“Son Of Man” Or “Human Beings”? Hebrews 2:5-9 And A Response To Craig Blomberg -- By: Barry Clyde Joslin

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 014:2 (Fall 2009)
Article: “Son Of Man” Or “Human Beings”? Hebrews 2:5-9 And A Response To Craig Blomberg
Author: Barry Clyde Joslin

“Son Of Man” Or “Human Beings”?
Hebrews 2:5-9 And A Response To Craig Blomberg

Barry Joslin

Associate Professor of Christian Theology

Boyce College

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Louisville, Kentucky


In the summer of 2006, approximately 150 scholars and students from around the world met at Scotland’s oldest university, the University of St. Andrews.1 The purpose of this conference was to present papers and discuss how the epistle to the Hebrews intersects with Christian theology. The meeting was second in a series of conferences aimed at bringing biblical scholars and Christian theologians together for cross-disciplinary dialogue. The conference produced two collections of essays, one of which contains an essay by Craig Blomberg, which is under consideration here. I was fortunate enough to attend both the Hebrews conference as well as Blomberg’s presentation, which was subsequently published under the title, “‘But We See Jesus’: The Relationship Between the Son of Man in Hebrews 2:6 and 2:9 and the Implications for English Translation.”2

The purpose of this article is to evaluate Blomberg’s argument favoring the anthropological interpretation of Heb 2:5-9 and to argue against his contention that the anthropological view be reflected in our modern English translations. He concludes that the TNIV does this admirably, and, in his view, “accomplishes all the necessary tasks” of translation.3 The point that I stress in the following pages is that Blomberg’s preferred TNIV (as well as the NRSV) actually goes too far as a translation. Rather than leaving room for the Christological interpretation of these verses—whether or not one maintains this interpretation—a translation such as the TNIV makes the Christological view of these verses extremely difficult.4

I will begin by giving a brief overview of Blomberg’s essay. This will be followed by an assessment and critique of Blomberg’s exegesis. If, exegetically, his interpretation is questionable and another interpretation is viable, then we must conclude that it is inappropriate to rule out a viable interpretive option. Next, I will discuss the matter of translation and why gender-neutral language goes too far in this specific passage of Hebrews. The purpose of this article is not to argue for one pa...

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