Lectionary Year B
May 7, 2000
Acts 3:12-19

Broader Context


1 Peter 3:18:
For Christ also suffered/died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit.
Hebrews 2:10:
It was fitting that God ... should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Hebrews 12:2:
JC ... the pioneer and perfecter of faith
Luke 23:34:
Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

It is interesting that the outer margin of the Nestle text does not give us any references in terms of "the name" in vv. 16/17. However, it is clear in which way the name (i.e. Jesus Christ) is efficacious for the believer (died for sins once for all in order to bring you to God; made alive in the Spirit = He lives!; the pioneer and perfecter of faith for our salvation; the intercessor = Father forgive them, ...).

In reading and re-reading the pericope under examination, one question would not let go of me: "What's in a name?" This question arose in the context of v. 16. "And by faith in his name, ... ." Thus, I want to take a closer look at "onoma."

[My observations are based on a critical integration of material coming from Strack/Billerbeck, Kittel's TDNT, as well as some questions which the French ("postmodern") philosopher Jacques Derrida poses in terms of "the name."]
- name of a person; as reputation; name, person, and acting of God are inseparable
- name is revelation, glorification
- name of the Son (kurios); King of Kings, Lord of Lords (cf. Rev. 19:16?)
- Jesus is equated with the name (cf. Acts 5:4)
      JC acts in the name of God > "I and the Father are one."
      Corinthians are cleansed in the name of JC forgiveness of sins through His name
- what is necessary for the preceding: faith in His name
- thanksgiving, fulfilled prophecy = in the name
- the Holy Spirit is sent in the name of JC
- Mt. 28:19: ... baptizing in the name of the F, S, and HS
- hallowed be Thy name
- to pray, act, in His name
- the name = basis of proclamation = i.e. is good news
- apostles in the name of JC
- suffering in the name
- hated and persecuted on account of the name
- salvation in the name of JC when calling upon it
- JC gives human beings a name; these names are written in the book of life; He calls us by name
- connection between JC and human beings: whoever believes in His name and confesses His name,
      JC will confess before the Father in the judgment
[JEA - some examples of the sources here for follow-up study? e.g. I Peter 4:14 & 16? Phil. 2:10f? etc.].


- to pronounce one's name over somebody = expression of relationship of reign and possession
      (God names things; Adam is given power to name things)
- name = identity
      QUESTION: Does the God with no name have no identity? [JEA - cf. Acts 17:23?] - renaming = changing one's identity
- YHWH cannot be evoked by human beings calling God's name
on the contrary: God announces God's coming (through prophets) this is a gift of revelation
- there is presence in a name
- the name of YHWH dwells in the Temple (but not God "self"?), but God's throne is in heaven
- the name = the side of God that is turned to humans
- it is not yet fully hypostaticized
- b'shem adonai" = in the name of the LORD > calling out the name of YHWH; to act on Y.'s behalf/order

In order to research "name" in Rabbinic Judaism, I consulted two verses in Matthew: 1:21 and 23. [JEA - Great. How did you know to go there for help?].
- Jesus = Jeshua
      i.e. the LORD is salvation (in Him and through Him)
- the name of the coming Messiah
      preexisted in the "mind" of God Israel's salvation lies within God's creative will
- the name of the Messiah
Son of Man, ... of David, ... of God; Shalom; the First One for Zion; the King; Consoler;
      wisdom; guardian; light; the-with-the-clouds- coming-One;
- this name will save His people from their sins
- this name is IMMANUEL = GOD WITH US

Jacques Derrida. in: "On the Name" (chapter Sauf le nom/Save the name)
- a name = a title, epithet, nickname like > Hakkeem "The Dream" Olajuwon; William "The Conqueror" it is a supplement;
      repetition of a name = re-naming
- of God is nothing said that might hold ... > save his name; a name that names nothing
- a name = endless desertification of language; names are (ex)changeable)

To give a name: is that still to give... something/some thing?

Hellenistic Judaism
- LXX:
      "epi" - "dia" - "en" plus "onoma" ...
      attempts to translate "b'shem": there is no equivalent for this Hebrew expression in Greek
- Philo:
      a name is always secondary to that which is primary
- Josephus:
      reluctant to speak about God's name at all

Rabbinic Sources
- in respect to the name:
sacrifices, ritual cleansing, circumcision, congregational work
- tetragrammaton
      God's name is not to be pronounced
      "adonai" or "elohim"

[(MB) - Thanks so much; especially pleased to see that rabbinical works are cited on this website].


Kittel: TDNT
- a name = indispensable part of one's personality; represents something or somebody; power, authority, and will; important for addressing someone - language and its naming is to be a mirror of reality [JEA - which volume in Kittel's TDNT is this and who is the author of the article? Is James Barr's critique of the TDNT in his "The Semantics of Biblical Language" helpful for you?]
QUESTION : does language pose a barrier that keeps us from seeing the truth?

Plato and Aristotle:
- a name does not disclose essence
- only thinking enlightens language (i.e. gives it meaning)
- naming the gods is an important element of the Greek world
- later development: the namelessness of God

The Magical Papyri:
- whoever can evoke a god's name is able to control that god
[JEA - on what pages of which volume might we find the primary sources referred to so that one can examine the context for each?]

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