THE ODES OF SOLOMON (1st - 3rd century AD) Questions (SOLVED)

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THE ODES OF SOLOMON (1st - 3rd century AD) Questions (SOLVED)

Post by rakovsky » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:32 pm

The Odes of Solomon are considered to be originally written in Greek or Syriac, and are quoted by Lactantius in the early 4th century. They were found in the Bodmer papyri (200 - 7th c. AD) near the monastery of St. Pachomias. The 6th c. "Synopsis Sacrae Scripture" says that they are read to catechumens.

One of the Odes was quoted in the gnostic Pistis Sophia (c. 3rd century AD), and some scholars propose that the Odes were gnostic, written maybe by the gnostic Bardeisan of Edessa. For this, they point to some Odes like those in my questions below. ("Bardaisan and the Odes of Solomon", by Wm. Romaine Newbold, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 30, No. 2 (1911), pp. 161-204 (44 pages), https://www.jstor.org/stable/3260001?se ... b_contents) One difference that comes to mind is that Bardaisan supposedly rejects the resurrection of the body, whereas the Odes affirm it. For the view that it isn't gnostic, see: "THE ODES OF SOLOMON—NOT GNOSTIC", by James H. Charlesworth, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 3 (JULY 1969), pp. 357-369 (13 pages)(https://www.jstor.org/stable/43712444?s ... b_contents)

Charlesworth's translation of the Odes can be found here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/odes.html

(Question 1: Solved) Why does Ode 25 say that the narrator removed his garments of skin? Is this referring to the resurrection?
Ode 25 goes:
I was rescued from my chains, and I fled unto You, O my God.
Because You are the right hand of salvation, and my Helper.
You have restrained those who rise up against me, and no more were they seen.
Because Your face was with me, which saved me by Your grace.
But I was despised and rejected in the eyes of many, and I was in their eyes like lead.
And I acquired strength from You, and help.
A lamp You set for me both on my right and on my left, so that there might not be in me anything that is not light.
And I was covered with the covering of Your Spirit, and I removed from me my garments of skin.
Because Your right hand exalted me, and caused sickness to pass from me.
And I became mighty in Your truth, and holy in Your righteousness.
And all my adversaries were afraid of me, and I became the Lord's by the name of the Lord.
And I was justified by His kindness, and His rest is for ever and ever.
Hallelujah.
The garments of skin refers to how after God's judgment of Adam, Eve, and the serpent, Genesis 3:21 says: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." James Rendel Harris in his book on the Odes notes that Philo and others took this to mean that this passage in Genesis refers to God creating human, material skinly flesh for Adam and Eve, who lacked it before the Fall. For this concept, Harris also looks to Psalm 104:2's description of God, "Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain".
Harris points Paul's concept of putting off the Old Man and putting on the New Man, like in Colossians 3:9-10. He also points to Clement of Alexandria (Paedegogus I.6), who wrote: "Truly, then, are we the children of God, who have put aside the old man, and stripped off the garment of wickedness, and put on the immortality of Christ; that we may become a new, holy people by regeneration, and may keep the man undefiled. ... "And I will be," He says, "their Shepherd," Ezekiel 34:14-16 and will be near them, as the garment to their skin. He wishes to save my flesh by enveloping it in the robe of immortality, and He has anointed my body.
He notes that Ode 11 says: "And I rejected the folly cast upon the earth, and stripped it off and cast it from me. And the Lord renewed me with His garment, and possessed me by His light."
I see the concept in 1 Cor 15:42-47 of a person dying with a natural earthly body and being raised in a spiritual body that reminds me of Ode 25's reference to removing the garments of skin. But this would fit best if Ode 25 was referring to resurrection. This would fit with the preceding Ode, 24, being about the Lord sealing up the chasms, alluding to the Lord putting an end to dying. Harris leaves open the possibility that Ode 25's reference to removing the garment of skin implies the anti-flesh theology of gnosticism. But I note that Ode 22 talks about taking dead bones from graves and giving them flesh: "And It [God's right hand] chose them ["those who believe in You"] from the graves, and separated them from the dead ones. It took dead bones and covered them with flesh. But they were motionless, so It gave them energy for life."

