Thread: All scripture is given by inspiration of God. Board: Dead Horses / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
As discussed ad nauseam, left, right and centre on the Kerg Unto Us... thread, where foretelling prophecy is defended right and centre and even by lefties except left wing loonies like me, well just me (and even I would accept it if God actually did it). I don't want to go near the Dead Horse of inerrancy, but as I asked in the context of alleged prophecy, "As we know from scripture all scripture is inspired; it says so. Including all the God the Killer stuff, which isn't how God is at all; if it doesn't look like Jesus it isn't God. So what is this 'inspiration'?".
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Buggered if I know mate; it's not a concept I find particularly useful.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It's a fascinating topic, Martin, but I'm not sure how we can begin to address it without clip-clopping down into The Equine Graveyard.

FWIW, I don't believe that ideas of divine inspiration necessitate:

- Certain stories being literally true in every detail.

- A requirement to understand Genesis, Job, Jonah and apocalyptic books like Daniel and Revelations in a literal way.

But trying to set my stall out on any of that is going to get me into arguments with both right and left.

I'll have go but we're likely to end up going over very old ground with your 'magic' and 'God the Killer' tropes.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
That's because that's where the problem lies. Usually ends in an argument between people who can't see a problem with God ordering children to be slaughtered in cold blood and those who can.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
hosting/

Yup, it's going to be impossible to discuss this on the back of the Kerygmania thread without touching on inerrancy, so off to Dead Horses we go.

/hosting
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sir. (Might one ask if a link could be made from the Purg thread?)

Responding openly to K:LB

Are there any who can and who don't cop out with God's ways not being our ways and believe 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God.'? Or that any of it is? How does one discern if any?

[ 26. December 2017, 17:42: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
I can't speak about inerrancy, but want to refer to the idea that the biblical God is a 'killer'.

I understand that some modern theologians posit that God is weak. God the weakling seems to be an alternative to God the killer. Neither seems attractive on the surface, but I don't see any other solution, since we do all die, after all, and if God has anything to do with it then he must be a killer. And if he doesn't, yet allows it to happen, then he must be weak.

For me, God's love is exercised within and around his power to give and take life. I suppose that means that I lean in the 'killer' direction. I don't dislike the notion of God as weak, but I haven't really seen it enunciated at the popular or congregational level, so I'm not sure how it works out in practice.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Martin FYI there's a link at the top of the page if you click on the closed thread in Purg.

I need to go and lie down for a few days somewhere after the Keryg thread but I'd like to mention a thought arising from something Jamat said there:
quote:
The Bible needs to have structural and thematic integrity if God has inspired it. I believe he has. It cannot contain errors or he did not.
Usually, inerrantists claim Scripture is without error "as originally given", which on the one hand makes sense but on the other is a perfect cop-out since we don't have the original manuscripts, so any errors can be put down to copyists and so forth.

However, from my discussions with Jamat it would seem that inerrantists don't stop there and that this conviction might have more dramatic consequences.

Indeed, it would appear that in practice this inerrantist doctrine is applied backwards, as it were, to translations, in an attempt to make the translations themselves appear (as they would see it) "without error".

In other words, if one's starting point is that Scripture is wholly without error, any less-than-100%-accurate text must be patched up or explained away to make it so - and the new, sanitised translation is then presented as the equivalent of the inerrant original.

This seems to be functionally how Fruchtenbaum's reasoning, so often invoked by Jamat on that thread, operates, and thinking about it, it seems to be the approach taken by the dispensationalist Scofield reference bible with its notes.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, and the theological term for that is 'bollocks'.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Thanks Eutychus. What an astounding proposition. The concept of the missing inerrant original CORRECTLY, inspiredly restored in translation. A breathtakingly strong delusion. Brilliant on elucidating it. Hope you miss this as you're crashed out.

SvitlanaV2. I'm not talking God the weak killer by Him being creator of entropic creation. But The Killer. The one who slaughters humanity directly and by His righteous agents by the billion from one end of 'inspired' scripture, as believed by Jesus, to the other.

That's before He resurrects them to do even worse.

[ 26. December 2017, 22:36: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by 3rdFooter (# 9751) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Yes, and the theological term for that is 'bollocks'.

As a translator with self-taught greek of a pretty shaky quality, I can provide ample evidence for this standpoint.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


SvitlanaV2. I'm not talking God the weak killer by Him being creator of entropic creation. But The Killer. The one who slaughters humanity directly and by His righteous agents by the billion from one end of 'inspired' scripture, as believed by Jesus, to the other.

That's before He resurrects them to do even worse.

Killer or 'Killer': if God is all-powerful, what difference does it make? Are you arguing that God can hide behind human destructiveness or natural disasters? Isn't he supposed to be mightier than all of these?

Of course, I realise that what you're really talking about here is the OT set-up whereby the ancient Israelites engage in apparently divinely sanctioned violent interactions with their neighbours.

I don't think there's an argument for God's involvement in this sort of thing that's going to be acceptable to those at the most liberal end of the religion. But does it matter? Liberal and conservative Christians are different. There's interaction in the broad middle, and some movement from one end to the other, but the spectrum itself is never going to collapse. IMO the reasons for this are probably more psychological and sociological than they are theological.

But the question is what you actually do with these texts if you believe that what they have to say about God is utterly wrong. For the moderate churches the usual response is simply to ignore these passages. Most of the time, nothing else is required. You only have a problem if you insist on hanging out with Christians who won't leave these passages alone!

[ 27. December 2017, 00:08: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: A requirement to understand Genesis, Job, Jonah and apocalyptic books like Daniel and Revelations in a literal way.

But trying to set my stall out on any of that is going to get me into arguments with both right and left

This seems to me to beg lots of questions such as which ‘non literal’ stance are you going to take?

And as I’ve asked you before, what determines and defines ‘apocalyptic’ if you want to stick that in a genre of its own?
What do you do with Daniel which is in some parts historical and others pretty mystical?

I know what ground rules and assumptions I use in reading Revelation but you have continually made generalised dismissals of those so yes, please do set out your ‘stall’.

Martin 60: I’m not sure why you see justifications of inspiration from within the text as a cop out, nor why you are so determined to identify only with the Jesus of the gospels rather than say with the apocalyptic figure of Revelation 1-3 or with the prophetic figure, who must also be Jesus, from Isaiah 63 who comes from Edom with blood stained robes having just squashed all his enemies in the wine press of God’s wrath.

What decides your picture of Jesus seems to be your politics.

And what do you do with with the CS Lewis insight..the lord, liar or lunatic trifecta?
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
This seems to be functionally how Fruchtenbaum's reasoning, so often invoked by Jamat on that thread, operates, and thinking about it, it seems to be the approach taken by the dispensationalist Scofield reference bible with its notes.

One good thing about the Scofield ref. Bible: I saw an edition with a footnote on Genesis that "Eve was deceived, but Adam knew what he was doing". Nice change from women being blamed for the Fall!
[Smile]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
They will go on to tell you that this means women should not teach or preach precisely because they are more easily deceived, 1 T 2:14.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
But not in that Genesis footnote! [Smile]
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
SvitlanaV2 said
quote:
But the question is what you actually do with these texts if you believe that what they have to say about God is utterly wrong. For the moderate churches the usual response is simply to ignore these passages. Most of the time, nothing else is required. You only have a problem if you insist on hanging out with Christians who won't leave these passages alone!
I think this is to the point. No one gives equal weight to all scripture; that way madness lies. We home in on passages that seem more important and interpret the rest in their light. Those bits that are for us central do indeed shape our politics.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:

SvitlanaV2. I'm not talking God the weak killer by Him being creator of entropic creation. But The Killer. The one who slaughters humanity directly and by His righteous agents by the billion from one end of 'inspired' scripture, as believed by Jesus, to the other.

That's before He resurrects them to do even worse.

Killer or 'Killer': if God is all-powerful, what difference does it make? Are you arguing that God can hide behind human destructiveness or natural disasters? Isn't he supposed to be mightier than all of these?

IF. He isn't. It's utter non-sense. If He were then it makes an unbridgeable difference. It would mean that He could prevent suffering but chooses not to for some eternally ineffable reason. That He is utterly impassible. Not moved to act by suffering at all, except in Incarnation. But He can't. THAT makes it OK. God is helpless in the plain sight of human destructiveness and natural disasters. There's not a thing He can do about it in this level of creation and He can't create by fiat, ex nihilo above it (unless we accept angels as real, which are prone to go to the bad). I cannot imagine how He transcends all that, but the Incarnation is the door to it. So yes, in transcendence He is mightier than all non-transcendent creation for a start. But not within it, except as Jesus in all His humanity. If transcendent creation can go to the bad then … all bets are off. Nothing makes sense.
quote:

Of course, I realise that what you're really talking about here is the OT set-up whereby the ancient Israelites engage in apparently divinely sanctioned violent interactions with their neighbours.

I don't think there's an argument for God's involvement in this sort of thing that's going to be acceptable to those at the most liberal end of the religion.

The most? Wow – flesh tearing irony alert – so non-most liberals accept that He did command infanticidal genocide? He suffered the little children eh?
quote:

But does it matter? Liberal and conservative Christians are different. There's interaction in the broad middle, and some movement from one end to the other, but the spectrum itself is never going to collapse. IMO the reasons for this are probably more psychological and sociological than they are theological.

It matters. Unless we have a strong, generous, benevolent, radical orthodoxy Christianity has no chance whatsoever up against Islam, Russia, China, the US. The gates of Hell will continue to close.
quote:

But the question is what you actually do with these texts if you believe that what they have to say about God is utterly wrong. For the moderate churches the usual response is simply to ignore these passages. Most of the time, nothing else is required. You only have a problem if you insist on hanging out with Christians who won't leave these passages alone!

They are the only ones I know doing anything directly for the poor.


quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

Martin 60: I’m not sure why you see justifications of inspiration from within the text as a cop out, nor why you are so determined to identify only with the Jesus of the gospels rather than say with the apocalyptic figure of Revelation 1-3 or with the prophetic figure, who must also be Jesus, from Isaiah 63 who comes from Edom with blood stained robes having just squashed all his enemies in the wine press of God’s wrath.

What decides your picture of Jesus seems to be your politics.

And what do you do with with the CS Lewis insight..the lord, liar or lunatic trifecta?

Self justification by a text is meaningless. I identify appropriately with all Jesuses. Gospel, apocalyptic and prophetic, even from late exilic Deutero or post-exilic Trito (-) Isaiah if that could be demonstrated, rather than being obviously apocalyptic oracles. My picture of Jesus is the same as Isaiah's politics. Which transformed my politics.

As for betting, I take Pascal's wager only. And what is the third position?

[ 27. December 2017, 10:19: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


SvitlanaV2. I'm not talking God the weak killer by Him being creator of entropic creation. But The Killer. The one who slaughters humanity directly and by His righteous agents by the billion from one end of 'inspired' scripture, as believed by Jesus, to the other.

That's before He resurrects them to do even worse.

Killer or 'Killer': if God is all-powerful, what difference does it make? Are you arguing that God can hide behind human destructiveness or natural disasters? Isn't he supposed to be mightier than all of these?

Of course, I realise that what you're really talking about here is the OT set-up whereby the ancient Israelites engage in apparently divinely sanctioned violent interactions with their neighbours.

I don't think there's an argument for God's involvement in this sort of thing that's going to be acceptable to those at the most liberal end of the religion. But does it matter? Liberal and conservative Christians are different. There's interaction in the broad middle, and some movement from one end to the other, but the spectrum itself is never going to collapse. IMO the reasons for this are probably more psychological and sociological than they are theological.

But the question is what you actually do with these texts if you believe that what they have to say about God is utterly wrong. For the moderate churches the usual response is simply to ignore these passages. Most of the time, nothing else is required. You only have a problem if you insist on hanging out with Christians who won't leave these passages alone!

What do I do with them? I see them as a national origin myth, like Romulus and Remus, the Irish Book of Invasions or Monmouth's Historia Brittonum. To what extent historical events underly them, I see victors writing the accounts to make themselves out to be the good guys. They must have been, hey, since they won?

Falling over myself to find justifications for going door to door killing young and old, from toothless grandparents to babies, I do not do. Might as well go looking for square triangles.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I will set my stall out, Jamat.

I have I had time yet but will start a new thread on the topic of apocalyptic literature and how to approach it, ie. not in the way that you do ...

(Remembers conversations with Jamat where we've discussed how literally to take imagery from Revelation)
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
God is helpless in the plain sight of human destructiveness and natural disasters. There's not a thing He can do about it in this level of creation and He can't create by fiat, ex nihilo above it (unless we accept angels as real, which are prone to go to the bad). I cannot imagine how He transcends all that, but the Incarnation is the door to it.



So in essence, you go with the 'weak God' idea. That's fair enough.

quote:
Wow – flesh tearing irony alert – so non-most liberals accept that He did command infanticidal genocide? He suffered the little children eh?



Well, we all know you disapprove of this stuff. But what are you going to do about it? How are you going to re-edit the Bible? How is world Christianity formally going to declare the Bible to be full of error and yet retain hold of the believers who remain?

The only way is to to treat those passages with relative silence, as I said above. Theologians can explore the problem in more depth, but I don't think there's any way they can impose their understanding uniformly on the rest of us.


quote:

Unless we have a strong, generous, benevolent, radical orthodoxy Christianity has no chance whatsoever up against Islam, Russia, China, the US. The gates of Hell will continue to close.



I'm afraid I don't think Christianity will ever have that kind of political influence now, certainly not in the secular Western nations. And I doubt that Muslims would respect a religion whose members have openly re-written their holy book to make it more palatable.


quote:

'Christians who won't leave these passages alone' [...] are the only ones I know doing anything directly for the poor.



The problem I can see here is that once you change these people's approach to the Bible, then you may well damage their effectiveness when it comes to helping the poor. For example, will they be as cohesive, as committed and as focused? Will they be able to keep their numbers and their resources up? If not, that may have a detrimental effect on their mission, no matter how well-meaning they are or how much they have to say about social justice or reducing world poverty, etc.

quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:


Falling over myself to find justifications for going door to door killing young and old, from toothless grandparents to babies, I do not do. Might as well go looking for square triangles.

And that's fine. But since very few churches ask you to find justification for this, I don't see what the great problem is on an individual level.

I'm sure there are plenty of vicars who see no particular benefit in stories about divinely sanctioned killing sprees, and generally draw as little attention to them as possible.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
I like your dry minimalism, Svitlana. For example, the idea of a vicar drawing as little attention as possible to God the genocide killer, is kind of poignant.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
The problem is all internal Svit, fighting the accusatory recriminations of my undead inner fundamentalist.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Yeah, I have an undead inner Christian, who keeps moaning, why did you leave? Because it's effing boring.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Weak God: No such entity. Ground of being God, of what can be. Obviously what can't be is a pre-transcendent creation without suffering.

Infanticidal genocide God: I can't believe that you approve of it. What am I going to do about it? This. How am I going to re-edit the Bible? How could I possibly do that, why would I want to change the past? The way dispensationalists do? I'm going to do what I do, struggle to follow the deconstruction, transcend enculturation. How is world Christianity formally going to declare the Bible to be full of error and yet retain hold of the believers who remain? Why would it, should it, do that?

Silence in the face of evil isn't an option unless you're Jesus before Herod. Especially evil done in the name of Christ against the poor, LGBT+, the other. Understanding cannot be imposed, only suffered.

Christianity can have no political clout except for the bad as it does in the US and Russia, beasts and profits, unless it is counter-cultural. I don't doubt that Muslims would despise those who re-write 'holy' books either and so they should and so do I. Translating from non-existent originals the 'copies' of which contain the 'wrong' words is pretty despicable.

Nothing can change charismatic evangelicals except aging out. Long may they continue to make a difference. A couple or three decades at least.
 
Posted by wabale (# 18715) on :
 
I believe it was fifty years ago that the Church of England removed some of the more bloodthirsty readings from the Book of Common Prayer Lectionary. Why did it take nearly 2000 years for the Church to find these passages unsuitable? And why then I wonder?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by wabale:
I believe it was fifty years ago that the Church of England removed some of the more bloodthirsty readings from the Book of Common Prayer Lectionary. Why did it take nearly 2000 years for the Church to find these passages unsuitable? And why then I wonder?

WW1 and WW2? The Final Solution? The Gulags? Mass murder and slaughter in the tens of millions might have had something to do with it.
 
Posted by wabale (# 18715) on :
 
Agreed mousethief. Just been watching a documentary about the year of my birth, 1945, and reminding myself what an awful year it was! I believe the body count for the rest of the century after WWll is actually greater than that of the two world wars combined. However, other wars, gulags and final solutions have been documented from the beginning of human history, and the prehistoric evidence is equally depressing. While some of the warlike sentiments presented in the Psalms appear unchristian, I have have to ask myself what I would have done if I had been around at the time when someone shouted “The Canaanites / Philistines / whoever are coming!”
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
Wouldn’t it be strange if we had a bible that we all thought was pretty good? Can you imagine how dull it would be? Reading the bible would have no surprises, no sense of danger, would require no effort and would cause no bafflement. No one would have to perform interpretative double backflips to explain why Romans 1 and 2 are actually anti-homophobic. Questions like whether the various kings and stewards in the parables represent God would not be left hanging in the air. It would all be obvious, we would all sweetly agree, and it would be screaming flat, boring and pointless.

I think all scripture is inspired because the bad bits, the stupid bits, the offensive bits and the nutty bits wake up the fire in us all. God’s breath is in faith’s protest at the letter.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by wabale:
Agreed mousethief. Just been watching a documentary about the year of my birth, 1945, and reminding myself what an awful year it was! I believe the body count for the rest of the century after WWll is actually greater than that of the two world wars combined. However, other wars, gulags and final solutions have been documented from the beginning of human history, and the prehistoric evidence is equally depressing. While some of the warlike sentiments presented in the Psalms appear unchristian, I have have to ask myself what I would have done if I had been around at the time when someone shouted “The Canaanites / Philistines / whoever are coming!”

Try minding your own business in Jericho when someone shouts "The Israelites are coming." Then watch as they slaughter your wife and children before putting you to the sword.

And all because God told them to.

We'd not give that idea the time of day if IS did it, and we shouldn't allow the passage of time to let us give the idea the time of day in the Bible either.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Hatless. Now THAT'S inspired. As inspired as anything in, by scripture. As inspired as any chthon yearning below the dirt for that above it.

[ 27. December 2017, 16:45: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Self justification by a text is meaningless. I identify appropriately with all Jesuses. Gospel, apocalyptic and prophetic, even from late exilic Deutero or post-exilic Trito (-) Isaiah if that could be demonstrated, rather than being obviously apocalyptic oracles. My picture of Jesus is the same as Isaiah's politics. Which transformed my politics
The Bible is not a text. It is a library.

Regarding ‘ Jesus’, your statement is not credible. You never define which ‘Jesus’ you worship. There a lots of pictures of him. The inclusive gospel figure who welcomes children is only one. You have the glorified Jesus of Rev 1-3 for instance, the one who threatens the churches with removal of candle sticks. You have the Jesus who, prophetically speaking is returning to reign on the earth.

Please do not just fob off these questions with cryptic, unintelligible responses. You began this thread remember?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Text is SYMBOLIC, representative of library. Metaphoric, semiotic, semiological. If you call 66 'books' a library. Which is ...

My picture of Jesus is the God who grants justice, defends the oppressed, takes up the cause of the fatherless; pleads the case of the widow - Isaiah's politics. Through us, His only hands in this pre-transcendent life.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
A library is a collection of texts.

At least it was the last time I looked ...
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
I think all scripture is inspired because the bad bits, the stupid bits, the offensive bits and the nutty bits wake up the fire in us all.

Bullshit. These bits don't wake up the fire in us all. Lots of people are merely put off by these things and give up reading the Bible at all because of them. I'd bet the rent that more people are put off than fired up.

[ 27. December 2017, 17:30: Message edited by: RuthW ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
So, if the scriptures are a library, then what's to prevent individual texts within that library being collections or accumulations of texts?

Like Isaiah for instance.

Why not Isaiah, Deutero-Isaiah and Trito-Isaiah?

We've had this discussion before somewhere ...
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Text is SYMBOLIC, representative of library. Metaphoric, semiotic, semiological. If you call 66 'books' a library. Which is ...

My picture of Jesus is the God who grants justice, defends the oppressed, takes up the cause of the fatherless; pleads the case of the widow - Isaiah's politics. Through us, His only hands in this pre-transcendent life.

That is a rather left wing new age picture of him rather than a Biblical one. What about the one who is returning to earth at some stage to judge the wicked and set up his kingdom. Does that Jesus not exist for you?

When I say library it is in relation to its variety and compilation over time. You can get pedantic about definitions if you want but realistically we have 66 books by 40 authors, more if you add in apocrypha, pseudo graphia etc.
If you find common themes, common character references, common images of God, supernatural, moral consistency etc, then it is quite reasonable to check and test one or other of these things across the different books. All to say, that to exclude intertextual confirmation, as you seem to want to, and demand only reinforcement from outside the ‘library’, which are from texts then that is an unreasonable and dismissive condition, an unfair demand.

Not to say you do not have this from people like Josephus, Pliny the younger, Herodotus and Thucydides, but their references are necessarily going to be scattered and piecemeal.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by wabale:
I believe it was fifty years ago that the Church of England removed some of the more bloodthirsty readings from the Book of Common Prayer Lectionary. Why did it take nearly 2000 years for the Church to find these passages unsuitable? And why then I wonder?

Because it's taken the human race nearly as long to see some things as vil.
 
Posted by HCH (# 14313) on :
 
One way to decide which Scriptural passages are of greatest value might be to ask which passages are quoted in later passages. I think there's quite a bit of it which is never mentioned later.

By the way, reacting to the title of the thread: is this strictly referring to Jewish and Christian sacred writing or to the scriptures of all religions? What about the Koran, the book of Mormon or the writings of Mary Baker Eddy?
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
I think all scripture is inspired because the bad bits, the stupid bits, the offensive bits and the nutty bits wake up the fire in us all.

Bullshit. These bits don't wake up the fire in us all. Lots of people are merely put off by these things and give up reading the Bible at all because of them. I'd bet the rent that more people are put off than fired up.
OK, I agree it’s not all, it’s those on the inside. It’s the rather perverse payoff we get for acknowledging such a mixed canon. For the enquiring outsider it’s a turn off.
 
Posted by Gramps49 (# 16378) on :
 
When I say library it is in relation to its variety and compilation over time. You can get pedantic about definitions if you want but realistically we have 66 books by 40 authors, more if you add in apocrypha, pseudo graphia etc.

Just 40 writers? I think there were many more if you look at the various traditions within one book.

For me, inspiration does not mean that God dictated word for word what God wanted to be said, but rather people wrote from faith to promote the faith.

Yes, there are contradictions. Yes there are errors of fact. The Bible is not a science book. It is not even a history book. It contains myths. It was written at particular times for particular purposes, but it still conveys timeless messages.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


Infanticidal genocide God: I can't believe that you approve of it.



I wouldn't say I 'approve' of it. It just is, AFAICS. The world is full of suffering, and if God is indeed the Lord and Master of all galaxies then the suffering comes from him, ultimately, regardless of how visible he is in the process.

quote:
How is world Christianity formally going to declare the Bible to be full of error and yet retain hold of the believers who remain? Why would it, should it, do that?



You mean why would world Christianity want the believers to remain?

If we want the church to serve the poor then the church needs people to do that work. It needs the money to feed, house, clothe, counsel and medicate the suffering. A church that disregards its own decline is going to be able to do less and less other than pontificate.

quote:

Silence in the face of evil isn't an option unless you're Jesus before Herod. Especially evil done in the name of Christ against the poor, LGBT+, the other.



