Any idea where...

Martin54Martin54 Deckhand, Styx
edited September 27 in Kerygmania
...the following was first interpreted to refer to the Crucifixion?

Genesis 3:15
King James Version
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

I suspect the 'Reformation'. Luther?

Somewhere is this lot Spurgeon probably thought so.

Comments

  • Martin54Martin54 Deckhand, Styx
    Ah!

    St. Irenaeus (2nd Century), “For this end did He put enmity between the serpent and the woman and her seed, they keeping it up mutually… until the seed did come appointed to tread down his head—which was born of Mary” (Against Heresies, book 3, chapter 23).
  • TelfordTelford Suspended
    I have never been convinced by these interpretations.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I think we can draw a distinction between it being held to be a prophecy about Jesus and it specifically being about the crucifixion.
  • Ambiguity can be a rich source of ideas. And that's not a criticism.
  • jay_emmjay_emm Kerygmania Host
    Irenaeus is going to be a hard line to beat.

    You've got John 3 "just as Moses lifted up the [different] snake so the son of man" and Revelation (I can't recall the verse but something like "the devil, that serpent was thrown into the fire") that could be as Inspirations or proto versions.

    There's definitely a scale on these interpretations. Tbh it fits very nicely in retrospect and I do think it is about Jesus (I wouldn't expect it to impress people outside, and would be utterly unsurprised if a Muslim looks at it and has their own connection)

    And as Karl says you could look at the distinction between pointing to Jesus and pointing to the crucification (though even the sturgeon text is wider).
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    edited September 29
    I found that Irenaeus chapter quite interesting. He takes the Genesis quote both as a general prediction that humans will always want to squash snakes (which seems the obvious meaning), but also as a prophecy of Jesus and invokes Psalm 91 in support (about treading down lions and snakes). But he seems to take this as read and uses it as a jumping-off point for his argument that Adam has definitely been saved. So it would seem that this interpretation of Genesis 3:15 was something he expected his readers already to agree with, i.e. it pre-dates him.

    Also it's interesting that he's much more sympathetic to Adam and Eve than most modern sermonisers! Whereas I've always heard contemporary preachers criticise Adam and Eve for "passing the buck" on their disobedience, Irenaeus sees this as perfectly reasonable and indeed deliberately initiated by God's questioning, since He wants them to pass on as much of the blame as possible to the serpent.
  • I would caution against the use of typology in the Bible. Many times Christian readers see something in the Old Testament that may not have been originally intended. It is my understanding the Genesis account in Judaism was generally seen as implying Israel as fulfilling that statement. It is only later that it became attached to a single messiah, but it was not until the early church leaders connected the crucifixion to the Genesis passage.
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    That is even more interesting @Gramps49! So you are saying that the idea that Genesis 3:15 is a prophecy, rather than a "just so" story about humans and snakes, was current in Judaism before the time of Jesus, but it applied to Israel as a whole? And are there any references for this? And is it still the case in modern Judaism?
  • LatchKeyKidLatchKeyKid Purgatory Host
    edited September 30
    I understand that Judaism does not interpret it as a fall, but as a metaphor for growing from childhood to adulthood.
    The fall is a Christian invention. Matthew Fox reinterprets this as Original Blessing to provide a counter view.

    And the Christmas carol Adam lay y bounden sees it as blessing so that Mary could become "our" queen of heaven.
  • Alan Cresswell Alan Cresswell Admin, 8th Day Host
    That is even more interesting @Gramps49! So you are saying that the idea that Genesis 3:15 is a prophecy, rather than a "just so" story about humans and snakes, was current in Judaism before the time of Jesus, but it applied to Israel as a whole? And are there any references for this? And is it still the case in modern Judaism?
    It certainly wouldn't be unusual, if this was accepted as a prophecy about Israel within Judaism at the time of Christ, for that prophecy to then be applied to Christ by the early Church. The idea that in Christ Israel is finally seen as it always should have been is a very early view, indeed in Christ the whole of humanity is finally seen as it should be. There are plenty of examples, Israel as the servant of God is a common OT theme and Philip uses this to talk about Jesus on the desert road.
  • DafydDafyd Hell Host
    I understand that Judaism does not interpret it as a fall, but as a metaphor for growing from childhood to adulthood.
    The fall is a Christian invention.
    I don't think one can be confident backprojecting doctrines of Judaism post-Judaism-Christianity split to before the Judaism-Christianity split. After the split there was an incentive for both Judaism and Christianity to differentiate and consolidate their interpretations of the text from what seems to have been a diverse doctrinal environment.
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    That is even more interesting @Gramps49! So you are saying that the idea that Genesis 3:15 is a prophecy, rather than a "just so" story about humans and snakes, was current in Judaism before the time of Jesus, but it applied to Israel as a whole? And are there any references for this? And is it still the case in modern Judaism?
    It certainly wouldn't be unusual, if this was accepted as a prophecy about Israel within Judaism at the time of Christ, for that prophecy to then be applied to Christ by the early Church. The idea that in Christ Israel is finally seen as it always should have been is a very early view, indeed in Christ the whole of humanity is finally seen as it should be. There are plenty of examples, Israel as the servant of God is a common OT theme and Philip uses this to talk about Jesus on the desert road.

