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Source: (consider it) Thread: Cursed
Mudfrog
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Deuteronomy 21:22,23 (NRSV)

22 When someone is convicted of a crime punishable by death and is executed, and you hang him on a tree,23 his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree; you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not defile the land that the Lord your God is giving you for possession.

Acts 5:30 (NRSV)

30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.


Galatians 3:13 (NRSV)

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’.


Funny how Bible verses spring out at you even when you had read them many times. I read the Galatians verse the other day and immediately asked myself, 'cursed by whom?'
The Bible tells me in Deuteronomy.

Jesus was cursed by God?
It's certainly, to my mind, another verse that adds to the overall picture of PSA. We might not always be comfortable with this but is this not a significant verse from Galatians, conformed by acts and illuminated fully by Deuteronomy.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
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fletcher christian

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Perhaps I'm reading your posts here on SofF wrongly, but you do seem to be very keen to understand the doctrine of the atonement limited to one single parameter. Is there a particular reason for this?

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Staretz Silouan

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fletcher christian

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I'm sorry, that's probably pushing this topic waaaay off topic, so I opened up a more general thread in Purg.

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Perhaps I'm reading your posts here on SofF wrongly, but you do seem to be very keen to understand the doctrine of the atonement limited to one single parameter. Is there a particular reason for this?

Not at all.
My run of posts in the Moral Influence thread strongly affirm that I accept all theories.
What I do not want to do is say 'all except'.

I do not understand the position that says that if you mention anything yo do with PSA, then that is the only one you subscribe to.
If you think that is what I am doing 'because others do it' then that reveals your prejudice, not my viewpoint.

I only started this thread because it occurred to me that here we have an interesting discussion point:
Was Jesus cursed by God on the cross?

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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fletcher christian

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Thanks Mud, sorry if I jumped too quick to judgement.
To answer your thread question; yes, I can understand Jesus becoming curse for us in terms of the passion and the cross but I don't see this in the farm of PSA at all. If you take it in that frame, to me it suggests a theological problem of God cursing himself in a punitive way rather than giving himself up to curse.

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Thanks Mud, sorry if I jumped too quick to judgement.
To answer your thread question; yes, I can understand Jesus becoming curse for us in terms of the passion and the cross but I don't see this in the farm of PSA at all. If you take it in that frame, to me it suggests a theological problem of God cursing himself in a punitive way rather than giving himself up to curse.

Well, I would see the curse as the penalty and the judge becoming the judged.
It's why, of course, the Jews see the cross as the scandal/stumbling block.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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TomM
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Question to which I don't have an answer:

Is there a difference between 'becoming curse' and 'being cursed'? And which applies to Christ here?

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by TomM:
Question to which I don't have an answer:

Is there a difference between 'becoming curse' and 'being cursed'? And which applies to Christ here?

Well, the Deuteronomy passage says 'under God's curse'.
That suggests it's something that God does.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Pangolin Guerre
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Sorry for being obtuse. PSA=?
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fletcher christian

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Posted by Tom:

quote:

Is there a difference between 'becoming curse' and 'being cursed'? And which applies to Christ here?

I think there's a difference between inhabiting a position incarnationaly in humanity which is different from being directly cursed from God. So, yes, inhabiting the position of the despised, rejected and scorned is different (in my head anyway) from being deliberately put in that position from a punishing God.

It is however, quite possible to read PSA into the texts that Mudfrog points to here, but I would argue it is equally legitimate to read them in a very different way.

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
Sorry for being obtuse. PSA=?

Penal Substitutionary Atonement.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Martin60
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It's not ontological.

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Love wins

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Hedgehog

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There are some interesting translation variations for these passages. The NET Bible phrases it as:
quote:
If a person commits a sin punishable by death and is executed, and you hang the corpse on a tree, his body must not remain all night on the tree; instead you must make certain you bury him that same day, for the one who is left exposed on a tree is cursed by God. You must not defile your land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
That seems to me to almost give the sense that the curse is not so much in the hanging as it is in the being left up over night. In other words, if somebody commits a crime and is put to death, fine, but don't leave the body up overnight or the corpse will be cursed and then, when you bury it, the land will be cursed.