I think this attitude is reasonable. If you see a theology as having a detrimental result in the real world then it makes sense to argue against it.

So what are the real world problems that occur as a result of the 'killer God' theology? You seem to think it's influenced American foreign policy. Maybe American evangelicals see themselves as a modern Chosen People, tasked by God to destroy their enemies before their enemies destroy them.

Any Chosen People narrative is problematic, because such a nation is surely obliged to cultivate a single minded bellicosity if it's going to last for centuries in a violent world. Any God who disapproves of such an attitude among his Chosen might be accused of hypocrisy....

quote:

Nothing can change charismatic evangelicals except aging out. Long may they continue to make a difference. A couple or three decades at least.

If you're correct, then charismatic evangelicals are only following in the respectable path of the tolerant, social justice-focused MOTR Christians who preceded them in importance, and also in aging.

I think there'll be evangelical Christians in Britain throughout the century, but I suppose more secular attention will be paid to Muslims, since their numbers will be greater, and they'll be more visible.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
My picture of Jesus is the God who grants justice, defends the oppressed, takes up the cause of the fatherless; pleads the case of the widow - Isaiah's politics. Through us, His only hands in this pre-transcendent life.

That is a rather left wing new age picture of him rather than a Biblical one.
To the contrary, that is a very Biblical picture of Jesus; indeed, he claimed it for himself in the synagogue in Nazareth. Whether it is a complete picture of Jesus as presented in the NT is a different question. But to dismiss it as “left wing new age” is to ignore part of the Scriptural witness in the same way that you frequently accuse “liberals” of doing.

quote:
What about the one who is returning to earth at some stage to judge the wicked and set up his kingdom. Does that Jesus not exist for you?
Martin may feel differently, of course, but it seems to me that picture of Jesus goes hand in hand with the Jesus described by Martin.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
Tangent alert:

Jamat, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to answer your question about Fruchtenbaum before that thread was closed. I feel that I owe you an answer, but I don't want to derail this thread. So I'll simply say I did read, more than once, the blog post to which you linked, and I did not find Fruchtenbaum's argument for why almah should be translated as “virgin” in Isaiah 7 convincing at all, largely for the reasons put forth by Eutychus. I found it a very superficial argument, especially given that his recourse to the Septuagint seemed to ignore those places that parthenos is used for women whom the text makes clear are not virgins. In essence, the argument seems to rest almost entirely on an a priori assumption that almah in Isaiah 7 must mean “virgin," so whenever it is used anywhere it means “virgin."

/Tangent
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Tangent alert:

Jamat, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to answer your question about Fruchtenbaum before that thread was closed. I feel that I owe you an answer, but I don't want to derail this thread. So I'll simply say I did read, more than once, the blog post to which you linked, and I did not find Fruchtenbaum's argument for why almah should be translated as “virgin” in Isaiah 7 convincing at all, largely for the reasons put forth by Eutychus. I found it a very superficial argument, especially given that his recourse to the Septuagint seemed to ignore those places that parthenos is used for women whom the text makes clear are not virgins. In essence, the argument seems to rest almost entirely on an a priori assumption that almah in Isaiah 7 must mean “virgin," so whenever it is used anywhere it means “virgin."

/Tangent

Thanks. Happy new year.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I owe most of my understanding of this topic to James Barr's book 'Fundamentalism'. The forced bonding between inspiration and innerancy creates a self-enclosing ideology.

It is interesting that Eutychus mentioned Scofield's reference bible, since it displays the disease best of all. 19th century Dispensationalism was, in its own mad way, a defence of biblical inspiration from the textual attacks on the consistency of scriptural texts. It was able to explain, or explain away, differences between the words of Jesus and the words of Paul re forgiveness, but only at the cost of placing the Sermon on the Mount (including the Lord's prayer) in an earlier dispensation. The net effect was that the defence of innerant texts did and still does great damage to much that is central to mainstream Christianity.

This isn't just an academic theory. It's something I experienced personally in the 70s and 80s and almost drove me away from Christianity altogether. Barr's book severed the knot of confusion which was strangling my faith.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I owe most of my understanding of this topic to James Barr's book 'Fundamentalism'. The forced bonding between inspiration and innerancy creates a self-enclosing ideology.

It is interesting that Eutychus mentioned Scofield's reference bible, since it displays the disease best of all. 19th century Dispensationalism was, in its own mad way, a defence of biblical inspiration from the textual attacks on the consistency of scriptural texts. It was able to explain, or explain away, differences between the words of Jesus and the words of Paul re forgiveness, but only at the cost of placing the Sermon on the Mount (including the Lord's prayer) in an earlier dispensation. The net effect was that the defence of innerant texts did and still does great damage to much that is central to mainstream Christianity.

This isn't just an academic theory. It's something I experienced personally in the 70s and 80s and almost drove me away from Christianity altogether. Barr's book severed the knot of confusion which was strangling my faith.

Yes, this.

I've not read James Barr's book but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have stuck around very long had I continued attending Brethren assemblies as I did as a young evangelical convert.

Arguably, though, I went into something equally strait-jacketed and loopy in the form of the then up-and-coming 'new churches' - which were full of former Brethren.

To be fair, as those outfits weren't dispensationalist they didn't topple into the Schofield quagmire but the same fundie tendencies were there, only pointed in a slightly different direction.

The thing is, though, that such tendencies aren't restricted to Protestant evangelicalism. There are equivalents in other traditions, but directed in different directions ...

I do think that Dispensationalism is a dead-end in an equal and opposite way to full-on Spong-y liberalism. Both are equally detrimental and harmful.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Thank God for Bar/r/nabas62!

Jamat

Your randomly read, wooden, six day cookbook interpretation of your 'library' (the size of an epic novel, I've got it in that form of course, The Book of God) Bible is flat with regard to a thousand years of cultural evolution, so you can see no move to the left, i.e. to the people, to humanity, to equality of outcome for all, away from privilege. As epitomized by God's left wing move, God's new age, in Jesus. The Jesus of apocalyptic prophecy doesn't exist, so how can He exist for me? He never will. Not just for me but for you or anyone and everyone else. Not in this pre-transcendent world. Or in the transcendent of course. Except figuratively.

Leo – aye, the arc is long.

HCH – nice point. 855 verses are used in the new from the 23,145 in the old. Less than 4% Nothing about infanticidal genocide gets over the bar.

The OP is about the old (Jewish) in the new (Christian). There was no new at the time of the OP quote from Timothy of course.

SvitlanaV2

So, the infanticidal genocidal God of inspired scripture is real to you? Or that's moot, because we agree, as creator He is responsible for the suffering that inescapably entails? Suffering that He is powerless to change apart from in inspiring us? …as He did all scripture allegedly? Apart from the extreme suffering He causes if He's real as inspiredly writ.

No, I don't mean 'why would world Christianity want the believers to remain?'. I mean why would I want world Christianity to formally declare the Bible to be full of error? Unless that was part of a transcendent move guaranteed to stop the decline. World Christianity is growing explosively anyway. With African population. With Islam coming up on the inside.

Yeah, God the Fascist underwrites US and Russian politics, foreign and domestic.

As for charismatic evangelicals lasting to the end of the century, not under any roof but a house church. Unlike Islam as we agree.


Nick - Martin feels the same.


So, what is this 'inspiration' of which Timothy speaks? Beyond the perfectly dictated lost original, autistic, virgin text.
 
Posted by wabale (# 18715) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by wabale:
While some of the warlike sentiments presented in the Psalms appear unchristian, I have have to ask myself what I would have done if I had been around at the time when someone shouted “The Canaanites / Philistines / whoever are coming!”

Try minding your own business in Jericho when someone shouts "The Israelites are coming." Then watch as they slaughter your wife and children before putting you to the sword.

And all because God told them to.

Karl, Thanks for the good advice in how to react positively to a potentially genocidal attack in 1st Millenium BCE Palestine. I actually agree with what I take to be your underlying point: you didn’t have a choice about fighting or not in those days, and perhaps I should have made that clearer. And my reference to ‘whoever’ actually was meant to cover the Israelites and every state in the world that has ever existed. The genocidal potential of warfare was (and is) universal, and is rarely touched upon in the military histories.

The ‘all’ part of your comment ‘And all because God told them to’ surely misses the deeper point that being potentially murderous is embedded in human nature, which raises quite different questions: it’s God’s fault all right, but in a different way. However I’m not clear how those of us who live in a country which recently joined in attacking Iraq with apparent total disregard to what would happen to its people have a moral leg to stand on when discussing the conduct of ancient warfare.

I believe that under the New Covenant, we do have a choice about taking up arms or not. It was for that reason that the early Church encouraged Christians not to serve in the Roman army - presumably because it did not seem to go with what Jesus had taught about The Kingdom. The fact that the Church later chose a different path doesn’t necessarily make it the right one.

I don’t personally find the accounts of Old Testament warfare a reason for doubting the inspiration of Scripture. That may be because I don’t read many theology books and have just had to look up ‘Dispensationalism’ as I hadn’t realised it was a heresy!
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
So what (the OP subject) is it wabale?

[ 28. December 2017, 10:31: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by wabale (# 18715) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
So what (the OP subject) is it wabale?

I’m not sure. I’m just finishing learning Mark’s Gospel, for performance purposes, and it’s having an enormous influence on what I think about inspiration. It took me two years - I’ve got one or two other things keeping me busy. I’m just starting to read R.T.France’s commentary, because he says Mark’s Gospel is a drama in 3 Acts, which I find particularly encouraging from a performance point of view. He writes that the author was either an extraordinarily inventive writer, or he was a brilliant editor of the sayings of Peter, and I’m inclined to believe the latter. Either way the Gospel has the ring of truth for me, and I’m feeling a bit euphoric. And if Mark’s Gospel is true, everything else must be. While generally speaking I have been making the long (57 years) and hazardous journey from Bibledolatry/Fundamentalism to higher criticism, I seem to have got stuck somewhere, mainly with the Stott line that the Bible was written by people and inspired by God, and both were fully involved. Don’t know if that’s what you meant, or if it helps.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Nice. I'm trying to get a grip on what inspiration means, what it really could mean, predicated on the incarnation being true. How we square the circle of God inspiring all scripture including the horrors with Himself in Christ.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Rowan Williams's short little book on Mark's Gospel is worth a read.

Great to hear you're practising for a performance, wabale ...

I've seen performances / readings of various Gospels and they work well and do bring out additional facets that you might not notice simply by skimming through and reading them.

I'm sure Mark was a brilliant editor too, although I'm not sure we should see this in the same way as someone editing The Guardian or The Sunday Times.

A Gospel is a genre of literature of its own to some extent. I've heard Rowan Williams claim that - and equally others dispute it.

On the Stott thing, I must admit I'm quite taken aback at seeing him categorised as occupying a 'halfway-house' position. To me, he seems firmly within the evangelical camp, but certainly not towards the more fundamentalist Bibliolatrous end, of course.

One wonders where you've been, wabale, if you're finding Stott somewhere in the middle. He was nowhere near the Higher Critical end of the spectrum, although he was clearly not a fundie either.

It all depends where we draw our lines, of course.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Rowan Williams's short little book on Mark's Gospel is worth a read.....

I'm sure Mark was a brilliant editor too.

I second that about Rowan's book.

And even since Lightfoot, we've been discovedring how clever Mark was - not the 'simbple gospel in poor Greek.' See, for example, the way he uses chapter 13 to move people away from a parousia to the crucifixion - time signatures and verbs repeated in patterns.

[ 28. December 2017, 16:50: Message edited by: leo ]
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


Why would I want world Christianity to formally declare the Bible to be full of error?



Because you believe that parts of the OT are in error by depicting God as a monstrous killer. Why would you want a decent religion to have anything to do with such horrible passages?

I'm different, of course. It may be a sign of my theological backwardness, but I suppose I want to feel that there's something instructive (or even 'inspirational') in every part of the Bible, including the parts where there's some divinely sanctioned awfulness. After all, the crucifixion is an example of the same awfulness! What honorable father would require his son to die to solve a problem when the father could make things okay without requiring such a disgusting solution?

I don't see a solution in Christianity to the problem of the Killer God, so I just have to accept that troubling mystery. Others will take a different view.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Your randomly read, wooden, six day cookbook interpretation of your 'library' (the size of an epic novel, I've got it in that form of course, The Book of God) Bible is flat with regard to a thousand years of cultural evolution, so you can see no move to the left, i.e. to the people, to humanity, to equality of outcome for all, away from privilege. As epitomized by God's left wing move, God's new age, in Jesus. The Jesus of apocalyptic prophecy doesn't exist, so how can He exist for me? He never will. Not just for me but for you or anyone and everyone else. Not in this pre-transcendent world. Or in the transcendent of course. Except figuratively.
If you are just going to trot out meaningless twaddle like this then I'll leave you to your delusion.

Eutychus: As all ancient texts are read and understood via translation, one must trust that it is a mirror rather than an interpretive device. Since we have many translations of Biblical texts, I think it is fair to say that if words like the one we discussed, alma, is rendered consistently by a variety of translators, then translation is a reliable convergence of expert linguistic views and therefore trustworthy.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
If it's meaningless, where's the delusion?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Eutychus: As all ancient texts are read and understood via translation, one must trust that it is a mirror rather than an interpretive device.

This is a whole other debate, but translation is of necessity interpretation to a degree.

In the front of my Greek interlinear NT is this quote
quote:
une langue est un filet jeté sur la réalité des choses, une autre langue est un autre filet et il est rare que les mailles coïncident.
Aptly enough, this is hard to translate well, but it means approximately this:

"any language is a net cast around reality; any other language is another, similar net. Rarely do the two meshes overlap exactly."

quote:
Since we have many translations of Biblical texts, I think it is fair to say that if words like the one we discussed, alma, is rendered consistently by a variety of translators, then translation is a reliable convergence of expert linguistic views and therefore trustworthy.
Yes. So it's not "virgin", then. Not even in any of the NASB95 references that Fruchtenbaum quotes in defence of this meaning - except in the single case of Isaiah 7:14, when apparently the translators' hermeneutic need for predictive prophecy to be commutative with what it prophesies overrides their* good sense.

*or their paymasters'...

[edited to, um, edit my translation]

[ 28. December 2017, 20:24: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
SvitlanaV2
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


Why would I want world Christianity to formally declare the Bible to be full of error?



Because you believe that parts of the OT are in error by depicting God as a monstrous killer. Why would you want a decent religion to have anything to do with such horrible passages?


Excellent. This indecent religion was the one Jesus transcended.
quote:

I'm different, of course. It may be a sign of my theological backwardness, but I suppose I want to feel that there's something instructive (or even 'inspirational') in every part of the Bible, including the parts where there's some divinely sanctioned awfulness. After all, the crucifixion is an example of the same awfulness! What honorable father would require his son to die to solve a problem when the father could make things okay without requiring such a disgusting solution?


Even better. And then even more! I'm sorry, you'll have to go a long way to demonstrate theological backwardness, even in looking for the instructive and the inspirational (in the Gainsaying of Kore?! The Heresy of Peor!? And WORSE?!?).

Those last two sentences of yours REALLY need exploring. And can only be so from a postmodern perspective I suggest.
quote:

I don't see a solution in Christianity to the problem of the Killer God, so I just have to accept that troubling mystery. Others will take a different view.

Then I've failed - which I would being a mere oily rag - and so have the engineers of existential and postmodern theology. Who work fine for me. Which is a lie as I feared and trembled at things I have said for some years now. I have but I've got used to it and worse. I've begun to doubt. You provoke me to explore more.

Jesus saw the Father's will in the indecent religion that cradled Him in his full, ignorant humanity. A will Jesus' divine nature from the second Person exercised pre-incarnation, in agreement with the Father's. As very God they knew what would happen. Including in Jesus' ignorant human mind. Jesus' courage, faith was unbelievable. Like Abraham's. This needs greater and greater differentiation, exposition, there is nothing linear, formulaic about it.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Any Chosen People narrative is problematic, because such a nation is surely obliged to cultivate a single minded bellicosity if it's going to last for centuries in a violent world. Any God who disapproves of such an attitude among his Chosen might be accused of hypocrisy....

But there’s the problem. The idea that Israel consistently misunderstood what it meant to be a Chosen People is woven through the OT—the Prophets in particular, but also the Law. They were chosen not to cultivate a single-minded bellicosity so that they could last for centuries. They were chosen to be a light to world, blessing the world through faithfulness to the covenant and witnessing to the kind of society God intended.

The Christian narrative is that Jesus succeeded where Israel had failed, and embodied Israel's faithfulness and chosen-ness. And we know where that faithfulness and chosen-ness ultimately led.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
The Christian narrative is that Jesus succeeded where Israel had failed, and embodied Israel's faithfulness and chosen-ness. And we know where that faithfulness and chosen-ness ultimately led.

Resurrection and ascension and sitting down at the right hand of the Father.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Any Chosen People narrative is problematic, because such a nation is surely obliged to cultivate a single minded bellicosity if it's going to last for centuries in a violent world. Any God who disapproves of such an attitude among his Chosen might be accused of hypocrisy....

But there’s the problem. The idea that Israel consistently misunderstood what it meant to be a Chosen People is woven through the OT—the Prophets in particular, but also the Law. They were chosen not to cultivate a single-minded bellicosity so that they could last for centuries. They were chosen to be a light to world, blessing the world through faithfulness to the covenant and witnessing to the kind of society God intended.

...unless God really did tell them to go forth and murder entire groups of people, and take their land...
[Eek!]

(Don't know, either way. These days, I think the Bible is a record of one culture's struggles with and towards God. That gives me some breathing room. Growing up in church, I was taught that the various OT views of God were accurate, even when contradictory. Except when God told them they'd gotten it wrong. That's one reason, I speculate, for the prohibition on saying/writing a particular name of God--because, if God really is like *all* of that, do you really want to call on the Dude? Unless you absolutely have to?)
[Paranoid]
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
mt--

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
The Christian narrative is that Jesus succeeded where Israel had failed, and embodied Israel's faithfulness and chosen-ness. And we know where that faithfulness and chosen-ness ultimately led.

Resurrection and ascension and sitting down at the right hand of the Father.
Good post.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
The Christian narrative is that Jesus succeeded where Israel had failed, and embodied Israel's faithfulness and chosen-ness. And we know where that faithfulness and chosen-ness ultimately led.

Resurrection and ascension and sitting down at the right hand of the Father.
Amen. He succeeded where the 'inspired' script He followed failed.

[ 29. December 2017, 09:04: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by wabale (# 18715) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

On the Stott thing, I must admit I'm quite taken aback at seeing him categorised as occupying a 'halfway-house' position. To me, he seems firmly within the evangelical camp, but certainly not towards the more fundamentalist Bibliolatrous end, of course.

One wonders where you've been, wabale, if you're finding Stott somewhere in the middle. He was nowhere near the Higher Critical end of the spectrum, although he was clearly not a fundie either.

It all depends where we draw our lines, of course.

Thank you very much, Gamaliel, for your comments on Mark, which I’ve added to my reading list for when I’ve got through the remaining 700 pages of R.T.France. Thinking about how to perform Mark is both exciting and terrifying.

Bit of a tangent, but here goes: Re Stott / and ‘where I’ve been’! I imagine the journey that many evangelicals make in their thinking actually takes them in many dimensions - not in a straight or predictable line then. This may account for some of my weirdness. Also bear in mind I generally think historically, not theologically.
I didn’t actually say Stott was in the ‘middle’, just ‘somewhere’, although the particular somewhere I had in mind was to do with his view on inspiration, which I appreciate many here might regard as antidelivian. At the same time, vast numbers of Christians worldwide, and most certainly in the country where ‘wabale’ means ‘thankyou’, actually need to catch up with some of the things Stott said, on evolution for example, half a century ago.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
You mean 'antidiluvian' I presume?
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
mt--

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
The Christian narrative is that Jesus succeeded where Israel had failed, and embodied Israel's faithfulness and chosen-ness. And we know where that faithfulness and chosen-ness ultimately led.

Resurrection and ascension and sitting down at the right hand of the Father.
Good post.
Indeed. But there was rather a rough go of it on the way there.

And those things taken together are really the point, I think. Isaiah's suffering servant, those who lose their life will gain it, etc. Faithfulness is hard and asks much, possibly everything. But ultimately it leads somewhere wonderful.

Perhaps, to paraphrase Paul, chosen-ness is not something to be grasped or used to ones own advantage. It is something that calls for complete self-giving.

And Martin, I don't think the "inspired script" he followed failed. I think people failed to follow the script, failed to understand what it meant to be chosen and in covenant with God.

[ 29. December 2017, 12:51: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]
 
Posted by wabale (# 18715) on :
 
antidiluvian antidiluvian antidiluvian
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
You mean 'antidiluvian' I presume?

You must be the polar opposite of those French people who believe the correct term for Antichrist is antéchrist because "he will appear before Christ"... [Roll Eyes]

"Antidiluvian": one who does not believe in the Flood?

(antediluvian)
 
Posted by wabale (# 18715) on :
 
Actually I'm more 'antidelivian', which will be a very useful word when people get fed up with Amazon.
 
Posted by RdrEmCofE (# 17511) on :
 
All scripture is given by inspiration of God.

This is a sentence which depends for its meaning on knowing what its author meant by:

All Scripture: Did he mean merely The Septuagint? i.e. what the author accepted as 'scripture' at the time he actually wrote the sentence. Perhaps he could envisage a possible future where his own and other Christian writers works would be classified as 'scripture', perhaps not. Perhaps he classified as scripture Apocryphal books included in the Septuagint that are no longer regarded as 'scripture' by the readership of significant sections of The Worldwide Church, perhaps not.

Given: This word was not in the sentence originally composed in Greek by its author. (every WRITING [is] God-breathed,) In fact even the word 'scripture' is not found in the Greek sentence, though the context makes clear that 'scripture' is being referred to.

Inspiration: The word used in the original sentence was 'God-breathed', meaning much the same in effect as the breathing of 'life' into Adam meant to him. Scripture then is being referred to as something which God has provided to ANIMATE us, educate us, to convict us of the truth about ourselves, to train us in righteousness, equipping us for the good works that God has placed within our capacity to do.

It would appear then that 'inspiration' in this context has little connection with the idea that all scripture is an infallible, sacrosanct, backed by supernaturally inviolable divine authority, word for word transcript of God's verbal edicts to sinful mankind. As is sometimes assumed when verses such as "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." are quoted in support of the pernicious 'doctrine' of male headship without reference to the other sentences in scripture which would call this draconian edict into question, such as. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.".

Scripture is 'inspired' both in its authorship, and its effects upon the attentive reader, (it can reveal the attentive readers heart's intent), but it is neither infallible or incapable of having been redacted.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
You mean 'antidiluvian' I presume?

You must be the polar opposite of those French people who believe the correct term for Antichrist is antéchrist because "he will appear before Christ"... [Roll Eyes]

"Antidiluvian": one who does not believe in the Flood?

(antediluvian)

Zut alors!
[Hot and Hormonal]

And nice one, wabale ... [Biased]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by wabale:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
So what (the OP subject) is it wabale?

