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02.12.4

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End Notes

 

Note:  [Brackets will be used to insert my 'translations' into otherwise literal quotations.]

 

Kittle - Love

 

Quell, G. & Stauffer, E.  (1964).  Love.  In:  Kittel, G. & Friedrich, G. (Eds.).  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Vol. I).  (G. W. Bromiley, Trans.)  Grand Rapids, MI:

Wm. B. Eerdmans.

 

ἀγαπάω, ἀγάπη, ἀγαπητός

 

Love in the Old Testament – by Gottfried Quell

 

"For the authors of the OT the love of God is always a correlative of His personal nature, just as love for Him is quite strictly love for His person,"  (Kittle, Vol. 1, Page 23, Line 9)

 

". . . the actual wording when he specifically envisages as neighbours not merely those who are such by law but simply men who are worthy of an act of love.  The LXX translator is hardly guilty of a material error when he greatly weakens the legal sound of רעך with his rendering ὁ πλησίον σου.  The real concern is in fact with men who live in the most immediate vicinity."  (Kittle, p. 26, l. 18)

 

"On this basis the interpretation can move confidently to the conclusion that the רע or נר can from the human standpoint signify an enemy or hater and yet the attitude to him must be determined by love.  The remarkable mutual interrelation of the two passages Dt. 22:1-4 and Ex. 23:4 f. seems at any rate to be concerned with and to give grounds for some such consideration.  The passage in Dt. imposes an obligation of assistance in the case of a brother, i.e., a fellow-national, that in the book of the covenant in the case of an enemy.  Whether we understand Ex. 23:4 f. as a development of Dt. 22:1-4, or the later conversely as a weakening of the former, there can be no doubt that a comparison of the passages indicates the possibility of love of enemies as well being incorporated into the command to love in Lv. 19:18.  The רע may be a friend or a foe, but he is to be the object of the feeling of love and not of legal definition." . . . . "Prv. 25:21: אִם־רָעֵ֣ב נַאֲךָ הַאֲכִלֵ֣הוּ לָ֑חֶם וְאִם־צָ֝מֵ֗א הַשְׁקֵ֥הוּ מָֽיִם [If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;  And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.] are designed to serve the practical inculcation of love for enemies, not being concerned directly with the disposition towards them, but making obligatory a specific line of conduct."  (p. 26, l. 23 & 36

 

"These statements tell us on the one side that man loves God, and on the other that God loves man.   Rather strikingly, no logical relationship is established between the two groups, and only the teacher of Deuteronomy attempts anything along these lines, sometimes demanding Israel's love for Yahweh on the ground of Yahweh's love for the fathers (Dt. 10:14-16), and sometimes promising Yahweh's love as a reward for covenant faithfulness (Dt. 7:14)."  (28, 3)

 

"For love in the OT is a contrary feeling to fear, striving to overcome distance and thus participating as a basic motive in prayer.  To love God is to have pleasure in Him and to strive impulsively after Him.  Those who love God are basically the pious whose life and faith bears the stamp of originality and genuineness and who seek God for His own sake".  (28, 14)

 

The Words for Love in Pre-Biblical Greek – by Ethelbert Stauffer

 

"2.  φιλει̑ν [to love]/φιλία [affection] on the contrary, signifies for the most part the inclination or solicitous love of gods for men, or friends for friends.  It means the love which embraces everything that bears a human countenance:"  (36, 24)

 

"The specific nature of ἀγαπα̑ν [to love] becomes apparent at this point.  Ἔρως [erotic love] is a general love of the world seeking satisfaction wherever it can.  Άγαπα̑ν [to love] is a love which makes distinctions, choosing and keeping to its object.  Ἔρως [erotic love] is determined by a more or less indefinite impulsion towards its object.  Άγαπα̑ν [to love] is a free and decisive act determined by its subject.  Ἐρα̑ν [erotic love] in its highest sense is used of the upward impulsion of man, of his love for the divine.  Άγαπα̑ν [to love] relates for the most part to the love of God, to the love of the higher lifting up the lower, elevating the lower above others.  Eros seeks in others the fulfillment of its own life's hunger.  Άγαπα̑ν [to love] must often be translated 'to show love'; it is a giving, active love on the other's behalf."  (37, 3)

 

"It is indeed striking that the substantive ἀγάπη [love] is almost completely lacking in pre-biblical Greek."  (37, 24)

