Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Christ

This seems to be a really small thing to me (about three letters long), but I don't want to say "Christ" any longer, but rather "the Christ." I think this important for understanding what the word "Christ" means (annointed one - as a tranlation of the Hebrew: Messiah). In the Greek, the definite article ('the' in English) pretty much always accompanies the word Christ and/or Jesus Christ. It's not usually expedient for us to translate all the articles that occur in Greek (we don't say "The Jesus the Christ the son of the God." because it's cumbersome in English). But in so doing we have made "Christ" Jesus last name. If Jesus did have a last name it was likely "ben-Joseph" or something like that (son of Joseph). But the fact that Jesus is the Christ is far more important than just a last name. He is the annointed one of God. He is the Son of God. He is the Word made flesh. Jesus is the Christ.

9 comments:

MaryMary said...

True story!

Mrs. Andrea Wood said...

Can I call you James The Wood?

Mrs. Andrea Wood said...

Am I a bad person for having jokingly commented to a serious blog entry?

I like the sentiment but I think you are correct in that all of the "the"s would be cumbersome in English.If we add "the" to Christ why not to the rest (the Jesus the Christ the Son of the God)? Would it be part of his title? The Christ or the Christ? I am asking as a serious question.

arwen said...

The Jesus is the purple jump suit bowler child molester in The Big Lebowski.

Big Mike Lewis said...

...the Wood...

Ty said...

I'm with ya', though I think we ought to translate it, since it is a title and we translate the other titles. Okay, maybe not to english, but at least to Hebrew. It wouldn't hurt my feelings if people started to translate his name (Ιησους) as Joshua, either (kind of like translating Ιηκωβος as James). So, it would be Joshua, the Messiah . . . BTW, as far as I've been able to tell, even most Greeks didn't know what the word "Christ" meant, unless they were from a Jewish background (counting Christianity as a sect of Judaism).

KMiV said...

OK, I will throw this in. But--we should still use it because that is the name people understand in America.

Example = Jesus, son of the most high God. Any Jew would have hit the roof over this but the church used this term because it said something to Greek polytheists. Greeks really weren't looking for a Messiah (Christus).

Point = when we communicate Jesus to people it is important for folks to understand how people understand him. When I talk to Muslims I suggest that Jesus is the Koran of Allah. Most Christians would hit the roof over this but a Muslim would say, "Ron is telling me that Jesus, rather than a book, is the revelation of God (Allah).

Just some thoughts from the Northwest.

Ron

James Wood said...

Andrea: Yes. Yes, you are a bad person. But I love you anyway.

Ty: If we were to translate it, shouldn't we say "Joshua the Annointed One" or something to that effect?

Ron: I like that Ron. To the Jews, Jesus was the Messiah of prophecy; to the Greeks Jesus was the incarnation of the One God. So what is our world looking for/needing and how does Jesus fulfill that?

Ty said...

Yes, if anyone understands what that means. I guess most people would need an explanation no matter what; the advantage of the title when it was originally used was the familiarity of the Jewish people of the time with the concept of messiah.

BTW, my earlier response wasn't completely serious. As much as I'd appreciate the translation, I recognize the need to tie things in to how people already see the world. My OC Bible Professor, Curt Niccum, used to explain that, despite the vast number of translations, very few even attempt to speak to the people for whom the story of Jesus has the greatest immediate value: the poor and outcast (not the band). In other words, we need fewer translations for "us" and more which use the vernaculars of various sub-cultures.

In our current situation, many people are just as surely forced, in part by "churchy," Latinized, and higher- reading- level translations, to accept the whims of their (all- too- often untrained) ministers, as pre-reformation christians were to accept the often contradictory interpretations of the priesthood, by a lack of access to scripture.

Don't get me wrong, they're still at the mercy of the translators, but at least we have some idea of how to limit the damage translators might cause (in comparison to clergy).