁ κύριος, μηδέπω γεγενημένος ἄνθρωπος

Yet Jacob called the name of the place, "Face of God." "For I have seen," he says, "God face to face; and my life is preserved."

Πλὴν ἀλλὰ ὁ Ἰακὼβ ἐκάλεσε τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ τόπο υ ἐκείνου Εἶδος θεοῦ· εἶδον γάρ , φησί , θεὸν π ρόσ ωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον, καὶ ἐσώθη μου ἡ ψυχή

The face of God is the Word by whom God is manifested and made known.

Πρόσωπον δὲ τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ λόγος , ᾧ φωτίζεται ὁ θεὸς καὶ γνωρίζεται

Then also was he named Israel, because he saw God the Lord.

Τότε καὶ Ἰσραὴλ ἐπωνόμασται, ὅτε εἶδεν τὸν θεὸν τὸν κύριον

It was God, the Word, the Instructor, who said to him again afterwards, "Fear not to go down into Egypt."

Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ θεός, ὁ λόγος, ὁ παιδαγωγός, ὁ φήσας αὐτῷ πάλιν ὕστερον "μὴ φοβοῦ καταβῆναι εἰς Αἴγυπτον."

See how the Instructor follows the righteous man, and how He anoints the athlete, teaching him to trip up his antagonist.

Ὅρα πῶς μὲν ἕπεται τῷ δικαίῳ ὁ παιδαγωγός, ὅπως δὲ καὶ ἀλείφει τὸν ἀσκητήν, πτερνίζειν διδάσκων τὸ ν ἀνταγωνιστήν .

It is He also who teaches Moses to act as instructor.

Αὐτὸς γοῦν οὗτος καὶ τὸν Μωσέ α διδάσκει παιδαγωγεῖν·

For the Lord says, "If any one sin before Me, him will I blot out of My book; but now, go and lead this people into the place which I told thee." 

λέγει γὰρ ὁ κύριος· εἴ τις ἡμάρτηκ εν ἐνώπιόν μου, ἐξαλείφω αὐτὸν ἐκ τῆς βίβλου μου . Νυνὶ δὲ βάδιζε καὶ ὁδή γησον τὸν λαὸν τοῦτον εἰς τὸν τόπον, ὃν εἶπά σοι .

Here He is the teacher of the art of instruction.

Ἐν ταῦ θ α διδάσκαλός ἐστι παιδαγωγίας·

For it was really the Lord that was the instructor of the ancient people by Moses; but He is the instructor of the new people by Himself, face to face.

καὶ γὰρ ἦν ὡς ἀληθῶ ς διὰ μὲν Μωσέως παιδαγωγ ὸς ὁ κύρι ος τοῦ λαοῦ τοῦ παλαιοῦ , δι ' αὑτοῦ δὲ τοῦ νέου καθηγεμὼν λαοῦ , πρόσ ωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον  

"For behold," He says to Moses, "My angel shall go before thee," representing the evangelical and commanding power of the Word

Ἰδού, γάρ φησι τῷ Μωσεῖ, ὁ ἄγγελός μου προπορεύεταί σου , τὴν εὐαγγέλιον καὶ ἡγεμόνιον ἐπιστήσας τοῦ λόγου δύναμιν

but guarding the Lord's prerogative. "In the day on which I will visit them," He says, "I will bring their sins on them; that is, on the day on which I will sit as judge I will render the recompense of their sins." For the same who is Instructor is judge, and judges those who disobey Him; and the loving Word will not pass over their transgression in silence. He reproves, that they may repent. For "the Lord willeth the repentance of the sinner rather than his death." And let us as babes, hearing of the sins of others, keep from similar transgressions, through dread of the threatening, that we may not have to undergo like sufferings. What, then, was the sin which they committed? "For in their wrath they slew men, and in their impetuosity they hamstrung bulls. Cursed be their anger."

Who, then, would train us more lovingly than He?

Τίς ἂν οὖν τούτου μᾶλλον ἡμᾶς φιλανθρωπότερον παιδεύσαι

Formerly the older people had an old covenant, and the law disciplined the people with fear, and the Word was an angel;

Τὸ μὲν οὖν πρότερον τῷ πρεσβυτέρῳ λαῷ πρεσβυτέρα διαθήκη ἦν καὶ νόμος ἐπαιδαγώγει τὸν λαὸν με τὰ φόβου καὶ λόγος ἄγγελος ἦν,

but to the fresh and new people has also been given a new covenant, and the Word has appeared, and fear is turned to love, and that mystic angel ΙΣ is brought into the world - .

καινῷ δὲ καὶ νέῳ λαῷ καινὴ καὶ νέα διαθήκη δεδώρηται καὶ ὁ λόγος γεγέννηται καὶ ὁ φόβος εἰς ἀγάπην μετατέτραπται καὶ ὁ μυστικὸς ἐκεῖνος  ἄγγελος ΙΣ τίκτεται

For this same Instructor said then, "Thou shalt fear the Lord God;" but to us He has addressed the exhortation, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God."

Ὁ γὰρ αὐτὸς οὗ τος παιδαγωγὸς τότε μὲν φοβηθήσῃ κύριον τὸν θεὸν ἔλεγεν, ἡμῖν δὲ ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου παρῄνεσεν

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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