08 January, 2019

19. Who is Us? Part 1

19. Who is Us? Part 1

"Let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness." 
 Genesis 1:26

The Majestic View: held to be false by both Jews and Christians

Some claim the "us" in Gen 1:26 is the royal "us" or majestic plural, which is when a plural (we, us, our) is used to refer to a single person who is a monarch. (This is similar to the editorial "we," such as when a small business run by one person says, "You can reach us at..." or "Our hours of operation are....")

Yet the royal "us" is not used in ancient times, as both Jewish and Christians scholars note:
"Such a pluralis excellentiae was, however, a thing unknown to Moses and the prophets. Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, David, and all the other kings, throughout TeNaKh (the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa) speak in the singular, and not as modern kings in the plural." —Rabbi Tzvi Nassi, Lecturer in Hebrew at Oxford University11
"This first person plural can hardly be a mere editorial or royal plural that refers to the speaker alone, for no such usage is demonstrable anywhere else in biblical Hebrew."
—Archer L Gleason, Ph.D., professor emeritus of Old Testament and Semitic Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School2
The Heavenly Court view: held by Rabbinical (Modern) Judaism

"Although [the angels] did not assist Him in His creation...Scripture did not hesitate to teach proper conduct and the trait of humility, that a great person should consult with and receive permission from a smaller one. Had it been written: "I shall make man," we would not have learned that He was speaking with His tribunal, but to Himself. And the refutation to the heretics is written alongside it, in the following verse: And G-d created," and it does not say, "and they created.3

On our next post, we'll take a look at the view held by 2nd Temple Judaism / Christianity.

Were you familiar with either the royal "us" view or the heavenly court view?
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Photo Credit: Angels: Stefan Keller from Pixabay / Angels at creation: attribution not found

1 Nassi, Rabbi Tzvi. 1863. The Great Mystery, 1970, p.6.

2 Gleason, Archer. (1982) Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. p.359.

3. Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki). (1040-1105). 
Midrash. Chabad.org

Sounds great. So to clarify, are you thinking of this as the Dec craft or a different time?