In "Odes of Solomon: Early Hymns of the Jewish Christian Mystical Tradition", on the other hand, Pam Denzer sees Ode 25 as referring to being covered with the Spirit and removing the garment of skin as happening before one's death:
It was believed that if a person lived their life according to ...God and Jesus’ 1Ways (Jewish Christian), then after death theperson would be resurrected into the being they would have been were it not for the fall... But the mystics took this view one
step further, believing that the lost “image of God” could be temporarily reinstated prior to death and that Paradise and its fruits could be experienced during one’s lifetime. In the Odes of Solomon,imagery and expressions of this theme are found throughout, but especially in Ode 11: 11-12, “And the Lord renewed me with His garment, and possessed me by His light. And from above He gave me immortal rest, and I became like the land that blossoms and rejoices in its fruits.” Later, in Ode 11, the Odist describes being taken to Paradise. In Ode 25:17-18, the Odist loses his “garment of skin” and is covered with the light of the spirit.[26]
FOOTNOTES
[26] Eugene H. Merrill, "Odes of Solomon and the Acts of Thomas: a comparative study," Journal of TheEvangelical Theological Society 17, no. 4 (September 1, 1974): 233.
(Question 2: Solved] Is Ode 34 gnostic?:
The Syriac can be found here: https://syriaccorpus.org/177#

Charlesworth's translation goes:
There is no hard way where there is a simple heart, nor barrier for upright thoughts,
Nor whirlwind in the depth of the enlightened thought.
Where one is surrounded on every side by pleasing country, there is nothing divided in him.
The likeness of that which is below is that which is above.
For everything is from above, and from below there is nothing, but it is believed to be by those in whom there is no understanding.

Grace has been revealed for your salvation. Believe and live and be saved.
Hallelujah.
If one is to make sense of this in an Orthodox way, one can say that God, who is in heaven, created everything, so that everything ultimately only comes from heaven.

"What is above" would be the "heavenly" because it's above, ie. spiritual, holy, divine. What is "below would mean either what's on earth below heaven or else whats in hell, below. "The imagination of those that are without knowledge" would be the imagining or illusion of those who lack the Christian "gnosis".

The Forgotten Books of Eden translated this differently, as:
1. No way is hard where there is a simple heart. 2. Nor is there any wound where the thoughts are upright: 3. Nor is there any storm in the depth of the illuminated thought: 4. Where one is surrounded on every side by beauty, there is nothing that is divided. 5. The likeness of what is below is that which is above; for everything is above: what is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge. 6. Grace has been revealed for your salvation. Believe and live and be saved. Hallelujah.
Harris translates this as: "The likeness of what is below is that which is above; for everything is above: what is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge." Harris comments: "All the hard things are easy, where the soul itself is right: no storms invade the hidden place of communion with God. Evil itself becomes unreal, and that which is beneath exists not before that which is above.

J. H. Bernard ans J. Armitage Robinson write in their book The Odes of Solomon (Texts and Studies)
What he says is that the Ideal is the archetype of the Real - 'earth but the shadow of heaven' as Milton put it. This is the common language of all Idealists from Plato to Bishop Berkeley. 'What is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge.' We may compare Ode xxiv 8 'The Lord destroyed the imaginations of all them that had not the truth with them"; for while the Odist's language expresses the Berkeleian Idealism, his thought is probably more concrete, viz. of the destruction of corruptive things by Christ.
Eugene Peterson in The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language associates "Do what's best – as above, so below" with the words in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." I note that the Ascension of Isaiah, Isaiah has a vision of the firmament and says, "there I saw Sammael [the Devil] and his hosts, and there was great fighting therein. ...as above so on the earth [below] also; for the likeness of that which is in the firmament is here on the earth."

Asteriktos, an Orthodox Christian, wrote to me that the Ode <<might be talking about the concept that evil has no substance in itself, and is merely the absence or distortion of good, and so for those with "a simple heart," whose "thoughts are upright," and who is "surrounded on every singe by beauty," the good things they experience on earth are through grace, and thus the good below is the same as the the good above, and evil things are just the "imagination of those without knowledge.">>

On the other hand, the idea that "what is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge" reminds me of the Advaita/pantheistic Hindu concept that everything is "Maya", or an illusion, except for the ultimate reality, Brahman, is the same as God. In Advaita Hinduism, a key goal is to escape the "illusory" world by "yoga" or one-ness with Brahman or with God.
Swami Nirmalananda Giri writes in his Katha Upanishad Commentary: "We need to realize that the inner is always more real than the outer." He then cites Ode 34, “The likeness of that which is below is that which is above. For everything is above, and below there is nothing, but it is believed to be by those in whom there is no knowledge.” He comments: "This is also true in yoga. Everything real happens in the head–the Sahasrara, the Thousand-petalled Lotus, the astral/causal brain." (https://www.gita-society.com/9upanishad ... c376340097)
Swami Nirmalananda Giri also comments about this Ode, "Physical creation veils the true reality of which it partakes, but this veil must be pierced and transcended for true gnosis or knowledge to be attained." (https://ocoy.org/original-christianity/ ... -for-yogis)

Dvaita Hindusim, on the other hand, is not pantheistic, and it distinguishes God from the ultimate reality. "The theory of māyā was developed by the ninth-century Advaita Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara. However, competing theistic Dvaita scholars contested Shankara's theory, and stated that Shankara did not offer a theory of the relationship between Brahman and Māyā." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_(illusion)) I think that Orthodox Christianity is non-pantheistic and wouldn't agree with the pantheistic theory of Maya, either.

