Friday, 8 February 2013

3X-part 2, Seeing and Hearing

In this series, I am looking at Brevard Childs' The Struggle to understand ISAIAH as Christian Scripture.

In the preceding post, I noted that the collage of allusions to Isaiah 6:9-10 requires a great deal more analysis. In particular we must see the raw data. So I lay it out - for my sake that I may see what I am looking at and hear what I must hear.

First, the subject verses: LXX / MT then Ottley translations
לֵ֥ךְ וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֖ לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה
שִׁמְע֤וּ שָׁמ֨וֹעַ֙ וְאַל־תָּבִ֔ינוּ
וּרְא֥וּ רָא֖וֹ וְאַל־תֵּדָֽעוּ
6:9καὶ εἶπεν
πορεύθητι καὶ εἰπὸν τῷ λαῷ τούτῳ
ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε
καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε
And he said,
Go, and say to this people,
Certainly hear ye, but understand not;
and see ye, but perceive not.
And he said,
Go, and say to this people,
By hearing ye shall hear, and not understand;
and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive.
הַשְׁמֵן֙ לֵב־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה
וְאָזְנָ֥יו הַכְבֵּ֖ד
וְעֵינָ֣יו הָשַׁ֑ע
פֶּן־יִרְאֶ֨ה בְעֵינָ֜יו
וּבְאָזְנָ֣יו יִשְׁמָ֗ע
וּלְבָב֥וֹ יָבִ֛ין
וָשָׁ֖ב וְרָ֥פָא לֽוֹ
6:10ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου
καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν αὐτῶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν
καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν
μήποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς
καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν
καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν
καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς
Make the heart of this people fat,
and make their ears heavy,
and smear over their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart,
and turn again, and one heal them.

For the heart of this people is made fat,
and with their ears they hear dully,
and their eyes have they closed;
lest at any time they should see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart,
and should return, when I will heal them.

I wonder how significant the LXX change from imperative to future is or the change of mode from causative to passive or stative. Hebrew verb forms are notorious for the difficulty in sensing the appropriate 'temporal' rendering in another tongue. Our humanity is strung out in a temporal frame. We cannot help but be aware of 'Christmas past, present and future'. Our being reveals both past and future as if we carry all the 'marks and scars' with us at every moment. God is not so bound. For God, presence is a given. So all time is present to Glory. The sense of this fundamental experience is in the text of Scripture explicitly in several places (sun standing still in Joshua or shadows moving backwards in Isaiah 38:8, and Before Abraham was, I am, in John.) Presence / face is a theme in the Psalms, abundantly clear in the first section of Psalm 68, for example, where it dominates the first 9 verses. This observation resonates with Childs' comment that "the coming of the kingdom is not simply a promise, but a divine reality experienced in the person of Jesus Christ."  I guess I need to emphasize that such presence is not foreign to the TNK. This is the first step in resolving the struggle - to recognize word, anointing and presence in the 'OT'.

How then are these verses of Isaiah read by Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John? (Now why would I list these in that order - O Markan priority, how now we take you for granted. I was, by the way, a closet Griesbachian. Now - who am I? Let's see if the Greek usage in the NT gives a clue...)

Here is the data on the use of Isaiah 6:9-10 for pondering and some of Childs' comments and LXX repeated for ease of comparison.

Mark 4:12
ἵνα βλέποντες βλέπωσιν
καὶ μὴ ἴδωσιν
καὶ ἀκούοντες ἀκούωσιν
καὶ μὴ συνιῶσιν
μήποτε ἐπιστρέψωσιν
καὶ ἀφεθῇ αὐτοῖς τὰ ἁμαρτήματα
That seeing they may see,
and not perceive;
and hearing they may hear,
and not understand;
lest at any time they should be converted,
and [their] sins should be forgiven them.

9b ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε
καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε
καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε
καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε
10b μήποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς 
καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν
καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν
καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς

Hearing and seeing are reversed from 9b, most of 10b is omitted, and forgiveness of sins is substituted for healing. It's a paraphrase and yet the LXX is clearly recognized. Childs' comment is that the addition of ἵνα retains the telic (purposeful) force of the Hebrew. 

Matthew 13:13-15
διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ
  ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν
Therefore speak I to them in parables:
because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Here Matthew lays blame on the failure to hear and see. It is neither command (Hebrew) nor future (LXX) but present. The conjunction because emphasizes the blame. Then follows an exact copy of Isaiah 9-10 LXX with one word missing (αὐτῶν = their) otherwise it is identical to the LXX. It is almost as if Matthew has copied the text here just like I copy and present this evidence. It makes me wonder why τοῖς is rendered as 'their' and not 'those' or even 'those very ears and those very eyes'. It also lays blame and makes present the prophecy. 

Luke 8:10
ἵνα βλέποντες μὴ βλέπωσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες μὴ συνιῶσιν

Luke abbreviates Mark retaining the telic reference to the Hebrew - or all three recall the same context of the mystery of parables (not I might add a foreign element but evident in the Psalms and Job and so on. The last of the first group of Korah Psalms is a parable: I will bend to a parable my ear // I will open my riddle on a harp.)

Luke closes his Acts with a refresher of this lesson from Isaiah (Acts 28:26-27). This appears to me to be identical to Matthew 13:14-15. They must both have had a text that did not include the extra αὐτῶν. 

John 9:39
John 9 summarizes the parable/sign of the man born blind. It is a very free allusion. It makes Jesus' mission parallel to that of Isaiah. 
καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς
εἰς κρίμα ἐγὼ εἰς τὸν κόσμον τοῦτον ἦλθον 
ἵνα οἱ μὴ βλέποντες βλέπωσιν καὶ οἱ βλέποντες τυφλοὶ γένωνται 

John 12:38-40
This section combines Isaiah 53:1 and Isaiah 6:10 again paraphrased
Τετύφλωκεν αὐτῶν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς
καὶ πεπώρωκεν αὐτῶν τὴν καρδίαν 
ἵνα μὴ ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς 
καὶ νοήσωσιν τῇ καρδίᾳ 
καὶ ἐπιστραφῶσιν καὶ ἰάσωμαι αὐτούς

The brown is an exact match, the green matching words but not word order. Note the telic allusion to the Hebrew.

Now what does this do for the New Testament's usage of Isaiah as prophecy. It gives rationale to Paul's final comments on the temporary blinding of Israel that the Gentiles might be brought in. (Romans 11:8). I am surprised that Childs did not point out this other allusion to Isaiah 6. That's because it is a slight paraphrase of Isaiah 29:10 - but the collector / redactor of Isaiah must hear and see the eye/ear thread in this passage (not to mention chapter 35 and lots of others).


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