 

Love in Judaismby Ethelbert Stauffer

 

"The same exclusive motif asserts itself in the principle of love for the neighbour.  It is a love which makes distinctions, which chooses, which prefers and overlooks.  It is not a cosmopolitan love embracing millions.  The Israelite begins his social action at home.  He loves his people with the same preferential love as is shown it by God.  He extends his love to foreigners only is (sic) so far as they are incorporated into his house or nation (Ex. 20:10; 22:20 etc.).  Even the enemy (שגא) is to have my assistance when in difficulty, and is expressly referred to my help (cf. Ex. 23:4 f.).  It will be seen that the organic relationship and concrete situation are always normative for social responsibility.  The general love of the Hellenistic cosmopolitan is eccentric.  Neighbourly love for the native Israelite is concentric."  (38-39, 38)

 

"The LXX almost always renders the אהכ of the Hebrew text by ἀγαπα̑ν [to love] (→ p. 21).  To the substantive אהכה there corresponds the Greek ἀγάπη [love], which now comes into use.  Ἔρως and φιλία and derivatives are strongly suppressed.  The harmless ἀγαπα̑ν [to love] carries the day, mainly because by reason of its prior history it is the best adapted to express the thoughts of selection, of willed address and of readiness for action.  But the true victor in the competition is the ancient אהכ, which impresses upon the colourless Greek word its own rich and strong meaning.  It was once thought that ἀγάπη [love] was a completely new word coined by the LXX.  This no longer seems likely.  Much more significant, however, is the fact that the whole group of words associated with ἀγαπα̑ν [to love] is given a new meaning by the Greek translation of the OT."  (39, 8)

 

Hellenistic Judaism

 

"In the Wisdom literature and related writings the fulfilment (sic) of the commandments and mercy are the way to earn God's love.  He who treats orphans like a father will be loved by God like a son (Sir. 4:10 f.; cf. Test. N. 8:4, 10).  Supremely, however, ἀγάπη [love] is a relationship of faithfulness between God and man.  Οί πιστοὶ ἐν αγάπῃ προσμενου̑σιν αὐτῷ [The faithful wait for him in love].  The martyr who decides unconditionally for God and accepts all kinds of torments for His sake will experience the more deeply in all his sufferings the faithfulness of God, and will receive eternal life in the future world."  (39, 30)

 

"Love for one's neighbour is a favourite theme of Hellenistic Judaism.  This is not merely the command of God;  like love for God, it is rooted in God Himself.  Hatred derives from the devil, love from God." . . . . "All that deliberate exegesis can glean from the OT by way of philanthropic motifs is here picked out by Philo and fused into a systematic presentation.  In the centre stand compatriots, including proselytes, and fellow-residents, then in widening circles (109 ff.) enemies, slaves, animals and plants, until love embraces all creation."  (40, 13 & 25)

 

Jesus - by Ethelbert Stauffer

 

"Jesus, too, accepts the Jewish sobriety which is neither an extravagant universal love of humanity nor a high-flown love ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν σου [beyond your soul?]  (so Barnabas, 19, 5), but which requires loving one's neighbour as oneself.  Yet He frees neighbourly love once and for all from its restriction to compatriots.  He concentrates it again on the helpless man whom we meet on our way."  (45, 33)

 

"He answers the question of the νομικός [lawyer] by reversing the question: 'Who is nearest to the one in need of help?'  This means that He shatters the older concentric grouping in which the I is at the centre, but maintains the organising concept of the neighbour, and by means of this concept set up a new grouping in which the Thou is at the centre.  This order, however, is not a system which applies schematically to all men and places.  It consists only in absolute concreteness.  It is built up from case to case around a man in need.  Whoever stands closest to the man in need κατὰ συγκυρίαν [by chance], the same has a neighbourly duty towards him.  Three men are equally near to the man who has fallen among thieves in his distress.  Which of them fulfills his neighbourly duty?  The alien Samaritan.  Why?  Ἰδὼν ἐσπλαγχνίσθη [to observe with compassion].  The heart makes the final decision.  He fulfils (sic) his neighbourly duty whose heart detects the distress of the other.  At the decisive moment the two others hold back and thus violate their neighbourly duty.  The introduction of this ἐσπλαγχνίσθη [compassion], however, does not imply emotional extravagance in neighbourly love.  What is demanded is the most unsentimental imaginable readiness to help.  The Samaritan does in all sobriety what the moment demands, taking care for the immediate future, no more and no less."  (46, 8)