I’m not sure. I’m just finishing learning Mark’s Gospel, for performance purposes, and it’s having an enormous influence on what I think about inspiration. It took me two years - I’ve got one or two other things keeping me busy. I’m just starting to read R.T.France’s commentary, because he says Mark’s Gospel is a drama in 3 Acts, which I find particularly encouraging from a performance point of view. He writes that the author was either an extraordinarily inventive writer, or he was a brilliant editor of the sayings of Peter, and I’m inclined to believe the latter. Either way the Gospel has the ring of truth for me, and I’m feeling a bit euphoric. And if Mark’s Gospel is true, everything else must be. While generally speaking I have been making the long (57 years) and hazardous journey from Bibledolatry/Fundamentalism to higher criticism, I seem to have got stuck somewhere, mainly with the Stott line that the Bible was written by people and inspired by God, and both were fully involved. Don’t know if that’s what you meant, or if it helps.
That's interesting. Where does he put the divisions? I've a suspicion it's a chiasmus built round Peter's confession in Mk 8:29. The whole feel of the gospel changes at that point, and I'm sure its intentional.

If the tradition is true that Mark is Peter's gospel - it's a tradition which goes back to the earliest days, 100-120 AD - then it's particularly telling that Peter's confession should be so critical to the narrative and also, that Peter should then get so unequivocally reprimanded only four verses later.


I also agree with Gamaliel and Leo that it's a big mistake to think that because St Peter was just a fisherman, his narrative must be unsophisticated. That's the same intellectual snobbery that says that Shakespeare can't have written his plays, not because there's some evidence that somebody else did, but simply because he was a mere Upstart Crow from Warwickshire. So he couldn't have done. Some more cultured chappie must have written them in stead.

Besides, we can't hear chiasmus, but we can hear rhyme and metre. We expect it to be there. We can also hear numbered lists, three point sermons, beginnings, middles and ends, etc. Because that's the way we're used to hearing things presented, when we present things, we do it the same way. Other cultures and past generations will have had their ears attuned to the structures they expected to hear.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Of course we can hear chiasmus. Say this out loud and you will hear it:

The LORD is a roaring lion
A beast of prey is our God.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
but it is neither infallible or incapable of having been redacted.
So to clarify you are saying:

'God is fallible in his pronouncements in the Bible and might tell lies about authorship but this does not reduce the truth value or credibility of his scripture.'

If this is your God I suggest you trade him in for a better model.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Jamat, it would be interesting and helpful to have you reply to the post from RdrEmCofE
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Of course we can hear chiasmus. Say this out loud and you will hear it:

The LORD is a roaring lion
A beast of prey is our God.

Is that a citation (which I can't find, incidentally) or one you have written in biblical sounding language to serve as an example? I suspect most moderns would pick up the parallelism quicker than the chiasmus.

And can you or any modern hear the longer chiasmus in Psalm 54 (Hebrew numbering) or Col 1:15-20 without it being pointed out?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
but it is neither infallible or incapable of having been redacted.
So to clarify you are saying:

'God is fallible in his pronouncements in the Bible and might tell lies about authorship but this does not reduce the truth value or credibility of his scripture.'

If this is your God I suggest you trade him in for a better model.

If all you can supply in response is invective, it doesn't speak to the strength of your arguments.
 
Posted by RdrEmCofE (# 17511) on :
 
'God is fallible in his pronouncements . . . . . . .

I don't see your statement as 'clarification' but as obfuscation tainted with misguided credulity.

Your first wrong assumption is that the Bible is filled entirely with infallible pronouncements from God. It is not. There is no scriptural warrant for making that assumption. It is entirely a sectarian pious belief dating from mid 19th century USA. 'Inspired' does not mean 'dictated infallibly and entirely by God'.

Second you assume wrongly that all the 'pronouncements in the Bible', as you put it, are verifiably, historically, scientifically true. Furthermore the ones that are not 'true' in those strictly limited respects are not 'lies' but merely evidence of the level of scientific knowledge of the human authors who actually wrote under the inspiration of God. They were not writing a scientific treatise describing 'Life, The Universe and everything'. They were conveying moral precepts, engaging stories, encouraging national identity and social cohesion, challenging the evils and abuse of power that beset them and the people of God, recalling the teaching, character and deeds of a most Remarkable Reformer, offering advice on Christian praxis, encouraging believers under persecution, etc.

If you find it impossible to imagine a God who would studiously avoid producing a book filled with irrefutable edicts proscribing every aspect of human conduct, with the threat of eternal torture for non compliance, then I might suggest that MY 'model' is far superior to yours and it is yours that needs to be scrapped and a better one obtained.

My 'model' incorporates all the innovations and modifications introduced by Jesus Christ.

Interestingly, HE was so unconcerned about Biblical Inerrancy that he did not write a single word of scripture, but left it entirely to his followers, who committed their experiences to paper 30 years or more after the events. Some documents penned by St Paul are approximately contemporaneous with Jesus but still can be no closer than 5 to 10 years after his death.

The 'truth value or credibility of scripture' is not enhanced by humanly declaring it 'infallible', 'inerrant' or 'supernaturally dictated'. These claims are all made about the Koran and other religious works, such as the Book of Mormon. Scripture has no need to compete with them on equal terms.

Scripture claims itself to be 'inspired'. That is obviously all that is necessary as far as God is concerned. If you want a magic Book to tell you exactly what you need to do to escape the vengeance of a wrathful and murderous God you obviously NEED the Bible to be 'inerrant', 'infallible' and 'supernaturally dictated'. I am pleased to be able to inform you that there is no NEED for your NEED for an 'infallible Bible' to be met by God, because God is not as you seem to imagine Him to be.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Bible is filled entirely with infallible pronouncements from God
Well you see, there is a fundamental issue.. It is a straw man. It seems you have no concept of what you are dealing with.

Eutychus: an interesting concept of invective. Are you serious?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Jamat, you seem to have this thing going where you think that God is made out to be a 'liar' if it turns out there were more than one person involved in the writing and compiling of some of the scriptural texts.

Perhaps you might like to step over to the Apocalyptic Literature thread in Kerygmania to explore how that particular genre works - given that you don't appear to actually recognise it as a genre but treat those passages as some kind of magic almanac or a library of proof-texts that fit together like a jig-saw puzzle.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Your response was sarcastic, it seemed to me, which is a form of invective.

It looks like Eutychus understood it that way too.

Perhaps we were simply going by the plain-meaning of your text ...

Whatever the case, your argument is as weak as it is circular. You aren't engaging with the issues simply throwing blandishments at them.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Eutychus: an interesting concept of invective. Are you serious?

If you summarise another's position as declaring that God tells lies, I think that's
quote:
insulting, abusive, or highly critical language
which is the dictionary definition of invective.

It's certainly not interacting with the arguments set forth. To do that you'd have to explain, in your own words, just how you think that the position set forth constitutes God telling lies.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Pearls RdrEmCofE, pearls.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Presumably Milton was 'telling lies' when he wrote Paradise Lost because he was describing things imaginatively that he had no way of verifying empirically.

Dickens was 'telling lies' when he wrote 'Great Expectations' because it is a novel.

Shakespeare was 'telling lies' when he wrote his plays...

Jesus must have been doing the same when he told Parables because he made the stories up ...

And so it goes on.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
My wife, many years ago, taught in a highly Fundamentalist school for missionary children (it's a complicated story ...).

They didn't believe in reading fiction as it was "lies" - i.e. the events described hadn't happened.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
To be fair, I think Jamat was probably suggesting that if Scripture is infallible then a) 'almâ in Isaiah 7:14 must mean 'virgin' because anything less than that is less than the truth b) Isaiah must be one person because, as he has it, John records Jesus quoting Isaiah as a single person, so if that's not the case Jesus is a liar.

However, this is once again me doing Jamat's homework for him in the absence of him actually making any arguments himself.
 
Posted by wabale (# 18715) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by wabale:
I’m just finishing learning Mark’s Gospel, for performance purposes, and it’s having an enormous influence on what I think about inspiration. It took me two years - I’ve got one or two other things keeping me busy. I’m just starting to read R.T.France’s commentary, because he says Mark’s Gospel is a drama in 3 Acts, which I find particularly encouraging from a performance point of view. He writes that the author was either an extraordinarily inventive writer, or he was a brilliant editor of the sayings of Peter, and I’m inclined to believe the latter...


That's interesting. Where does he put the divisions? I've a suspicion it's a chiasmus built round Peter's confession in Mk 8:29. The whole feel of the gospel changes at that point, and I'm sure its intentional

If the tradition is true that Mark is Peter's gospel - it's a tradition which goes back to the earliest days, 100-120 AD - then it's particularly telling that Peter's confession should be so critical to the narrative and also, that Peter should then get so unequivocally reprimanded only four verses later...

From 'The Gospel of Mark' by R.T.France:

The Heading (1:1)

The Prologue: Setting the Scene - The Dramatis Personae (1:2-13)

Act One: Galilee (1:14 - 8:21)

Act Two: On the Way to Jerusalem
Learning about the Cross (8:22-10:52)

Act Three: Jerusalem (11:1-16:8)

[France doesn’t concern himself with anything beyond 16:8, except for explaining why he doesn’t. I won’t be either, simply on the principle of ‘leaving ’em wanting more’ …]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Thing is, Eutychus, I suspect most of us here, if we wanted to, could make Jamat's arguments for him more cogently than he can.

It's as if he thinks it's so a priori that he doesn't need to bother.

Either that or ...
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
My wife, many years ago, taught in a highly Fundamentalist school for missionary children (it's a complicated story ...).

They didn't believe in reading fiction as it was "lies" - i.e. the events described hadn't happened.

Probably that miserable sort who think there really WAS a woman who looked for a coin all over the house, and one particular mustard tree Jesus was referring to. In short that every parable Jesus told referred to an actual event that happened to an actual person (or tree).
 
Posted by RdrEmCofE (# 17511) on :
 
quote:
in the Hebrew language there is no relationship between the words almah and virgin. On the contrary, it is usually a young woman who bears children. The word alma only conveys age/gender. Had Isaiah wished to speak about a virgin, he would have used the word betulah1 (בְּתוּלָה) not almah. The word betulah appears frequently in the Jewish Scriptures, and is the only word – in both biblical and modern Hebrew – that conveys sexual purity.

Moreover, as mentioned earlier, the masculine form of the noun עַלְמָה (alma) is עֶלֶם (elem), which means a “young man,” not a male virgin. This word appears twice in the Jewish Scriptures (I Samuel 17:56, 20:22). As expected, without exception, all Christian Bibles correctly translate עֶלֶם as a “young man,” “lad,” or “stripling,” never “virgin.” Why does theKing James Version of the Bible translate the masculine Hebrew noun לָעֶלֶם (la’elem) as “to the young man” in I Samuel 20:22, and yet the feminine form of the same Hebrew noun הָעַלְמָה as “a virgin” in Isaiah 7:14? The answer is Christian Bibles had no need to mistranslate I Samuel 20:22 because this verse was not misquoted in the New Testament.

https://outreachjudaism.org/alma-virgin/

The fact remains that no one except Miriam herself or whoever impregnated her can be sure that Miriam was a virgin when she became pregnant with the Messiah.

Religious sensitivities, discrimination and bigotry, rife at the time, would have ensured that both her and her unborn child would, in all probability have been either stoned to death or cast out of her community without support of any kind.

Though 'Alma' may have been incorrectly translated as 'virgin' and should have been translated 'young maiden', it could normally be assumed that 'young maidens', (in such a strictly sexually moral society), would normally be virginal.

We are therefore left with two possible explanations for the virgo intacta theory, each giving rise to different associative theological problems.

1) Mary was in fact virgo intacta, (the term virgin being appropriate), but obviously only until the baby was delivered. For a woman to give birth and still remain virgo intacta would be miraculous indeed, and certainly not the normal human way of entering the world, even for an incarnate deity. (There is no hint whatever that baby Jesus was delivered by Cesarian section.) A theological question might be "in what way might the human child be considered to be fully human, having had no human father". Surely such an individual must be considered utterly unique, and therefore not truly representative of the human race as a whole. (So Christs humanity is called into question).

2) Mary was in fact humanly impregnated and the 'young maiden' translation would have remained appropriate, since 'young maidens' and not 'old maids', are most commonly the ones who enter labour and give birth. The theological questions that might arise from this state of affairs would depend upon HOW Mary was rendered pregnant.

a) If Mary had consensual sexual intercourse before her betrothal to Joseph, then she would have entered matrimony on false pretences and the annunciation and Joseph's dream become entirely fictional accounts devised to 'cover the crime'. The theological consequences are obvious.

b) If Mary had been raped, (a not uncommon occurrence for 'young maidens' under Roman occupation), then, given the shame and threat of exile from all family and community support, it would not be surprising that a young girl might be so traumatised as to have psychologically 'blanked' the experience from her conscious memory. (An effect often recorded in similar cases known to medical science). The annunciation and dream of Joseph in these circumstances would be plausible, indeed just the kind of intervention a Loving God might employ to protect the integrity of an innocent Jewish maiden. Furthermore, a God who is willing to become incarnate under such humiliating circumstances is just the kind of non judgmental, loving, servant kind of God that we see in the character and teaching of Jesus Christ.

BUT since we cannot know which of these or other options are actually what happened, we simply have to keep an open mind on the subject and trust that God had the matter entirely in hand and has completed all that had to be done on our behalf.

[ 30. December 2017, 23:37: Message edited by: Louise ]
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
My wife, many years ago, taught in a highly Fundamentalist school for missionary children (it's a complicated story ...).

They didn't believe in reading fiction as it was "lies" - i.e. the events described hadn't happened.

Probably that miserable sort who think there really WAS a woman who looked for a coin all over the house, and one particular mustard tree Jesus was referring to. In short that every parable Jesus told referred to an actual event that happened to an actual person (or tree).
I heard a radio preacher claim just that once. The idea struck me as an absolutely bizarre idea at the time. Still does.
 
Posted by balaam (# 4543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
My wife, many years ago, taught in a highly Fundamentalist school for missionary children (it's a complicated story ...).

They didn't believe in reading fiction as it was "lies" - i.e. the events described hadn't happened.

Probably that miserable sort who think there really WAS a woman who looked for a coin all over the house, and one particular mustard tree Jesus was referring to. In short that every parable Jesus told referred to an actual event that happened to an actual person (or tree).
I heard a radio preacher claim just that once. The idea struck me as an absolutely bizarre idea at the time. Still does.
Do they believe in actual roof beams in peoples eyes as well?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Thing is, Eutychus, I suspect most of us here, if we wanted to, could make Jamat's arguments for him more cogently than he can.

It's as if he thinks it's so a priori that he doesn't need to bother.

Either that or ...

Do it then bro!
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RdrEmCofE:
The fact remains that no one except Miriam herself or whoever impregnated her can be sure that Miriam was a virgin when she became pregnant with the Messiah.

RdrEmCofE, it probably needs clarifying that this thread arose out of a Kerygmania thread on the prophecy of Isaiah, out of which, in turn, an argument developed about the precise meaning of 'almâ.

There was no dispute there about Luke, beyond all doubt, portraying Mary as being a virgin in his Gospel; rather, the dispute was about whether the word used in Isaiah 7:14 incontrovertibly meant virgin.

Jamat was alone on the thread in holding such a view and appeared to do so (in the absence of further clarification from him) essentially because any other meaning would make Isaiah's prophecy sub-par and thus not up to infallibility standards.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Eutychus:It’s certainly not interacting with the arguments set forth. To do that you'd have to explain, in your own words, just how you think that the position set forth constitutes God telling lies.

The arguments set forth as you put it are chock full of straw man assumptions about what an opposing view looks like. I simply cannot be bothered with humbug.

If anyone wants to pull apart a statement like:

“If you find it impossible to imagine a God who would studiously avoid producing a book filled with irrefutable edicts proscribing every aspect of human conduct, with the threat of eternal torture for non compliance..”

then be my guest. The confusion in it bears no relation to my convictions.

If one questions or assumes flaws in scripture as a beginning position on the basis of so called inconsistency, textual assumption like redaction, historical anomaly or morality, then the word ‘lies’ is not too harsh a way to put it IF as is claimed by many here, an almighty, omniscient, just, omnipotent and loving being inspired them. To point this out is not invective.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Euthchus: any other meaning would make Isaiah's prophecy sub-par and thus not up to infallibility standards.

Sorry, just saw this.

Not the case. I maintained and still do that the Septuagint translators were correct in rendering the word ‘virgin’ since that translation clearly shows the prophet’s intention that this was the qualification required for the mother of the Messiah.

Infallibility is a side issue. The question is that this is a genuine predictive prophecy.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
What is it then?

How is God inspiring scripture inconsistent with additions and redaction?

You challenged me to complete your argument for you. That was in response to a challenge that I've made - along with many others on these boards, for you to set your stall out properly instead of accusing anyone who sees things differently of bad faith or worse.

My rhetorical 'either ... or' implied that your answer would either be as Eutychus or myself had suggested or ... (Fill in answer as appropriate - such as 'He doesn't know' or, 'Blow me down, he's come up with something profound, startling and original that didn't come off the back of a cornflake packet produced in the US Mid-West ...').

You have yet to demonstrate how the idea of divine inspiration is incompatible with multi-authorship of certain scriptural texts.

We are still waiting for you to do so and you shrug your shoulders and dismiss such questions as 'humbug'.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The arguments set forth as you put it are chock full of straw man assumptions about what an opposing view looks like. I simply cannot be bothered with humbug.

You're doing it again. It's not enough to label the arguments as "chock full of straw man assumptions" without telling us what these assumptions are and why they are wrong.

If you can't be bothered to spell out your arguments for the rest of us, you can hardly blame us for misrepresenting them or indeed suspecting that you haven't got a leg to stand on.

quote:
If anyone wants to pull apart a statement like:

“If you find it impossible to imagine a God who would studiously avoid producing a book filled with irrefutable edicts proscribing every aspect of human conduct, with the threat of eternal torture for non compliance..”

then be my guest.

No, that is your job! Once again, it is not up to anyone else to do your rebuttals for you.
quote:
The confusion in it bears no relation to my convictions.
I don't understand why. At first glance it seems to reflect pretty accurately what you believe. If you disagree, explain why it's confused.

quote:
If one questions or assumes flaws in scripture as a beginning position on the basis of so called inconsistency, textual assumption like redaction, historical anomaly or morality, then the word ‘lies’ is not too harsh a way to put it IF as is claimed by many here, an almighty, omniscient, just, omnipotent and loving being inspired them. To point this out is not invective.
Now that is confused. Unlike you, however, I shall take the time and effort to argue why I think that's the case.

quote:
If one questions or assumes flaws in scripture
These are two completely separate and indeed contradictory things.

How can one "question" a flaw in Scripture?

And how is this analagous to "assuming" flaws in Scripture?

And who is "assuming" flaws in Scripture here? It's you who's saying that (for instance) because I say 'almâ doesn't mean virgin, I'm claiming Scripture is "flawed". I'm claiming no such thing. I'm looking at the actual words used and what I understand them to mean and claiming that 'almâ doesn't mean virgin even if Mary was one.

quote:
as a beginning position on the basis of so called inconsistency, textual assumption like redaction,
For a start, if something is "assumed as a beginning position" it's not "on the basis of" something else. It's deduced from it.

To go on with, there are many inconsistencies, or at least apparent inconsistencies, in Scripture. Admitting this does not make Scripture "flawed" in the sense of "unfit for purpose" unless one's assumption is that to be so, it has to be 100% literally and historically accurate and contain no form of internal contradictions whatsoever, which is a challenge to say the least (for instance, to take just one example off the top of my head, the manner of Judas' death).

Similarly redaction (a confusing word) is not an assumption but a hypothesis adopted by some on the basis of examination of the text. I have an open mind about redaction but I really don't see why, if you admit that the Bible was written by more than one human author, it should bother you if there are more authors than there are books (so to speak). The important question is surely whether we believe in God's overriding hand in the whole.

Similarly again, "historical anomaly" is not an assumption but a plain fact in some instances such as the ones in Daniel. We may have differing approaches to such anomalies but their existence is not an "assumption" and neither is it the result of "questioning". They emerge simply by looking at the text.

And what exactly do you mean by "questions or assumes flaws in scripture as a beginning position on the basis of... morality"? I can't parse that.

So simply to say that all of the above constitutes God telling lies seems decidedly too harsh to me, given that all of the above appears to amount to little more than word salad.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Cross posted with Jamat ...

Ok, so can the rest of Isaiah 7 be said to be a neat template foretelling the life of Christ?

How does verse 16 fit? About the 'land you dread' being forsaken by her two kings?

How does that fit anything we read in the Gospels?

And all the references to Assyria from Isaiah 14:17 onwards?

These appear to be contemporary references to me.

So it'd probably follow in all likelihood that the reference to a young woman bearing a child would have a contemporary resonance too. Otherwise, what possible benefit would the oracle have for those who first heard it?

Later, the early Christians applied it to Christ, building on the development of the idea of a Messiah or Saviour that we find emerging in Hebrew prophecy.

One could say they 'discerned' or applied it that way, taking earlier references and applying them to Christ.

It always used to puzzle me in my earnest young evangelical days why we would take Isaiah 7:14 as predictive and then ignore the rest of the passage. What were the references to curds and honey and knowing how to refuse evil and chose the good?

Rather than construct an elaborate interpretive schema for that, isn't it easier to see it as a contemporary reference which Matthew later applied to Christ?

Sure, the NT suggests that the OT prophets had some inkling of future fulfilment of their oracles in Christ but it doesn't tell us they had a completely clear idea.

They were addressing issues in their own day which had resonances and applications in times to come.

What they weren't doing was setting out a timetable for the end of the world.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I maintained and still do that the Septuagint translators were correct in rendering the word ‘virgin’ since that translation clearly shows the prophet’s intention that this was the qualification required for the mother of the Messiah.

But this is back to front.

You're saying that the translators were "correct" because the word they chose happened to correspond (you claim, you've offered no evidence of this) to how the prophecy was fulfilled, instead of saying they were correct because it was actually a good translation. Do you believe the Septuagint translators were infallible too?
quote:

Infallibility is a side issue. The question is that this is a genuine predictive prophecy.

Unless you think the LXX translators were infallible (and can demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the word they used meant "virgin") then their translation is no basis for deciding whether Isaiah meant "virgin" when he wrote 'almâ.

Arguing thus also requires you to believe that to be predictive, prophecy must be fully commutative, i.e. you could in effect replace the prophecy with its fulfilment in the text, or vice versa, and not see the difference. I have repeatedly challenged you on this and you haven't answered. To my mind the fact that the prophecy did not predict every single aspect of the future event does not in and of itself mean there was no predictive element.

[ 30. December 2017, 17:46: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ah, but you see Eutychus, by questioning whether the word translated 'virgin' in Isaiah 7:14 actually means that, you are 'questioning the Bible' because the 'plain-meaning of the text' is 'virgin' according to Jamat - who sides with the 70 translators of the Septuagint at this point.

I'd be interested to find out whether Jamat agrees with the Septuagint renderings at all points. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he'd favour the Masoretic text at various points, where they best accorded with his theology of course.

Jamat's doctrine of scriptural inspiration demands predictive prophecy and 100% infallibility, otherwise God is 'lying' ...

It's a peculiar argument and these days I'd say a peculiar way to approach scripture but it has its own internal logic.

Jamat seems to think that it's axiomatic.

Either that or he has some other argument that he's not sharing with us for some reason.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I maintained and still do that the Septuagint translators were correct in rendering the word ‘virgin’ . . . .

The Septuagint translators did not render the Hebrew word almah as “virgin." "Virgin" is an English word, derived from Latin, and the Septuagint translators were translating into Greek, not into an English that didn’t exist yet.

Yes, it’s a pedantic point, but sometimes pedantic points matter. The Septuagint translators translated almah into the Greek parthenos, which can mean “virgin," but which also can mean “young woman." The Septuagint calls Dinah a parthenos after she was raped. (Genesis 34:3–4) Interestingly, the KJV, which translates parthenos as "virgin" in Isaiah 7 translates parthenos as “damsel" in Genesis 34:3–4.