(Question 3: Solved) Is the speaker in Ode 42 depicted as Christ Himself or as the composer of the Odes, or does the speaker switch from one to the other?
Ode 36, which precedes Ode 42, has the speaker, who is the Odes' composer, describe himself with Christian titles and attributes for the Messiah:
I rested on the Spirit of the Lord, and She lifted me up to heaven;
And caused me to stand on my feet in the Lord's high place, before His perfection and His glory, where I continued glorifying Him by the composition of His Odes.
The Spirit brought me forth before the Lord's face, and because I was the Son of Man, I was named the Light, the Son of God;
Since the speaker composed the Lord's Odes and was named the Light, the Son of God, it sounds like the speaker is the Odes' direct composer and was not actually the Light, the Son of God. Besides that, the composer was a "Son of Man."
I take this to mean that the speaker was spiritually raised up, experienced theosis, grace, and union with Christ to the point where Messianic attributes or experiences (eg. being anointed with the Lord's perfection) were shared with the composer. By comparison, I note that Galatians 3 uses the title "sons of God" for Christians because of their affinity with Christ: "26. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Plus, Isaiah and Zechariah in their Messianic prophecies used a speaker's voice as if the speaker were the Messiah. (eg. Zech.11:12: "And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.")
So the composer could have the speaker talk the same way in Ode 42.

Ode 42 begins:
1. I extended my hands and approached my Lord, for the expansion of my hands is His sign.
2. And my extension is the upright cross, that was lifted up on the way of the Righteous One.
It sounds like the speaker is the composer, not Christ, because he speaks of the Lord and "the Righteous One" in the third person. It seems that the speaker is praying with his arms outstretched like a cross, the Lord's "sign".

Like verse 2 ("and my"), the next two verses begin with "And I", as if the speaker were the same. But the self-description of the speaker in the rest of the Ode sounds like Christ:
3. And I became useless to those who knew me not, because I shall hide myself from those who possessed me not.
4. And I will be with those who love me.
5. All my persecutors have died, and they sought me, they who declared against me, because I am living.
6. Then I arose and am with them, and will speak by their mouths.
7. For they have rejected those who persecute them; and I threw over them the yoke of my love.
8. Like the arm of the bridegroom over the bride, so is my yoke over those who know me.
9. And as the bridal chamber is spread out by the bridal pair's home, so is my love by those who believe in me.
10. I was not rejected although I was considered to be so, and I did not perish although they thought it of me.
11. Sheol saw me and was shattered, and Death ejected me and many with me.
12. I have been vinegar and bitterness to it, and I went down with it as far as its depth.
13. Then the feet and the head it released, because it was not able to endure my face.
14. And I made a congregation of living among his dead; and I spoke with them by living lips; in order that my word may not be unprofitable.
15. And those who had died ran towards me; and they cried out and said, Son of God, have pity on us.
16. And deal with us according to Your kindness, and bring us out from the bonds of darkness.
17. And open for us the door by which we may come out to You; for we perceive that our death does not touch You.
18. May we also be saved with You, because You are our Savior.
19. Then I heard their voice, and placed their faith in my heart.
20. And I placed my name upon their head, because they are free and they are mine.
21. Hallelujah.
I guess that this implies that Christ is speaking through the narrator in verses 4-21, which is how I read ODe 36. Notice that 42 v.6 says "I arose and am with them, and will speak by their mouths", suggesting that the risen one could speak with others' mouths, like the narrator's.

(Question 4) When Christ in v.5 in Ode 42 says "All my persecutors have died", does this mean that the Ode was composed sometime after 70-100 AD, when the Sanhedrin leaders would have died?
J.R. Harris writes that this Ode depicts Christ's "Harrowing of Hell." So maybe in this verse having descended into hell to raise the dead, Christ is speaking outside of time, or at the Last Judgment?
Last edited by rakovsky on Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: THE ODES OF SOLOMON (1st - 3rd century AD) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:58 pm

(QUESTION 1: SOLVED) Why does Ode 25 say that the narrator removed his garments of skin? Is this referring to the resurrection?

