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Source: (consider it) Thread: What should we do about 'our own' terrorists?
Golden Key
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Martin--

[Biased] Only if a) you go first, and let us know how it goes; and b) you clean up your own mess afterwards.
[Biased]

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Gamaliel
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Well, I don't know about Martin60 and his Black & Decker but my forehead is feeling pretty flattened through repeated engagement with the rigid wooden pit-props of Jamat's and Kaplan's Janet and John level hermeneutic.

[brick wall]
[brick wall]
[brick wall]

I've tried waxing lyrical, I've tried verbiage.

To no avail.

Time and again, all we get from the pair of them is effectively:

'It is at is because I say so ...'

They'll squeal and protest and say, 'Look, it's got nothing to do with me ...'

When in fact, it has everything to do with them (and with the environment, influences and contextual factors that have gone into making them who they are).

It's hard to have any kind of meaningful discussion with closed minds. The irony, of course, is that they are accusing everyone else of being the ones who are closed minded.

I really don't understand what's so contentious or hard to grasp about the following:

- People prior to the Reformation operated with a different hermeneutic.

- Some Christians still operate with a different hermeneutic to the one/s Jamat and Kaplan use.

- What is apparently 'obvious' to us in our context, with all the influencing factors that have contributed to its development, wasn't necessarily obvious to people in other times and other contexts who operated with a different set of criteria and different hermeneutics.

- It is possible even for Christians within the same milieux to come to different conclusions about the same issue and to cite proof-texts to support their viewpoint - Whitefield accepted slavery, Wesley opposed it.

- Our hermeneutics reflect our culture, background and religious tradition. Jamat is a highly conservative evangelical Protestant. His hermeneutic reflects that. Well, duh! Kaplan is a relatively conservative evangelical Protestant. His hermeneutic reflects that. Well, duh! Charlemagne was an early medieval Catholic, his hermeneutic ... (you've guessed the rest) ...

- It is unreasonable to expect Christians in pre-Reformation, pre-Enlightenment times to have operated by a hermeneutic that didn't exist until post-Reformation, post-Enlightenment times.

- Such an expectation is not only unreasonable but flies in the face of all historical evidence.

That's all I'm saying and I can't see how any of it is in any way contentious.

Hence my sore head ...

[brick wall]

I'm still waiting for Jamat and Kaplan to come up with a more reasoned explanation for their position other than, 'Can't you read?' and 'Isn't it obvious?'

Which is tantamount to saying, 'Because I say so.'

[brick wall]

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
It's chronic in we Welsh, look you.

Not sure what this is, but if it is some kind of satirical swipe at the way Welsh people speak, it fails.
It is a reference to the fact that Gamaliel and I have Welsh ancestry in common.

See references in popular culture (eg Neil Kinnock/"Welsh Windbag"), or read some of David Lloyd George's rhetoric.

quote:
I'll be charitable
Golly, you must be a Christian.

Perhaps that explains why you have no sense of humour - some don't.

[ 14. July 2017, 21:27: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
it is perfectly credible to read the NT in the light of Joshua and believe that state

Bullshit.

Christians in the past were just as aware as we are that you can't just treat the OT as if the NT doesn't exist.

For example, incidents such as Henry VIII's serial monogamy, and the sanction given by Luther, Melanchthon and Bucer to Philip of Hesse's bigamy notwithstanding, Christians have never dreamed of arguing that a Christian ruler should accumulate hundreds of wives and concubines because Solomon did so in the OT.

It's not bullshit, and pointing to sexual ethics has nothing to do with how people developed credible hermeneutics about state violence.
Yes, you are quite right, sexual ethics is a different topic from state violence.

Well noticed.

However, an exegetical approach to each involves a consideration of how to treat OT material bearing on each.

To that extent, the hermeneutical aspects have some similarities.

Got it?

quote:
It is ludicrously ahistorical to suggest that Christians believed they could indiscriminately use the OT for whatever they wanted to justify, ignoring the NT in the process.
I absolutely didn't say that [/QUOTE]

You have absolutely implied it.

[ 14. July 2017, 21:37: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
my forehead is feeling pretty flattened through repeated engagement with the rigid wooden pit-props

Nice touch of (South) Welsh imagery there.

quote:
I've tried waxing lyrical, I've tried verbiage.
Certainly have.

I'm surprised you find time to eat!

quote:
- People prior to the Reformation operated with a different hermeneutic.
Well done - your very first point is hopelessly and unhistorically incorrect.

Certainly their hermeneutics could be wrong in various respects (allegorisation, misapplication of OT), but their underlying assumptions in attempting to understand, believe and obey what they read (or heard) were not radically different from ours, which is why we can agree with, and benefit from, so much that was written in the one and a half millennia before the Reformation.