 

"The synoptic Jesus hardly ever uses the love of God either the substantive  ἀγάπη [love] or the verb ἀγαπα̑ν [to love] (or indeed φιλία [affection] or φιλε̑ν [friends]).  He proclaims and brings ἄφεσις [deliverance] and speaks of God's ἐλεει̂ν [pity], οἰκτίρμων ει̑ναι [to be merciful]).  Accordingly, in all passages where it is a matter of following God in the threefold relationship of God, man and man, primary emphasis is placed on the call for mercy and a spirit of reconciliation."  (47, 41)

 

The Apostolic Period - by Ethelbert Stauffer

 

"Its [love's] goal is that the man who is called should place his life in love and freedom in the service of his neighbour"  (50, 43)

 

"Neighbourly love, once a readiness to help compatriots in the covenant people of Israel, is now service rendered to fellow-citizens in the new people of God.  It implies making the welfare of the brotherhood the guiding principle of conduct.  ἀγαπητός [beloved] and ἀδελφός [brother] become interchangeable terms (1 Th. 2:8; Phlm. 16)."  (51, 6)

 

"Faith acquires living force to the extent that it is active in love.  This is perceived in essential necessity by Paul in Gl. 5:6.  James translates this truth into practical commands which in sober yet unambiguous fashion prevent any pious or comfortable escape.  Love implies primarily fulfilling immediate duties to our neigbours and not withholding rights from labourers (5:1 ff.).  It means taking seriously the basic affirmation that all who love God are my brothers and are not to be put in the background even though they come shabbily dressed (2:14), since God has thought them good enough to be called into His βασιλεια [kingdom](2:5).  Love is indeed the Law of the new kingdom, the νόμος βασιλικός [royal law](2:8).  This love is the work of faith, demanded by it, made possible by it, and counted for righteousness on account of it (2:14 ff.).  The love for God which stands behind all brotherly love is also a work of faith.  It holds fast to God, to His commands in the warfare against passions and to His promises in the long periods of tribulation and affliction.  It is strong in ὑπομονή [endurance] (1:2 ff.)."  (52, 23)

 

"John hardly ever speaks of the love of the Son for the Father (Jn. 14:31).  He emphasises (sic) the more strongly, however, the love of the Son for those whom the Father has given Him, for His 'friends.'  Through the Son the love of God reaches the world of men."  (52-53, 46)

 

"In Revelation the demand for brotherly love (cf. 2:19) is completely over-shadowed by the passionate call to cling fast to God in this hour of division and distress, even to death.  Here the understanding of what love means is completely determined by the thinking of a theology of martyrdom which has come to new life in the needs of the day."  (53, 30)

 

The Post-Apostolic Period – by Ethelbert Stauffer

 

"The most common use of ἀγάπη [love] and its derivatives, however, is in the sense of brotherly love."  (54, 30)

 

"ἀγάπη [love] in the Greek sense is respect and sympathy between equals.  Christian ἀγάπη [love] derives from a consciousness of equal unworthiness before God and His mercy.  By this spirit of caritas [charity] the attitude and intercourse of the brethren are determined."  (55, 10)

 

 

[The bracketed translations are mine.]  [Regarding the 'Hebrew' in the text: I do not know Hebrew.  What you see is simple 'hunt and peck' copying.  I know the breathings are omitted.  Please excuse the failings of this ignorant one.]

 

 

Agape - My Response to Kittle

 

OT

 

Quell, writing for Kittle, described love as an emotional feeling that moves one to give of themselves.  It is a deeply-felt emotion that is understood to be given by God.  Dt. 30:6 is understood as saying that "Yahweh circumcises the heart of Israel so that Israel loves Him with all its heart and soul."  (p. 29, l. 11)  As the Covenant is, essentially, law, legislating feelings can become problematic.  As a result, Quell concludes that:  ". . . to fulfil (sic) the command of love can only consist in not hindering the feeling of love, . . . "  (p. 25, l. 27)  Thus, we find that God so moved the heart of Israel that His people were able to love Him, and that if one of the people were to 'harden' their heart so as not to love, that would be considered a breach of the Law.

