31 July 2008

Commemoration of Joseph of Arimathea

From Synod's website:

This Joseph, mentioned in all four Gospels, come from a small village called Arimathea in the hill country of Judea. He was a respected member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious council in Jerusalem. He was presumably wealthy, since he owned his own unused tomb in a garden not far from the site of Jesus' crucifixion (Mt 27:60). Joseph, a man waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went to Pontius Pilate after the death of Jesus and asked for Jesus' body (Mk 15:43). Along with Nicodemus, Joseph removed the body and placed it in the tomb (John 19:39). Their public devotion contrasted greatly to the fearfulness of the disciples who had abandoned Jesus.

O darkest woe!
Ye tears, forth flow!
Has earth so sad a wonder?
God the Father's Only Son
Now is buried yonder!

O sorrow dread!
Our God is dead,
Upon the cross extended.
There His love enlivened us
As His life was ended.

O Virgin's Son,
What Thou hast won
Is far beyond all telling:
How our God, detested, died,
Hell and devil felling. LSB 448:1,2,6


Ken Larson kenlarson@hotmail.com said...

Many years ago, when a now sainted professor was speaking of Christ's death on our place, he noted that Catherine Winkworth's translation of this 17th century hymn was inaccurate... or at least could be translated differently. This professor gave the translation which now appears in the LSB, noted above, in the second stanza. "O sorrow dread, our God is dead..." This is GOD dying in our place, I believe he said, and I wondered, being a beginning student in theology. The TLH translation by Winkworth rendered the German, "Got selbst ist tot" as "God's Son is dead." In the communication of attributes, however, the divine does not take on the attributes of the human, if I understand the doctrine correctly. Could anyone properly render both the German of Johann Rist (Friedrich vonSpec wrote only the first stanza), and the correct application of the genus maiestaticum to this matter?

William Weedon said...

Sure, all you need is the distinction between concrete and abstract. It would be heresy and error to say in abstraction "Divinity died." But it would also be heresy and error to deny in concrete: "God died upon the cross" for the Eternal Word made flesh IS God.