But accepting the more traditional translation of the NRSV, if the person hung is under God's curse, why the urgency to bury the body the same day and how would it defile the land? I mean, if the person hanging on the tree is already cursed by God, isn't it a bit late to worry about defiling the land? [Confused]

One other interesting translation difference. Check out
Young's Literal Translation:
quote:
And when there is in a man a sin -- a cause of death, and he hath been put to death, and thou hast hanged him on a tree, his corpse doth not remain on the tree, for thou dost certainly bury him in that day -- for a thing lightly esteemed of God [is] the hanged one -- and thou dost not defile thy ground which Jehovah thy God is giving to thee -- an inheritance.
So a person "cursed by God" becomes "a thing lightly esteemed of God." Talk about putting a positive spin on something! [Smile]

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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The problem with the Deuteronomy passage is its compactness. It appears to assume you know who or what is cursed and by whom, and why.

Having spent a couple of days trying to track down various ancient Jewish sources to find enlightenment, I would tentatively suggest the following:

1. The primary sins for which the person being executed here refer to are blasphemy and idolatry. Though any capital crimes may refer.

2. In Jewish law, YHWH has already identified the seriousness of these sins, so committing them is as much an act that brings condemnation on the self in its train.

3. The hanging on a tree is not about crucifixion. The mode of execution detailed elsewhere would be stoning. The suspension on a tree is an act of display to the cosmos of the seriousness of the offence, and the fact it has been dealt with. (Some later rabbis comment specifically that it is not about crucifixion, though the provisions about removal certainly do apply to Roman judicial executions by crucifixion - as per the gospels).

4. The executed man still bears the image of God, though. To leave him suspended overnight would risk profaning the image, especially if the corpse were attacked and eaten by wild animals. So it must be taken down and buried.

5. What it all doesn't mean is that hanging someone on a tree calls down a curse from God on that person.

If you want a book to check out many sources on this (much was written!), then "Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion" by David W. Chapman has all the above and a lot more.

[ 24. April 2017, 09:36: Message edited by: Honest Ron Bacardi ]

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Hedgehog

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Thank you, Honest Ron. I think your approach makes some sense, although what it suggests to me is that the clause about being cursed by God would make more sense earlier in the passage, such as:
quote:
When someone is convicted of a crime punishable by death (and is therefore under God's curse) and is executed, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree; you shall bury him that same day. You must not defile the land that the Lord your God is giving you for possession.
Your Point 3 is also interesting. The way the passage is phrased suggests as much. It talks about the conviction of a crime punishable by death, and the person then being executed, and THEN it talks about hanging him on a tree. I agree that that does not mean the execution method was by hanging on a tree. Rather, you execute the person first (by stoning, for example) and then display the corpse on a tree.

That would not be all that unusual. Once upon a time, the English would display the bodies of certain types of felons for all to see. As such, it doesn't strike me as inconceivable that the Jews would do something similar for those who had committed so grievous a crime (such as blasphemy) that death was warranted, followed by a public display as a warning to others. The difference is that they understood (as you say) that the deceased still bears the image of God and should not be put on display for long.

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
The problem with the Deuteronomy passage is its compactness. It appears to assume you know who or what is cursed and by whom, and why.

Having spent a couple of days trying to track down various ancient Jewish sources to find enlightenment, I would tentatively suggest the following:

1. The primary sins for which the person being executed here refer to are blasphemy and idolatry. Though any capital crimes may refer.

2. In Jewish law, YHWH has already identified the seriousness of these sins, so committing them is as much an act that brings condemnation on the self in its train.

3. The hanging on a tree is not about crucifixion. The mode of execution detailed elsewhere would be stoning. The suspension on a tree is an act of display to the cosmos of the seriousness of the offence, and the fact it has been dealt with. (Some later rabbis comment specifically that it is not about crucifixion, though the provisions about removal certainly do apply to Roman judicial executions by crucifixion - as per the gospels).

4. The executed man still bears the image of God, though. To leave him suspended overnight would risk profaning the image, especially if the corpse were attacked and eaten by wild animals. So it must be taken down and buried.

5. What it all doesn't mean is that hanging someone on a tree calls down a curse from God on that person.

If you want a book to check out many sources on this (much was written!), then "Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion" by David W. Chapman has all the above and a lot more.

What I find difficult here is the idea that blasphemy or idolatry is a capital offence. Isn't that the sort of thinking we condemn IS for?

