"My God and My Lord" Ps. 35:23 - Need OT version

by jonathan dough 40 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Leolaia
    Now in that case it is interesting that the LXX of Psalm 35[34]:23 does have the kind of kurios which usually substitutes the Tetragrammaton, only in the first part of the verse (where no divine name is found in Hebrew and inserting one would break the meter):

    exegerthèti kurie kai proskhes tè krisei mou ho theos mou kai ho kurios mou eis tèn dkèn mou.

    The latter highlighted expression (correctly understood by the LXX as parallel possessives, not possessive + DN) is indeed almost the same as that which is found in John 20:28 (ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou), only the terms kurios and theos come in reverse order.

    Well, what I find interesting is that John 20:28 is the only place where Jesus is addressed as "Lord" without the vocative. Of course the nominative may have vocative force but nevertheless everywhere else afaik (e.g. Matthew 7:21-22, 8:2, 6, 8, 21, 25, 9:28, 11:25, 13:27, 14:28, 30, 15:22, 25, 27, etc.) the vocative is used when Jesus is the addressee. So this detail might give added weight to the suspicion that a scriptural allusion may account for this departure in practice. But obviously it is a very subtle one.

  • jonathan dough
    jonathan dough


    I think we are, for the most part, on the same page. The issue I addressed was narrower than your response, but I completely agree in your assessment of the Society's analytical methodology. In legal circles it is called "arguing in the alternative." 1) Thomas meant Jesus was "a god" or God-like or had divine qualities. 2) In the alternative (i.e. in case that argument doesn't work) Thomas was actually directing his speech to God, whether through Jesus, or as though God were beside him. It is a mere tactic, as you pointed out, a very common legalistic move and in response each such alternative argument should be broken down without leaving any alternative possibilities (which wasn't my initial purpose). Not locking the argument down is done all the time. They even go so far as to offer completely contradictory arguments, each used depending on who they are arguing against.

    For example, in response to the claim that they are false prophets, they point to literature claiming they are not prophets, and bury it deep thereby making it difficult to retrieve. If you argue they can't be God's organization because they are not prophets, they point to different literature that says they are. It's a pseudo-intellectual shell game.

    I was originally addressing the second point as it related to Ps. 35:23, in the context of the overriding issue, which is this notion that Jesus was nothing more or less than a man as they teach.

    If the Society also teaches (3) "Jesus, my Lord and my God" implies that the Father (= Jehovah in WT doctrine) is addressed through Jesus (not besides Jesus as in option # 1)," well, applying a little common sense, they are wrong about that as well based on the simple fact that Thomas was directing his answer to Jesus, he answered Him, not God. There are other reasons as well. Their interpretation would imply blasphemy to Thomas. More here:

    The JWs get a lot of traction using the "through Jesus" arguments, far beyond the scope of this thread, but that also has major weaknesses.

    N.B.: Jesus is not the Father but the Father is in Jesus, hence reached, known and seen through Jesus.

    I'm not sure if this is meant to correct something I wrote earlier, but just to clarify as I have countless times to others, Jesus the creature, the created humanity, is not the Father - the Almighty (Catholic Encyclopedia, 932), which is a major distortion perpetuated by the Society. As such, I think what is getting lost here is the nature of the hypostatic union and how that relates to what is being spoken of.

    Furthermore, in speaking of the "Father,:" that is usually meant to mean God, (“Father is not a title for the first person of the Trinity but a synonym for God” (Encyclopedia of Religion, 54)) and as God is triune in nature, God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, who is fully God, can be addressed as Father (meaning God but not the first Person of the Trinity). And that, I believe, is the "My God" which Thomas referred to, the God of the God-man equation of the hypostatic union. And this in turn comports well with Isaiah 9:6 where the prophet wrote "For there has been a child born to us ..... and his name will be called ... Eternal Father." It is also the Father Jesus spoke of at John 14:8-10: "Phillip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Phillip? He who has seen me has seen the Father;..." The idea that Jesus thought of himself as just a man is ludicrous.