    Yes, but the interesting thing would be that it was already seen as a prophecy about Israel, which is not at all obvious from the original context. So what I want to know is do we know that it was seen like this? And how do we know?
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    Dafyd wrote: »
    I understand that Judaism does not interpret it as a fall, but as a metaphor for growing from childhood to adulthood.
    The fall is a Christian invention.
    I don't think one can be confident backprojecting doctrines of Judaism post-Judaism-Christianity split to before the Judaism-Christianity split. After the split there was an incentive for both Judaism and Christianity to differentiate and consolidate their interpretations of the text from what seems to have been a diverse doctrinal environment.

    Indeed. It may be a stretch to regard "bruising the serpent's head" as a reference to Jesus or to Israel. But it is not at all a stretch to regard Genesis 2/3 as a story about a fall from innocence to guilt. But there might well be strong reasons to react against this interpretation given the history of Jewish/Christian relations over the last 2000 years.
  • Just out of interest Steve Chalke (q.v. the thread in Purg) regards Genesis 2/3 as a story along the lines of growing from childhood to adulthood, as per @LatchKeyKid .
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    I understand that Judaism does not interpret it as a fall, but as a metaphor for growing from childhood to adulthood.
    The fall is a Christian invention. Matthew Fox reinterprets this as Original Blessing to provide a counter view.

    And the Christmas carol Adam lay y bounden sees it as blessing so that Mary could become "our" queen of heaven.

    But in "Adam lay y bounden" the Fall is still the Fall. The good that comes out of it is the good of redemption from sin through Christ. This is a very traditional view that any conservative could embrace, even if Protestants might object to the emphasis on Mary.
  • LatchKeyKidLatchKeyKid Purgatory Host
    I understand that Judaism does not interpret it as a fall, but as a metaphor for growing from childhood to adulthood.
    The fall is a Christian invention. Matthew Fox reinterprets this as Original Blessing to provide a counter view.

    And the Christmas carol Adam lay y bounden sees it as blessing so that Mary could become "our" queen of heaven.

    But in "Adam lay y bounden" the Fall is still the Fall. The good that comes out of it is the good of redemption from sin through Christ. This is a very traditional view that any conservative could embrace, even if Protestants might object to the emphasis on Mary.
    Nor had one apple taken been,
    The apple taken been,
    Then had never Our Lady
    A-been heaven's queen.
    Blessed be the time
    That apple taken was.
    Therefore we may singen
    Deo gratias!

    The carol does not talk about redemption by Christ (that's a projection), but thanks God that the apple was taken, which is a big stretch from (the Christian interpretation of) the Genesis passage.
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    I understand that Judaism does not interpret it as a fall, but as a metaphor for growing from childhood to adulthood.
    The fall is a Christian invention. Matthew Fox reinterprets this as Original Blessing to provide a counter view.

    And the Christmas carol Adam lay y bounden sees it as blessing so that Mary could become "our" queen of heaven.

    But in "Adam lay y bounden" the Fall is still the Fall. The good that comes out of it is the good of redemption from sin through Christ. This is a very traditional view that any conservative could embrace, even if Protestants might object to the emphasis on Mary.
    Nor had one apple taken been,
    The apple taken been,
    Then had never Our Lady
    A-been heaven's queen.
    Blessed be the time
    That apple taken was.
    Therefore we may singen
    Deo gratias!

    The carol does not talk about redemption by Christ (that's a projection), but thanks God that the apple was taken, which is a big stretch from (the Christian interpretation of) the Genesis passage.

    But surely the redemption by Christ would have been taken as a given at the time when the carol was composed. "It is ultimately good that the Fall happened because that meant that Jesus came to save us and Mary was the instrument of that, and the result of her obedience were the consequences of salvation, including her title as Queen of Heaven".
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited October 1
    Or as phrased in the relevant Wikipedia article:
    The third verse [“Ne had the apple taken been . . .”] suggests the subsequent redemption of man by the birth of Jesus Christ by Mary, who was to become the Queen of Heaven as a result, and thus the song concludes on a positive note hinting at Thomas Aquinas' concept of the “felix culpa” (blessed fault).
    It’s not a projection to say the carol is about Christ’s redemption of humanity. It’s recognizing the subtext.

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    One of the earliest Jewish interpretations of Genesis 3:15 that I can find is
    And he said, The voice of Thy Word heard I in the garden, and I was afraid, because I am naked; and the commandment which Thou didst teach me, I have transgressed; therefore I hid myself from shame. And He said, Who showed thee that thou art naked? Unless thou hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded that thou shouldst not eat. And Adam said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the woman, What hast thou done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me with his subtilty, and deceived me with his wickedness, and I ate. And the Lord God brought the three unto judgment; and He said to the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou of all the cattle, and of all the beasts of the field: upon thy belly thou shalt go, and thy feet shall be cut off, and thy skin thou shalt cast away once in seven years; and the poison of death shall be in thy mouth, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between the seed of thy son, and the seed of her sons; and it shall be when the sons of the woman keep the commandments of the law, they will be prepared to smite thee upon thy head; but when they forsake the commandments of the law, thou wilt be ready to wound them in their heel. Nevertheless for them there shall be a medicine, but for thee there will be no medicine; and they shall make a remedy for the heel in the days of the King Meshiha.

