SFI Journal. Issue 30
The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute. 2019. Iss. 30. 253 p.
God’s Image – The Steward of the World
“God’s Image – The Steward of the World” is a chapter from the book by Hans Walter Wolff Anthropology of the Old Testament (1973). It opens the third section, entitled The World of Man. Social Anthropology, covering such topics as ‘man and woman’, ‘parents and children’, ‘brothers, friends, and enemies’, ‘lords and slaves’, ‘wise and foolish (teachers and disciples)’, ‘man and society’, ‘human vocation’. According to H. W. Wolff, the vocation of man to be the steward of the world implies his responsibility for the entrusted creation and eliminates the arbitrariness and the domination of man over man, which distorts the image of God. The conquest of the world should not lead to environmental pollution, human unfreedom, technical and economic subordination.
Keywords: image of God, likeness of God, creation, humankind, human vocation, environment.
“For a Human Being”, “for the Human Being” or “for Adam?” (Gen 2:20)
This article discusses the question of the interpretation and translation of the Hebrew ’adam in the Masoretic text of Genesis 2–3. Most often this word occurs with a definite article, but in Gen 2:20; 3:17, 21, where it is used with an inseparable preposition le, the article is absent. Does it indicate an inconsistency in the Masoretic vocalization system? Should we understand this word without the article as a “human being” or as the name “Adam”? Barthelemy compares it with similar cases that deal with terms ’élōhîm, tofet, ba’al and with the overall use of the article in Hebrew poetry. He comes to the conclusion that hâ’âdâm, which is a construction with the article, is the most ancient one. The article was used to emphasize the human being who was created by God. Le’âdâm, which is a construction without the article, was a kind of “innovation”, as it indicates that at a certain point before the LXX was created this word was already perceived as a proper name.
Barthelemy suggests that ’adam can be translated in several ways. If we want to preserve the most ancient understanding of the text, we need to translate it as “the human being” regardless of presence or absence of the article. However, if we want to point out the interpretation of this text, which had arisen probably since the time of the Exile, we have to translate it as “Adam” everywhere. Barthelemy stresses that, in any case, le’âdâm cannot be translated simply as “for a human being”.
Keywords: Masoretic text, Genesis, Jahwist, vocalization, article, inseparable preposition, God, Adam, human being, altar, Baal.
This article is dedicated to the problem of the relationship between the two halves of Genesis 1:27 (“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”). The question of the relationship between the two halves of the verse is examined in light of various interpretations of the expressions “image of God” *1 and “male and female” *2 in texts from the Second Temple era, the New Testament and Rabbinic literature. Within this group of texts, a common line of usage for the two separate halves of the verses (Gen 1:27a, b (Gen 5:1b, 2а)) predominates, both in terms of quotation and in terms of interpretation. In the ancient texts listed, we can observe two basic trends vis-a-vis the expressions “image of God” and “male and female”. The first trend, dealing with the fulfillment of God’s words, “and let them have dominion <…> over all the earth” *3 and God’s command “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” *4, relates to man’s calling to be the ruler of the earth and to childbearing. The second trend is found in the context of striving for eternal life, appearing on the one hand in Philo’s understanding of the “heavenly man”, and on the other hand in Christian conceptions of Christ as the image of God *5 and of there being “neither male nor female” *6 in Christ and in the Church.
Keywords: Image of God, Bible, man and woman, male and female, androgynous.
Dehumanization as the key to a real understanding of the image of God
This article addresses the phenomenon of dehumanization in situations of extreme exhaustion, such as the dokhodyadi of the Gulag and the Muselmänner of Auschwitz. It explores this phenomenon as a challenge to post-traumatic studies in philosophy and theology, as well as to theological anthropology and specifically to the doctrine of the image of God in man, since “the Human in man” (Varlam Shalamov) is traditionally associated with the doctrine of the image of God.
In recent years, interest in this doctrine has increased amongst Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox theologians, and in interdisciplinary research. In discussions between Western theologians and philosophers, the idea that the image of God can be isolated empirically, or is a specific qualitative (substantive) characteristic in man, is radically contested. The three modern interpretational models of man as an image of God (functional, relational and dynamic) are undermined by the testimony of victims testifying to the empirical reality of the loss of all human in man. They therefore fail to provide solid (theological) anthropology. I argue, on the contrary, that precisely because the testimonies describe the loss of what is traditionally understood as the image of God they paradoxically confirm the reality of God’s image. In this article I propose to revise the oldest, substantial model, based on the example of the anthropology of Maxim the Confessor.
Keywords: image of God, theological anthropology, dehumanization, Varlam Shalamov, Maxim the Confessor.