Certainly biblical scholarship, along with the principles upon which it is based, have improved since the Reformation (and not just among Protestants), but that does not necessitate belief in an unbridgeable hermeneutical chasm between today and the past.

There is therefore nothing anachronistic in saying that aspects of Charlemagne's handling of the text can be criticised as dead wrong, and so were the lessons he drew from it - assuming that he had some sort of familiarity with it, and that if he did, he was not deliberately ignoring and disobeying it.

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lilBuddha
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Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
were not radically different from ours,
The fuck they weren't. Paul's writing is filtered through his belief the 2nd coming would be in his lifetime, the earliest Christina's were really Jewish, the ones just after that were half pagan.
quote:

which is why we can agree with, and benefit from, so much that was written in the one and a half millennia before the Reformation.

This is historically ignorant as well as plainly ridiculous. If it were anywhere near true, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gamaliel
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Kaplan, I don't know what planet you are living on but Planet Exegesis it certainly isn't.

Planet Historically Illiterate?

For the millionteenth time, people in Charlemagne's time didn't operate with a post-Reformation hermeneutic.

Why is that so difficult to grasp?

They operated with an early medieval one.

Which is why they acted like they did.

You operate with an evangelical hermeneutic. That's why you act like you do.

Is that really so fucking difficult to grasp?

Why is that obvious point so bloody difficult to grasp?

It doesn't undermine / invalidate your particular take.

Why should it?

It simply puts it in its historical perspective. That.is.all.

I've got news for you.

The Apostle Paul wasn't an evangelical Protestant. Charlemagne wasn't an evangelical Protestant. There weren't any evangelical Protestants in the way that you or any other evangelical Protestants are evangelical Protestants until the 1730s onwards.

Why are you trying to insist that your hermeneutic was there from the get go when it clearly wasn't?

Nobody is trying to make out that Logical Positivism existed before it did.

Nobody is trying to make out that Existentialism existed before it did.

Why this whacko-jacko insistence that everyone could have or should have operated with your particular hermeneutic before the conditions existed for them to actually do so?

I've never heard anything so ridiculous and anachronistic in my life.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Jamat
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quote:
Lil Buddha: Paul's writing is filtered through his belief the 2nd coming would be in his lifetime.
Now there is a bone to chew. What makes you think that?

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Lil Buddha: Paul's writing is filtered through his belief the 2nd coming would be in his lifetime.
Now there is a bone to chew. What makes you think that?
Hebrews 10:37
quote:
For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay


--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gamaliel
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Which assumes the Apostle Paul wrote Hebrews ...

FWIW ISTM to that the Apostle Paul had Christ's imminent return as a general expectation, and that's certainly implied in several epistles, but he seems to have modified that expectation as circumstances changed and he found himself on Death Row.

On Kaplan's broad point about there being sufficient grounds for a common understanding throughout the Christian era, well yes, otherwise there'd be even more variations in understanding than there are now.

But that's a different issue to expecting a normative and consistent hermeneutic from the outset, particularly when, as Kaplan seems reluctant to acknowledge, one's own model and approach did not emerge for at least 1500 years, although there are anticipations and antecedents most certainly.

There's an irony here, of course, in that many Protestants scoff at those RCs and Orthodox who act as if the 1st century Church was exactly the same as that of the 4th, 5th, 9th or 13th centuries in every detail.

But who then do exactly the same thing and imagine the 1st century Church to have been a version of their own assemblies only wearing togas.

Of course, claims of antiquity need not necessitate the exaggerated claim that everything was uniform, including hermeneutics, from the outset.

Even on a cursory level it seems obvious to me that a Kaplan style hermeneutic couldn't possibly have existed at a congregational level before the NT was fully canonised and agreed and in wide circulation. Many churches wouldn't have possessed a complete NT for years and years and years.

It's no accident that a more Reformed approach/understanding of scripture developed alongside the advent of printing.

So, in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th ... 8th ... 12th ...15th centuries, how did these things operate?

Not in the way Kaplan and contemporary evangelicalism does, that's for sure.

The conditions were completely different. Monasticism played its part. So did conciliar and collegial discussion and debate, so did the Papacy in the West ... etc etc.

The conditions that would have allowed or enabled Charlemagne to have a different view of his role as ruler did not yet exist. They only gradually came into existence and that through turmoil, debate, conflict and social change.

It's completely anachronistic to suggest, 'Ah, well if only he'd have read the NT properly like I do ...'

I am completely baffled, flabbergasticated and non-plussed at Kaplan's apparent inability to think historically and to project his own values and presuppositions back into a period of history so very different from our own.

I really, really don't get that.

The only conclusion I can reach is that he refuses to do so because he's scared that to acknowledge otherwise would be to undermine his own position and hermeneutic in some way.

