The Invocation of Christ in Eastern Monastic Psalmody c. 350-450
Chapter Eight: The Invocation of Christ as Prosōpon
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The Invocation of Christ as Prosōpon
In response to Psalm 79.8, ‘Bring us back, O God of hosts, show your face, and we shall be saved’,1 Origen comments, quoting Colossians 1.15: ‘Here he has called Christ “face” (Πρόσωπον ἐνταῦθα τὸν Χριστὸν ὠνόμασεν), “For he is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation”’. The purpose of this chapter is to explore texts such as this, to be found in the psalm-commentaries featured in this study, where the word πρόσωπον, as it appears with relation to God in the psalm-verses of the Septuagint, is interpreted Christologically.
In all, there are sixty-eight psalm-verses in the Septuagint Psalter in which the word πρόσωπον is used in relation to God. Within the commentaries under consideration, fifty-four texts have been located in which the exegete clearly identifies the πρόσωπον of God with the person of Jesus Christ, and these are to be found in twenty-five different psalms. Of these, Psalm 118 is the most prolific for this purpose, in accounting for five texts, while Psalm 79 accounts for seven and Psalm 67 for four. Three texts are provided by each of Psalms 16, 23 and 30, while Psalms 17, 20, 41, 43, 44, 94, 96 and 104 each supply two. Finally, a single text is contributed by each of Psalms 9, 15, 33, 45, 67, 88, 89, 138, 139 and 142.
Before proceeding to an investigation of the relevant texts, it is necessary to acknowledge...
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