All of which is to say that the Septuagint translators may well have been justified in translating almah, which means "young unmarried woman” as parthenos, which can carry the same meaning. What may not be justified is insisting that either word is properly translated into English as “virgin."

[ 30. December 2017, 19:36: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
[x-post with Nick Tamen]

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Ah, but you see Eutychus, by questioning whether the word translated 'virgin' in Isaiah 7:14 actually means that, you are 'questioning the Bible' because the 'plain-meaning of the text' is 'virgin' according to Jamat - who sides with the 70 translators of the Septuagint at this point.

I far from sure they are siding with him no matter what he might make out.

From what I can tell (having once again done Jamat's homework for him), the LXX uses the same word to translate Isaiah 7:14, parthenos, as it does to refer to Dinah in Genesis 34:3 - after Schechem has raped her (Source, via Wikipedia).

So I'm not quite sure how it's supposed to incontrovertibly mean "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14, even in the LXX, unless this is decided on in this instance after the fact - not by the LXX translators but by Jamat and those holding similar views - "because it has to".

Once again, unless Jamat can spell out his argument, instead of simply referring vaguely to some "authority"*, be it Fruchtenbaum or the LXX, he hasn't convinced me.

==

*All the more so in that appealing to any authority other than Scripture itself to justify one's interpretation of Scripture kind of defeats the premise that Scripture itself is the ultimate authority...

[ 30. December 2017, 19:39: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Eutychus: Arguing thus also requires you to believe that to be predictive, prophecy must be fully commutative, i.e. you could in effect replace the prophecy with its fulfilment in the text, or vice versa, and not see the difference. I have repeatedly challenged you on this and you haven't answered
I honestly cannot see this as a necessary corollary in view of the fact that none of the messianic prophecies are recognisable except in hindsight. The Rabbis did not accept Jesus because they were expecting a king. The disciples on the Emmaus road didn’t get it even after the resurrection until Jesus spelled it out.

Regarding alma..parthenos..virgin/maiden. I do grasp that translation is a ‘best equivalent’ process. The discussion on my part arose from the denial of the predictive nature of prophecy on the other thread.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Regarding alma..parthenos..virgin/maiden. I do grasp that translation is a ‘best equivalent’ process. The discussion on my part arose from the denial of the predictive nature of prophecy on the other thread.

And what you have yet to answer, despite repeated requests, is how the predictive nature of Isaiah's prophecy is in any way diminished if the “best equivalent” to Isaiah's use of almah is “young unmarried woman” or “maiden” rather than “virgin.”
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
What Nick Tamen said.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel:How is God inspiring scripture inconsistent with additions and redaction?

If you theorise that a text has more than one author, it can be for several reasons.

You might have several signatures laying claim.

You might have references within the text that suggest a level of knowledge or education that the attributed author lacks. So for instance, the Earl of Oxford could have written Shakespeare as he had the connections and insider knowledge Shakespeare as a middle class chap lacked.

You might have anachronisms in the text as is claimed by some for the book of Daniel, or stylistic changes. (Daniel is written in 3 languages?)

My thought is surely you need better evidence than the fact that the text as redacted, fits better with your current theology or world view.

The difficulty with scripture is the God factor. If in fact there are 3 Isaiah’s and 2 Daniels, then the almighty has not told us this and signally failed to communicate with clarity.

However, if there are single authors of Isaiah and Daniel, as claimed by the Jewish scholars, then God has demonstrated, via prophecy, that he IS God, by knowing the end from the beginning. If not, then the prophecies are fraudulent since they were pronounced after events they purport to predict eg the rise of Alexander, the Rise of Cyrus the Great. If these prophecies came to pass then we may trust that future ones such as the ‘stone made without hands’ becoming a kingdom to fill the whole earth, also will come to pass in God’s time.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
My thought is surely you need better evidence than the fact that the text as redacted, fits better with your current theology or world view.

This argument applies to you, too.

I don't really have any a priori problems in believing in the possibility of predictive prophecy, or indeed of the single authorship of Isaiah or Daniel; I really don't. But when I find your arguments are based on such shaky foundations (e.g. the 'almâ fiasco of which we appear to have just witnessed the final end) it leads me to re-examine these sorts of question.

quote:
The difficulty with scripture is the God factor. If in fact there are 3 Isaiah’s and 2 Daniels, then the almighty has not told us this and signally failed to communicate with clarity.
Where do you think he has clearly told us that there was only ONE author of Isaiah or ONE author of Daniel, and why should this need to be clearly conveyed in any case? Was it a signal failure on God's part not to tell us who wrote Hebrews, or Job? Isn't the whole point of 'inspiration' the belief that God had a hand in Scripture irrespective of its human authors?

quote:
he IS God, by knowing the end from the beginning.
I believe God knows the end from the beginning (although I'm not sure about the detail of what that means). However, I do not put my trust in God on the basis that he is singularly good at predictive prophecy (which is how your standpoint frequently comes across to me). I put my trust in God because I believe he is good.

[ 30. December 2017, 21:24: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
But scripture isn't clear, Jamat. It says that of itself. The Petrine reference to the Pauline corpus being 'hard to understand' for instance.

Once again, you are placing your expectations of scripture onto scripture. 'Scripture has to behave in this, that or the other way otherwise the whole thing is cast into doubt and our faith and salvation jeopardised ...'

As Eutychus says, God hasn't told us who wrote Hebrews and Job. There are loads of things in there that we can only speculate about. Does that in any way undermine it's efficacy?

No, of course not.

People like nice neat formularies, be it the five TULIP petals or the Mickey Mouse join-the-dots templates of Dispensationalism.

But the whole thing is wider and more glorious than that.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Hey G, E. This is me, sitting at the top of the mountain. Not fiercely on the fence. When are you coming on up? I'm lonesome.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Nick Tamen: what you have yet to answer, despite repeated requests, is how the predictive nature of Isaiah's prophecy is in any way diminished if the “best equivalent” to Isaiah's use of almah is “young unmarried woman” or “maiden” rather than “virgin.”

To me, that was not the point. Going from context,those terms are equivalent.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: But scripture isn't clear, Jamat. It says that of itself. The Petrine reference to the Pauline corpus being 'hard to understand' for instance.

Once again, you are placing your expectations of scripture onto scripture. 'Scripture has to behave in this, that or the other way otherwise the whole thing is cast into doubt and our faith and salvation jeopardised

Finish the quote.
‘Paul wrote some things difficult to understand, which the unlearned and unstable, wrest to their destruction.’

IOW Peter is not suggesting a lack of clarity, only a lack of willingness to understand.

I do not understand what you mean by ‘placing scripture over scripture’. I do demand that writings purported to be inspired by God not be fraudulent.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Eutychus: I put my trust in God because I believe he is good
I agree of course. You assertion is not on the basis of scriptural integrity though is it? But on the basis that your theology and world view requires him to be good. You are actually, like Martin 60 really, finding a rule of life and politics from the social preaching of the Jesus of the gospels,leaving out the bad parts.
If he is good on that basis, why is there such evil manifest and allowed, such inequalities and such lack of intervention to correct? Is your ‘good’ God powerless?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Hey Nick, you too. The view is vertiginous but great.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Hey G, E. This is me, sitting at the top of the mountain. Not fiercely on the fence. When are you coming on up? I'm lonesome.

I'm put off coming straight on up by your unwavering conviction that you've reached the top. I prefer to take my own route as my own conscience allows and at my own speed.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Alright, I've decided Jamat is a master of the Gish gallop:
quote:
During a Gish gallop, a debater confronts an opponent with a rapid series of many specious arguments, half-truths, and misrepresentations in a short space of time, which makes it impossible for the opponent to refute all of them within the format of a formal debate. In practice, each point raised by the "Gish galloper" takes considerably more time to refute or fact-check than it did to state in the first place.
Most recent evidence:

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Nick Tamen: what you have yet to answer, despite repeated requests, is how the predictive nature of Isaiah's prophecy is in any way diminished if the “best equivalent” to Isaiah's use of almah is “young unmarried woman” or “maiden” rather than “virgin.”

To me, that was not the point. Going from context,those terms are equivalent.
No answer to the question; a re-assertion that terms which have been demonstrated not to be equivalent aren't; imprecision as to which terms are being referred to and indeed in which language(s); an invitation to restart the entire debate - having just about admitted a few hours ago that the translations had little or nothing to say about the key question of predictive prophecy. It is a specious and time-wasting argument.

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Gamaliel: [...]

Once again, you are placing your expectations of scripture onto scripture.[...]

[...]
I do not understand what you mean by ‘placing scripture over scripture’.

This is misrepresentation which would, again, take ages to clear up. Gamaliel said 'your expectations of scripture onto scripture', not 'placing scripture over scripture'.

I'm tiring of trying to unpick Gish galloping.
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Eutychus: I put my trust in God because I believe he is good
I agree of course. You assertion is not on the basis of scriptural integrity though is it? But on the basis that your theology and world view requires him to be good.
I'm not sure what you mean by scriptural integrity.

I'm especially not sure what you mean by that when it would appear you are willing to knowingly uphold mistranslations of scripture to buttress what you call 'scriptural integrity'.

It appears to mean making prophecy look 100% predictive by doctoring the translations to fit and then claiming, as you did, that only that translation is accurate, and splitting bible verses mid-sentence consigning one half to the present age and the other half to an age to come simply to fit your theological and eschatological map.

Naturally I bring my theology and worldview to the text, just as you do, but I try to let what the text actually says shape my worldview and my theology too, rather than bury it under my theological framework to the point of altering the meanings of words.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
You have misinterpreted the Petrine quote.

It doesn't say that the Pauline corpus is crystal clear and that unlearned and unstable people then chose not to understand it.

It says that some of the things Paul wrote are 'difficult to understand', which unlearned and unstable people (hmmm, does that remind you of anyone?) then twist and distort ...

You still haven't answered why a scriptural text would be 'fraudalent' if it can be assumed or demonstrated that it had more authors that is stated within the text itself.

How does that make it 'fraudalent'?

Scripture contains unattributed texts too, such as Hebrews. Does that make Hebrews fraudulent?

As well as 'Gish Galloping' - thanks for defining the methodology for us Eutychus - you also misquote scripture - as in the Petrine example - and you have misquoted me - as Eutychus has pointed out.

You were obviously 'Gish Galloping' so fast that you whizzed past what I actually said without reading it properly ...

If you want us to treat your arguments seriously you'll have to do better than this.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
but it is neither infallible or incapable of having been redacted.
So to clarify you are saying:

'God is fallible in his pronouncements in the Bible and might tell lies about authorship but this does not reduce the truth value or credibility of his scripture.'

If this is your God I suggest you trade him in for a better model.

Isn't this just a variant on the Problem of Evil?

Jamat, your view seems to be that modern scholarship describes a Bible that is sub-optimal, and that if God was incapable of producing a better Bible then he isn't all-powerful, and if he chose not to create a better Bible then he isn't all-good.

Setting aside the question of whether your concept of the Bible is actually any better - isn't this just Epicurus' argument about how there can't be a God if there's evil in the world? And the answer to both questions is likely to be the same.

To take an extreme example (and no, I'm not saying this is what happened): suppose God actually told Moses that the priestly line would be reckoned through Myriam, but Moses thought 'Pfft, I'm not being bossed around by a bunch of women', and wrote down 'Aaron' instead. That would be a sin, sure, but God doesn't generally prevent us from sinning - but as Christians we don't believe this compromises his goodness or omnipotence.
 
Posted by RdrEmCofE (# 17511) on :
 
quote:
Finish the quote.
‘Paul wrote some things difficult to understand, which the unlearned and unstable, wrest to their destruction.’

IOW Peter is not suggesting a lack of clarity, only a lack of willingness to understand.

Does it have to be either one or the other? Could it not be BOTH?

Peter, as I see it is BOTH declaring that Paul's writings are difficult to understand AND that therefore they are easily misunderstood by unlearned and unstable readers.

Peter's point seems to be aimed at encouraging his readers to become more 'learned' and more 'stable' IN ORDER to better understand Paul's writing. This we can then extrapolate to include the whole of the Christian cannon of scripture. I think this, (being scripture), is good advice. Would you agree?

So the point that was originally made that not all scripture is fundamentally self evident to everyone is apparently supported by the Apostolic authority of Peter in scripture itself.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Eutychus: No answer to the question
OK, it makes no difference.
quote:
mistranslations of scripture
Your opinion and that is fine.
quote:
I’m not sure what you mean by scriptural integrity
I mean that I think scripture works as a whole, that it’s a time -neutral salvation narrative than stands up to scrutiny, that there is consistency if you look for it, that it is God’s book.
quote:
Gish Gallop
As I recall, he never lost an argument..not a comparison I would make.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
And Paul said that his view wasn't clear either.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I sometimes wonder what's worse, Jamat Gish Galloping past in a Texan Ten Gallon Hat that's found its way over to New Zealand, or Martin, with a drop taken, pontificating from the Top of Mount Parnassus* and inviting the rest of us to join him ...

*Mount Incoherence?

On a serious note, though, I certainly agree that the scriptures contain and convey a timeless salvation narrative and that it is 'the Book of God.'

I don't know why that requires there to have been only one Isaiah, say.

How would it be compromised or fraudulent if there were two or three authors?

Do we deny the importance of Homeric literature if there wasn't one Homer but several poets working with the material over a lengthy period?

Do we deny the importance of Y Gododdin as the oldest extant piece of Welsh verse if it can be demonstrated that it wasn't all written by Aneurin but simply attributed to him?

Ok, those aren't inspired texts, but I really don't see how issues of attribution undermine the Gospel or the efficacy of scripture.

We don't tear out the Book of Job or the Epistle to the Hebrews because they don't tell us who wrote them.

It really is a specious argument.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I overlooked a key phrases of Jamat's ...

'That there is consistent if you look for it ...'

Yes, if you look for it within the framework of an interpretive grid that you have inherited from someone else - in this case Schofield and other mid-19th century figures.

A lot of what passes for 'consistency' among fundamentalists is anything but. It's all about squeezing things in to fit an unfeasibly neat framework imposed upon the text itself.

It's a red herring at best, a fool's errand at worst.
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I overlooked a key phrases of Jamat's ...

'That there is consistent if you look for it ...'

Yes, if you look for it within the framework of an interpretive grid that you have inherited from someone else - in this case Schofield and other mid-19th century figures.

A lot of what passes for 'consistency' among fundamentalists is anything but. It's all about squeezing things in to fit an unfeasibly neat framework imposed upon the text itself.

It's a red herring at best, a fool's errand at worst.

It's far worse than that: it's idolatry. They make a deity out of a complete farrago.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I think that's a bit harsh, Thunderbunk.

I think the term Bibliolatry can be bandied about too easily and applied too readily to certain types of Christian fundamentalist.

As wrong-headed as I think Dispensationalism and fundamentalism is, at least there's a 'there' there, which is more than can be said for the Spong and Cupitt end of the spectrum ...

But then again, I tend to regard both extreme theological liberalism and extreme fundamentalist literalism as equally deleterious.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Eutychus: No answer to the question
OK, it makes no difference.
That's still not an answer to the question.
quote:
quote:
mistranslations of scripture
Your opinion and that is fine.
I think that for Isaiah 7:14 the case has been made here, well beyond mere opinion. Or at least, plenty of evidence has been adduced that you have not addressed at all.

quote:
I mean that I think scripture works as a whole, that it’s a time -neutral salvation narrative than stands up to scrutiny, that there is consistency if you look for it, that it is God’s book.
I'm not quite sure what "time-neutral" salvation means, but the rest I broadly agree with. I don't think Scripture requires a belief in inerrancy or infallibility to discern consistency or withstand scrutiny, though.
quote:
quote:
Gish Gallop
As I recall, he never lost an argument..not a comparison I would make.
If the price of never losing an argument is to make one's thought processes so incoherent as to be impenetrable, it's too high a price for me. It appears to me to be the sign of a completely closed mind.

And in any case, I'm less concerned here with zero-sum outcomes of "winning" or "losing" an argument (how does one decide?) than with the ability to formulate an argument in one's own words.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Eutychus, I think Jamat meant all four words as one phrase "time-neutral salvation narrative". However, even if I did, I don't know what it means either.

And on whether Galloping Gish ever lost an argument, the real question isn't whether he thought he'd won the arguments. It's whether he persuaded anyone to change their mind apart from those who already agreed with him.

His followers doubtless thought, 'our Gish is doing a fantastic job. Nobody can get a word in edgeways. He's really showing them what's what'. But the real test of debating skills isn't whether you think you've manage to flatten your opponents. It's whether you actually win people over to your side - particularly the waverers in the middle.
 
Posted by RdrEmCofE (# 17511) on :
 
quote:
How would it be compromised or fraudulent if there were two or three authors?
A good question. The notion that scripture, [the Bible], must be compromised or fraudulent under such conditions is entirely due to fundamentalist preconceptions of how scripture, [the Bible] came into existence and what constitutes 'inspiration'.

Pseudepigraphy of ANY scriptural material is anathema to evangelical fundamentalism on the grounds that anything written under a pseudonym must therefore be 'lies' and God could therefore have no part in it, so the text would also be 'uninspired' and so cannot be defined as 'scripture'.

That line of reasoning stems from seeing the revelation of God to mankind as a purely forward facing sequence of events. i.e. God dictating word for word to the author, the author then faithfully writing down God's words, the church then reading and multiply copying the text, the text then being translated accurately, the church then accepting the resulting text(s) as canonical, the text(s) then being translated again into multiple languages, and all under the direct editorial authority and close inspection of God.

Only thus could such a theoretically infallibly, inerrant, divinely authoritative Bible be used to regulate the conduct and praxis of their 'bible believing' congregations.

What is most feared by fundamentalists is loss of control over the meaning and application of the scared text. Modern fundamentalist 'reformers' have taken up the mantle of 'legitimate interpreters of the Bible', just as the pre-reformation Roman Catholic church regarded itself as the only legitimate interpreter of scripture. Inconvenient 'truths' must be refuted, such as the mistranslation surrounding 'alma' or the proliferation of pseudepigraphical material leading up to selection of the Biblical texts three and a half centuries after the death of Christ, some of which may have been widely valued and accepted by the church into the canon of scripture.

So I would offer as a definition of 'inspired': Those writings accepted by The Church as being profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness and accepted by the church as the canon of scripture.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, RdrEmCofE, the ultimate irony of all of this is that each fundamentalist becomes his or her own Pope ...

I like what you said here:

'What is most feared by fundamentalists is loss of control over the meaning and application of the scared text. Modern fundamentalist 'reformers' have taken up the mantle of 'legitimate interpreters of the Bible', just as the pre-reformation Roman Catholic church regarded itself as the only legitimate interpreter of scripture.'

I submit that it is no accident that Jamat was brought up a Catholic pre-Vatican II.

What he seems to have done is replace one form of fundamentalism - a 'Church fundamentalism' if you like, with another, what purports to be a biblical fundamentalism.

It's all about fear. Fear of losing control.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Hey G, E. This is me, sitting at the top of the mountain. Not fiercely on the fence. When are you coming on up? I'm lonesome.

I'm put off coming straight on up by your unwavering conviction that you've reached the top. I prefer to take my own route as my own conscience allows and at my own speed.
[Smile] I await your arrival with G (the confusion is in the messenger, not the message, surely?) and Nick and a sharp rock giving me proctalgia. I daren't move as it's a long way down.

As for the "time-neutral salvation narrative", that's the entire Bible read as randomly, flatly as you like; it's always the same metanarrative, every inerrant infallible part has as much weight and absolute truth as every other. All paths through it lead to the same place yesterday, today and forever.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Martin60, how do you know that we are heading towards the same spiky pinnacle as you?

We might be heading towards our own rocks ...

I must admit, I'm a bit like Eutychus in acknowledging a degree of irritation in the way you presume that we are following you to a place you've got to first ...

Perhaps that's pride on my part?

Yes, like you I'm heading out of a rather 2D and conservative approach to the scriptures - although I'd never have acknowledged or owned up to being a fundamentalist (although I was probably pretty close at times).

That doesn't necessarily mean that there's one final destination, the one you feel that you have reached.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
On the 'time-neutral salvation narrative' thing.

I don't like Jamat's somewhat clumsy terminology, but I think I can see what he's driving at and I don't have an issue in principle - although I'd certainly add caveats.

I'd be more inclined to say that the message of salvation found in scripture is 'time-transcendent' rather than 'time-neutral'.

I don't think it's possible for anything to be 'time-neutral.'

The scriptures were written at particular times and in particular places and for particular purposes.

There's nothing 'time-neutral' about them.

Just as there is nothing 'time-neutral' about the Incarnation.

But the point of both transcends time and raises us towards eternity.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
[QUOTE] if there are single authors of Isaiah and Daniel, as claimed by the Jewish scholars.

Some Jewish scholars accept deutero and trito Isaiah

[ 31. December 2017, 15:30: Message edited by: leo ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Honestly G, I don't assume it at all. I've got nowhere else to go and I don't believe in linear (liar!), in up, down, sideways. Only I could have taken the path to where I am. Your position and E's and Nick's seem very close, very grouped to the SOF centre. You guys are truly smarter, more experienced in richer Christian mental environments. I've gone from one deeply fundamentalist trench through no man's land to manning the opposite one. A hell of a fight, changing sides half way across. Still the same battlefield and tactics.

You guys are actually grounded in the middle it seems. Why should you take either side? How could you? Beyond me is Spongland!

I'll come and play footy with you rather than take pot shots.

I cannot understand you guys to be honest. You agree with every rational assault on invincible ignorance but still believe that some ... Jungian thing could be going on.

God bless yer.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Martin, I have reluctantly eschewed more UKLG quotes bringing you to mind (from The Field of Vision) in favour of a return to Jack:

"Further in, and higher up".

Don't think you've arrived, I think it would literally be perilous for you. Think more of us all working our way up the same mountain, you too, from different angles and by different routes, and all will be well.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: A lot of what passes for 'consistency' among fundamentalists is anything but. It's all about squeezing things in to fit an unfeasibly neat framework imposed upon the text itself.

You spread labels like marmalade. I deny being a fundamentalist.

Re theology, It is not about fitting scripture into an existing theory that someone dreamed up in 1830. It is about beginning with scripture and understanding what it teaches. Here is a challenge.
Have a quick look at Daniel 9:24-27 and explain what you think it means. Is it predictive of Christ? Is it totally fulfilled or is there a future unfulfilled part? Who is the prince who is to come? Who are the ‘people’ of Daniel?

Eutychus: you have asserted that alma..Parthenos..maiden are equivalents but in summary denied that these interchangeable terms mean virgin.

However, in doing this you are pedantically insisting on possible alternatives..(not necessarily virgin). In doing this, you deny a strong argument from context and seem to question the LXX. Yet you insist you have made your case.

I was asked the question what difference it makes to the validity of the Isaiah 7 prophecy. I think it makes no difference because I think if the translators used maiden in the English, this would imply virginity. I have answered the question.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
[QUOTE] if there are single authors of Isaiah and Daniel, as claimed by the Jewish scholars.

Some Jewish scholars accept deutero and trito Isaiah
Fair comment. I found this from Sommer elsewhere from an interview. He seems to be quite a liberal thinking Jewish scholar.