I don't see how that follows.

He could still hold to an evangelical style hermeneutic whilst acknowledging it to be a more recent development than the models Charlemagne's contemporaries would have used.

I'm genuinely puzzled as to why he insists on holding such an untenable view when there are clearly more reasonable and rational explanations available.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Gamaliel
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Sorry, that should have read, 'And persists in reading back ...' etc

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Gamaliel
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What is even more odd is that the NT writers themselves clearly didn't obey the hermeneutical rules that Kaplan appears to expect them to have done.

None of them would pass an exegetical paper set by a contemporary evangelical seminary.

His argument does not pass muster on any count or criteria other than his own.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Golden Key
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Gamaliel--

Depending on how you (gen.) view the NT and who wrote what, etc., they wouldn't even have needed a systematic hermeneutic, in the sense used on this thread, AIUI.

If they were actually present with Jesus, knew him, traveled with him, argued with him, laughed with him, partied with him, then they would have worked from their own experience in trying to understand their Teacher (and more). Plus their cultural and religious context. They'd have been applying that directly to Jesus and his teachings, not something someone wrote about him. (With the possible exception of other accounts written at the time.)

They might have applied some sort of systematic hermeneutic to the Torah and other scriptures, and how that might apply to Jesus. OTOH, sometimes people just soak up their religion and culture, without analyzing it. E.g., I was at an event where a Hindu author talked about her goddess a bit. Someone in the audience asked her if she really believed her goddess was real. The author kind of blinked, then said she really didn't think like that.

The gospel writers, AIUI, are supposed to have written their books many years later. Maybe it took that much time just to come to terms with everything, personally.

FWIW, YMMV.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Gamaliel
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Well yes, but as sure as eggs are eggs they certainly wouldn't have been operating by hermeneutical principles that didn't exist until at least 1500 years after their deaths.

That's the simple point I'm making and which Kaplan seems either not to grasp or to deliberately elide.

That's what I don't 'get', what I find hard to accept and why I've been giving him grief. He's an intelligent man. He ought to know better.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Martin60
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KC & J have 'the one true immutable hermeneutic'. Completely different ones of course apart from where they happen to overlap, which isn't much. This hermeneutic has always been see-able for those that have ears to smell. All you have to do is read the bible and there it is. Go no further. Your enculturation plays no part IF you are pure enough.

--------------------
Love wins

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roybart
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Excellent, concise summary of a very long series of posts. Thanks,Martin60.

--------------------
"The consolations of the imaginary are not imaginary consolations."
-- Roger Scruton

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
It is scarcely a matter of "Kaplan's ethic versus Charlemagne's ethic", but of the ethic of the overwhelming majority of present-day Christians (ie all but a few freakish and loony outliers), plus vast swathes of Christians over the last two thousand years, who see and saw clearly that the NT does not sanction the Christian slaughter of unbelievers, versus the ethic of a Charlemagne and those like him.

Regardless of how we label them, you're agreeing that there are two different ethics here, both with some sort of claim to be Christian.

The question I'm struggling with us how we do and should use the word "Christian" in relation to this difference. In order to avoid double standards when we talk of Islam and those who support or condemn terrorist acts which the perpetrators say are carried out in the name of Islam.

Seems to me that either we understand Charlemagne's acts as:

a) Christian (i.e. carried out in response to what we recognise as a valid if militant interpretation of the content of the Christian faith, although not an interpretation we ourselves follow). This view says that Christianity is a good thing, and if one of the unfortunate side effects is that a load of people were massacred, that's a human misunderstanding that's just part of the price we pay for the light of Christ.

or

b) heretical. Protestantism (or some other label) is the true Christianity, and all right-thinking people disown the false Christianity that led to this evil massacre.

or

c) secular. No matter how it may have been dressed-up in religious terms (as part of spinning the Holy Roman Empire as the State embodiment of Christendom), this was basically a king behaving as kings did in those days, with no real connection to the Christian faith.

And in the same way see suicide-bombers as representing either a particularly miltant form of Islam, or a heretical Muslim sect that all orthodox Muslims disavow, or political activism that cynically wears Islamic clothes.

My view is that within this 3-way framework, Charlemagne's acts were secular, and suicide bombers are militant Muslims. You may disagree.

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

My view is that within this 3-way framework, Charlemagne's acts were secular, and suicide bombers are militant Muslims. You may disagree.

But again, this is just an assertion without argument or evidence.
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
But again, this is just an assertion without argument or evidence.

And let me add, that most of those in this thread who are most confidently making this assertion seem to have a complete lack of understanding of their own hermeneutic tradition, let alone that of Islam.

[ 15. July 2017, 15:30: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by roybart:
Excellent, concise summary of a very long series of posts. Thanks,Martin60.