 

Where does this love for God come from?  Again, Quell tells us that:  "For the authors of the OT the love of God is always a correlative of His personal nature, . . ." (p. 23. l. 4)  Thus, as one gets to know God, one naturally comes to love Him.  The love that this relationship creates is a strong emotion.  "The love extolled in the OT is the jealous love which chooses one among thousands, holds him with all the force of passion and will, and will allow no breach of loyalty."  (p. 38, l. 25)

 

When this love is directed toward people, it shares many of these same characteristics.  When describing the: ". . . love for the neighbour.  It is a love which makes distinctions, which chooses, which prefers and overlooks."  (p. 38, l. 38)  Thus, it focuses on individuals.  It has characteristics of God's 'jealous' love described above.  Within this context, the neighbor is defined within a very particular context, a lived relationship with the other.  "the organic relationship and concrete situation are always normative for social responsibility."  (p. 39, l. 5)  As the Scriptures plainly teach, our relationships with other people will have divine consequences.  Thus, Quell notes: "He who has mercy (רחם) on his fellow, heaven has mercy on him."  (p. 43, l. 33)

 

In discussing one's 'neighbor', Quell seems to contradict himself.  He notes that:  "The רע [enemy] may be a friend or a foe, but he is to be the object of the feeling of love and not of legal definition."  (p. 26, l. 23)  Here he notes that the presence of the 'feeling of love' is involved with our 'love' for our enemies.  Then, slightly later (p. 26, l. 36), he notes that this:  "love for enemies, not being concerned directly with the disposition towards them, but making obligatory a specific line of conduct."  This would imply that one's 'disposition', which one would normally think of as including one's feelings, is NOT how 'love' for one's enemies is understood.  Thus, we are left with a contradictory understanding of what this 'love' is to be.

 

JESUS - Stauffer

 

Stauffer, also writing for Kittle, describes Jesus as entering the discussion regarding one's 'neighbor.'  In the OT one's neighbor was defined by the nation of Israel and would include any member of Israel's lineage.  "Yet He frees neighbourly love once and for all from its restriction to compatriots.  He concentrates it again on the helpless man whom we meet on our way."  (p. 45, l. 36)  Note that 'helpless man' need not be a member of the nation of Israel.  Thus, one's neighbor is defined, not by their lineage, but by their need.  "Whoever stands closest to the man in need κατὰ συγκυρίαν [by chance], the same has a neighbourly duty towards him."  (p. 46, l. 15)  Thus, one only need to be near the helpless one 'by chance' to define him as a neighbor.  "The heart makes the final decision.  He fulfils (sic) his neighbourly duty whose heart detects the distress of the other."  (p. 46, l. 18)  Recall that the first paragraph above declared that:  if one were to 'harden' their heart so as to avoid loving or feeling compassion for the other, that would be a breach of the Covenant.  See also:  1 John 3:17-18.

 

Once one is defined as one's 'neighbor', what is expected of the Disciple?  Stauffer declared:  "What is demanded is the most unsentimental imaginable readiness to help.  The Samaritan does in all sobriety what the moment demands, taking care for the immediate future, no more and no less."  (p. 46, l. 22)  This is a clear intervention to ameliorate the other's distress,  not a comprehensive program of re-education and training.

 

In characterizing His broader ministry, Stauffer notes:  "He [Jesus] proclaims and brings ἄφεσις [deliverance] and speaks of God's ἐλεει̂ν [pity], . . .  primary emphasis is placed on the call for mercy and a spirit of reconciliation."  (p. 47, l. 42)  Pity would characterize God's compassion for fallen Man and mercy would be the human parallel within human relationships.  Deliverance would speak of deliverance from God's wrath through the reconciliation between God and Man.  It would also speak to deliverance from conflict within the relationships between Men.

 

 

The Apostolic Period - Stauffer

 

Stauffer, again writing for Kittle, described the teaching of the early Church as stressing the importance of Love within and between the members of the Church.  He described these Church leaders as:  ". . . making the welfare of the brotherhood the guiding principle of conduct."  (p. 51, l. 8)  They emphasized the understanding that:  "Its [love's] goal is that the man who is called should place his life in love and freedom in the service of his neighbour"  (p. 50, l. 43)

 

"ἀγάπη [love] in the Greek sense is respect and sympathy between equals.  Christian ἀγάπη [love] derives from a consciousness of equal unworthiness before God and His mercy."  (p. 55, l. 10)

 

This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023