« ÎnapoiContinuați »
occasion for any such words. If He were in every sense and respect “from the Jews,” the Apostle would, beyond any reasonable doubt, have said merely és óv ó zpłotós. There is no instance in the New Testament where zatà cápza is used, in which such a contrast is not plainly intended. There will, however, as we suppose, be little controversy on this point. The main question as related to this phrase in the present verse is, not whether a contrast is intended, but whether it is expressed. In regard to this question, extreme positions have been taken by different writers in opposition to each other, and with equal confidence on both sides. The two parties have agreed only in one particular. They have both asserted that the answer is determined decisively by the mere presence of the phrase itself.
On the one hand, it is maintained that the expression où zarà cúpza requires as an antithesis a reference to Christ's divine nature, (so e. g. Lange), and thus ó óv %. 7. 8., which are the only words in the passage that can set forth the antithesis, must necessarily contain it. We cannot believe that this assertion, as declaring such a neces. sity, can be established. There are several examples of the use of zara gópza without any added expression of this character, in the Pauline Epistles. One of these is in the immediate context of this verse; namely, in Rom. ix. 3, where the Apostle speaks of the Israelites as his kinsmen according to the flesh, and yet says nothing of them in any other and contrasted relation. As for tù 2010. oúpra, no instance of its use outside of the verse before us occurs either in the writings of St. Paul, or in any of the other New Testament books.* But there are such instances in other Greek writings, where it is plain that there is no expressed antithesis. A very noticeable one-noticeable by reason of the striking similarity of the language to that which the Apostle here employs—is found in the First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, chap. xxxii.
In speaking of Jacob, Clement says it ajrov Kóplos 'loouus tò xoşà cápza. Whatever contrast may be implied here, none is set forth in words by the author. These examples of the use of zarà cópza, either with or without the neuter article, are sufficient to show that there is no necessity appertaining to the laws of the Greek language, and none arising from any inevitable obscurity of thought as involved in such a phrase without it, for a distinct expression of the intended antithesis. Some writers, however, who are not disposed to go so far as to assert that the phrase must, when referring to Christ, have the contrast always supplied in words, affirm that it cannot be otherwise here. Thus Philippi says,
Thus Philippi says, “The suppression of the anti* The textual reading in Acts ii. 30, which includes these words, should doubtless be rejected.
thesis, and its supply in thought merely, cannot take place where, as here, the thesis occurs only for the sake of the antithesis. « το κατά cápza,” he adds, “stands merely for the sake of the following öv επί πάντων θεώς. . Without this contrast the words would imply a diminution of the prerogative of Israel. The Apostle would then have written simply και εξ ών ο χριστός ; for that the Messiah springs from the Jews is a higher privilege than that He springs from them after the flesh merely. But that He springs from them after the flesh who is God over all, this is the highest conceivable prerogative." If we were considering probabilities only, this reasoning would have much force. But it must be borne in mind that the words of Philippi include a cannot, and claim a necessity as existing. That où zatd. sopra is inserted because Christ had another relation, in which he did not belong to the Jewish race, may be admitted. This admission, however, is far from being the same thing as to say, that this relation must be set forth in the words ó öyt! Távtwy Oɛós. How do we know that the Apostle did not add the limiting phrase simply because he and his readers appreciated the fact, that the Messiah was not from the Jews in every sense ? How do we know that he intended to define particularly what he was in other respects? How do we determine-not that he may, or probably does—but that he must give to his sentence this especial emphasis of which Philippi speaks, or that he intends to assign to the Jews “the highest conceivable prerogative?" Those who affirm that the phrase itself renders it absolutely certain that the words ó óv %. t. h. are antithetical to it, are assuming a ground which, as we think, cannot be successfully defended.