My irony detector is swinging from below zero to 11. Either way, you're welcome roybart.

--------------------
Love wins

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Gamaliel
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Absolutely, Chris Stiles. Some on this thread seem almost blissfully unaware that they are applying a hermeneutical system at all ...

That might seem an exaggeration, but if it is, it's a slight one.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Lil Buddha: Paul's writing is filtered through his belief the 2nd coming would be in his lifetime.
Now there is a bone to chew. What makes you think that?
Hebrews 10:37
quote:
For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay

Name us one Bible scholar who thinks that Paul wrote Hebrews.
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Name us one Bible scholar who thinks that Paul wrote Hebrews.

I'll name two; Clement of Alexandria, Augustine.
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lilBuddha
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An Orthoheretic and a Papist!
If Paul didn't think the second coming was coming soon, he sure wrote about it enough.
And, as I remember it, this is how many Christian sects resolve the discrepancy between Paul's emphasis on celibacy and their boink like bunnies policy.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gamaliel
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I sure there are others.

Whether Paul wrote Hebrews or not, it seems that he was expecting the imminent end of the world, at least for much of the time.

Besides, what evidence is there that he operated with the same hermeneutical approach as contemporary evangelicals?

He was no more doing that than he was operating like a medieval Scholastic.

He was a 1st century Jewish Christian not an 8th century Catholic or a 16th century Protestant or a 20th/21st century evangelical.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Name us one Bible scholar who thinks that Paul wrote Hebrews.

I'll name two; Clement of Alexandria, Augustine.
Name one present-day Bible scholar who agrees with them.
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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
You operate with an evangelical hermeneutic.

I am not using an "evangelical hermeneutic" (whatever that is) but the grammatical-historical hermeneutic which is commonly acknowledged across all Christian traditions these days.

As I have pointed out already, it does not produce guaranteed uniform results, but it is the best we have, and it is the only one which anybody who thinks that the Bible as a text is important in Christianity's history, takes seriously.

You are exhibiting the very constipated binary thinking* which someone on the Ship (can't recall his name) is incessantly warning us against, because you are trying to pretend that we hold to such a hermeneutic today, but that it was non-existent in the past.

But you are not really ignorant of history, and you know as well as I do that a vast proportion of Christian writing and scholarship was based (perhaps not consciously and articulatedly) on just such a hermeneutic.

Otherwise (to reiterate) nearly everything from the Christian past would be unintelligible and useless if all its authors had lived on (to brazenly appropriate your felicitous imagery) another hermeneutical planet - but this is clearly not the case.

For example, today's Protestants, RCs and Orthodox can all read and appreciate Athanasius, even if we don't agree with every single thing he wrote.

An appreciation of past Christians' actions and writings, however, does not necessitate turning a blind eye to their hermeneutical errors when they arise.

That's all.

Now for goodness' sake sit down, take a deep breath and a stiff drink, and try to calm down.

You'll do yourself a mischief if you try to maintain your current maniacal intensity.

*Sometimes called "authoritarian personality", manifested by intolerance of ambiguity, and treated by some as a pathology.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
On Kaplan's broad point about there being sufficient grounds for a common understanding throughout the Christian era, well yes

Congratulations!

These are the birth pangs of a more nuanced and historically accurate outlook than you have hitherto managed.

Don't stop now - keep pushing!

[ 16. July 2017, 03:56: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Gamaliel
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Ha ha ...

This is the first time I've been accused of maniacal and authoritarian tendencies and I've been accused of lots of things ...

I'd been on cider at our local - and very good - free Music Festival so perhaps you can blame that ...

I do understand your point Kaplan and agree on the broad overlaps across all Christian traditions where a common hermeneutic - call it what we will - certainly applies. I once attended a study weekend led by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware on the Orthodox approach to the scriptures.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I found about 80 or 90% of it entirely commensurate with approaches I was familiar with from Protestantism. Nevertheless, there remained about 10% or so that was baffling to me as it derived from an alien hermeneutic that I had to grapple with or unpack before seeing how it operated.

I'm still not sure I succeeded in getting my head round it.

I'm sure if I went to an RC event on similar themes I'd have had a similar reaction. 'How did you arrive at that conclusion?'

However we cut it, though, it doesn't look to me that the NT writers were operating with anything like the hermeneutic you describe.

Be that as it may, we can't assume or even extrapolate with any certainty what they would have thought about issues that arose subsequently.

'What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.'

T S Eliot, Burnt Norton, 'Four Quartets'

Ok,my guess would be that the Apostle Paul wouldn't have agreed with Charlemagne's execution of the recalcitrant Saxons, but that's based on a whole load of assumptions and suppositions I'm bringing to the table alongside and in tandem from anything I glean directly from the text.

