Podcast: Transfiguration

Mere FidelityIn the latest Mere Fidelity episode I join Derek Rishmawy and Andrew Wilson to discuss the subject of the Transfiguration.

Please leave any thoughts that you might have on the podcast in the comments.

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About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Bible, Exodus, John, Luke, Mark, Matthew, NT, NT Theology, OT, OT Theology, Podcasts, Revelation, Scripture, The Gospels, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Podcast: Transfiguration

  1. Great discussion. Very informative. Fitting with Alastair’s final remarks, I’ve wondered for some time if Peter mistakes Jesus as being simply another great prophet in the line of Moses and Elijah, but then the Father makes clear that Jesus is the one Moses and Elijah met when they went up the mountain. Part of the advantage of this reading is that it helps to make sense of where Peter gets off track, which is surely a crucial puzzle that any suggested interpretation will have to reckon with.

    Luke is especially helpful for this account. Kavin Rowe tracks how Luke coordinates Lord Jesus with the LORD throughout his narrative, helping to unpack Luke’s essentially divine Christology. On that same track, my friend William Glass wrote a paper on Luke’s use of Malachi 3:1 in the Song of Zechariah, where John is a messenger sent before (the face of) the Lord. The textual tradition is ambiguous as to whether προ προσωπου is there or not, though it’s presence seems more easily explained as an attempt to correct its absence. The absence makes the word’s later occurrence more striking (which is what the NA-27 prefers), because we next hear about Jesus’s face shining in the Transfiguration account, followed by Jesus sending messengers before his face in 9:28, filling out the Malachi reference but here figuring Jesus as the LORD. (I pointed out the Transfiguration connection to William, but I don’t know if or how he used it in his final draft presented at SBL.)

    Alastair helpfully points to the Transfiguration’s connection to Jesus’s baptism, which helps clarify how the Transfiguration points forward to Jesus’s death. Using later theological terms, is Jesus’s death the apocalypse of the Lord’s inner life, the Trinitarian motion of love being perfectly instantiated in Jesus’s self-offering? Jesus’s baptism seems to me to be an announcement of the cross, and NT Wright sees several connections between Transfiguration and Crucifixion, not least two figures, one on each side of Jesus. Is the Cross also the pattern of life to which the Lord calls his people, filling out the parallels with Sinai? Differently put, is Jesus (and his death) the paradigm from which the Law of Moses was patterned, but in Jesus’s death we see “the thing itself,” so to speak.

    To pull these observations together, does the Transfiguration push us towards an understanding of the cross that is more than instrumental? Sure, Jesus died to save us from our sins and to pay our debt (though that language is more complicated, right?), but the curtain is also torn and we’re allowed to gaze on the Holy of Holies in Christ’s passion. This presses us towards a reading of the Resurrection that is more explicitly bound to the Crucifixion: on Easter morning Jesus’s glory shines through his body, but this as the vindication of the form of his life that culminated in his death.

    Thanks! I’ve said a lot. I’m glad to hear feedback or to clarify any of my murky comments.

    Godspeed.

    PS – I think I’ll also post this on Mere Fidelity or Orthodoxy or wherever, since I’m not sure how active this blog is or will be.

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