In direct opposition to the writers of the class just alluded to, the learned Dutch scholar, van Hengel, in an extended note in his Commentary on this Epistle, endeavors to prove that, according to Greek usage tü zatà oápza here requires a period to be placed after it, and thus the following words must begin a new sentence. His position is that sÙ zarà cápzz must be distinguished from zarà sápza, and that, when the neuter article is thus used with a restrictive phrase, the appropriate direct contrast is suggested by and involved in this phrase, and any further antithesis is excluded. This position seems to us indefensible, if it amounts to a declaration that a writer, after using tò zatà oápza, cannot state in words what the person to whom he is referring is où zasà Tvedua. Do not the passages cited by Meyer, in his notes on this verse, -namely, Xenophon's Cyr. v. 4, 11, (vūY TÒ Mèvèa'èpoi ούχομαι, το δ' επί σου σεσωσμαι), Plato, Minos, 320 C., (νομωφύλακι γαρ αυτώ έχρήτο ο Μίνως κατά το άστυ, τα δε κατά την άλλη, K putru Tŷ Taw), sufficiently prove the opposite? It also seems indefensible, if it involves the assertion that, though the Apostle might have expressed the contrast here by a phrase including το κατά πνεύμα, he could not have set it forth without these words, provided that he desired to use other phraseology giving in substance the same idea. Language is not bound in cast-iron chains. Certainly the language of St. Paul is not. But it is not necessary to enter upon a prolonged discussion respecting this point. If we admit everything which this distinguished commentator can possibly intend to maintain, the question is not settled, as he supposes it to be. There may not be here any such distinct (rò zarà avera) contrast as van Hengel is excluding. The Apostle may be—not to say, is-stating not what Christ is on the cáps and on the rivena side, i. e. giving a description of Him in his two natures or relations, but simply that Christ, who is God over all, came from the Jews où zarà capra. Could he not have said, Christ, who is the Son of God, or who is the Saviour of the world, came from the Jewς το κατά σάρκα? If he had desired to lay an especial emphasis on the clause beginning with who is in this latter sentence, could he not have placed it after où zatà oápza, instead of before these words ? If he could, he could do the same thing in the case before us. This, as we believe, is precisely what he intended to do. But even the possibility that this view of his purpose is correct proves that no such argument as that of this Dutch writer is conclusive. *
We are thrown back, therefore-on both sides—upon probabilities, and must pursue our examination accordingly. In order to determine what these probabilities are, however, we must observe what the author is attempting to do in the verses to which this passage belongs. It is evident that his object is to set forth the privileges and honors of the Israelitish people, in which he as a Jew might naturally
*If the reading of the Textus Receptus in Acts ii. 30 were adoptedειδώς ότι όρκω ώμοσεν αυτώ ο θεός εκ καρπού της οσφύος αυτού το κατά σάρκα αναστήσει τον χριστών, καθίσαι επί του θρόνου αυτούcould not the words τον όντα επί πάντων θεών have been added to χριστών by the author? Would he, because of the presence of cj zatd. odpza have been compelled by the inviolable laws of the Greek language to omit these words, however greatly he desired to insert them in his sentence? We cannot believe that the language is fettered so closely as this. But if it is thus limited, so far as the setting forth of a direct contrast is concerned, it will not follow that there is a similar limitation with reference to such a phrase as the one before us, when introduced for the purpose indicated above.
glory, as an evidence that, in anything which he was about to say respecting them, he was moved by no feeling of hostility. honors and privileges he brings before the reader in a series of terms, which are clearly arranged in an order of climax. At the end of the series is mentioned, as the greatest and highest distinction of his nation, the fact that Christ belonged to them in a certain sense or on a certain side, -50 zarà cápza. So far there can be no difference of opinion. The Apostle's position is plain. But if this be so, is it not antecedently probable, that-in case he could point out, on the vedia side, some peculiar glory appertaining to Christ, which would serve to show in the most emphatic way what the honor to the Jews of having him appear as one of themselves was-he would for the very purpose of his climax, suggest it to the reader's mind? We cannot doubt that an affirmative answer to this question must be given. If, however, the ó ó clause is referred to Christ, as descriptive of Him, it contains just such a statement of His exalted position as would, in the highest degree, serve this purpose. It presents the honor divinely bestowed upon the people as nothing else could do; such honor as might well lead the Apostle to the extraordinary expression of devotion to them which we find two verses earlier. On the other hand, the insertion of an independent sentence ascribing praise to God the Father here, whatever may be said as to the possible fitness of such a sentence in this context, deprives the passage of this emphasis of climax, if we may so speak, which the author appears to be aiming at as one of his main objects.