The Orthodox, as I understand it, would also adopt a disapproving stance on Charlie's actions and don't believe that religious belief can be coerced or enforced in that way - for all the examples of such things that have undoubtedly occurred in their own history.

To me that's telling because their hermeneutic is closer in many ways to that which would have operated in the time of Charlemagne - although they do take full advantage of later scholarship and grammatical-critical approaches like Protestants and Catholics do.

As to whether the approach you describe is the only 'serious' one adopted by those who take the scriptures seriously, that's a rather bold claim and possibly on a par with your presumption in acting as an amateur psychologist as to my own mental state and personality.

If I were as maniacal and authoritarian as you suggest I'd be inviting you to join me in the Nether Regions at this point, but I won't. I will also resist the temptations to hold up a mirror ...

What I will do, though, is ask you to acknowledge that whilst there is obviously common ground hermeneutically across all the mainstream Christian positions and traditions, these things don't play out in isolation but the way we engage, approach and interpret these texts derives from our respective traditions and lenses.

That applies to you or I just as much as it does to Metropolitan Kallistos, the late F F Bruce, Barth, Tillotson, Pope Francis or anyone else.

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Gamaliel
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Having reviewed your comments - and my own, I'd also suggest that you have misunderstood some of the points I've been making. This could be because I haven't articulated them clearly enough. It could be because you fail to read for comprehension.

I have never, ever suggested that there was a complete and total 'break' between how previous generations approached and interpreted the scriptures and how we approach them today - even assuming that there is a single, commonly accepted approach today - which, looking around, doesn't appear to be the case ...

I'm not suggesting that Paul, Augustine, Charlemagne or Aquinas, Luther, Calvin or anyone else lived in a completely different solar system.

But it's patently obvious that they didn't approach things the way we do. Duh!

I've clearly stated at several points that there were echoes, parallels and anticipations, if you like, of later approaches prior to the Reformation and prior to the Enlightenment. Of course there were.

We're not talking about some kind of late Permian mass-extinction event or the various other mass extinctions that have apparently occurred in the depths of geological time ...

And even with those it seems various wrigglies survived the catastrophes to develop into further wriggles and crawlies and so on. Otherwise none of us would exist today.

So, I would ask you, very politely, to read what I write and not what you think I write.

I would ask you very politely to try to understand what I am actually saying and not what you assume I'm saying.

I would ask you very politely, allowing for my verbiage and 'manical' and 'authoritarian' tendencies to do some close reading of what I've actually written - not what you assume I've written.

One pressumes you pay attention to close-reading when you apply your particular - and largely shared - hermeneutical approach to the scriptures.

I ask you to offer Shipmates a similar courtesy when you read what they write.

Thank you.

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Gamaliel
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Perhaps it would help if I spelt this has out more plainly.

You are an evangelical Christian. Consequently, you apply historical-grammatical methods of biblical interpretation in an evangelical way, a way that is consistent with the interpretations favoured within that tradition.

Obviously.

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware is an Orthodox Christian. Consequently, he applies those same or similar principles within the framework of his Big T Tradition.

Surprise, surprise, on some issues his views would overlap with yours.

Equally unsurprisingly, on other issues there would be varying degrees of variance.

Got it so far?

The same applies when we look back at any period of history. Even if everyone were using prototype versions of the methods you favour it does not mean they would have been uniform in the conclusions they reached - as you have acknowledged.

It would be perfectly possible - but also, in my view wrong - for people to reach completely different conclusions about Church/State relationships without nefariously overlooking or ignoring 'The plain meaning of the text.'

For one thing, nobody approaches the text in isolation. For another all of us are shaped by the culture and thought-patterns of their own time.

What do I need to do or say to make myself any clearer than that?

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
You operate with an evangelical hermeneutic.

I am not using an "evangelical hermeneutic" (whatever that is) but the grammatical-historical hermeneutic which is commonly acknowledged across all Christian traditions these days.

They are one and the same. Acknowledged in what way? In the Roman Catholic magisterium and Orthodox allegorizing hermeneutic?

As I have pointed out already, it does not produce guaranteed uniform results, but it is the best we have, and it is the only one which anybody who thinks that the Bible as a text is important in Christianity's history, takes seriously.

Bollocks. Pathetically arrogant, ignorant bollocks.

You are exhibiting the very constipated binary thinking* which someone on the Ship (can't recall his name) is incessantly warning us against, because you are trying to pretend that we hold to such a hermeneutic today, but that it was non-existent in the past.

But you are not really ignorant of history, and you know as well as I do that a vast proportion of Christian writing and scholarship was based (perhaps not consciously and articulatedly) on just such a hermeneutic.

