Andrey Romanov, «Through One Lord Only: Theological Interpretation of the Meaning of 'dia', in 1 Cor 8,6», Vol. 96 (2015) 391-415
The present study attempts to clarify the theological meaning of dia, in 1 Cor 8,6. Traditionally the preposition is understood as an indication of a contrast between God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus' role is described as either instrumental or analogous to the role of Jewish Wisdom. The present study questions these interpretations on the basis of the analysis of the structure of the verse. In this author's opinion, dia, here indicates the unique functions of Jesus Christ which make him the co-worker of God the Father in both creation and salvation.
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393 THROUGH ONE LORD ONLY 393
scheme belongs to Logos (or sometimes Sophia). Horsley assumes
that the formula in 1 Cor 8,6 is “a Christian adaptation of Hellenis-
tic Jewish forms of predication regarding the respective creative and
soteriological roles of God and Sophia/Logos, which in turn was an
adaptation of a Platonic philosophical formula concerning the primal
principle of the universe” 9. Thus, Jesus Christ, according to Horsley,
plays the role of God’s instrument in creation and salvation.
The idea of a philosophical background for 1 Cor 8,6 is developed
by G.E. Sterling 10, although he suggests a scheme slightly different
from the scheme of Horsley. Sterling also finds in some NT texts
(including 1 Cor 8,6) the influence of those Greek philosophical
teachings in which each cause was indicated by the corresponding
preposition. He draws the conclusion that the prepositions in these
NT texts are used as devices for the separation of different causes.
Unlike Horsley, however, Sterling recognizes in these texts not only
the elements of Platonic tradition but also the influence of Stoicism.
Sterling uses 1 Cor 8,6 as one of the examples for his thesis. In
his view, “the text appears to make a distinction between the Father
and the Lord through the use of different prepositional phrases (evx ou-
versus diV ou-)” 11. He opines that the reference to God looks like a Stoic
cosmological formulation, not a Platonic one 12; on the other hand,
the latter part of the verse is “balanced […] with a Platonic formula
for Christ” 13. In other words, diV ou- designates Platonic “instrumental
cause”. The same instrumental cause Sterling recognizes also in Heb 1,2.
J.D.G. Dunn finds in 1 Cor 8,6 not so much the presence of
Greek philosophy or of Philo’s Logos but the use of the (Hellenis-
tic-) Jewish concept of Sophia; in some important points his “Wisdom
Christology” differs from the hypotheses of Horsley and Sterling.
According to Dunn, in 1 Cor 8,6 “the creator God was himself act-
ing in and through Christ” 14. This means that neither Jesus Christ
HORSLEY, “The Background”, 135.
G.E. STERLING, “Prepositional Metaphysics in Jewish Wisdom Specu-
lation and Early Christian Liturgical texts”, The Studia Philonica Annual –
Studies in Hellenistic Judaism IX (1997) 219-238.
STERLING, “Prepositional Metaphysics”, 235.
Sterling does not find in Platonism the use of evk as a characteristic of
the first cause.
STERLING, “Prepositional Metaphysics”, 236.
J.D.G. DUNN, Christology in the Making. An Inquiry into the Origins
of the Doctrine of the Incarnation (London 1980) 195. Recently Dunn reaf-