Charlesworth's translation of Ode 25 includes:
5. But I was despised and rejected in the eyes of many, and I was in their eyes like lead.
6. And I acquired strength from You, and help.
7. A lamp You set for me both on my right and on my left, so that there might not be in me anything that is not light.
8. And I was covered with the covering of Your Spirit, and I removed from me my garments of skin.
9. Because Your right hand exalted me, and caused sickness to pass from me.
10. And I became mighty in Your truth, and holy in Your righteousness.
11. And all my adversaries were afraid of me, and I became the Lord's by the name of the Lord.
12. And I was justified by His kindness, and His rest is for ever and ever.
Hallelujah.
The narrator means that he left his flesh in a spiritual sense and is referring to a time before his own death. The Ode says that many despised the narrator and that God gave him strength, not that he was killed and received life from God. The Ode says that God set lamps near him, an apparent reference to God enlightening him with spiritual knowledge, as in Matthew 6:22. It says that because God made sickness pass from him, he removed his own flesh, not that he lost his flesh because of dying from sickness. Harris' 1911 translation in The Odes and Psalms of Solomon has for verse 9: "for thy right hand lifted me up and removed sickness from me" instead of Charlesworth's "Because Your right hand exalted me..." The verse suggests that the narrator experienced a spiritual exaltation or ascension. It says that his adversaries ere afraid of him, which would not be the case if the author had died and just reenlivened in the afterlife. Christians become the Lord's, become justified, and find rest even during their lives.

A key verse in understanding the "garments of skin" is Genesis 3:21, which says that after the first couple's sin, "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats/garments of skins, and clothed them." In Traditions of the Bible, James Kugel theorizes that the "garments of skin" was their human skin, and that
Adam and Eve must previously have been wholly spiritual creatures, clothed in light. It was only after their "fall" that they became skin-enclosed, mortal beings (an idea that obviously fit with the overall understanding of Adam and Eve's punishment as that of mortality).
He theorizes that Ode 25:8 reflects this idea that contrasts their original bodies and their post-Fall fleshly bodies. He sees a similar idea in the Ascension of Isaiah 9:9 when Isaiah describes his vision:
There [in heaven] I saw Enoch and all who were with him, stripped of the garment of the flesh, and I saw them in their higher garments, and they were like the angels there in great glory.
This description of the fleshless Enoch is significant because unlike most righteous people, who died and left their flesh on earth, the Bible simply relates that Enoch walked with God and was no more. So the Ascension of Isaiah implies that Enoch was in a fleshless state in heaven without his garment of skin being normally physically removed by death.

Kugel also points to 4 Esdras 2:45, in which an angel tells Esdras about holy people receiving crowns in his vision: "These are they who have put off mortal clothing and have put on the immortal, and they have confessed the name of God; now they are being crowned, and receive palms."

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Re: THE ODES OF SOLOMON (1st - 3rd century AD) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:54 pm

For Question 2 about whether Ode 34 is Gnostic, it reflects a Platonic idea that shows up in Philo's thought as well as later in esoteric Greek Hermetic thought. Something like this shows up in the Gnostic Gospel of Philip, but less clearly so.

J.T. Marshall writes in "The Odes and Philo":
The basis of Philo's system of thought was the sharp antithesis between spirit and matter; or rather, between God and the spiritual world on the one hand, and this world of sinful existence on the other. He believed with Plato in an intelligible world, i.e. a world knowable only by the intellect of the wise and godly man, where are to be found the eternal archetypes of things which exist on earth. "The beautiful things in this world," Philo says, " would never have been such as they are, if they had not been modelled in accordance with an archetype, truly beautiful, ungenerate, imperishable." ['De Cherubim, 6.] "When God resolved to create this visible world, He first outlined the
intelligible world, that, using the incorporeal and divine model he might make this corporeal world a younger copy of the elder creation." [De opif. mundi, 4.] In poetry, so preeminently religious as the Odes are, we cannot expect much philosophy ; but there are a few intimations. The two worlds are beautifully distinguished-the other world as "that which is invisible," and our present world as "that which reveals God's thought" (16 7); and the Platonic theory of the other world is briefly but clearly expressed in 34:5 : "The image (d'muth) of that which is here below is that which is above." When in Ode 34 our author goes on to say:
That which is above is everything,
That which is below is nothing but the Opinion of those who have no knowledge,

he is expressing the same view as appears in Philo in the Allegories, ii. 21 : "The highest genus is God, the second is the Word. Other things exist only in name : in reality they are equivalent to the non-existent"; and in another place he says : " God alone exists in essence ; because of this, God says of Himself: 'I am He who is'; as though those who were after Him did not exist essentially, but in opinion only were thought to exist."