Otherwise (to reiterate) nearly everything from the Christian past would be unintelligible and useless if all its authors had lived on (to brazenly appropriate your felicitous imagery) another hermeneutical planet - but this is clearly not the case.

For example, today's Protestants, RCs and Orthodox can all read and appreciate Athanasius, even if we don't agree with every single thing he wrote.

An appreciation of past Christians' actions and writings, however, does not necessitate turning a blind eye to their hermeneutical errors when they arise.

That's all.

Now for goodness' sake sit down, take a deep breath and a stiff drink, and try to calm down.

You'll do yourself a mischief if you try to maintain your current maniacal intensity.

*Sometimes called "authoritarian personality", manifested by intolerance of ambiguity, and treated by some as a pathology.

As the historical-grammatical method is always poisoned by wooden inerrant literalism and is therefore fundamentally anti-intellectual, all of that is patronizing bollocks upon bollocks too.

You see I want to agree with you KC, but as with all the inspired, plain, enculturated bollocks I've believed in the past, the more I see it defended the more revolted I am by it.

I want it to be so that Christian peace-making on the trajectory to universal social justice is the plain meaning of scripture, and for me it is, by the second rate historical-grammatical method it ISN'T.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
I am not using an "evangelical hermeneutic" (whatever that is) but the grammatical-historical hermeneutic which is commonly acknowledged across all Christian traditions these days.

I wonder what you mean here. Are you saying that there are no Christian traditions that believe in state power? Or that nobody thinks genocide is acceptable? Or that nobody thinks heretics should be rooted out?

Because there clearly are Christians who believe that. So it clearly isn't the case that there is a hermeneutic on these issues which is universally accepted by everyone.

And if one is going to only look at a self selected group of traditions and then say that they all superificially have the same hermeneutic on violence then obviously it is highly likely that they'll agree.

I still don't think you know what the terms mean that you are using and that you are simply saying that those churches which agree with me on this issue agree with me. Well durr.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Gamaliel
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It looks like the only one who has got hot under the collar at Kaplan's patronising insistence that his is the only proper and kosher approach ... But perhaps I'm the only one so far that he has effectively accused of being mentally ill for daring to disagree with him ...

I used to think that Kaplan was on the more nuanced end of the scale occupied by Jamat at the more 'closed' end.

I now realise I was mistaken.

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mr cheesy
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For example, I don't think it would be too surprising to learn that conservative Evangelicals exist who believe in executing heretics. And there clearly are examples of Christians who have been involved in war crimes. I guess it might be tough to show that these things would be part of a consistent theology as per the crusades, but I'm not so sure that every occasion it happens is unrelated to a systematic theological position.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Gamaliel
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Sure, although in fairness they'd be outliers whereas at times in the past they would have represented something akin to received wisdom.

Of course, that doesn't mean that everyone was comfortable with executing heretics back in the day and, contra Kaplan, I've never said they were.

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http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

My view is that within this 3-way framework, Charlemagne's acts were secular, and suicide bombers are militant Muslims. You may disagree.

But again, this is just an assertion without argument or evidence.
Yes - what I'm saying in this sentence is that this is where I'm starting from.

I know very little about Islam, and am open to evidence and argument that either the "heretical" or "secular" model would be a better way of looking at Islamic terrorism.

I guess my reasoning is that:

- people blowing themselves up in the expectation of heavenly reward seems psychologically more plausible than people blowing themselves up for political ends while cynically claiming religious motive. Martyrdom is not an unfamiliar concept to Christians. And our cultural expectation is that those about to meet their Maker are honest at the hour of their death.

- Islam seems, to an outsider, to be divided into Sunni and Shia "factions". One faction accusing the other of heresy wouldn't be news. For representatives of either faction to accuse their own extremists of heresy probably would be.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Martin60
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Do the '80s count as back in the day?

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Name us one Bible scholar who thinks that Paul wrote Hebrews.

I'll name two; Clement of Alexandria, Augustine.
Name one present-day Bible scholar who agrees with them.
Not every Christian lives in the present day. People have access only to the teaching that is common currency in their day.

But since you ask; RC Sproul (mentioned only because I've read a passage where he endorsed the view). I'm sure there are others - both pastors and scholars - at the more conservative end of the spectrum. Similarly, I assume that a significant number of their students/congregations take the same view, because that's what they've been taught for a large part of their life.

Which is entirely the point here.

[ 16. July 2017, 12:22: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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Gamaliel
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@Russ. It's not as simple as that. There are more subdivisions within Islam than Sunni and Shia and there are differing views within each just as there are within Judaism's and Christianity's subdivisions.

@Chris Stiles, whilst it was never 'officially' proclaimed or upheld in the restorationist churches I knew, it wasn't unusual for individuals and some preachers to entertain the view that Paul wrote Hebrews. They wouldn't have died in a ditch over the issue though.