    Let's save the discussion of the indwelling for a later time.

    I'm nitpicking only because you come across as very assertive: it is fairly meaningless to say that "the Catholics regard verse 28 (not John 1:1) as "a literary inclusion with the first verse of the gospel: “and the Word was God” (NAB notes John 20, 28)". Catholic official dogma does not "lock" exegesis as your wording implies. Catholic scholars are largely free to discuss and disagree about the original meanings of particular texts, a fortiori broader literary consideration such as the inclusio structure (with which I agree in that particular case), even in books which are granted the official imprimatur, and the church is not officially committed to their views

    Nitpick away, but I need to clarify a few things. I'm not implying anything by my wording as you contend, and I can't be accused of over-aggressiveness on this because this is a direct quote from the New American Bible, "... a new Catholic version of the Bible in English," (NAB Introduction). Accordingly, one could reasonably conclude that this is, coming directly from the Vatican, official dogma. Nowhere did I state, nor can it be implied, that I argued that Catholic scholars are not free to discuss or disagree about the original meanings of particular texts. (They are not JWs, after all). You might be reading a little too much in what I wrote. But that's all right, because we agree on most issues except for some nibbling around the edges.

    Now, going back to my original post, all I wanted to verify was Ps. 35:23 which reads "... my God and my Lord" and which the JWs have evidently changed to "...my God, even Jehovah." And for the above reasons that we both have submitted, I think they are dead wrong. Ps. 35:23 lends credence to the argument that Thomas believed in his heart that the risen Christ was God, not just god-like, or "divine" like some Old Testament "gods." And he most certainly was not answering God (apart from or through Jesus according to JW lore) or directing his answer to a separate Jehovah God.

    JD II
  • PSacramento


    Can you expand on that, for those of us with only mortal knowledge of Koine greek, ;)

  • Narkissos


    The vocative (kurie) is the normal case for the address in direct discourse, how you call somebody when you talk to him/her (think kyrie eleison, "Lord, have mercy"). Kurios (as found in John 20:28) is the nominative case, used when the word is subject of any verb or predicate of a verb of state (e.g. kurios estin, he is lord), but it also frequently substitutes the vocative in koinè Greek. However, it's quite possible that the use of the nominative in John 20:28 (unusual with vocative function for kurios in a narrative, as Leolaia pointed out) adds a solemn, almost liturgical ring to the pronouncement, which would suit both a reminiscence from Psalms and the climactic position of the final confession in the Gospel (at least in version 2.1.0 ;)). Cf. a similar use of the nominative with vocative function in the liturgies of Revelation (4:11, axiôs ei, ho kurios kai ho theos hèmôn...).

    A possible parallel for the nominative, though, can be found in John 13:13, humeis phoneite me ho didaskalos kai ho kurios, which must stand for a vocative in direct discourse (an object predicate would normally be accusative and anarthrous), "you call me 'Teacher!' and 'Lord!'" (rather than "you call me teacher and Lord").

  • PSacramento



    You hint earlier and repeated now, of a verison of the GOJ that, by the sounds of it, was far shorter and end at Thomas's "epiphany" ?

  • Narkissos

    The Gospel of John certainly had a complex (pre-)history, but chapter 21 (coming after a first conclusion to "the book" addressed to the readers/hearers in 2nd person plural, 20:30f) is very clearly one of the latest additions to it, dealing with problems of a later age (especially the relationship between Peter and the Beloved Disciple as representatives of concurrent traditions within the church, beyond the death of both figures) and calling for another conclusion (in the 1st person plural this time). At the previous stage (which was definitely not the first either), Thomas' confession (and Jesus' response) ended the book.

  • jonathan dough
  • PSacramento


    I didn't know that, where can I read up on that?

    John's writing, GOJ and 1John, are some of may favorites.

  • Narkissos

    PS: There are many introductions and commentaries available, but you might start with this:


  • PSacramento

    Thanks narkissos, ordered it :)

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