Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Theodoret of Cyrus: Careless Reading of Scripture is the Cause of Error Among Ordinary Folks

Yet careless reading of holy Scripture is the cause of error among ordinary people. For after saying that Seth was born of Adam, and Enosh of Seth, the historian added, "He hoped to be called the name of the Lord God." Now, Aquila renders this: "That was the time when a beginning was made of calling on the name of the Lord," but this verse expresses in riddling form the idea that, thanks to his virtue, this man was the first to hit upon the divine name and was called "God" by his kindred. Hence, his offspring were styled "sons of God," just as we are called "Christians" from Lord's title "Christ."

If you do not accept this interpretation on account of Aquila's version, listen to God speaking through the prophet David: "I said, You are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High;" and "God has taken his place in an assembly of gods; in their midst, he will judge goods." This is the title he gives to rulers, as indicated by what follows: "How long will you deliver unjust judgments and take the part of sinners? Judge in favor of orphan and poor, give justice to the lowly and needy" and so on; and again, "The Lord God of gods spoke and summoned the earth," that is the Lord God fo those who had been accorded this title. Hence, the lawgiver said, "You shall not revile gods or malign rulers of your people."

- Theodoret of Cyrus (around A.D. 393 to around A.D. 457), Questions on the Octateuch, Question 47 on Genesis, pp. 100-01 (2007), Robert C. Hill translator.