And yes, we all assume the way we've been taught to approach things is normative, which is why this thread has meandered from the terrorism and violence issue to hermeneutics of course.

@Martin60, if you're thinking of loopy evangelicals like Rios Montte back in the '80s, then yes ... But characters like him were by no means representative. That said, I was disturbed when I met missionaries from US-style mission agencies who reckoned he was kosher and that the tales about his atrocities were all concocted 'by the Communists.'

Also, for a brief moment or two some of the UK restorationists who should have known better were saying, 'Hey, look at this, the guy is a charismatic Christian. This augurs well for the future of his country ...'

When it all boils down to it, expediency, special pleading, situational ethics and a whole load of loaded and thorny issues come into play whoever you are in a position of power - whatever your hermeneutics.

That applies to Charlemagne, Cromwell, Catherine the Great, Constantine (can we mention him?) or Clement Atlee.

There's no such thing as value-free hermeneutics anyway. Even if there were we'd soon taint it.

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Callan
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Originally posted by Russ:

quote:
Seems to me that either we understand Charlemagne's acts as:

a) Christian (i.e. carried out in response to what we recognise as a valid if militant interpretation of the content of the Christian faith, although not an interpretation we ourselves follow). This view says that Christianity is a good thing, and if one of the unfortunate side effects is that a load of people were massacred, that's a human misunderstanding that's just part of the price we pay for the light of Christ.

or

b) heretical. Protestantism (or some other label) is the true Christianity, and all right-thinking people disown the false Christianity that led to this evil massacre.

or

c) secular. No matter how it may have been dressed-up in religious terms (as part of spinning the Holy Roman Empire as the State embodiment of Christendom), this was basically a king behaving as kings did in those days, with no real connection to the Christian faith.

And in the same way see suicide-bombers as representing either a particularly miltant form of Islam, or a heretical Muslim sect that all orthodox Muslims disavow, or political activism that cynically wears Islamic clothes.

My view is that within this 3-way framework, Charlemagne's acts were secular, and suicide bombers are militant Muslims. You may disagree.

Well yes, I do. Charlemagne inherited a tradition that probably goes back to the bronze age, but which at any rate was common in antiquity which said that the government had a responsibility to regulate religion. The degree of regulation differed across religions and governments and eras but it was commonly acknowledged. Hence Athens(!) put Socrates to death for allegedly encouraging people to worship gods other than the gods of the City. Rome made distinction between permitted religions and superstition. Christian rulers suppressed or tolerated (as Thomas Paine pointed out they are two sides of the same coin) heresy and infidelity. Charlemagne didn't just pull this stuff out of his arse. He read his Bible (or had others read it to him) and came to the conclusion that as Emperor of the West it was his job to put down paganism in Saxony based on assumptions that had been pretty much par for the course in his part of the world for millennia. The reason we don't agree with Charlemagne nowadays is because we don't think that religious disagreement is dangerous. Anglicans disagree with Methodists but we don't think that they are dangerous subversives or that tolerating them will anger the Almighty and we don't have to deal with Anglicans who will turn on us if we allow the use of the Methodist Worship Book within the Realm. By and large this was not the case during the pre-modern period and Christians interpreted Scripture in the light of these positions, which were not as absurd as they seem, btw. Not all religious dissidents wanted to be left alone to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience. The modern insistence on freedom of conscience is, to my mind, vastly superior to the 8th Century approach, just as the automobile is a superior form of travel to horseback,, but to suggest that Charlemagne ignored the clear meaning of scripture or was purely interested in advancing the power of the Carolignian dynasty is to wrench him from his historical context. You might as well blame him for not owning a Nissan Note, rather than a horse.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

@Chris Stiles, whilst it was never 'officially' proclaimed or upheld in the restorationist churches I knew, it wasn't unusual for individuals and some preachers to entertain the view that Paul wrote Hebrews. They wouldn't have died in a ditch over the issue though.

Sure - though that doesn't invalidate the wider point (and I'm sure some might have contemplated the ditch as soon as non-apostles were mentioned as possible authors).

Going back to the Charlemagne example, and the general discussion on hermeneutics. Among contemporary hermeneutics, an argument somewhat along these lines could have different conclusions (by a different understanding of what comes under the eschatological heading)

http://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/article/bearing-sword-in-the-state-turning-cheek-in-the-church-a-reformed-two-kingd

Van Drunen's existing argument as it is already sits reasonably comfortably with both military action by the state and the en-action of the death penalty (he is cautiously in favour of the latter).

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quetzalcoatl
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That reminds me of Ed Feser's defence of the death penalty, a book with the splendid title of 'By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment'. But then he is ultra right wing, I think.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
...