“Further, most attempts to date biblical texts with any precision (and by this I mean within, say, a century) are, to my mind, so speculative as to be of almost no scholarly value; the most we can usually say is whether a text is exilic or pre-exilic, based on its linguistic profile. (I should note that in that last sentence I stake out a position that puts me at odds with most of my colleagues in the field, who tend to be more confident about our ability to date ancient texts.)”
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Eutychus: you have asserted that alma..Parthenos..maiden are equivalents but in summary denied that these interchangeable terms mean virgin.

That is because none of them do as far as I can see. They might be used of women who are virgins, but so far as I can tell the Greek or Hebrew words do not mean virgin, and neither does "maiden" in contemporary English.
quote:
In doing this, you deny a strong argument from context and seem to question the LXX.
If the context were conclusive, the vast majority of translators would not opt for a term with a broader range of meaning. As to the LXX, it uses parthenos for Dinah after she has been raped. I learned that from the LXX (because I specifically went looking to see whether your implicit claim that the LXX parthenos was ever used only for girls who could have been virgins was true - it's not). I didn't put it there. Certainly no English translation of that verse in Genesis uses "virgin" [Roll Eyes]

quote:
I was asked the question what difference it makes to the validity of the Isaiah 7 prophecy. I think it makes no difference because I think if the translators used maiden in the English, this would imply virginity. I have answered the question.
Again, this makes it sound as if you are more interested in translators coming up with something that satisfies your theology than with what the original text actually says.

The question is not about using a word in English that would imply virginity sufficiently to satisfy your sensibilities.

The question is whether, if (as several of us have argued) the notion of virginity is not explicitly present in the Hebrew in Isaiah 7:14, this would call into question the validity of Isaiah's prophecy in your eyes, and if so, why. Can you answer that?

[ 31. December 2017, 18:49: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
You can deny being a fundamentalist until you are blue in the face, Jamat, but fundamentalism is as fundamentalism does and what is Dispensationalism if not a fundamentalist schema?

As for Daniel 9:24-27, it's an example of what - in the face of some controversy, I'm referring to as 'apocalyptic' literature over on another thread.

As is the nature of such literature, there will have been an immediate, contemporary application - and you'll be familiar with the way 'the abomination that causes desolation' is given an 'inter-testamental' application by many scholars.

Seems reasonable to me. It fits what we know occurred.

It's also quoted by Christ of course and given some kind of apparently future fulfilment or application. Destruction of the Temple?

Beyond that, I'm not prepared to speculate.

And I'm mightily suspicious of anyone who does.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Eutychus: The question is whether, if (as several of us have argued) the notion of virginity is not explicitly present in the Hebrew in Isaiah 7:14, this would call into question the validity of Isaiah's prophecy in your eyes, and if so, why. Can you answer that?
But you see, I think it is explicitly present and shown to be so in Luke 1 so it is, as you admit, in retrospect, a valid prophecy.
Anyhow, the bone has no meat left on it.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
You appear to be missing the point, Jamat.

For someone who claims not to be a fundamentalist you are doing a good impersonation of one.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
You can deny being a fundamentalist until you are blue in the face, Jamat, but fundamentalism is as fundamentalism does and what is Dispensationalism if not a fundamentalist schema?

As for Daniel 9:24-27, it's an example of what - in the face of some controversy, I'm referring to as 'apocalyptic' literature over on another thread.

As is the nature of such literature, there will have been an immediate, contemporary application - and you'll be familiar with the way 'the abomination that causes desolation' is given an 'inter-testamental' application by many scholars.

Seems reasonable to me. It fits what we know occurred.

It's also quoted by Christ of course and given some kind of apparently future fulfilment or application. Destruction of the Temple?

Beyond that, I'm not prepared to speculate.

And I'm mightily suspicious of anyone who does.

Gamaliel, fundamentalist is a very pejorative term. It implies a kind of rigid containment of faith as a set of axioms which is foreign to a living faith like mine. I think you are probably well meaning but rather blinkered in the way you categorise and label as if the labels imposed accurately enable you to judge the motives at work in a faith stance I think you misunderstand.

Regarding Daniel 9, you obviously do not want to go there. I have read the other thread so am aware your genre label of ‘apocalyptic’ is in question. If scripture like Dan 9:24-27 iss to be avoided..not interpreted..whatever then what is the point of it being there? Is it not inspired? Can it be profitable for teaching and instruction in righteousness? If so how?
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

Eutychus: you have asserted that alma..Parthenos..maiden are equivalents but in summary denied that these interchangeable terms mean virgin.

However, in doing this you are pedantically insisting on possible alternatives..(not necessarily virgin). In doing this, you deny a strong argument from context and seem to question the LXX. Yet you insist you have made your case.

I was asked the question what difference it makes to the validity of the Isaiah 7 prophecy. I think it makes no difference because I think if the translators used maiden in the English, this would imply virginity. I have answered the question.

Eutychus has made his case, and you seem to have just admitted so by saying that had the translators used “maiden” it would “imply virginity.” There would be no implication of virginity if the word “maiden” actually meant "virgin." But it doesn't. It means “young, unmarried woman.” Virginity may be culturally assumed for such young women—an association which may or may not be accurate in any specific case. Because of the cultural assumption, virginity may be implied by the word maiden, but it’s not what the word means. And that’s what Eutychus , I and others have been arguing.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
You are right. I don't want to go there. Why? Because I've seen where it leads. Obscurantism. Other-worldliness. Crankiness.

Nowhere have I ever said that your faith is anything other than lively and sincere.

I have no doubt of the reality of your faith. None whatsoever.

Nevertheless, I still think that you are a fundamentalist. Why? Because you act like one. Your interpretation of scripture and adherence to untenable positions such as Dispensationalism all attest to that.

That doesn't mean your faith isn't real. It simply means that you have a rather literalist take on things in a way I would consider unhelpful.

Back to Daniel 9. Why is there? Because the Book of Daniel was considered canonical and it can teach us an awful lot.

And yes, of course it is useful for teaching and instruction and training in righteousness. Given time, I could come up with some edifying applications of those verses in Daniel 9. I'm sure we all could.

What I don't do is use it to concoct some kind of blow-by-blow account of how things might pan out at the Eschaton.

Why not? Because I don't think that's the purpose of the passage, nor do I think there is anything to be gained by attempting to do so. It's not what it's for. It's a waste of time on so many levels.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Rather than your faith stance being one I misunderstand, I suggest that it is one I understand only too well having seen Dispensationalism in practice in Brethren assemblies and in some forms among some Pentecostals here in the UK.

That doesn't mean I doubt the reality of the faith such people hold. I simply consider aspects of it to be misapplied.

It's untenable and leads to obscure speculations that get us nowhere.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm quite happy to start a new Kerygmania thread on Daniel 9, Jamat, demonstrating that there are various ways to understand, interpret and apply it.

A futurist interpretation is not the only one available.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: it is one I understand only too well having seen Dispensationalism in practice in Brethren assemblies and in some forms among some Pentecostals here in the UK.
You make 2 fundamental errors. You generalise from you own journey and project onto that of others. ..’Oh I know exactly what is implied here or there..as I once was in a church where all this ‘group think ‘ occurred etc’. You are unwilling or unable to revisit your assumptions because of your history. You do not recognise the distortions of memory it seems to me.

You also have no idea that you are dealing with not compartmentalised ideas, but a living journey and that does not involve imposing a schematic on the Bible. If someone could actually demonstrate to me that what I currently think was actually unfaithful to the Bible I would not hold to it. What I believe about it has to be defensible. But you employ generalised dismissals on the basis of stereotypical labelling. There is an unwillingness to engage in specifics apart from hand waving.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

Eutychus: you have asserted that alma..Parthenos..maiden are equivalents but in summary denied that these interchangeable terms mean virgin.

However, in doing this you are pedantically insisting on possible alternatives..(not necessarily virgin). In doing this, you deny a strong argument from context and seem to question the LXX. Yet you insist you have made your case.

I was asked the question what difference it makes to the validity of the Isaiah 7 prophecy. I think it makes no difference because I think if the translators used maiden in the English, this would imply virginity. I have answered the question.

Eutychus has made his case, and you seem to have just admitted so by saying that had the translators used “maiden” it would “imply virginity.” There would be no implication of virginity if the word “maiden” actually meant "virgin." But it doesn't. It means “young, unmarried woman.” Virginity may be culturally assumed for such young women—an association which may or may not be accurate in any specific case. Because of the cultural assumption, virginity may be implied by the word maiden, but it’s not what the word means. And that’s what Eutychus , I and others have been arguing.
Thanks. Pretty well everything has been said that can be do you not think? My end position may not be checkmate but it is clear that a maiden bore a child. She was a virgin at the time and a prophet signalled the event a few hundred years in advance.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
You're the one who is hand-crafted round here, Jamat.

I know fundamentalism when I see it and it's your middle name.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Hand-crafted? Ha ha ...

We're talking about predictive prophecy and all we're getting is predictive text ...

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda and God bless us every one!
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
There might be something wrong with my predictive text, Jamat, but there's nothing wrong with my memory.

I was never convinced by Dispensationalism. I was not convinced by it when I encountered it among the Brethren. I'm not convinced by it now.

The way you argue for it here doesn't do anything to make me reconsider either. It simply reinforces my rejection of it as a dubious schema.

That doesn't mean I doubt the faith or integrity of those who hold to it.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I think it is explicitly present

You cannot demonstrate that Isaiah was explicitly talking in terms of a virgin bearing a child unless you can demonstrate that 'almâ explicitly means virgin and not "young woman".

I do not believe this can be done.

Rather, I think your position is that since it is explicit in Luke that Mary is a virgin it must be implicit in Isaiah - and, more seriously, that translations should be tweaked accordingly to reflect, explicitly, that implication - regardless of whatever the original text actually says. This assault on the integrity of the work and ethics of translators is what has led me to keep asking the question you keep dodging (see again below).
quote:
and shown to be so in Luke 1
It is not "shown to be so in Luke 1". Luke 1 reports Mary as saying she is a virgin, but it does not say explicitly that Isaiah prophesied a virgin birth.
quote:
so it is, as you admit, in retrospect, a valid prophecy
What I will admit to beyond question is that the Gospel writer saw the nativity as a fulfilment of something Isaiah wrote. I'm unsure as to whether Isaiah actually foresaw this fulfilment of the prophecy and I'm sure he didn't predict a specifically virgin birth.
quote:
Anyhow, the bone has no meat left on it.
Yes it does. You still haven't answered the question.

I'm not asking you to admit Isaiah didn't prophesy a virgin birth. I'm asking you to imagine, for the sake of the argument, a scenario in which Isaiah didn't use the term for "virgin", but instead a less precise term, and tell us whether such a scenario would call into question the validity of his prophecy for you, and if so, why.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Eutychus: What I will admit to beyond question is that the Gospel writer saw the nativity as a fulfilment of something Isaiah wrote. I'm unsure as to whether Isaiah actually foresaw this fulfilment of the prophecy and I'm sure he didn't predict a specifically virgin birth
Which is what is important. Prophecy is actually only clear in retrospect and I think you are probably correct. Isaiah did not clearly grasp what Is 7 or 53 for that matter, was about. As Hebrews says, prophets struggled to understand what was signified by their revelation.

Gamaliel: you are determined to persevere with the labelling then? so be it. A true fundamentalist tends to behave quite differently. They tend to be very legalistic.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Eutychus: What I will admit to beyond question is that the Gospel writer saw the nativity as a fulfilment of something Isaiah wrote. I'm unsure as to whether Isaiah actually foresaw this fulfilment of the prophecy and I'm sure he didn't predict a specifically virgin birth
Which is what is important. Prophecy is actually only clear in retrospect and I think you are probably correct. Isaiah did not clearly grasp what Is 7 or 53 for that matter, was about.
Absolutely [Smile]
quote:
As Hebrews says, prophets struggled to understand what was signified by their revelation.
I believe you're actually referring to 1 Peter 1:10-12, but otherwise yes, absolutely again. However much they "saw", it was apparently, like us, "through a glass darkly".

[ 01. January 2018, 07:06: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Isaiah did not clearly grasp what Is 7 or 53 for that matter, was about.

I shoud perhaps explain that this is why I firmly believe we should not try and "improve" on what Isaiah wrote in our translations, even in the light of the fulfilment of prophecy reported by the Gospel writers.

The fact that the Gospels report that the Messiah was born of a virgin and that the Gospel writers saw this as a fulfilment of Isaiah 7:14 does not grant us a licence to retrospectively add that additional detail of virginity in our translations of the original prophecy if, as it seems we now agree, it goes beyond what the original text actually says.

As I see it, to do so constitutes a failure to treat Scripture with the respect it deserves, all the more so if we believe it to be inspired.
 
Posted by RdrEmCofE (# 17511) on :
 
quote:
The fact that the Gospels report that the Messiah was born of a virgin and that the Gospel writers saw this as a fulfilment of Isaiah 7:14 does not grant us a licence to retrospectively add that additional detail of virginity in our translations of the original prophecy if, as it seems we now agree, it goes beyond what the original text actually says.

As I see it, to do so constitutes a failure to treat Scripture with the respect it deserves, all the more so if we believe it to be inspired.

Were the Christian Church to adopt such a responsibly theologically uninfluenced interpretation and translation of OT scripture with respect to NT material, it would probably also result in enhancing mutual respect and cooperation with Jewish scholarship and even helpfully narrow the gap between our respective theological differences.

Who knows?

[Shrugs shoulders, palms upward, in typically Yiddish gesture].
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
As I have never met you in real life, Jamat, I can only write as I find from what I read in your posts.

From what I read I detect a particularly fundamentalist approach to the interpretation of scripture. That doesn't mean that you are 'legalistic' in your personal habits or treatment of other people.

Besides, getting into a debate about what constitutes a 'true fundamentalist' is a bit like the 'No True Scotsman' fallacy ...

If I've been ad hominem, then I apologise.

I will try to reserve my comments and labelling to your approach to scripture, not to you as a person.

[Hot and Hormonal]

I'm sure there are people out there are way, way, way more 'fundamentalist' or literalist than you are. For instance, people who wouldn't accept or acknowledge, as you have done, that Isaiah or Daniel weren't fully aware of how future generations would interpret their prophecies.

To listen to some folk you'd think they had some kind of sneak-preview of the entire sweep of human history from that point onwards!

Anyhow, be all that as it may, I still maintain that you adhere to a particularly 'fundamentalist' (for want of a better word) form of scriptural interpretation that 'demands' that some of these 'apocalyptic' writings and prophecies 'have' to have some kind of direct or literal future fulfilment otherwise the whole thing is compromised.

I don't see it that way.

Besides, it's not as if any of us are going to be able to verify whether or not this is the case unless we happen to be around when events uncannily similar to those 'foretold' or described in apocalyptic terms take place.

You've only got to look at how many interpretations there are of 'the abomination that causes desolation' to realise that these things aren't necessarily clear-cut.

I will take up your challenge on how we might understand and apply the verses you cite in Daniel 9.

I will start a new Kerygmania thread on that topic and invite other Shipmates to share their views. If I get any 'takers' then it will soon become readily apparent that there are a range of viewpoints available and that the issue isn't at all clear-cut in any neat, join-the-dots, Meccano-set sense.

I would argue that prophetic and apocalyptic texts don't 'work' in that kind of neat and linear fashion. That's not the point of them.

But I've said my piece on that elsewhere.

In the meantime, craving everyone's indulgence, I'll start a new thread as well as continuing to contribute here if I may.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Happy New Year all.

E, nice, your reply to me. I might 'know' I'm right, but it doesn't feel good, which perversely confirms I'm right! I'm cast high and dry up on the rocks. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. But yearn for fellow castaways! I yearn for simpler times too, 10 years ago, 6, encountering the emergent in evangelicalism. Happy Days! But the inertia of that tide had cast me 'up' here on this stark, de-inspired, unprophesied, brave new world

Jamat, delighted that you've lost the shackles of fundamentalism, that you're inspired to recognize that the age of the universe is over two million times greater than you forced it to be. Welcome!
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
And of course no inspiration of foretelling prophecy occurs in Daniel 9-11, just history propagandized in apocalyptic.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
I cannot understand you guys to be honest. You agree with every rational assault on invincible ignorance but still believe that some ... Jungian thing could be going on.

Well sure. Rationality only gets us so far, and we’re in danger if we try to lay too much on it. Why, for example would some Jungian thing be irrational? Or why, to be more pertinent, is it irrational to say that God can know the future? You may think that’s wrong, but I don't see how it’s irrational.

And to be honest, I don't know that it can be said I "agree with every rational assault on invincible ignorance," at least if that means you take me to be agreeing with your arguments, which I’m afraid often seem irrational or selectively rational to me. I may end up in the same place as you from time to time, but I may have gotten there by a different path.

I’m not discounting the need for rationality at all. But as I said, it can only go so far for me. The things in life that matter most, at least to me—love, beauty, music, story, food, comraderie, for example—can’t be fully analyzed rationally. There’s more there.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sorry chaps, but I can't, in my Aspyesque way, square the circle that all but one of you goes with redaction criticism and historical-critical analysis, debunking any unnecessary foretelling claims which aren't even there in some obvious cases (Cyrus for one), but you STILL say that's how the Naiad inspires it? Despite a deep understanding of hydrology, hydrodynamics and turbulence (which even God doesn't understand) explaining a stream in the woods.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Sorry chaps, but I can't, in my Aspyesque way, square the circle

Unless it's the Incarnation. Because reasons.

[ 01. January 2018, 18:53: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Oooh, a good cross-post Nick.

Rationality, aye, it's only one of the three legs of the stool of our rhetorical minds. Why would a Jungian thing (mmmmm****) be irrational? Because Jungian things are. Knowing without knowing how, that sort of thing. It's not necessarily irrational to say that God can know the future, because He's clever and powerful, but it is irrational to say He can know without knowing how.

It's not that you agree with my badly put arguments, but I've not seen you disagree with historical-critical analysis. And I couldn't agree more on the things that really matter to us. But none of those things are supernatural, except in the ultimate ground of their being.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Of course Eutychus! Dash it all. There has to be some Jungian mystery left after all.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
. . . but you STILL say that's how the Naiad inspires it? Despite a deep understanding of hydrology, hydrodynamics and turbulence (which even God doesn't understand) explaining a stream in the woods.

I'm afraid I really have no clue what, or what Naiad, you’re talking about.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
This one. I think.

(which FWIW elicited this response from me).

[ 01. January 2018, 21:22: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Martin 60: I'm cast high and dry up on the rocks. I
Where you have put yourself.. as surely as a stranded whale who resists all attempts to refloat it. If you believe as you say, that God can incarnate himself in Christ, you have opened a window for the supernatural. One little window ventilates a whole house. You might as well open the rest of them if it’s hot in the kitchen.
The Naiad invented natural processes so he need not live by their laws. I Fear you fear the ghost of Herbert W or Garner Ted will haunt your battlements and halls if you open any more chained up doors.

[ 01. January 2018, 22:16: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
This one. I think.

(which FWIW elicited this response from me).

Ah. Thanks.

I'm with you.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
That's more like it Jamat. A lot more like it. With submission to the Incarnation one needs nothing else. One certainly doesn't need to homeopathically dilute that grain of wheat with a blizzard of dispensationalist or evangelical chaff. When one has Christ alone, why does one need tea leaves?

It took the miracle of 20 years of inspired rational mind surgery for 30 years of fundamentalism to be stripped away, nothing can put it back but Alzheimer's. If I'm up on the stark Rock alone, why would I want the comfort of narcotic delusion? Why should I want to be a dog that returns to its vomit? And even further to the madness of a Wednesday universe?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Yeah but.

As far as I can see, you allow your "better magic" of the Incarnation because it's NT, foundational, and, well, Jesus-like. You won't accept any "inferior magic" auguries (sic) in the OT because you think they can only mean God must have been micro-managing all along and that opens up too many cans of worms relating to "God the Killer" for you.

It seems to me you take quite a higher-criticism approach to the OT to resolve the God the Killer problem out of necessity rather than out of conviction. You rule out predictive prophecy, not on rational grounds (after all, if the incarnation and resurrection are possible, anything else is, surely?), or on textual grounds really, but on the emotional grounds of what it implies for you.

I'm not sure I can do any better, but I still quite like my "Quantum sovreignty" approach.

And, as stated above and with welcome backup from RdrEmCofE, I'd like to start with the text and try to work out what I'm supposed to understand about God from it.

Take a break from Cyrus and Daniel. What about the name Josiah being prophesied in 1 Kings 13:2 (not to mention an altar splitting in two a few verses later)?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
It's utter conviction. And utter rationality. The certainty of the incarnation-resurrection has no relation, no category comparison with oracular fortune telling, reading the future that hasn't happened in tea leaves isn't a rational proposition. If God does it, He uses magic. As I keep saying and as you agree in your Quantum Sovreignty (sic), God doesn't intervene except in milestones. For me there's only one milestone on Earth. Eschatology can't happen down here. For God to be able to predict the Kings of the North and South He would HAVE to micromanage history for four centuries from the time of a real Daniel. He couldn't passively see them in His tea leaves. God micromanages nothing in, through Jesus apart from local to Him and He's pretty deft around Him in ever attenuating, exponentially decaying circles. In no other regard does He inspire, prophesy, intervene except by quantum tunnelling faith. As a 99.99..% rule. Why waste time on the 0.0..9% where He might have done otherwise, although you'd never know?

As for 1 Kings 13, if The Man of God From Judah foretold Josiah and his righteous murders three hundred years in advance, then yeah, all bets are off. But if it was all written from Josiah's reign... you choose.

[ 02. January 2018, 12:42: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Why are you so sure the Gospel accounts are reliable?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
They do appear to have been written closer to the events they describe than appears to have been the case for the OT books - although oral tradition would certainly kick in there.

Thing is, if we were going to be completely dead-pan 'rational' then we'd immediately dismiss the Gospel accounts per se because none of us have ever seen miracles happen nor someone rising from the dead ...

Ultimately, faith comes into it wherever we draw the line.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Thing is, if we were going to be completely dead-pan 'rational' then we'd immediately dismiss the Gospel accounts per se because none of us have ever seen miracles happen nor someone rising from the dead ...

Ultimately, faith comes into it wherever we draw the line.

Agreed. What makes me uncomfortable is that Martin's system draws the line rather too neatly between the OT and the NT, though. For him, altars splitting in the OT are primitive enhancements and later additions, while veils being rent in twain in the NT are straight-up convincing proof a) of the Ultimate Supernatural Event b) that all that stuff in the OT is redundant.

(Martin I realise you haven't said all this in so many words but that's what it feels like).

It seems to me that Martin dismisses anything remotely supernatural in the OT a priori because it offers a convenient get-out from all the heavy problems of God the Killer, and that he brings in textual theories of late dating etc. to buttress this view, rather than the view emerging from analysis of the text itself.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
E., G. I'd say that the OT books were actually initially written or sourced at least as close if not closer in time to all the history they contain. They were built up over centuries and we have late redactions. Which explains all the alleged impossible prophecy.

Why am I sure that the gospel accounts are reliable? They weren't written by official prophets, pseudonymous and anonymous scribes and priests over centuries. Mark reads like a newspaper report, it isn't even finished. The flaws, the theological agendas, of 'Mark', Quelle, 'Matthew' and 'Luke' as a group add to the credibility for me. And as I repeatedly say, I couldn't care less how unreliable they are, they contain, with John and Acts, the greatest story ever told. The greatest magic. The greatest claim. That survives the most ruthless postmodern analysis untouched, shorn of all prophecy and inspiration.

Whoops! Dinner time.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Crossed in the post E. Nice one. There are enormous, incomparable cultural differences between the testaments. So much so that the charges against the Old cannot be made against the New, the main charge being redaction for propaganda purposes, by inspired, Godly men, to turn contemporary history in to prophecy.