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SvitlanaV2
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We live in a secularised culture, so blasphemy as a serious crime obviously makes no sense.

As for IS, the social problem, ISTM, is that it's a self selecting group imposing itself on people without any authority. Saudi Arabia is also pretty serious about blasphemy as a crime, AFAIUI, yet that's tolerated by the West because it's deemed to be a sovereign state, free to establish whatever laws its citizens will tolerate.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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No, the problem with IS is they go around killing people who disagree with them. I have no time for Saudi religious killing either and I'm diagusted our PM sucks up to them rather than telling them they're a bunch of bigoted thugs.

I believe in a thing called absolute right and wrong. You cannot justify religious murder. Ever.

[ 25. April 2017, 20:00: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Karl wrote:
quote:
You cannot justify religious murder. Ever.
Quite. But why restrict yourself? And of course everyone else was knocking off their compatriots for any and every reason at that time.

Actually - returning to the Deuteronomy discussion - that "image of God" thing was eventually to lead the rabbis towards the abolition of the death penalty. That was later though.

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Kwesi
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Mudfrog
quote:
Was Jesus cursed by God on the cross?
I suppose the answer is that it depends on who you are. From a Jewish perspective the manner of Jesus' death demonstrated he was so cursed and could not, therefore, have been the Messiah. For Christians, the Resurrection demonstrated that Jesus was no so cursed and necessitated a radical rejection and/or reassessment of the Mosaic texts, which began with that historic journey to Emmaus.
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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
What I find difficult here is the idea that blasphemy or idolatry is a capital offence. Isn't that the sort of thinking we condemn IS for?

I find it difficult as well, but it's indisputable that such penalties do exist in the OT, and can therefore be taken as granted in this discussion.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
What I find difficult here is the idea that blasphemy or idolatry is a capital offence. Isn't that the sort of thinking we condemn IS for?

I find it difficult as well, but it's indisputable that such penalties do exist in the OT, and can therefore be taken as granted in this discussion.
Furry snuff. I think there's another discussion here about the nature of the OT laws and their provenance.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:


I believe in a thing called absolute right and wrong. You cannot justify religious murder. Ever.

We might ask who or what creates the concept of 'absolute right and wrong' if it's not God himself?

However, if it's a secular concept then blasphemy is pretty well irrelevant. And it may be that to maintain harmony on a global level what God may or may not want is indeed irrelevant.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:


I believe in a thing called absolute right and wrong. You cannot justify religious murder. Ever.

We might ask who or what creates the concept of 'absolute right and wrong' if it's not God himself?
Plenty of atheists have a strong moral sense, so clearly it doesn't have to come from God. I don't think things are "right" or "wrong" because God goes through a list ticking them one way or the other and then communicating his conclusions; I think there are more objective measures - harm, violation of another's best interests, that sort of thing.

Being killed unwillingly is very bad for the person being killed, yes? It's very bad for me if someone kills me and I don't want to die. So I reason it's pretty bad for anyone else getting killed as well. Being killed for what I do or don't believe isn't something I want to happen to me, so it follows it's likely something other people don't want to have happen to them. So in the same way it's bad for me, it's bad for them. So it's bad.

quote:
However, if it's a secular concept then blasphemy is pretty well irrelevant. And it may be that to maintain harmony on a global level what God may or may not want is indeed irrelevant.
Well, yes, but I struggle to believe God wants blasphemers and heretics to be killed, really. I see that sort of thinking as a human failing.

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SvitlanaV2
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Some would argue that the moral sensibility that atheists have comes from God.

There are apparently some religions that envision God as relatively uninterested in what human beings say, do or think about him. This doesn't seem to be the official Judeo/Christian way, although perhaps a sort of agnosticism exists at the heart of the religion in its most commonplace form. Both blasphemy and the visceral reaction some people have to it are both signs that faith isn't something natural.

I'm reminded of that film 'Silence', where the moral at the end was that God totally doesn't mind if we ignore him. This is a theology which, for obvious reasons, remains to be adopted enthusiastically by the world's religious authorities. And if the liberal ones find it hard, the ones committed to domination and a rule of iron are hardly going to comply.

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SvitlanaV2
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And judging from that film, the apostate priests in Japan were required to do more than just 'ignore' God. Blasphemy seems to have been required.
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