The concept shows up in the apocryphal Acts of Peter, Chp. 38, when Peter is crucified upside down in the opposite direction as Christ and relates:
the Lord saith in a mystery: Unless ye make the things of the right hand as those of the left, and those of the left as those of the right, and those that are above as those below, and those that are behind as those that are before, ye shall not have knowledge of the kingdom.
The Gnostic Gospel of Philip relates about the Biblical rending of the Temple veil:
For this reason, the veil was not rent at the top only, since it would have been open only to those above; nor was it rent at the bottom only, since it would have been revealed only to those below. But it was rent from the top to bottom. Those above opened to us the things below, in order that we may go in to the secret of the truth.
The Greek Hermetic, esoteric "Emerald Tablet" by Hermes Trismegustas from the c. 2nd Century says: "That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing."

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Re: THE ODES OF SOLOMON (1st - 3rd century AD) Questions

Post by davidmartin » Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:12 am

maybe Jesus was blinded, not blindfolded, hence the emphasis on 'eyes'?

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Re: THE ODES OF SOLOMON (1st - 3rd century AD) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:26 am

For Question 3 about whether Ode 42 is spoken from the POV of the composer or of Christ or switches Voices, John Morgan Wynne gives the best answer below, explaining how it changes Voices:

Here are writers saying that it's about Christ:
William Adler, in his talk on Syrian Christianity, said:
In Ode 42, since celibacy was pictured as betrothal to Christ, Christ is here pictured as a bridegroom.

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/psco/archives/psco21-min.txt
Fr. Stephen Kostoff, an Orthodox priest, sees it as relating Christ preaching to the dead in Hades.
https://orthodoxmeditations.blogspot.co ... n.html?m=1

Dominic Crossan, in his Forward to "A New New Testament", suggests reading Ode 42 to perceive
Christ's resurrection as communal rather than individual and as God's great peace-and-reconciliation covenant with our violence-scarred humanity.
J. Charlesworth in "Exploring the Origins of the descensus ad inferos" sees it expressing Christ descending to the realm of the dead to preach release to the captives.

Here are writers who think the speaker is Christ:
The essay "Christ's Descent into Hell in the Odes of Solomon" comments on the end of Ode 42::
Here, we see Christ preaching to those in the underworld in relation to the theme of conflict with Death. This is the first occurrence of the dead appealing to Christ, which would later become a common theme among Descent literature.
https://www.deliriumsrealm.com/odes-solomon/

John Munter writes:
Ode 42 would seem to be a natural final ode in the series since it speaks in the voice of Jesus and gives a comprehensive recitation of his salvific history. The “Righteous One” reference, though, would seem to refer to the Son of Man who overshadowed Jesus since otherwise it would have to refer to Jesus speaking about himself in the third person or about God, the Father—neither of which seem natural.
Verse 5: “all my persecutors have died” reveals no conscious effort to delude the reader that the Odes were written earlier than at least late in the first century. The author argues that Jesus speaks through those over who he throws “the yoke of my love” through Verse 8.
http://www.themirroredbridalchamber.com ... 34-ce.html
He seems to be making a good argument that the Righteous One is a pious person besides Christ, and that due to v.8, the composer could be writing down Christ's narration.

In The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel, Charles Burney writes that Christ is represented as speaking in Ode 42.



Here are writers who think the speaker is the narrator:
In "Where Inspiration Generates Art: A Critical Analysis of Shaffer’s 'Amadeus'", Ahmed Mousa says that Ode 42 expresses the risen Christ's motivations, apparently referring to Christ "motivating" the narrator, comparable to the Holy Spirit motivating him:
Creation and nature are the topics of the Odist motivated by the Spirit of the Lord, and creation possesses the focal point of the psalm in this Ode. A series of rhetorical ques-tions pose the question of inspiration, for the theme far out-strips our human capabilities. Subsequently, we may state that the Odes set up the connection between the Odist’s work and the motivation of the Holy Spirit, with Ode 42 discussing the risen Christ’s motivation. The proof reviewed leaves no uncertainty at all. By perusing every one of the odes, we can assume that the Odist trusted himself to be the vehicle of the Holy Spirit, which inspired him to structure these Odes. The dialect utilized—the trip to heaven, the harp, floods of water streaming forward to revive others—shows the feeling of happy experience, of perfect motivation, bringing about the composition of the Odes
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... 7s_Amadeus

Here are writers who think that the Voice changes.

James R. Harris in his book The Odes and the Psalms of Solomon considers "my yoke" to refer to Christ's yoke and he writes, "Almost the whole of the Psalm is ex ore Christi."