That emerges from the text. The alternative is Jamat.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
the main charge being redaction for propaganda purposes, by inspired, Godly men, to turn contemporary history in to prophecy.

That emerges from the text.

How? Simply because you find the alternatives unthinkable? You haven't pointed to any other evidence.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Crossed in the post E. Nice one. There are enormous, incomparable cultural differences between the testaments. So much so that the charges against the Old cannot be made against the New, the main charge being redaction for propaganda purposes, by inspired, Godly men, to turn contemporary history in to prophecy.

That emerges from the text. The alternative is Jamat.

Nah. That's about as binary as some of Jamat's posts.

It's not as if there's a polar opposite choice between Sponginess on the one side and Jamat's brand of Texan literalism on the other. There are tropics and temperate zones in between.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
the main charge being redaction for propaganda purposes, by inspired, Godly men, to turn contemporary history in to prophecy.

That emerges from the text.

How? Simply because you find the alternatives unthinkable? You haven't pointed to any other evidence.
Martin60 let’s assume you’re right and the issue is propaganda. Redactors want to create prophecy. (Goodness knows why they’d take the trouble despite all the integrity issues)
How could they get away with it given the incredible detailed knowledge the Jews had of their Bible and the value they put on preserving it?
And
Should there not be more historical evidence that it occurred. eg You’d expect to find untampered materials alongside the tampered with/corrupted ones. For mine, the Dead Sea scrolls are evidence that such tampering did not occur.

Basically, the case is yours to make if you want a project for your retirement.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
E. The text is the evidence. It refers to contemporary history in intense, accurate NEARLY to the last detail. You cannot believe that the accounts of the Kings of the North and South are prophetic without believing that God is Killer as in Josiah and Cyrus. If God is Killer then we don't know Him in, through Christ alone by orders of magnitude. Then Jamat is right.

[ 02. January 2018, 20:31: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Check your facts, Jamat.

If redaction did took place, it took place long before the Dead Sea Scrolls were tucked away.

The Dead Sea Scrolls show a remarkable degree of continuity in these ancient texts but they don't prove that redaction and addition took place over time.

Besides, the ancients didn't see anything wrong in adding and redacting nor in attributing quotes to people without necessarily having first hand evidence available - Herodotus, Tacitus, Bede, they all did it.

They didn't have the kind of notions of authorial integrity that we have. Pseudographia was fine.

You are projecting later models of authorial integrity back into antiquity.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I meant 'does not mean that texts weren't redacted or added to over time.'
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sorry guys, I will respond in one post tomorrow (desktop editing is easier than on a tablet) to all issues raised from E's 'other evidence'. Although G. has done half my work for me better than I could!
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: If redaction did took place, it took place long before the Dead Sea Scrolls were tucked away.

The Dead Sea Scrolls show a remarkable degree of continuity in these ancient texts but they don't prove that redaction and addition took place over time

Do you mean ‘never took place’?
You seem to be agreeing with me. I thought the bid revelation of the DS scrolls is the consistency noted with the more ancient texts. If redactions occurred, they are the ideal places to look as they are later copies? But ..no evidence there it seems.

Martin 60: If all we have are the texts and you are merely using internal content of them, as evidence they are corrupted, then this is not actually convincing. You are arguing in a circle.

‘The predictions in these are simply too precise to be credible..ergo they are incredible because as we know, God could never supervenes to inspire such precision..so we can dismiss them..case closed’
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, I did mean 'never took place' and no, I'm not agreeing with you.

Whatever else they tell us, and they are certainly highly significant of course, they don't prove that redaction or pseudographia didn't take place.

As far as I know, the Scrolls mostly date from between 300 or 480 BC and around 100 AD (or CE).

They don't date from 600 BC or 800 BC for instance.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Yes, I did mean 'never took place' and no, I'm not agreeing with you.

Whatever else they tell us, and they are certainly highly significant of course, they don't prove that redaction or pseudographia didn't take place.

As far as I know, the Scrolls mostly date from between 300 or 480 BC and around 100 AD (or CE).

They don't date from 600 BC or 800 BC for instance.

The point is that any redaction, if it occurred would likely show up there. It is not a matter of proof. There’s a great old scholar EB Pusy who in his ‘Lectures on Daniel the Prophet,’ (1870)does a pretty good job of justifying Daniel’s existence in Babylon.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I've read plenty of material arguing the case for both early and late dates for Daniel.

Same for Isaiah.

There are authors who make out a good case on both sides of the argument.

My current take would be that some of the Higher Critics went for unfeasibly late dates whereas some conservative commentators and scholars go for unfeasibly early ones.

That said, I have no difficulties whatsoever with the idea of there being pseudographia and an accumulation of texts written across a considerable period or there being later written versions of oral material.

That seems to fit the evidence and also make sense from what we know of the historical context.

It's not simply a case of deciding on later dates simply because I'm squeamish about the idea of predictive prophecy, rather it's a conclusion based on my reading of several sources - and I don't claim to be an expert - and discussions I've had with people who have studied these things at both conservative and liberal theological colleges.

If the Dead Sea Scrolls proved beyond any shadow of doubt that there were no redactions or additions then don't you think that the entire academic world, whether liberal or conservative would have arrived at a consensus on that?

Or are you so committed to your particular take that you suspect those who hold a different view of rejecting solid evidence to the contrary?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
[QUOTE] It's a conclusion based on my reading of several sources/QUOTE]
Who exactly?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Mostly conservative sources.

The main one was R K Harrison's 'Introduction to the Old Testament' which I think I may have given away (it's no longer on my shelves).

It was the main source text for a short correspondence course on the Pentateuch I did from the Evangelical Bible College of Wales.

I've also read a number of IVP commentaries over the years.

On the liberal side I've read Barton, Karen Armstrong and some Jewish material.

I don't pretend to be an expert on any of this but I have read material from a range of courses.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
So while we're waiting for Martin's reply, Gamaliel, what's your take on the dating arguments.

Specifically, to what extent are they driven by assumptions one way or the other about predictive prophecy, and to what extent are they informed by purely textual, lingustic elements?

[ 03. January 2018, 09:50: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Unthinkable alternatives: Aye. They are and have been reasonably so for over two hundred years in theology and four hundred in science. We do lag so. No other evidence is rationally needed. Wanting it to be so – 'faith' – isn't evidence. The work all has to be done the other way, to prove that anything was prophetically foretold given how fast and loose everyone played for reasons of faith, including Jesus and the gospel writers and the editors before them of the texts they in turn played fast and loose with. THE unthinkable alternative is that God went beyond working stuff out (Agabus' famine) or nudging Cyrus or Artaxerxes to produce edicts or decrees or warrants to start the clock ticking for 70 'weeks' till Jesus' death – and even that is suspect to say the least – to puppet mastering centuries of war. Beyond that unthinkability of the nature of God, that He doesn't look like Jesus, there's the irrational unthinkability of reality where there are tea leaves in God's cup that show what hasn't happened. Magic.

Poles apart: I'm in the northern temperate zone. The north Icelandic cost. One step more and I'd be in the northern frigid zone I'm sure and would keep on going. Spong has no credibility at all. The tropics and temperate zones all include centuries, millennia of divine intervention or beyond: magic.

Tampering: it went on for centuries in the Isaiah school, the Samuel-Kings-Chronicles school, the Daniel (who?) school. And to them it wasn't tampering. To me neither. The past is another country. The Dead Sea scrolls are evidence of late publishing. Why would there be older copies than the most recent? There isn't a specific prophecy in them that wasn't fulfilled by the time of publishing. 99% Funny that. The tale-end 1% is wrong or indecipherable.

Retirement plan: I have no case to make, the dialectical synthesis has been done for centuries. Please demonstrate a miracle. That God puppet mastered the Kings of the North and South. Anything you like. That the rocks lie. Anything.

'...all we have are the texts': And history. And science. And human nature. And the insurmountable theological, philosophical, moral, existential, scientific problems if God is puppet master.

As for the rest, it should be so easy to demonstrate a no-holds-barred prophecy. Which couldn't convince me anyway of course, just as my Dad walking in the door wouldn't. I admit that it means that the editors played incredibly fast and loose by our standards, the contemporaries of Josiah adding him to a prophecy allegedly given to Jeroboam three centuries before, but that is infinitely more FAITHFULLY believable than believing that God murderously micromanaged ancient history.

And is that all you got E.? Josiah (who? In the mouth of two or three witnesses?) allegedly in Jeroboam's time? You don't believe that Isaiah 7 is slam-dunk prophetic by a country mile, what do you believe is? Beyond, way beyond, the suffering servant and the Psalms?

And I lie. My Dad walking in the door would be preferable to proving that God murderously micromanages history, piles suffering on suffering He could therefore do something about.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Check your facts, Jamat.

If redaction did took place, it took place long before the Dead Sea Scrolls were tucked away.

The Dead Sea Scrolls show a remarkable degree of continuity in these ancient texts but they don't prove that redaction and addition took place over time.

Some do. Others indicate that there were variant versions in circulation as late as the first century.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
So while we're waiting for Martin's reply, Gamaliel, what's your take on the dating arguments.

Specifically, to what extent are they driven by assumptions one way or the other about predictive prophecy, and to what extent are they informed by purely textual, lingustic elements?

I can only hazard a guess by way of an answer, Eutychus as I'm no expert and am only an interested amateur.

My guess would be that there's a bit of both.

For instance, I've read very conservative accounts that argue that there is no reason to give a late date for Daniel on linguistic or textual grounds.

I've read more liberal treatments that argue for a late date precisely on textual or linguistic grounds.

To what extent either side were driven by a desire to maintain or deny the possibility of predictive elements I am unable to say. I suspect it will have been a factor in both cases.

I'd have to mug up a heck of a lot more on the textual and linguistic arguments in order to come up with a definitive answer.

At the moment I'd be in the position of reading a conservative source and thinking, 'Golly, that's a good point ...' then reading a more liberal take and thinking, 'Goodness me, that's a good point from the other direction ...'

As I'm not a Hebrew or Greek scholar all I can do is weigh up the varying takes in my own mind.

All I can say - and here I stand, I can do no other - the balance of possibility for me at the moment lies more towards later dates than early ones - and this accounts for the apparent predictive element.

Beyond that, I can't speculate.

It's not that I'm ignoring anything or parking it all on one side as being too difficult - which is what Jamat accuses me of doing. It's work in progress and at a time when I've got a lot of other things on my plate.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
The work all has to be done the other way, to prove that anything was prophetically foretold given how fast and loose everyone played for reasons of faith, including Jesus and the gospel writers and the editors before them of the texts they in turn played fast and loose with.

So the Bible (or at least the OT) is about on a level with Pi's narrative in The Life of Pi?

[mild spoiler alert]

The story we'd prefer as opposed to the real and far less palatable one? "And so it goes with God"? Does it?

[ 03. January 2018, 17:55: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
I
quote:
Gamaliel: ..and here I stand, I can do no other - the balance of possibility for me at the moment lies more towards later dates than early ones - and this accounts for the apparent predictive element.

Beyond that, I can't speculate.

It's not that I'm ignoring anything or parking it all on one side as being too difficult - which is what Jamat accuses me of doing. It's work in progress and at a time when I've got a lot of other things on my plate

I think I’d call this doing the splits actually with one foot on the wharf and the other on a boat moving out to sea.
Where does it leave your ‘high’ view of the Bible if you are prepared to listen to the likes of Karen Armstrong?

Martin 60: As always killer God is the killer of your faith. As we’ve had this discussion many times I only suggest you think of ways others handle the issue.

Contrary to what you seem to believe it is not by ignoring. It is necessarily by justifying but how that is done varies. If one looks at the pattern of killing.. eg, the flood, with people knocking at the door of the ark crying, ‘at least take my baby’ etc, the thing that strikes more than anything is in fact the seriousness of sin..a view reinforced by the crucifixion where God includes himself in his own ‘flood’ ..(kind of,)in order to deal with it.

[ 03. January 2018, 19:21: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Aye E. Superb analogy. But what's real about the OT? Apart from its humanity?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I said I'd read Karen Armstrong, Jamat. That doesn't mean that I agree with her necessarily.

I've also read R K Harrison. You didn't comment on that.

Surely, the point is that we read material on various sides of these issues?

What word be the point of only still our own echo-chamber authors and not reading alternative view-points?

I assume you must have read material outside of Millenarian and Dispensationalist circles?

Or perhaps you haven't?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
J. Faith in God the Killer prevents faith in Jesus. Show me God the Killer in Him and I'm your man. Show me Him in God the Killer, the same.

[ 03. January 2018, 19:55: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
J. Faith in God the Killer prevents faith in Jesus. Show me God the Killer in Him and I'm your man. Show me Him in God the Killer, the same.

The last sentence I wrote. The inclusion of himself in his own ‘flood’ . If the cross does not speak then there is no plan B.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sorry mate, that's straining at a camel through the eye of a needle too far.

[ 03. January 2018, 21:04: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sin, whatever that is, is so serious it justifies the God of prophecy drowning babies?

[ 03. January 2018, 21:08: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Sin, whatever that is, is so serious it justifies the God of prophecy drowning babies?

So at the risk of being offensive to the great killer God beam in your eye, why is it that the issue you have is not more wide spread in the church universal. Why has not the whole of humanity rejected Christ on that basis aeons ago?

Your clinging to Jesus as a life raft of faith does not answer the issue you say you have as after all, the cross is actually a terrible judgement on sin..which involved death? So you are inconsistent here.

Why is it though, that few have this problem that claim to be Christians. Is everyone else thick? morally inferior to you? ignorant or hardened to the the extent they do not realise that..hey, God is a killer? Not worthy of worship?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Aye E. Superb analogy.

Who said anything about analogy?

What if anything makes the Bible any different at all from Pi's story in your view? I'm struggling to put bible-thickness paper between "and so it goes with God" and your view of the biblical text.

Do we simply assume God prefers whichever gloss on the story we happen to like? That for all relevant purposes, whatever we make of the story is the Story? I mean, I can imagine that being argued as a thoroughly postmodern theological standpoint, although I'm far from sure the game is worth the candle. Is that what you're saying?

[ 03. January 2018, 21:51: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Sin, whatever that is, is so serious it justifies the God of prophecy drowning babies?

So at the risk of being offensive to the great killer God beam in your eye, why is it that the issue you have is not more wide spread in the church universal. Why has not the whole of humanity rejected Christ on that basis aeons ago?

Your clinging to Jesus as a life raft of faith does not answer the issue you say you have as after all, the cross is actually a terrible judgement on sin..which involved death? So you are inconsistent here.

Why is it though, that few have this problem that claim to be Christians. Is everyone else thick? morally inferior to you? ignorant or hardened to the the extent they do not realise that..hey, God is a killer? Not worthy of worship?

Dunno. But if you don't have a problem with drowning babies you need to put in a claim for a new moral compass, because yours is utterly screwed. Come on, explain. If the Flood was punishment for sin, what did those babies do that meant they deserved to drown?

It stinks. And you know it does. No wonder so many atheists are at pains to point out how evil Christianity is.

[ 03. January 2018, 22:16: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Karl LB: Come on, explain
Since I asked a different question and you said ‘Dunno’, and The bone of ‘killer God’ is well chewed and you reject every possibility and seem happy, the issue is not mine to answer. ‘Dunno’ isn’t very explanatory though. Maybe Martin 60 can enlarge.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
J. What K. said.

E. Aye. You're right. It's the only thing of worth there is. Unless you have something else better to offer? It's the greatest punchline of any story though. You can't equal let alone better it. It's The Lathe of Heaven.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
J. What K. said.

Dunno from you too? Turn out the lights when you leave.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
E. Aye. You're right. It's the only thing of worth there is. Unless you have something else better to offer? It's the greatest punchline of any story though. You can't equal let alone better it. It's The Lathe of Heaven.

I'm not sure what any of this means.

What is the "it" that is the only thing of worth?

What is the punchline?

I haven't read The Lathe of Heaven, I have read some similar stories by Le Guin and read the Wikipedia summary (which, ironically enough, tells me the title is a mistranslation...). In those stories as in Life of Pi, so far as I can tell reality is effectively the product of the beholder.

It's fine as fiction, but as reality it strikes me as a) being rather psychotic b) being supremely egotistical: I have the right to wrest this text to make it mean what I want it to and whatever "truth" I decree as a result "cannot be bettered". Not much "walking humbly before God" there, is there?

I can't really see what effective difference there is between this and dispensationalism, in that it subordinates the text to our ego.

Moreover, it flies in the face of the history of the Bible itself and how its custodians over the millenia approached it. I agree with Jamat that it seems rather arrogant to assume we suddenly have the inside track on what it all means compared to all those yokels in the past, especially when that insight appears to owe no small part to a worldview informed by the 1960s West Coast drugs scene and experience.

I can get my head round the idea of the OT representing a partial, culturally-bound understanding of who God is. I can also get my head round the idea of redaction and (just about) after-the-fact window-dressing of events to reflect favourably on contemporaneous protagonists (perhaps Cyrus, possibly Josiah). I can somehow get my head around editorial licence in the NT (just had cause to reread Jesus' calling of the first disciples in all four Gospels. Who did he call first, and where? How come I never noticed these contradictions all through Sunday School?).

The next step for me, however, is to want to try to understand the authors' intent and focus, and believe that I can learn something about God from what the text actually says.

Rather than pushing me into a resolutely egocentric smorgasboard approach to Scripture in which I just plunder it for the bits I like, this (in theory) should force me into a dialogue with the text and through it, with the aid of the Spirit, into a dialogue with God. The text makes me look beyond myself to others and the Other.

Now go and read The Pathways of Desire.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
J.
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Sin, whatever that is, is so serious it justifies the God of prophecy drowning babies?

So at the risk of being offensive to the great killer God beam in your eye, why is it that the issue you have is not more wide spread in the church universal. Why has not the whole of humanity rejected Christ on that basis aeons ago?

If you hadn't noticed, they very mainly have. In Christendom.
quote:

Your clinging to Jesus as a life raft of faith does not answer the issue you say you have as after all, the cross is actually a terrible judgement on sin..which involved death? So you are inconsistent here.

So, as I must believe in prophecy that isn't there because I believe in the Incarnation, because Jesus was crucified God can drown babies?

What K. said.
quote:

Why is it though, that few have this problem that claim to be Christians. Is everyone else thick? morally inferior to you? ignorant or hardened to the the extent they do not realise that..hey, God is a killer? Not worthy of worship?

The few, the very few that claim to be Christian beyond nominal, cultural in Christendom often believe that God is Killer and are paralysed with fear which is why they sing PSA hymns with such fervour.

M.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Martin 60: If you hadn't noticed, they very mainly have. In Christendom
Actually, I think most people who are believers, do grapple with issues of God’s justice, but few allow it to undermine their faith as you have.

Regarding prophecy that ‘isn’t there’, you are deluded. The Bible is about 30% prophecy most of which is already fulfilled. This thread has mentioned a few of these prophecies only. You do not find prophecy in the writings of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism either. The Bible is different and when you read it seriously and consistently you find truth in so many places it’s staggering.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
You do find prophecy in the writings of other religions. Islam has plenty of prophecies for instance.

You are restricting the 'prophetic' to its predictive sense.

Also, plenty of people have lost their faith over the issues Martin60 mentions.

Is Martin losing his faith? Or is he simply modifying it?

Just because his faith differs to yours does that mean he's losing it?

On the issue of 'God the Killer', I've tended to avoid discussions about that so far but my take would be that we are dealing with 'progressive revelation' and there are plenty of hints and foretastes in the OT that God is a God of love and not some kind of cranky, offended Deity who goes around flooding the world or commanding genocide.

But then, I don't see the need to take the flood story as literally as you do, nor the accounts of the conquest of Canaan - although I do believe they are based on actual events.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
E.

Back to "And so it goes with God". Aye, it does. The unpalatable 'real' story isn't real. It never existed. The 'inspired' story. The 'prophesied' story. Of the OT. And the real NT story predicated on it in the faithful, divinely natured, fully human, enculturated, sublimely ignorant mind of Jesus.

Analogy: Life of Pi is an analogy because it doesn't quite work as they don't. The biblical text isn't reality. The inspiration isn't real. The prophecy isn't real. Whereas Pi's real story (in the story...) is real horror.

Gloss: I can't imagine that God prefers one that isn't on the arc of the moral universe, which is worth the candle surely? Especially as it goes to transcendent justice.

It: The story gloss of the trajectory on the arc of the moral universe to transcendent justice regardless of the horror of physical reality, i.e. the punchline you quoted.

My psychotic egotism: Admitting that the text is the product of egotism, that its claims to be totally supernaturally inspired and prophetic are human invention is terrifyingly humbling. It subordinates the text to reality and transcendence, dispensationalism doesn't.

The inside track: I don't see how the millennia of intellectual progress since, continuing from the millennia of intellectual progress during the Bible's compilation has anything to do with LSD taken at Berkeley – that gave us the charismatic movement after all – or reflects with arrogance on the unknown giants of their ages who compiled it.

Getting your head round it: your pathos lags behind your logos. It does with us all. Because what we feel is loss. We're being pruned. It hurts.

Auctorial intent: it was no less than ours surely? To know the mind of God. I too believe that I can learn something about God from what the text actually says: The astounding, transcendent contrast of the God of the text compared with contemporary texts, for a start. Before we get to the metanarrative.

Pick and mix: I couldn't agree more, twisting the text to an agenda isn't postmodern at all, it's anachronistic and ignores the evolutionary struggle.

The Pathways of Desire. I'll Kindle that for a dollar! A fiver actually.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
The Pathways of Desire. I'll Kindle that for a dollar! A fiver actually.

Hat tip to Huia who sent me the whole collection The Compass Rose, of which that story is part, as a gift quite a few years ago now.

I'll need a while to digest the rest of the above.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
J:

Most Protestant true believers, like Muslim, don't grapple with issues of “God's justice” as portrayed in the text. They submit in barely repressed terror, yearning without hope for their damned loved ones. Their own children. Although Muslims do a much better job of transmitting true belief to their children.

30% eh? 9,000 verses. It's 8,352 actually. 27% About 30% true. 1,817 prophecies. Most fulfilled. What 51%? 80%? At least a thousand? Wow. None on this thread pass faithful scrutiny. You got any that do? You know, that would convince a reasonable person? Not a deluded one. The Noble Quran is full of prophecy. They overlap with Christianity's. Your ignorance is staggering. The Bible is different to what? I do read it seriously and consistently and find truth in so many places it’s staggering too.

M.

[ 04. January 2018, 17:39: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
27% About 30% true. 1,817 prophecies. Most fulfilled. What 51%? 80%? At least a thousand? Wow. None on this thread pass faithful scrutiny. You got any that do? You know, that would convince a reasonable person
Did God warn Israel that they would be expelled from their homeland and wander the earth if they were unfaithful? Deut 33:64.

Were they expelled in the Babylonian captivity? Did Jesus state to Israel “Your house is left unto you desolate” in Matt 23:38. Did he say in Luke 21:24 they would be led captive into all the nations. Has this not occurred since AD132? Today are they not the most resisted and hated people on the planet? Witness the holocaust and now the ridiculous vendetta in the UN. Does this not fulfil Matt 24:9?

Is not a regathering of Israel prophesied in many places? One is Jeremiah 32:37. Sir Robert Anderson in the 19th century called this possibility politically impossible yet predicted on the basis of prophetic scripture that it must happen..it has.
He writes:
“What is to become of Palestine? It’s annexation by any one European star is in the highest degree improbable. The interests of several of the first rate powers forbid it. The way will thus be kept open to the Jews whenever their inclinations or their destinies lead them back to the land of their fathers” The Coming Prince P 168.