@Martin60, if you're thinking of loopy evangelicals like Rios Montt[e] back in the '80s, then yes ... But characters like him were by no means representative. That said, I was disturbed when I met missionaries from US-style mission agencies who reckoned he was kosher and that the tales about his atrocities were all concocted 'by the Communists.'

Also, for a brief moment or two some of the UK restorationists who should have known better were saying, 'Hey, look at this, the guy is a charismatic Christian. This augurs well for the future of his country ...'

When it all boils down to it, expediency, special pleading, situational ethics and a whole load of loaded and thorny issues come into play whoever you are in a position of power - whatever your hermeneutics.

That applies to Charlemagne, Cromwell, Catherine the Great, Constantine (can we mention him?) or Clement Atlee.

There's no such thing as value-free hermeneutics anyway. Even if there were we'd soon taint it.

Aye G. That fine example of evangelicalism and the historical-grammatical method along with his evangelical US backers Falwell and Robertson for two. And me. I was a Cold War armchair warrior too. May God forgive me.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
For representatives of either faction to accuse their own extremists of heresy probably would be.

Seriously? You don't think that happens all the time?

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Gamaliel
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Yes, Callan. Try telling that to Kaplan though. He'll probably accuse you of having some kind of person disorder too for having the temerity to challenge his historically dislocated view of how hermeneutics developed.

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Gamaliel
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Sorry, 'personality disorder'...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sure, although in fairness they'd be outliers whereas at times in the past they would have represented something akin to received wisdom.


OK, but then how is one determining "outliers"? Measured against the RCC and Orthodox, all Reformation churches are outliers.

It is stupid, and circular, to make a universal claim of knowledge direct from the bible which clearly cannot be supported without a whole lot of interpretation and which owes a lot to a developing understanding of biblical interpretation developed by the very structures that Evangelicals claim that they can bypass and within the context of a theological structure they say that they don't need.

But it is even more stupid to claim that one's own hermeneutic is the only valid one and then to use that to measure whether or not other churches or movements are outliers.

This talk of outliers is just code with Evangelicals use to pretend that they can create theology in toto from the bible - and then use it as a stick to beat everyone else with.

[ 16. July 2017, 14:59: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Hence Athens(!) put Socrates to death for allegedly encouraging people to worship gods other than the gods of the City.

That's not how Plato tells the story. According to Plato's Apology the problem was that Socrates was engaged in "corrupting the youth" and there is scholarship suggesting that it was really an act of self immolation given that the state gave him a relatively simple get-out which he refused to accept.

Simply saying it was about "encouraging people to worship gods other than the gods of the City" seems to be a very skewed understanding of the story.

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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Hence Athens(!) put Socrates to death for allegedly encouraging people to worship gods other than the gods of the City.

That's not how Plato tells the story. According to Plato's Apology the problem was that Socrates was engaged in "corrupting the youth" and there is scholarship suggesting that it was really an act of self immolation given that the state gave him a relatively simple get-out which he refused to accept.

Simply saying it was about "encouraging people to worship gods other than the gods of the City" seems to be a very skewed understanding of the story.

Originally posted by Plato:

quote:
I have shown, Athenians, as I was saying, that Meletus has no care at all, great or small, about the matter. But still I should like to know, Meletus, in what I am affirmed to corrupt the young. I suppose you mean, as I infer from your indictment, that I teach them not to acknowledge the gods which the state acknowledges, but some other new divinities or spiritual agencies in their stead. These are the lessons which corrupt the youth, as you say.

{Meletus]Yes, that I say emphatically.

quote:
Then, by the gods, Meletus, of whom we are speaking, tell me and the court, in somewhat plainer terms, what you mean! for I do not as yet understand whether you affirm that I teach others to acknowledge some gods, and therefore do believe in gods and am not an entire atheist - this you do not lay to my charge; but only that they are not the same gods which the city recognizes - the charge is that they are different gods. Or, do you mean to say that I am an atheist simply, and a teacher of atheism?

[Meletus]I mean the latter - that you are a complete atheist.

According to Plato, then, the corruption of the young involved Socrates encouraging them to venerate different gods, and in Socrates being an atheist (the same complaint was levelled against the early Christian's, ironically enough, which indicates that the term may have been used as loosely as 'communism' was at a later date). Whatever we think of Plato's veracity or whether or not Socrates death was an early instance of suicide by cop, we can say that Plato could write a text aimed at educated Athenians, which held that the laws of Athens regulated divine worship and punished those who worshipped differently (or not at all, depending on context) and expect not to be laughed at. I therefore maintain that freedom of conscience, in the modern sense, did not exist in Athens in Socrates day, although only a fool would deny that it was one of the most free societies that existed in the pre-modern era.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9664 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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