In "The Holy Spirit and religious experience in Christian
literature c.90 - 200 ad", John Eifion Morgan-Wynne writes:
Before we draw our examination of the Odes to a close there is one further phenomenon that needs discussion because of its bearing on our themes: viz that parts of or sometimes a whole Ode is in fact Christ speaking. There is widespread agreement amongst editors of the Odes that in some Odes Christ Himself speaks. Thus,
Harris-Mingana and Charlesworth agree in observing this feature in Odes 8,10,17 ,22,28,31,36,41 and 42 (Harris-Mingana also have Christ
or Wisdom speaking in Ode 33, but Bernard and Charlesworth think
that it is the church as the perfect virgin who stands up and preaches in vv5ff).

Harris-Mingana wrote in their expository notes on Ode 8
"This is the first of the Odes that is clearly marked with a dual personality, the Odist becoming at a certain point in the song the
Lord Himself" 47 (italics mine), while Charlesworth observed that
"the Odist and the risen Christ coalesce making it virtually impossible to separate them.
It may be best to start our enquiry from the last Ode
"Then I arose and am with them,
And will speak by their mouths". (42.6)
This of itself does not demand the phenomenon to which we have referred. What it does mean is the belief that the living Christ speaks in and through his followers. He gives His message through
them. What we need to ask even more in the light of 42.6 is why then the Odist wrote as he did : why did he not explicitly introduce what was Christ's part as a verbum domini ? Is this due
purely to the 'rules' of style ? Charlesworth clearly thought not,
for he wrote "No linguistic device announces the shift in speakers, only the thoughts of the passage reflect it"49 (italics mine).
From the standpoint of analogies we could think of the
following
(a) how in the OT prophets the speaker may begin with "Thus says the Lord" and an oracle follows, but in time the prophet 'becomes' Yahweh as it were and speaks in the first person as if he were God
(e.g. Isa. 5.1-7 : vv 1-2,7 speak in the third person "he made...",
whereas vv 3-6 speak in the first person "Judge between me and my vineyard") [50].
(b) the pseudonymous works of the intertestamental period, but here
the whole work is clothed in the form of the utterance of a figure
of the past. DS Russell (elaborating the ideas of H Wheeler Robinson) has suggested that the apocalyptists regarded themselves
not as original writers at all but as representatives of a
tradition. "As spokesman of the tradition, they were, in fact, spokesmen of the seer himself and could justifiably assume his name". He asks whether the writer may not have thought of
himself "as in some way an 'extension' of the (ancient seer) .... by assuming his name, he would thereby be sharing in his very character and 1 ife. "
This is a most helpful and fruitful suggestion, and we may go on to ask 'If this is how someone in Judaism might feel, how much
more someone who felt indwelt by God's Spirit/the risen Christ and felt himself to be the mouthpiece of the risen Christ?'
...
We have already
explored the Odist's sense of inspiration : he is the lyre plucked by the Spirit. Given this sense of inspiration aDd his rootage in Jewish tradition, we may see how he comes to speak ex ore Christi.
In that conviction of union with Christ, inspired by the Spirit, he feels himself to be a channel for his Beloved Master and Lover to speak through him.

Footnote
[50] This phenomenon is apparently still encountered today in prophetic utterances in the charismati~ movement.
Brian Arnold writes in "JUSTIFICATION ONE HUNDRED YEARS AFTER PAUL":
...the ability to change
subjects without a clear discourse marker is a prominent phenomenon in Semitic
languages.57 In the Old Testament this phenomenon occurs regularly in poetry and
prophecy.58 For example, in Jeremiah 11:14–17 scholars are at odds over who the subject
is, since it seems to change without warning in v. 16.59
...
In Ode 41 the speaker changes from the first person plurals “us” and “our” to
the first person singulars “I” and “me” for three verses in the middle of the Ode (vv. 8–
10) and then switches back again for the remainder of the Ode. Ode 28 has a similar
phenomenon to Ode 17 in that the speaker uses the first person singular throughout, and
yet Charlesworth detects a change of speaker in v. 9 there as well. What makes this even
more remarkable is that the first words out of Christ’s mouth as the speaker in each of
these Odes are “and all who saw me were amazed” (17.6), “all those who see me will be
amazed” (41.8), and “those who saw me were amazed” (28.9), as though the look of
amazement was the signal that Christ has assumed the role of speaker.[83]

Footnote:
[83] Another example is Ode 42 where the change of speaker is evident even though, once again,
the speaker uses “I” the entire time. What make Ode 42 a noteworthy case is the certainty with which the
speaker changes even though there is no discourse marker cluing the reader in to this change. The Odist
goes from speaking of Christ’s crucifixion to Jesus himself speaking of the event, yet “I” is used in both
sections.
Andrew Criddle writes:
andrewcriddle wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:08 am
Lord does seem to be used in the Odes as a title of Christ

