I am a theology student and as part of my studies I learned that many theologians consider the biblical figure of Moses to be an amalgamation of various different leaders of the children of Israel. If this is so, who was the figure the apostles saw speaking with Jesus and Elijah at the Transfiguration? This question is perplexing me a great deal!
[quote=wOoKiE]If this is so, who was the figure the apostles saw speaking with Jesus and Elijah at the Transfiguration?
This is a question that you should pose to those who claim that Moses did not really exist, as it is their responsibility to prove their assertions. If Moses was only an archetype of ancient Israel’s leaders, how could he have appeared to Jesus with Elijah? (Of course, you may then be told that the Transfiguration never really happened either, but then those who claim that must also prove that.)
This isn’t to say that Moses could not have been an archetype; indeed, he and Elijah at the Transfiguration have often been considered by Christians to symbolize the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah) of the Old Testament. The difference between such an assertion and your teachers’ claims is that orthodox Christians also insist that Moses and Elijah really existed. They really lived and their lives pointed beyond themselves to the Christ who was to come.
Analogously, consider American history: No one disputes that George Washington actually existed, even though he is often considered to be an archetype of the American presidency because he was the first and, in many ways, the most influential American president. In the same way, biblical figures can be said to have really lived and yet to prefigure christological realities.