    [JERUSALEM. And it shall be when the sons of the woman consider the law, and perform (its) instructions, they will be prepared to smite thee on thy head to kill thee; and when the sons of the woman forsake the commandment of the law, and perform not (its) instructions, thou wilt be ready to wound them in their heel, and hurt them. Nevertheless there shall be a medicine for the sons of the woman, but for thee, serpent, there shall be no medicine: but it is to be that for these there shall be a remedy for the heel in the days of the king Meshiha.]
    From http://targum.info/pj/pjgen1-6.htm
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    edited October 1
    OK that's very interesting! But what is that bit about "nevertheless for them there shall be a medicine"? That's not presented as part of the commentary but what text is it from? And who is "king Meshiha"? Is that the Messiah?

    Wikipedia says this targum is from the 2nd century AD so I guess we cannot say it definitely represents the pre-Christian Jewish tradition though.
  • And who is "king Meshiha"? Is that the Messiah?
    Yes.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited October 1
    OK that's very interesting! But what is that bit about "nevertheless for them there shall be a medicine"? That's not presented as part of the commentary but what text is it from? And who is "king Meshiha"? Is that the Messiah?

    Wikipedia says this targum is from the 2nd century AD so I guess we cannot say it definitely represents the pre-Christian Jewish tradition though.

    The Targum was written in the first or second century CE, true; but it is based on over six hundred years of oral interpretation. As I said, during the intertestamental period Jewish people became more interested in a personal messiah.
  • LatchKeyKidLatchKeyKid Purgatory Host
    .
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Or as phrased in the relevant Wikipedia article:
    The third verse [“Ne had the apple taken been . . .”] suggests the subsequent redemption of man by the birth of Jesus Christ by Mary, who was to become the Queen of Heaven as a result, and thus the song concludes on a positive note hinting at Thomas Aquinas' concept of the “felix culpa” (blessed fault).
    It’s not a projection to say the carol is about Christ’s redemption of humanity. It’s recognizing the subtext.

    That's your opinion with which I can't agree. There is no hint of in the carol.
  • .
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Or as phrased in the relevant Wikipedia article:
    The third verse [“Ne had the apple taken been . . .”] suggests the subsequent redemption of man by the birth of Jesus Christ by Mary, who was to become the Queen of Heaven as a result, and thus the song concludes on a positive note hinting at Thomas Aquinas' concept of the “felix culpa” (blessed fault).
    It’s not a projection to say the carol is about Christ’s redemption of humanity. It’s recognizing the subtext.
    That's your opinion with which I can't agree. There is no hint of in the carol.
    Well, we’ll just have to disagree, and that’s okay. To my mind, it’s much more than hinted at, and the carol makes no sense without it. But mileages vary.

  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    OK that's very interesting! But what is that bit about "nevertheless for them there shall be a medicine"? That's not presented as part of the commentary but what text is it from? And who is "king Meshiha"? Is that the Messiah?

    Wikipedia says this targum is from the 2nd century AD so I guess we cannot say it definitely represents the pre-Christian Jewish tradition though.

    The Targum was written in the first or second century CE, true; but it is based on over six hundred years of oral interpretation. As I said, during the intertestamental period Jewish people became more interested in a personal messiah.

    OK if that's the case then the Jewish interpretation chimes much more with the traditional Christian interpretation.

    * We have the idea that the serpent strikes those who have offended against the law. This matches the idea of Satan as "the accuser".

    * But there is also the idea of redemption - there is "medicine" for these sinners.

    * And this medicine will come when the Messiah comes.

    Given this background it no longer looks surprising at all that Christians should take this as a prophecy of Jesus. It no longer looks to be in opposition to Jewish beliefs of the time either. This beats Irenaeus by several hundred years!
  • Martin54Martin54 Deckhand, Styx
    edited October 3
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    .
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Or as phrased in the relevant Wikipedia article:
    The third verse [“Ne had the apple taken been . . .”] suggests the subsequent redemption of man by the birth of Jesus Christ by Mary, who was to become the Queen of Heaven as a result, and thus the song concludes on a positive note hinting at Thomas Aquinas' concept of the “felix culpa” (blessed fault).
    It’s not a projection to say the carol is about Christ’s redemption of humanity. It’s recognizing the subtext.
    That's your opinion with which I can't agree. There is no hint of in the carol.
    Well, we’ll just have to disagree, and that’s okay. To my mind, it’s much more than hinted at, and the carol makes no sense without it. But mileages vary.

    For once I have the same.

    As for the C2nd King Meshiha reference, it has nothing of the Christian inversion of power in Second Temple Messianism. Interesting that the serpent has sons.
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