Ode 42
I extended my hands and approached my Lord, for the expansion of my hands is His sign.
And my extension is the upright cross, that was lifted up on the way of the Righteous One.
Andrew Criddle
andrewcriddle wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:32 am
I agree that the narrator switches here from speaking as a Christian to speaking in the person of Christ.
If we take the attribution to Solomon as original then Solomon is represented as switching from speaking in the person of a Christian to speaking in the person of Christ. There are parallels to ancient interpretations of the Psalms of David, where David is always in one sense the author but he speaks in the name of various persons sometimes changing within a given Psalm.

Andrew Criddle
Ben Smith wrote:
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:47 am
One I came across not long ago is the Targum to Psalm 91 (link), which has been reframed as a conversation between David, Solomon, and the Lord of the World.
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Re: THE ODES OF SOLOMON (1st - 3rd century AD) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:54 pm

For Question 4 about the death of the persecutors in Ode 42, it's worth noting that Ode 23 apparently refers to an apocalyptic vision of the persecutors becoming extinct when God's thought like a letter descended:
Walk in the knowledge of the Lord, and you will know the grace of the Lord generously; both for His exultation and for the perfection of His knowledge.
And His thought was like a letter, and His will descended from on high.
...
And there was seen at its head, the head which was revealed, even the Son of Truth from the Most High Father.
And He inherited and possessed everything, and then the scheming of the many ceased.
Then all the seducers became headstrong and fled, and the persecutors became extinct and were blotted out.
And the letter became a large volume, which was entirely written by the finger of God.
And the name of the Father was upon it; and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, to rule for ever and ever.
Dr. John Roller comments in "The Doctrine of Immortality in the Early Church":
They are said to become "extinct" and "blotted out." This means that they will die and the very remembrance of them will be removed.

https://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.c ... yNgIIhKgYU
In Charlesworth's translation of Ode 42 (below), all the persecutors die, sought Christ because He lives, and Christ speaks with their mouths:
And I became useless to those who knew me not, because I shall hide myself from those who possessed me not.
And I will be with those who love me.
All my persecutors have died, and they sought me, they who declared against me, because I am living.
Then I arose and am with them, and will speak by their mouths.
For they have rejected those who persecute them; and I threw over them the yoke of my love.
The sense seems to be both that they died and that they sought Him and that Christ resurrected and is with the past dead persecutors. One explanation could be that this is taking place outside of time or in a future apocalyptic era that followed the death of all the persecutors.

Harris' 1911 translation runs:
5. All my persecutors are dead; and they sought after me who hoped in me, because I was alive:
6. and I rose up and am with them; and I will speak by their mouths.
7. For they have despised those who persecuted them;
8. and I lifted up over them the yoke of my love;
In this translation, the persecutors died and those who hoped in Christ sought after Him. In this translation, there is no idea of the persecutors turning to Christ.
I shared the Syriac test with two people with knowledge of Syriac and they took Harris' idea that the text referred to the persecutors' deaths and referred to those who were for Christ seeking Him, not to the idea that the persecutors began seeking God.
MalpanaGiwargis wrote:
ܕܰܣܒܰܪܘ is the "who declared/who hoped" in question. If the vowels are correct, and this is in the peal conjugation, then neither one really sounds right; peal is usually "think, be convinced, hold as true, etc." whereas the pael (the 'a' vowel on the ܣ instead of the prefix -ܕ) could easily mean "declare." "Hope" would usually take its object with the preposition -ܒ. As it stands, it reads to me more like "...they sought after me who thought about me" or "...who considered/acknowledged me."
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/for ... cseen.html
FYI, the a vowel in Harris' Syriac text is not over the ܣ , which means that Malpana's explanation leads to the conclusion that Verse 5 says that "they sought after me who acknowledged me..."

Samn! wrote:
The manuscript probably wasn't voweled, but I don't think ܣܒܪ ܥܠ can mean "hoped in me". Looking for parallels, we have Ishodad of Merv saying "ܓܒܪܝܐܝܠ ܡܠܐܟܐ ܣܒܪ ܥܠ ܝܠܕܗ" with the sense "the Angel Gabriel brought tidings of His birth". In one of Ephrem's hymns on Nisibis, he says ܘܐܢ ܐܢܫ ܣܒܪ ܥܠ ܝܫܘܥ ܕܢܘܟܪܝܐ ܗܘ ܠܝ ܓܘܕܦܐ ܗܘ which I would take to mean "If someone declares that Jesus is a stranger, it is blasphemy to me."

