The Heavenly anatole (Luke 1:78-9)

Simon James Gathercole

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    7 Citations (Scopus)


    A consideration of the alpha nu alpha tau omicron lambda eta figure in Luke 1:78-9 leads to the suggestion that this is not merely a Davidic messiah, but also a heavenly, pre-existent figure. After a review of the main lines of debate in the past century, the discussion is centred on four points. First, the visitation (epsilon pi iota sigma kappa epsilon psi epsilon tau alpha iota) gives a strong impression of a divine figure. Secondly, from the evidence of the LXX and elsewhere in Luke, the advent of the figure 'from on high' (epsilon xi nu psi omicron nu zeta) points clearly to a heavenly origin for the alpha nu alpha tau omicron lambda eta. Thirdly, though less conclusively, the reference to Isaiah 9 LXX strengthens the impression of an angelic ruler figure. Finally, the alpha nu alpha tau omicron lambda eta itself is defined as both light-bringer and heavenly messiah, especially in contrast to the A nu alpha tau omicron lambda eta character in Zech. 6:12, who comes not 'from on high' but 'from beneath'.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)471-488
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Theological Studies
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


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