The Likeness of God in a Mass Murderer? God and Evil in the Biography of Rudolf Hoss
Rooted in “theology after Auschwitz”, the article places the traditional question “where was God in Auschwitz?” before the question “where was God in the Auschwitz commandant’s life?”. The author analyses the social, historical, biographical, psychological conditions that influenced the formation of the commandant of Auschwitz Rudolf Hoss and raises the question of God and evil in his life. The article is based on the detailed analysis of Hoss’s autobiography “My Soul, Evolution, Life and Ordeals”, which allows tracing how God-likeness in Hoss’s inner world gradually faded away, since he betrayed the voice of the heart and replaced his conscience with National Socialist ideology, letting evil structures grow. He thus split his world into an inner and outer one and turned his life into a struggle against enemies who must be subjugated or destroyed. The theological question of preserving the “image of God” in a mass murderer is associated here with the biblical concept of “heart”, the existential center of the person, either open or closed towards the Other – God and man. In the conclusions, the author formulates the antinomy between the infinite mercy of God and his absolute justice. In the light of this antinomy, the question about the fate of criminals in eschatological reality can be raised.
Keywords: Rudolf Hoss, theology after Auschwitz, image of God, National Socialism, repentance.
Christ as Portrayed by Ivan Turgenev (“A Living Relic”, “Alms” and “Christ”), on Mediaeval Russian Icons and Mid-To-Late XIX Century Russian Paintings
The article focuses on Ivan Turgenev’s understanding and portrayal of Christ in three of his works: “A Living Relic”, “Alms” and “Christ”. Since Turgenev defined himself as a secular non-believer, his interest in Christ was largely interpreted as part of the quest for the “historical Jesus”, which was a popular pursuit at the time. An analysis of Turgenev’s actual writing pertaining to this portrayal demonstrates a lack of intention to juxtapose a realistic image of Christ the man and the traditional image of Christ as a God-Man. In all of the three works, Turgenev portrays Christ in the context of mystical visions and revelations. In order to broaden the scope of the research, we have analysed the writings against the images of Christ found on mediaeval Russian icons and throughout paintings and sculptures produced in Turgenev’s Russia. This comparison method enabled by extensive application of iconographic, historical and aesthetic analysis is hitherto unprecedented. The research has identified instances of alignment between Turgenev’s portrayal of Christ and the images found on icons; it has also revealed the fundamental differences in form and substance between the image created by Turgenev and the one dominating works on the same subject by representatives of both the academic and the realist schools of painting (exceptions are uniquely rare). The research has also found that the most significant features of Turgenev’s Christ image reflect a number of religious, philosophical and theological definitions.
Keywords: Christ, Turgenev, image, icon, painting, sculpture, academic art, realism, text, context.
The Spiritual Senses and Discernment in the Syriac Fathers
The article discusses some basic anthropological concepts characteristic of the early Syriac ascetic tradition where a key method of describing the human spiritual structure is to draw analogies; in the present case this is between the limbs of the human body and their internal spiritual counterparts. Thus the main category by which the true ways and objectives of the Christian endeavour are described here concerns the “internal senses”, with a set of their own “limbs”: this allows for a portrayal of a way of life and a means of discernment that is activated by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Keywords: Christian anthropology, spiritual sense, internal sense, spiritual discernment, grace.
Books of Letters of St Patrick the Bishop Book One: Confession
Translation, introductory article and comments by A. G. Dunayev
The new Russian translation of the “Confessions” of St Patrick of Ireland was made based on the publication in the series “Christian Sources” (Sources Chretiennes, n. 249). Explanatory notes were compiled using R. Hanson’s comments. The translation highlights numerous allusions to the Holy Scripture; textual quotations are additionally enclosed in inverted commas.
Keywords: St Patrick of Ireland, “Confession”, mission, Christianity in Ireland, holy fathers.
Missiology and Catechetics
The conceptual apparatus of modern Orthodox Missiology
The content of modern Orthodox Missiology is largely determined by its conceptual apparatus. Despite the fact that the development of Orthodox Missiology covers a relatively short period in the modern history of the Russian Orthodox Church, the process of forming missiological terminology is at a stage that allows it to become the subject of scientific research. At the moment, more than 50 concepts are regularly used in missiological discourse. This is evidence of the level of development achieved and speaks of the creative nature of the development of missiology as an independent section of Orthodox systematic theology. At the same time, even a preliminary acquaintance with the conceptual apparatus of modern Orthodox missiology reveals a number of problems discussed in this article.
Keywords: Missiology, New Testament mission concepts, history of mission terminology, system of mission terminology, terms of the mission actor, terms of the addressee of the mission, intentional terms of method and content, modern mission terminology.
Review of the 3rd All-Russian research conference with international participation “Orthodox Brotherhoods in Russian History: Bearing Witness to Unity in a Disunited World”. Ekaterinburg – Ganina Yama, 7–9 February 2019
Brotherhoods as a phenomenon of post-Constantinian epoch (conference paper)
Abstract: Hengel M., Schwemer A.-M. Jesus and Judaism. Moscow: St Andrew’s Biblical Theological Institute, 2016. 724 p. (contemporary biblical studies)