It seems I owe James McGrath and apology. (I’m sorry, James!) In an earlier post, I stated that words he had bolded in a translation did not appear in the text. In fact they do appear in the Greek, but they can be read in a different order than how James’ translation had placed them and I hadn’t thought to consider the word order when I made the comment. In my ignorance, I made a lapse. So I hope he can forgive that mistake on my part.
Though that is settled, I still have a contention with the way James is interpreting the text. Heb. 2:17, even with the appropriate strengthening of ομοιωθηναι, should be read as ‘He had to be made in the likeness of his brothers in all respects.’ But reading ‘in all respects’ to mean ‘in every conceivable respect’ makes little sense given the context, since this sort of thinking implies a sort of Nicene creed (trinitarianism). It is a bit anachronistic to presume that the author of Hebrews was thinking of Jesus as a human. Indeed, not only is it anachronistic in the sense that such thinking is from late antiquity, but also stems from our position in history, looking back through three quests for the historical, earthly Jesus, long after the figure and character of Jesus has been ‘humanized’. Even though I had been wrong about the word order in the translation, I was not wrong about its meaning, nor about its usefulness (since it still reads ‘in the likeness’, denoting that the author of Hebrews still saw Jesus as an a figure giving the illusion of a human).
I’m also a bit surprised that James used Hebrews as part of his treatise against Doherty on Paul, since Hebrews was not written by Paul and its dating and authorship are unknown (though the date is tentatively set during the early Christian period, mid-late first century).
That being said, I offer James my apologies once again, but stress that, as I’ve done before, he be more cautious with his wording in his polemics.