We are considering the words, it must be remembered, in connection with the rules of language and grammar, at present. Looking at the sentence in this way, we may say, (a.) tò zatà oápra naturally and necessarily suggests the idea of contrast; (6.) this contrast, though, indeed, it may not always be expressed, will probably be expressed whenever the thought can be brought out more clearly or more impressively by this means; (c.) in the present case, it is evident that the greatest force is given to the words, if the antithesis is distinctly stated; (2.) therefore, in this case, the phrase od zarà cápza throws the presumption in favor of the view which holds that we have a statement of the antithesis within the sentence; (e.) inasmuch as the clause ó óv 7. 7. 2. may be interpreted in such a way as to answer the purpose of an antithesis (even expressing it in the manner best adapted to the carrying out of a design which the writer manifestly has in mind), and inasmuch as there is nothing else in the verses which can answer this purpose, the probability is that this clause does express what tù zatà oápra suggests or calls for.
This probability, we readily confess, is not so strong that it might not be over-balanced by the clear teaching of the Apostle, if such could be proved, that Christ is not Osós. Nor is it so strong, that it would be impossible to suppose an unexpressed contrast had been in the writer's mind-such, for example, as that, while on the gaps side Christ came from the Jews only, on the aveva side he had relation to Jews and Gentiles alike.* The probability, that is to say, does not reach the limits of certainty. But it is of such strength as to be worthy, as we have already said of that which exists respecting the
*That the unexpressed contrast here referred to is not the one intended by the Apostle, we think is rendered altogether probable by the following considerations: (a.) In the passage of this Epistle in which the aveŪpo. side or relation of Christ is mentioned most distinctly, in contrast with the gips side or relation,-namely, Chap. i., vss. 3, 4, a radically different sense belongs to avsla. That passage, however, as it appears to us, is one in which the Apostle would have been more inclined, than he would be here, to bring out the relation of the Lord Jesus to all men, in contrast to that in which he stood to the Jews alone. He was there speaking of the Gospel and its proclamation to all the nations. He was intimating that the Old Testament Scriptures had promised and prophesied it; a point which he subsequently develops as confirming the doctrine of salvation by faith for Jews and Gentiles alike. To refer, under such circumstances, to Christ's relation to both would not have been outside of the line of his thought. But in the verses before us he is confining himself to the Jews only, and is attempting to meet a special difficulty as connected with the covenant of God, which made them earnestly oppose his doctrine. In order to carry out his purpose, he is enumerating their privileges as a nation and the marked evidences of God's favor towards them. It is to them exclusively that his thoughts turn here, though they have turned to others elsewhere. If, in such a context, he says, Christ, who is in himself Divine, is, by his human descent, from the Jews, it is in full harmony with all that he is thus setting forth. But a reference, even by implication, to Christ's spiritual connection with all men, as distinguished from them alone, seems to break in discordantly upon his recital of their peculiar honors, and his defence of himself against their sensitiveness, (6). Whatever we may hold with respect to the doctrine of His Deity, we cannot but regard it as evident that, in general, when the aveva side of Christ is spoken of or hinted at in the New Testament, in distinction from the gaps side, the reference is to something internal to himself, or belonging to his relations to God, and not to what is external, appertaining to the connection which he has with all men as opposed to that which he has with the Jewish race.