He wrote this in 1894, before WW1 and collapse of the Ottoman Empire which he could not foresee...before Allenby and the British occupation and before Balfour and the League of Nations and the UN. He predicted the rise of a Jewish state on the basis of PROPHECY!.. check it out.

Reasonable person? All I can say is that there is none so blind as those who refuse to see. The Jesus, you confess, stated “Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.” John 3:19.

Regarding justice, we have only human justice to compare. God has said, however, that the wages of sin are death. Rom 6:23. Fortunately, as you say, we have the word of Jesus from the cross..tetellestai..paid in full. We would be advised to heed it.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Nothing then. Absolutely nothing.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
Reminds me of Blind Man’s Buff. Excuse me for not joining in.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
As I said.
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
hosting
OK, this has gone too far. There has been a fair bit of pigtail-pulling on this thread but insults as to who is deluded or whose ignorance is staggering are straight out C3 breaches and carrying on such personal conflicts breaches C4. Martin and Jamat, please either take it to Hell or stop all sniping at each other on this thread.
Thanks
Louise
DH host
hosting off
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Jamat--

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
You do not find prophecy in the writings of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism either. The Bible is different and when you read it seriously and consistently you find truth in so many places it’s staggering.

Actually, there's prophecy all over the place, in other religions and outside religion. I haven't yet found a really good article, but the Wikipedia article "Prophecy" is a place to start. You can also just do a web search on "(religion name) prophecy".

All the religions you mentioned have prophecies--often of a coming prophet, teacher, etc.; or a coming time of trouble and how to get through it.

There are loads of Native American prophecies. The Hopi ones might be the best known to outsiders. In searching, I found a hit for a Christian site that compared them with biblical end times prophecies, and found common ground. From Aboriginals to Zoroastrians, there are prophecies. And don't forget the Delphic oracle.

Putting aside all consideration of whose prophecies are (more) true, the Bible isn't alone in having them. Nor in people finding "staggering truth" in scriptures and teachings.

FWIW.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
Scrolling back a bit ...
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
So while we're waiting for Martin's reply, Gamaliel, what's your take on the dating arguments.

Specifically, to what extent are they driven by assumptions one way or the other about predictive prophecy, and to what extent are they informed by purely textual, lingustic elements?

Speaking personally, I do have issues with predictive prophecy, which I outlined in this post, but I'd like to think they are properly Bible-based(TM) and not just liberal prejudice.

That said, even a non-specialist should be able to distinguish between Anglo-Saxon and Chaucerian English, and between Chaucerian and Shakespearean English. So if Hebrew scholars claim to be able to date a text on the basis of the stage of development of the language, I don't see a reason to doubt that it's possible.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
Also, there seems to be a bit of an assumption that if Daniel was actually written after all the stuff about the Kings of the North and the South took place, then it must be fraudulent.

But it's only fraudulent if the author claimed it was some ancient text he'd just dug up. If there was no pretence to that effect, then it's just some kind of historical fiction.

Example: the Aeneid has a much-imitated passage where Aeneas goes into the Underworld and receives a vision of the future (from his perspective) rulers of Rome, all the way up to the Emperor Augustus. This is clearly intended as a compliment to Virgil's imperial patron. But if Virgil had claimed he had found the Aeneid as an ancient text in an amphora, and that it was a contemporary account of Aeneas' vision, then it would be fraudulent.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
even a non-specialist should be able to distinguish between Anglo-Saxon and Chaucerian English, and between Chaucerian and Shakespearean English. So if Hebrew scholars claim to be able to date a text on the basis of the stage of development of the language, I don't see a reason to doubt that it's possible.

No indeed. As a linguist, that's my thinking. I just despair of finding commentators who can provide the right combination of expertise in the relevant languages and an absence of theological bias to suit my proclivities in this respect.

In fact I think one of the problems here is that we all come to this question with differing backgrounds, well beyond simply theological differences.

Sometimes I think I'm actually not that far away from Martin's spot on the mountain, simply expressing it in very different terms because the analysis I bring, the things that bug me, and the practical outcomes are all very different for each of us. Certainly I get the feeling there's a lot of talking past each other for several of us here.

I'd like to get back to Martin's post above but I've run out of time to do it justice (i.e. fathom out what it might mean) for the moment.

[ 05. January 2018, 08:11: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Also, there seems to be a bit of an assumption that if Daniel was actually written after all the stuff about the Kings of the North and the South took place, then it must be fraudulent.

But it's only fraudulent if the author claimed it was some ancient text he'd just dug up. If there was no pretence to that effect, then it's just some kind of historical fiction.

Yes again. I'm quite open to that from a literary perspective, and your example from Virgil is instructive.

But I'd like to be sure that this wasn't just a convenient way of avoiding predictive prophecy, not on literary or linguistic grounds, but on theological grounds.

One of the places I part company with Martin is that he often seems to be starting with: 1) "there can't be any predictive prophecy because that means God must be micro-managing history, be a Killer, etc." and going on 2) to read the text in that light, whereas ideally, I'd much prefer the other way round:

starting by 1) looking at the literary aspects of the text and 2) possibly concluding from that analysis "hmm, what looks like predictive prophecy at first glance might be a literary convention" (or a bad translation, see Isaiah 7:14...) and 3) drawing some conclusions about divine sovreignty and so forth from that. I'd like my theology to be more informed by the actual text than Martin's seems to be.

I don't know if this makes sense. I tried to say something like this before but nobody picked up on it [Waterworks]
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
I suppose the problem for me is that there will always be something a bit a priori about deciding whether a text is more likely to be predictive prophecy than anything else.

That is, if one looks at the options and think predictive prophecy is a more (or less) likely explanation than fraud, literary convention, etc, then that presupposes not only that I know prevalent fraud or literary conventions were at the time, but also that I already have some idea of how likely predictive prophecy is.

But I can't have got that idea from the text, because it's what I'm using to evaluate the text.

(So if I say something like, hm, 2% of forgery, 3% chance of literary convention, therefore prophecy is the most probable option, that implies I'm approaching the text with an a priori view that prophecy has a greater than 3% chance of being present. My reasons for that view may be entirely rational, but they are still something I am bringing to the text rather than taking from the text.)
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I suppose the problem for me is that there will always be something a bit a priori about deciding whether a text is more likely to be predictive prophecy than anything else.

Yeah, I get that. But I like to dream one could be objective about it, or at least a bit more so.

Caricaturing again, the "higher criticism" view seems to start by practically ruling out the involvement of God at all, thus saying "well we know predictive prophecy is impossible" and explaining away bits of, say, Daniel by pointing out they mimic contemporaneous, extra-biblical texts cast as prophecy that aren't.

At the other end of the scale, confronted by this, Joyce Baldwin in my IVP commentary on Daniel grudgingly admits the existence of other, similar texts and goes on to say something along the lines of "so of course the Biblical prophecies have to be extra-specially accurately predictive to prove they are inspired and not like all the other, fake ones they resemble" [brick wall]

I can't help thinking there must be a way between these two extremes if predicitive prophecy is not allowed to take on the role of shibboleth - which it seems to do for both Jamat and Martin.

I'd prefer to start with something like "this looks predictive; is it really? Is there any doubt either way? If so, let's make this a secondary, not a primary consideration in our theology".
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I've been pondering that self-same point, Eutychus but can't avoid the conclusion that it makes little difference to my faith and the way I work it out and apply it if:

- The apparently predictive elements in Daniel and Isaiah aren't.

- The apparently predictive elements in Daniel and Isaiah are certainly predictive in the way Jamat claims.

What possible difference does it make?

I still believe that Jesus is the Messiah. I still believe the historic Creeds.

And if there are future, 'unfulfilled' elements then they'll become apparent in the fullness of time.

I don't see why there's so much fuss made over the whole thing when there are a lot more pressing issues to be concerned about.

It's pretty inevitable that liberals are going to opt for late dates for some of this material and conservatives will argue for early dates. There's no such thing as objectivity here. The sooner we acknowledge that the better.

Then we can do as I do and try to steer between the Scylla of scepticism and Charybdis of inflexible certainty.

Come on. We know it makes sense ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
My apologies to you as host Louise and to yourself Jamat for sniping.

@Jamat, as you know, my provenance for 30 years is Armstrongism; Anglo-Israelism as the key to Holy Spirit inspired and preserved prophecy by the prophets, as stated and dated, starting with Moses. For 30 years I would have made your argument above in deeply researched encyclopaedic detail. I majored in the minors second to none. We could not differentiate between the old and the new covenants except by progressive case law. That which wasn't permitted, repealed, rationalized by our apostle, was forbidden.

Anglo-Israelism is a delusion. I wept for its loss on the toilet in '95. It took another 15 years at least for God the Killer to finally die. I was wrestling with postmodernism just 5 years ago.

What disturbs me most about myself as always is “So knowledge isn’t the be-all, end-all here; love is.” from this this morning.

I am found wanting in love. Again. And again. And... Let me count the ways!

@Ricardus. I like 'that post'. And the point about the evolution of English – which Eutychus despairs of in the Hebrew (and Greek?) - and the historical fiction of 'Daniel' as in Virgil. I don't know if you think me guilty of liberal prejudice. If you do, please say. I'd say 'not guilty', even though in what follows you'd all find me guilty as charged I'm sure.

@Eutychus. I'm sorry to make it difficult for you, but you're doing fine despite that, overcoming my severe limitations. You make sense.

I don't want to avoid, cannot avoid predictive prophecy on theological grounds over scientific grounds, to which literary and linguistic grounds are entirely subordinate. For decades I reified predictive prophecy using every literary and linguistic ground I could find, distorted science itself through that lens. It should be childishly simple to demonstrate from history, i.e. the scientific analysis of documents, if prophecy has been fulfilled, IF the documents can be scientifically traced back to Isaiah son of Amoz and the Daniel of the scriptural Daniels or another alone. They can't be. And there is nothing internal to the documents themselves that can possibly, falsifiably, literarily or linguistically prove that they are foretellingly prophetic. The text does not validate itself internally.

That is not liberal prejudice.

In no other field of enquiry would we abandon the principles of science, of forensics, of history in favour of a miraculous explanation that isn't warranted. And I am COMPLETELY open to the miraculous as I accept the Incarnation AND the independently warranted, reasonable posit of God as ground of being. AND more! I see Him in the texts. Despite them. I see Him in contrast to the gods and their requirement in contemporaneous, concurrent religious texts. Staggeringly so. Profoundly, beautifully, movingly, inspiringly and inspiredly so. Progressively through a glass darkly still. He changes not.

I submit that due to the science, the theology follows. Not the other way around. No cart of theology can drive the horse of science. No matter how much I want existential, postmodern, neo-orthodox, liberal theology to be true (not Spongiform liberal theology, which is neither), all it would take is ONE fulfilled prophecy demonstrating 'redemptive' violence and I'd have to bow the knee and shake my head. But there isn't even a single Jewish messianic prophecy that isn't only – 20% numerically - vaguely fulfilled in Jesus. Most aren't at all. 'Yet'. Christians add more from seven Psalms, two of which Jesus used as He was dying. I haven't done a proper comparison of Jewish with Christian messianic claims, but they certainly overlap.

If because I accept the Incarnation-Resurrection I must accept the fulfilment of messianic longing and 'prophecy' does that mean I must accept God the Killer, PSA and a Wednesday universe? Only the last have I never believed. Whilst believing in Adam and Eve, the Flood and other mything the point as fact. Now NONE are warranted. Predictive prophecy IS possible. There isn't any. Certainly none predicated on God's 'sovereignly' violently micromanaging the future.

(@Gamaliel) This isn't scepticism. And it is objective.

And yes I want the Church to go forward on an unsensibly broad, inclusive front.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I wasn't accusing you of 'scepticism', Martin60. I actually find your accounts of your explorations quite moving - when I can follow the gist ...

[Biased]

What I'd say in response is to reiterate a point made earlier and somewhere or other ( [Biased] ) by Eutychus I think, that prophecy needn't be 'commutative' ...

So I'd suggest that any of us who go round try to match every single detail and whip-stitch of an OT prophecy (whether we see it as predictive or otherwise) to its NT fulfilment or some kind of future fulfilment, are barking up the wrong tree.

Take Peter's Pentecost sermon in Acts 2:

'This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel ...'

http://biblehub.com/acts/2-16.htm

Well yes, and if we were to tick the boxes we'd find people prophesying, dreaming dreams, seeing visions ...

But where on the Day of Pentecost do we see, 'blood and fire and billows of smoke ...' the moon turning to blood and so on?

Ah, the Futurists say, that's not talking about the Day of Pentecost, that's a foretelling of a future event, 'before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord' (Acts 2:20 NIV).

So why mention it then? Why does Peter include it in his sermon?

Sure, he sees it as the inauguration of a new era, the start of the age which is to come - with concommitant signs, wonders and auguries.

Other than the general point about signs and wonders, there is nothing in Joel's prophecy that describes the events of Pentecost in detail. No specific mention of 'speaking in other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance,' for instance.

No, it's the general principle that Peter applies.

It seems to me that hard-line Futurists and ultra-conservative evangelicals like Jamat (I'm avoiding the fundamentalist tag as he doesn't like it) expect the scriptures to 'behave' in ways that they don't actually conform to ie. exact equivalences in 100% of cases 100% of the time.

I don't see that in the text.

So, to my mind, it's a complete red-herring to say '20% of prophecies accurately refer to this' or '47.92% of them do that ...'

It smacks of a mid-19th century obsession with numerology - literal 1,000 year millenia, 'seventy weeks of years' and 'times, time and half a time' and so on ...

As if the scriptures are some kind of Rubik's cube puzzle or pocket calculator.

This is why I keep banging on about genre and why I find the kind of eschatological speculations engaged in by Jamat's favourite authors to be such a waste of time.

They are missing the point. By a country mile. Or by 'times, time and half a time' or however many 'weeks' of years you want it to be.

They think that they are defending the integrity of the scriptures by doing so but in reality they are making the scriptures behave in a way that don't appear to have done at any time.

'This is that ...' this is like ...

'It is as if ...'

'It reminds me of ...'

'Surely it is a case of ...'

Etc ...

You don't have to be a dyed in the wool liberal to see that. Heck, I've read Watchman Nee and he makes the same observation about Acts 2 as I just did. That's where I got it from.

Ultimately, if Josiah's reign was prophesied 300 years in advance, then glory be ...

If it wasn't and we are dealing with a contemporary account of some kind then glory be also - it doesn't detract from the broad thrust and aim of the account unless we insist on scripture behaving in ways that it doesn't ever appear to have done - other than in the minds of mid-19th century Protestants reacting against Higher Criticism or going off on post-Darby flights of eschatological fancy.*


* Although I'd certainly accept that eschatological speculation pre-dates that and you find it the Fathers, in medieval writing and in the speculations of the 18th century Jesuit, Manuel Lacunza. But you get my point ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Ah go on G. Accuse away if yer want. But you don't. Which is damn nice of you. Whip-stitch! You really are the most agreeable of men even though I want to disagree!

: if Josiah's reign was prophesied 300 years in advance, then God is VERY other indeed. Reality, God is BEYOND Haldane's '...not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. I'd add 'more pragmatic' to 'queerer'.

I used to regard Him as such for decades. It would take a scientifically demonstrable prophecy to make me go back to that from as I see Him in Christ now.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
I'm beginning to suspect that Ursula Le Guin is the key to your mind, Martin:

quote:
How can you tell fact from legend, truth from truth?
- Semley's Necklace
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
But there isn't even a single Jewish messianic prophecy that isn't only – 20% numerically - vaguely fulfilled in Jesus.

Funny you should say that.

I'm contemplating preaching on the Wise Men on Sunday (so what am I doing here? Good question). And what do I find (I swear I didn't go looking for this and had forgotten it was in that passage)?

In Matthew 2:6 the Scribes quote Micah 5:2 in answer to Herod's question about where the Christ was to be born.

So whatever the author of Micah thought, as Matthew has it the Jewish authorities, not those favourable to Jesus it would seem, were already interpeting that prophecy as Messianic before Jesus even emerged onto the scene - and it was accurate.

So is this after-the-fact flower arranging à la Josiah (and if it is, why believe any aspect of the accounts of the Incarnation at all?) or is it at the very least God deigning to fulfil at least some prophetic expectations of his people, even if (as so often) he subverts them in the very fulfilment thereof? Or one of my quantum nodes? Or what?

[ 05. January 2018, 18:42: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Good questions.

However we cut it, I get the impression that there was a heightened sense of Messianic expectations from the revolt of The Maccabees onwards.

You've got the Essenes and so on hiving off into the desert ...

You've got all manner of midrashic speculations and so on.

So it's hardly surprising if there was fervent speculation going on in terms of interpretation of prophetic and apocalyptic texts.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
They got that one right, though, apparently.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Martin :60 I used to regard Him as such for decades. It would take a scientifically demonstrable prophecy to make me go back to that from as I see Him in Christ now.

Oh really? And preferably something peer reviewed and repeatable?

Here is Robert Anderson’s summation of Dan 9 24-27.

*The 70 weeks = 70 times 7 prophetic years of 360 days
* The weeks begin with the edict of Artaxerxes Longimanus’ 20th year noted in Nehemiah.
* Luke states that the Lord’s public ministry began in the 15 Th year of Tiberius Caesar..between August AD 28 and April AD 29
*the Passover of the crucifixion was therefore in AD 32 when Christ was betrayed on the night of the paschal supper, and put to death on the day of the Paschal feast.
* The period between Artaxerxes edict and the passion should be expected to be 483 years.
* The edict was issued in Jewish month of Nisan. Jews compute from 1st of the month so the 70 weeks begin 1st Nisan BC 445.
* In BC 445, the new moon by which the Passover was regulated was 13 March, 7hr,9 m am so 1st Nisan was March 14.
* An era of 69 weeks ore 483 prophetic years reckoned from 14 March 445 BC should accord with some event to satisfy the words, ‘unto Messiah the prince.’
* This could not be the nativity as this would be 33 years before Messiah’s death.
* Jesus final visit to Jerusalem was the crisis of his ministry. He accepted the acclamation of the crowd in contrast to previous admonition to disciples not to make him known. Luke 19:39,40. This was the point of irrevocable choice.
*Zechariah signalled that day “Rejoice greatly daughter of Zion” Zech 9:9. This was a day that satisfies the angel’s words in Daniel.. “unto Messiah the prince.”
* this date is ascertainable. Jesus went up to Jerusalem on 8Nisan, 6 days before Passover.
* in that year, 14 Nisan was on a Thursday so the 8 of Nisan was the preceding Friday. He spent the sabbath at Mary and Martha’s house and entered Jerusalem as recorded in the gospels on 10 Nisan.
* The Julian date of that 10 Nisan was Sunday, April 6 AD32.
* what then was the length of the period between the issuing of the decree to to rebuild Jerusalem and ‘Messiah the prince’?
Ie between 14 March BC 445 and 6 April AD 32?
* This interval contained exactly and to the very day, 173880 days or, 7 times 69 prophetic years of 360 days, in other words
The first 69 ‘weeks’ of Gabriel’s prophecy.

Seem forensic enough for you Martin60?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Oh come on, Jamat. Evangelical commentaries such as those published by IVP acknowledge that whilst some commentators claim to be able to make the 70 weeks fit with the dating of Christ's ministry, the issue is far from resolved.

You are doing the precise thing I find so unconvincing about this approach.

@Eutychus, in terms of them 'getting it right' apparently, well yes - but there are anomalies that don't fit. 'He shall be called a Nazarene' for instance.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
The interesting thing about the Bethlehem one for the purposes of this discussion is not only is it accurate, but it is also reported by Matthew as being the answer the scribes gave to Herod.

In other words, it's not just Matthew breaking off the narrative with an aside saying "and this fulfilled (sort of) this prophecy"; it's part of the narrative itself.

I'd like to know from Martin whether in his view this is simply a plot device by Matthew, putting the words of that prophecy in the mouths of the scribes to make the whole thing more exciting.

If it is only that, then I think we can pretty much kiss Bethlehem and probably the Nativity goodbye too in terms of relying on the Gospels, or at least Matthew's, to tell us what happened.

If it isn't that, what is it?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Aye. It looks like Jesus. So it's God.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm sorry, Jamat, but that approach exemplifies what I consider to be the weaknesses rather than the strength of your kind of approach.

It treats the Bible in an almost talismanic fashion where every details has to fit together in some remarkably dove-tailed way - even down to the day or hour.

By starting at any fixed point you choose we could pretty much make the 70 weeks fit with any scheme we wish. There are a whole load of arbitrary assumptions and leaps in the example you cite. It is far from scientific and water-tight and any of us here could drive a steam-roller or coach and horses through it if we wished.

It's this whole thing of treating the Bible like some kind of coded almanac.

It's just wrong on so many levels.

If anything the apparent discrepancies and anomalies in scripture make it more convincing to me than if it really did all neatly dove-tail together in the way ultra-conservative commentators seem to expect and demand.

You talk about 'reading the Bible seriously.' The example you've given sounds to me like not reading it seriously enough. It's about layering verses in such a way as to make them fit.

'Let's see, if we start our 70 weeks here then that takes us to ...'

I really despair when I read stuff like that. It doesn't help my faith. It does the opposite.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Cross-posted with Eutychus:

Could be. The thing is though, that it appears the NT writers aren't averse to trying to find prophetic justification for things even though the examples they draw on may not appear to fit the bill.

'He shall be called a Nazarene,' is a case in point. Attempts to explain that one strike me as somewhat contrived.

The Bethlehem reference is interesting and yes, it is telling that Matthew makes it part of the narrative. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were a scribal tradition that was expecting the Messiah to come from Bethlehem based on interpretations of scriptural hints indications.

So yes, Matthew could certainly be recording general beliefs and expectations among the scribes at Herod's court.

Where I might part company with you, though is on it being a clear-cut choice between kicking the whole thing into touch or taking all the details at face value.

That might sound a bit wriggly on my part but I'm being open with you all.

The 'He shall be called a Nazarene' thing, whatever else it tells us, surely indicates that there was a propensity to mine even the most obscure references - and there isn't even a reference in that particular case - and apply them to Christ.

That doesn't mean the early Christians were wrong to apply types, foreshadowings and prophecies to Christ. It simply shows that the process didn't follow the kind of neat Meccano set models that Jamat seems to suggest with his 70 weeks application.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: starting at any fixed point you choose we could pretty much make the 70 weeks fit with any scheme we wish. There are a whole load of arbitrary assumptions and leaps in the example you cite. It is far from scientific and water-tight and any of us here could drive a steam-roller or coach and horses through it if we wished
I just did that because Martin60 demanded detailed verifiable and definite example. It is such and a challenge to his complacent atheism. Let him show it is incorrect. Let him seriously look at the claim.

I did not expect it to convince you but I defy you to dismiss it with the usual airy hand wave. You have not demonstrated anything but generalised vagueness, ever, when it comes to such matters. Be my guest and prove Anderson wrong. Drive your horse through the holes at full gallop.

The beginning point is far from arbitrary. Daniel 9 speaks of the 70 weeks beginning from a decree to rebuild the city. Such a decree is found in Nehemiah and is datable. The only premise you need to assume is that where it touches history, scripture is reliable.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I just did that because Martin60 demanded detailed verifiable and definite example. It is such and a challenge to his complacent atheism.

Martin is an atheist? Where's your evidence? Do you just mean he doesn't share your understanding of Christianity? I guess that would make me an atheist too.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Or any of us who don't take the kind of approach Anderson does.