So the line should probably be understood to mean "Those who brought tidings of me sought me, for I am alive."
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/for ... cseen.html
That is, the two Syriac instances of this Syriac word being used take the meaning of "brought tidings" or "declare".

I. It could mean that Christ's persecutors died before the Ode was written in the 2nd Century
John Munter comments that the passage on the death of the persecutors
reveals no conscious effort to delude the reader that the Odes were written earlier than at least late in the first century. The author argues that Jesus speaks through those over who he throws “the yoke of my love” through Verse 8.
Apparently Munter means that the verse about the death of the persecutors reveals that the author was not trying to make this look like a text from the 1st century when the persecutors were still alive.

II. It could mean that Christ entered a plane or dimension in His death and resurrection that was out of time such that the persecutors had died in relation to that plane.

In The Odes and Psalms of Solomon, J.R. Harris sees Ode 42 containing
an account of Christ's under-world triumph [wherein] death cast Him up, and let go the feet with the head. Christ is the head, and the feet are those members of His who are imprisoned in Hades.
Harris writes that after the opening of Ode 42, the writer
soon diverges into the harrowing of hell. The imprisoned souls cry out for release to Him over whom death, which binds them, has no power. A congregation of saints is gathered in the place of the dead. They become Christ's free men.
In "Notes and Studies", R. H. Connolly writes that Ode 42
obviously treats of the descent of Christ to Hades. Why he does not include verses 15 and 16 in the bracket is not obvious, since
they are plainly an integral part of the Dcsctnsus passage. Perhaps it
is because Death and Sheol ( = Hades) are also mentioned together in
another Ode, in which there is nothing overtly Christian, viz. 159. Of
Ode 42, verses 15 to the end have most of the features that are familiar
to us from Tischendorf s so-called Gospel of Nicodemus part 11: Hades
is disturbed by the advent of Christ; and Death vomits Him' up, and
many along with Him, for He is as gall and bitterness to him: many run to meet Him, and hail Him as the Son of God, begging Him to
release them from bonds and darkness. There is no mistaking this:
here, in one of our Odes, is a veritable Descensus document; and we
shall not be justified in relegating it to a later date than the rest until, at least, we are sure that the collection contains no other reference to the descent to Hades.
III. It could refer to an apocalyptic future event after the persecutors' deaths.
One reason to think that Ode 42 refers to a future apocalyptic time is that Ode 23 has a similar idea: it describes a letter coming from God and Christ getting His inheritance and the persecutors being extinct.

Plus, is the last Ode in the collection, thus potentially referring to an apocalyptic event that takes place in the End Times.

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Re: THE ODES OF SOLOMON (1st - 3rd century AD) Questions

Post by rakovsky » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:30 am

I take the answer to #4 to be C, referring to a future apocalyptic period. The Christ's standpoint in Ode 42 when the persecutors are dead is some time after Christ's Resurrection, because He says that He "rose" in the past tense.

While it is literally true that the persecutors would be dead if the Ode was written in the 2nd Century, this is probably not what the narrator means, because people were still persecuting Christians in the 2nd Century. Plus, the idea of being a persecutor of Christ doesn't necessarily mean that a person was persecuting him before His death, but rather could mean that the person was persecuting Christ's followers, as the divine voice asked Paul, "Why are you persecuting Me?"

There are several reasons why it refers to a future apocalyptic time:
1. Ode 23 refers to a future apocalyptic time along the theme of a sealed letter coming from God, like the sealed apocalyptic scrolls in Revelation. It says about Christ:
17 And He inherited and took possession of everything. And the thought of many was brought to nought.
18 And all the apostates hasted and fled away. And those who persecuted and were enraged became extinct.
That is, the persecutors' extinction is described as happening in the apocalyptic future period.

2. Ode 42 says that those who persecuted Christ had died, and although true in the 2nd Century about the individuals who persecuted Christ as an individual in 33 AD, it is even more true after the persecution of Christians had ended as a result of apocalyptic future events.

3. Ode 42 apparently describes the resurrection of the whole Church, Christ's body, as an accomplished fact, without making a distinction that only the OT saints were saved:
18. And the feet and the head he let go, for they were not able to endure my face:
19. And I made a congregation of living men amongst his dead men, and I spake with them by living lips:
4. In Line 19 above, the reenlivened people speak with "living lips", an emphasis on a part of their body that in turn tends to suggest their bodily resurrection. The bodily resurrection of the righteous is a phenomenon of the future apocalyptic general Resurrection.

5. Ode 42 is the last of the Odes, a place in the narrative fitting for a situation or events that occur chronologically last as future End Times events.

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