It'd be easy to drive a coach and four through Anderson's formula. I need to sleep but in the morning I'll pull one of the Jenga pillars out. Anyone could.

It is risible and does a disservice to scripture. What does Anderson say about, 'He shall be called a Nazarene?'

I expect he comes out with an equally far-fetched and convoluted explanation for that one.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Example, 'This could not be the Nativity because that would be 33 years before Christ's death.'

Oh, right, so let's find another date to hang it on then in order to make it fit.

I've read loads of stuff like this. It doesn't convince. My faith persists despite of efforts like this, not because of them.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I just did that because Martin60 demanded detailed verifiable and definite example. It is such and a challenge to his complacent atheism.

Martin is an atheist? Where's your evidence? Do you just mean he doesn't share your understanding of Christianity? I guess that would make me an atheist too.
I fear it would make the majority of Christians throughout history atheists.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
I've read loads of stuff like this. It doesn't convince. My faith persists despite of efforts like this, not because of them.

Really? You give no evidence of having such familiarity.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: What does Anderson say about, 'He shall be called a Nazarene?'
Nothing. My reference to Robert Anderson was from his 1894 exposition of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy from his book ‘The Coming Prince’ which is out of print. If you see a copy anywhere it is worth a read.

Regarding: ‘as it is written,he shall be called a Nazarene’ , it is true that there is no specific prophecy in the OT that corresponds to this statement in Matt 2:23. It seems to be a prophetic summation of how the Messiah is treated. The word prophets, plural, is used in Matt 2 suggesting a ‘summation’ of what the prophets wrote in reference to the messiah, ie that he would be despised and rejected.

This view is reinforced by a mention in Acts 24:5 of the term Nazarene that suggests it was a derogatory name for followers of Christ when they were regarded as a Jewish sect. In the first century, (see Jn1:46,) the term apparently referred to a despised, rejected individual.

Another eg when prophets, plural, is referred to is in Luke 18:31-33 where no one prophet stated what Jesus said would happen to him, but collectively they did. It seems that the term ‘nazarene’ in Matt 2:23, is satisfactorily explained as a prophetic summation of how Messiah would be treated.

The word could derive from Is11:1where Messiah is referred to as ‘netzer’ or branch.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, I know about 'netzer' but it's use is problematic. The word-play in the Hebrew doesn't translate so well into the Greek.

I don't have a particular problem with the general application of the 'Nazarene' reference, but my point is that if it is a prophetic fulfilment then it's not a 'commutative' one in the sense that all the details fit neatly and incontrovertible . If that reference didn't exist and someone suggested it in a theological essay at any reputable seminary, they wouldn't get very good marks for doing so.

My point is that the NT writers can appear to act in a somewhat cavalier way with these references. It's the overall sweep and thrust they are concerned with, not whether a particular aspect of an OT prophecy was fulfilled to the letter at 3.35pm on a Thursday or whatever - which is the somewhat contrived way that Anderson and people like him operate.

You act as if I have never read any of this stuff. I have. I find it unconvincing.

I have also been to church meetings where preachers have come out with similar stuff and Bible studies etc. Again, I found that whole emphasis contrived.

As far as I'm aware - and I'm happy to be corrected - none of the Gospel writers specifically apply Daniel's 'weeks' to working out what was going on in Christ's ministry. Yes, there are references and echoes of it all in Revelation, but again, in the context of an apocalyptic genre and with John referring back to the collective depository of inherited images and tropes from OT prophecy and apocalyptic writings.

Anderson makes some pretty broad assumptions in order to find a hook on which to hang his overly elaborate and overly literal interpretation.

Besides, whoever made him an authority on anything? He's simply another of these somewhat geeky guys who appear to want to tie up all apparent loose-ends and resolve every feature or aspect of scripture as if it's some kind of giant jigsaw puzzle.

It is wrong-headed and unnecessary.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Aye. It looks like Jesus. So it's God.

I don't understand this answer.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
Gamaliel, your comments amount to:

‘I find the arguments unconvincing, wrong headed, unnecessary,’ without an attempt to specifically comment.

In addition you attack the man. Anderson was no lightweight thinker. His career as a policeman was impressive as well.

You say you are familiar with the thinking but I do not think you have ever seriously considered these kinds of arguments since all you respond with is generalities as if your own viewpoint, whatever it is, (you never say,) was a self evident refutation.

The Nazarene reference, I consider explained as best I can. All you say in response is that it does not correspond to a specific OT reference..which was the centre of my explanation as to why this may be the case.

I think Anderson may well be flawed in some detail. He does arbitrarily fix the angel’s statement of ‘until Messiah the Prince’ to the point of the triumphal entry of the gospels. I think his presumption here does have Merit though. As I wrote above, Martin 60 demanded (I think unreasonably) specific and even forensic analysis to prove prophecy. I endeavoured to show him that someone did some pretty precise thinking on the 70 weeks prophecy.

Incidentally, IF Anderson is correct, it accounts for only 69 weeks of 360 days. Remember, there are 70 7s.

His thesis if you read him, is that prophetic time differs from ordinary time. Prophetic time is only in play when Israel is functioning in the blessing of God. Their rejection of Messiah, according to Anderson and other dispensationalist interpreters, caused the ceasing of that blessing. Since then, and in times before such as the captivity, God removed the sceptre from his chosen people and as the gospel says, Jerusalem and indeed the world, is now under the ‘foot’ of the gentiles until the Jews bow the knee to the Messiah they rejected when he returns and they say:

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’

All this to say the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy is not yet begun. When it begins, people may realise too late, what these scriptures mean. The bridegroom May have come. The door may be closed.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I knew you were going to say that about the 70th week, there by showing how 'prophetic' I am.

Of course I could anticipate it as I've heard it all before.

I'm sure Anderson was a better copper than he was an exegete.

Martin60 asked for for application of the 70 weeks and you have given him what you think is one. By your own admission it doesn't quite fit. So what do you do? You tinker and do a bit of jiggery-pokery special pleading to say, 'Aha! That's only 69 weeks ... That must mean the 70th is yet to come!' Darnn narn naaarnn!

If that's not an attempt to force scripture into a particular framework or strait-jacket, I don't know what is.

The whole thing is a category error.

If the prophecy can't be made to fit facts (as the commentator sees them) then the facts must be tweaked to fit the prophecy.

We can avoid all this futile jack-straws party game with scripture by treating prophecy properly, taking into account genre, symbolism and other factors and not treating it as some kind of commutive crossword puzzle ...

I could undertake a blow by blow dismantling of Anderson's speculative schema if I wanted to. I might well do later today, but it seems somewhat cruel and spiteful to do so, like kicking over someone's carefully constructed sandcastle on the beach. There's no point. The tide will come in and wash it away in due course.

I've rejected - or rather, never accepted - this kind of eschatological schema not because I've failed to understand it, but because I don't think it has any weight, credence or value. I can see the appeal to people who want to insist on everything being cut-and-dried and want the scriptures to conform to a particular late 19th century conception of how they are supposed to perform.

But sorry ... Not for me. It's basically blind alley when there so many rich avenues to explore instead.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
His thesis if you read him, is that prophetic time differs from ordinary time. Prophetic time is only in play when Israel is functioning in the blessing of God.

This basically allows you to arbitrarily start and stop all your prophetic counting when you feel like it, depending on how "functioning in the blessing of God" is defined. It's about as meaningful as trying to keep actual time by reading the nuclear clock.
quote:
All this to say the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy is not yet begun. When it begins, people may realise too late, what these scriptures mean. The bridegroom May have come. The door may be closed.
And this is where I get off.

Firstly because these terror tactics do not reflect the essence of the Gospel.

And secondly, because according to you, even if the "door is closed", salvation is still available:
quote:
If I'm 'left behind', I was not a true believer but do I still have hope? Yes, if God grants me the gift of repentance. The gospel is still operative
From this, in the Rapture thread, we discovered a two-stage return of the Lord and various categories of believer other than those in the Church universal, including those saved after the rapture by 144,000 Jewish Evangelists, who only get to visit the New Jerusalem occasionally [Paranoid]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
You've said it yourself. For Anderson's scheme to work it has to make assumptions that are extrinsic to the text:

- That 'prophetic time operates differently to normal time'.

- That the temporal aspects only function properly when the Jews are enjoying the blessing of God.

Both those are assumptions. They are not explicit or even implicit in the text.

Sure,we all make interpretive and hermeneutical leaps, but those are some pretty long bounds to make.

All this specious speculation about 'prophetic time' only confirms my resolve to stick with 'liturgical time' and with 'redeeming the time' rather than wasting it on the futile construction of elaborate pre-millenialist and Dispensationalist schemas. Mercifully, from what I can gather, there are more subtle and nuanced forms emerging from these particular systems. Bring it on. It's not before time.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

I can't help thinking there must be a way between these two extremes if predicitive prophecy is not allowed to take on the role of shibboleth - which it seems to do for both Jamat and Martin.

True. And thinking about my previous post ISTM a truly rational approach ought to allow an element of feedback - that is, there ought to be some mechanism that causes me to question whether or not my argument against prophetic prophecy is quite as strong as I think it is.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
I don't know if you think me guilty of liberal prejudice. If you do, please say.

Not at all. [Smile]

The 'liberal prejudice' comment was mostly for Jamat's benefit. I get the impression Jamat believes that anything implying a late date for Daniel, with little or no predictive content, constitutes a rejection of the Bible, and thence liberalism or atheism. What I'm trying to get across is that there are other options.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
I could undertake a blow by blow dismantling of Anderson's speculative schema if I wanted to. I might well do later today, but it seems somewhat cruel and spiteful to do so, like kicking over someone's carefully constructed sandcastle on the beach. There's no point. The tide will come in and wash it away in due course.
Still looking for that horse 'n carriage to drive through the holes. Bring it on.
Your comment on the 70th 7 proves you do not understand the case he has made.

Eutychus, I hear your comment regarding fear tactics not being in the spirit of the gospel. You maybe confuse a healthy and an unhealthy fear. You cannot have a gospel that suits you. You do have also to deal wth the New Testament God who Hebrews states to be a 'consuming fire.' What is salvation in Christ if not an escape from a scary alternative?
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
prophetic years of 360 days

Where does the idea that a prophetic year is 360 days come from?

According to Wikipedia, a Hebrew year can have 353, 354, 355, 383, 384 or 385 days according to various complex rules which are intended to give you an average year of 365 and a bit days.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Eutychus:This basically allows you to arbitrarily start and stop all your prophetic counting when you feel like it, depending on how "functioning in the blessing of God" is defined
Actually, it is anything but arbitrary the more you look at it. you'd have to read him for yourself of course but there are all the periods through Judges where Israel falls into idolatry and is given over to enemies and then there is the 'captivity' period, and currently, we are in the 'times of the Gentiles' Luke talks about that coincides with the 'grace' in Christ being offered to all men through the gospel.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It's that and more,Jamat.

The issue I have with schemas like Anderson's is that they are so reductionist. They are also so elastic that even if I came galloping through on my coach and four this minute - and I've got better things to do and domestic issues to deal with - then proponents would simply move the goalposts and start the 70 weeks from a other arbitary point that suited them - as Eutychus states - and bend things round to suit their next crack-pot theory.

I may take a pony and trap out for a ride later, or take you out in the Surrey with the fringe on top.

I've not unstabled my horses yet because of the formidable defences I see ranged against me. Rather it's because kicking over other people's sandcastles is somewhat mean and you'd only go and shift the goalposts and construct Anderson's risible schema somewhere else under the conviction that it's 'what the Bible says' and represents the 'plain meaning of scripture.'

Eutychus and I have both identified assumptions you are making in order to make the whole thing fit and you've ignored us.

That tells me you're likely to ignore any tricycle, coach and four or juggernaut that comes belting through your pre-millenialist and Dispensationalist literalism.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
prophetic years of 360 days

Where does the idea that a prophetic year is 360 days come from?

According to Wikipedia, a Hebrew year can have 353, 354, 355, 383, 384 or 385 days according to various complex rules which are intended to give you an average year of 365 and a bit days.

Get with the programme, Ricardus. It has to be 360 days to fit the time-frame Anderson sets for it.

Incidentally, Jamat, how do you know I've not read Anderson or people associated with that school of thinking?

I read and rejected this stuff a long, long time ago. The only reason it's in my radar at all now is that there are recalcitrant people around like your good self who remind me how flawed a system it all is.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
prophetic years of 360 days

Where does the idea that a prophetic year is 360 days come from?

According to Wikipedia, a Hebrew year can have 353, 354, 355, 383, 384 or 385 days according to various complex rules which are intended to give you an average year of 365 and a bit days.

Really? The Bible seems consistent in using 360 days for a year. In the ancient times it seems lunisolar years were the norm. Isaac Newton is quoted by Anderson as writing:

' all nations,before the just length of the solar year was known, reckoned months by the course of the moon and years by the return of winter and summer, spring and autumn and in making their calendars they reckoned 30 days to a lunar month and 12 lunar months to a year'.

When the book of Daniel speaks of a seven, it is accepted generally that this is 7 years. Daniel's 70 th week is divided in half and one half is referred to as a time,times and half a time. Twice this same length of time is described as 42 months and twice as 1260 days. 1260 days are 42 months of 30 days. Using the Julian year, 3 and one half years would be 1278 days. The bible then must measures a 'prophetic' year as 360 days.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: incidentally, Jamat, how do you know I've not read Anderson or people associated with that school of thinking?
You do not engage with the material or seem to understand it. General comments of disparagement seem the norm but do prove me wrong. The use of a 360 day year by the Bible, was, I thought, generally accepted. Yet I find you think it is some kind of arbitrary choice?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Actually, it is anything but arbitrary the more you look at it. you'd have to read him for yourself of course

I don't need to.

My point is simple.

On the one hand you have a mechanistic linear time scheme whereby various events have to match up exactly, to the day, with events prophesied by a "prophetic clock".

If the argument stopped there you'd have my attention, or at least half of it.

The problem is that alongside that, you have a hermeneutic which allows you to interrupt the "prophetic clock" according to events identified by that hermeneutic.

To make matters worse, the clock-stopper/starter, "Israel walking in the blessing of God" is elastic enough to give you a whole range of interpretive options. In effect you can interrupt the first interpretive grid whenever you feel like it. That rather destroys its force.

If anyone raises objections to the options exercised it gives rise to another whole level of arcane justifications for why those options were exercised, and so on. It gets more complex, not less; it's Occam's Razor in reverse. The increasing complexity required to support the hermeneutic makes it suspect.

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
What is salvation in Christ if not an escape from a scary alternative?

I believe in the last judgement, but your summary is the tiniest part of salvation in my view, the worst bit to emphasise in preaching the Gospel, and a terrible source of motivation. The apostles preached the resurrection, not an "escape from a scary alternative". Yuk.

Preaching the gospel with the threat that "the door might be closed any second now" is neither effective nor true to the spirit of the Gospel, which is Good News, not "convert now before hellfire breaks out".
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Martin :60 I used to regard Him as such for decades. It would take a scientifically demonstrable prophecy to make me go back to that from as I see Him in Christ now.

Oh really? And preferably something peer reviewed and repeatable?

Here is Robert Anderson’s summation of Dan 9 24-27.

*The 70 weeks = 70 times 7 prophetic years of 360 days
* The weeks begin with the edict of Artaxerxes Longimanus’ 20th year noted in Nehemiah.
* Luke states that the Lord’s public ministry began in the 15 Th year of Tiberius Caesar..between August AD 28 and April AD 29
*the Passover of the crucifixion was therefore in AD 32 when Christ was betrayed on the night of the paschal supper, and put to death on the day of the Paschal feast.
* The period between Artaxerxes edict and the passion should be expected to be 483 years.
* The edict was issued in Jewish month of Nisan. Jews compute from 1st of the month so the 70 weeks begin 1st Nisan BC 445.
* In BC 445, the new moon by which the Passover was regulated was 13 March, 7hr,9 m am so 1st Nisan was March 14.
* An era of 69 weeks ore 483 prophetic years reckoned from 14 March 445 BC should accord with some event to satisfy the words, ‘unto Messiah the prince.’
* This could not be the nativity as this would be 33 years before Messiah’s death.
* Jesus final visit to Jerusalem was the crisis of his ministry. He accepted the acclamation of the crowd in contrast to previous admonition to disciples not to make him known. Luke 19:39,40. This was the point of irrevocable choice.
*Zechariah signalled that day “Rejoice greatly daughter of Zion” Zech 9:9. This was a day that satisfies the angel’s words in Daniel.. “unto Messiah the prince.”
* this date is ascertainable. Jesus went up to Jerusalem on 8Nisan, 6 days before Passover.
* in that year, 14 Nisan was on a Thursday so the 8 of Nisan was the preceding Friday. He spent the sabbath at Mary and Martha’s house and entered Jerusalem as recorded in the gospels on 10 Nisan.
* The Julian date of that 10 Nisan was Sunday, April 6 AD32.
* what then was the length of the period between the issuing of the decree to to rebuild Jerusalem and ‘Messiah the prince’?
Ie between 14 March BC 445 and 6 April AD 32?
* This interval contained exactly and to the very day, 173880 days or, 7 times 69 prophetic years of 360 days, in other words
The first 69 ‘weeks’ of Gabriel’s prophecy.

Seem forensic enough for you Martin60?

Not in the slightest.

And again.

That's more like it.

Don't you find it fascinating that no NT writer used it?

[ 06. January 2018, 11:08: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Aye. It looks like Jesus. So it's God.

I don't understand this answer.
I'd still like clarification of this, Martin. I can't understand if it's tongue in cheek and what it refers to.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Of course Eutychus, sorry for the delay, still going top down, with you shortly. And sorry for appearing gnomic. Not intended.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I wondered what you meant in your response to Eutychus too, Martin. I'm still wondering.

Meanwhile, @Jamat, what is it that I am failing to understand?

My 'take' is similar to that of Eutychus, that Anderson and commentators like him extrapolate all manner of numerical grids and frameworks from the scriptures that they can then move around in as elastic a way as best suits their purpose.

If you are going to accuse me of a lack of understanding then I could do the same thing in reverse by suggesting that you don't understand how prophetic and apocalyptic literature seems to 'work' and apply these things in a woodenly literal sense which gets increasingly convoluted as you attempt to make everything fit.

As someone whose job it is to teach literature, I'm genuinely surprised that you can't see that.

I've changed my mind about unstabling the horses and hitching them to my coach. I think I need a dirty great big Razor or pruning hook to hack my way through the thickets of your overgrown and overblown theology.

I wouldn't give Anderson the time of day. Why would anybody do so? It's got the hallmarks of whacko-jacko moveable feast numerology all over it.

Move along. There's nothing to see here apart from the kind of literalism we've all seen many times before.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The Bible seems consistent in using 360 days for a year. In the ancient times it seems lunisolar years were the norm.

With respect, I wouldn't treat Sir Isaac Newton as an authority on this question.

A lunisolar calendar is one where you use the phases of the moon to determine when each month starts, and then add intercalary months to ensure the months don't drift too far from the seasons with which they're associated. By definition the year length will average 365 and a bit days, because that's the average you need to prevent the seasons from drifting.

One lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. If you use 30-day months then it takes less than three years before the first day of the month is the Full Moon instead of the New Moon.

On the modern Hebrew calendar, the months have either 29 or 30 days according to set rules. Presumably in origin you would have just looked at the sky and thought 'New moon = new month'.

Likewise, if you use a 360-day year with no intercalation, then it takes less than 40 years before your midsummer festivals are in midwinter.

If you have contrary evidence that the ancient Hebrew year was 360 days I would like to see it.
quote:

When the book of Daniel speaks of a seven, it is accepted generally that this is 7 years. Daniel's 70 th week is divided in half and one half is referred to as a time,times and half a time. Twice this same length of time is described as 42 months and twice as 1260 days. 1260 days are 42 months of 30 days. Using the Julian year, 3 and one half years would be 1278 days. The bible then must measures a 'prophetic' year as 360 days.

a. Accepting for the sake of argument that all of these periods refer to the same event: If I were to say in one place that a bridge took three and a half years to build, and in another place that it took 1260 days to build, then the natural conclusion would be that three and a half years was the approximate figure and 1260 days the exact figure. The natural reading would emphatically not be that I was using my own private definition of a year.

b. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 1260 days comes from Revelation, not Daniel. Your scheme requires that a prophecy was given at the time of Belshazzar but the interpretive key that was required to understand it wasn't given until the time of John of Patmos, by which point 69 of the 70 weeks had already elapsed.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
FWIW I am very familiar with the 69 / 70 weeks thing in certain forms of evangelical eschatology and no, Ricardus I'm not suggesting that 'everything has already happened.'

I just don't believe that well-meaning but somewhat misguided commentators like Anderson were or are barking up the right tree.

I can understand their reaction against Higher Criticism and have a lot of sympathy with their aims, if not their approach.

In seeking to defend the integrity of the scriptures they end up in a kind of cross between a limbo dance and that 1960s game Twister in trying to make it all fit some nice, neat, cut and dried scheme.

They aren't alone. Plenty of Christian traditions act in a similar way over some issues or other.

The irony is that proponents of this kind of approach think they are defending scripture from the worst excesses of liberalism and modernism but only end up scoring an own goal.

They think they are simply arguing and extrapolating from the scriptures when all they are doing is rearranging the jig-saw pieces in ways that fit best with whatever framework they try to force it to fit.

It can be a beguiling pastime I'm sure but it doesn't get us very far.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sorry, life, including hoovering, supervened.

'Aye. It looks like Jesus. So it's God': Anything in the OT that doesn't look like Jesus is us (God the micromanaging Killer). And some of what looks like Him is still us on a good day, picking up the vibes. And some is… Him in clear.

In the late C8th BCE Micah gave a Jewish messianic prophecy that the Jews embraced. They still do. The prophecy wasn't accurate in Jesus for them. It still isn't. Furthermore it wasn't accurate in Jesus full stop either: 'Bethlehem... out of you will come... one who will be ruler over Israel'. Jesus didn't and doesn't reign over Israel. Until He does, we have no idea whether it was accurate or not from a Jewish or Christian POV.

So, it's very mainly your 'Or what?' at least Eutychus.

And it's CERTAINLY not '...simply a plot device by Matthew, putting the words of that prophecy in the mouths of the scribes to make the whole thing more exciting.'. That takes fast and loose beyond my comfort zone in to absurd Crossan-Spong territory. Of course the star was an angel or other supernatural epiphany. Comets don't land on stables. You can't follow one to the other.
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
hosting

Jamat, you've been warned for C3 and have re-offended by accusing another poster of 'complacent atheism'. Even if someone happily self-describes as an atheist, complacent is an insult. If someone doesn't self-describe as an atheist, then to accuse them of atheism is an insult. The next step would usually involve an admin intervening.

Gamaliel, recalcitrant is an insult in terms of C3 and other posters may not be described as 'recalcitrant people'.

Everyone- while attacks on argument style are Ok be careful with 'You' statements which easily become personal accusations of bad faith/ignorance. Please be more careful and dial back any personal accusations. You all know where the Hell board is for that.
Thanks
Louise
Dead Horses Host
hosting off
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
prophetic years of 360 days

Where does the idea that a prophetic year is 360 days come from?

According to Wikipedia, a Hebrew year can have 353, 354, 355, 383, 384 or 385 days according to various complex rules which are intended to give you an average year of 365 and a bit days.

Let me wiki that for you [Devil]

[ 06. January 2018, 14:17: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sigh, sorry Eutychus. So, as it's minimal, an exquisite oracular detail, with no rampaging puppet empires, it could be the same God as in Jesus. I'd bet it was. In the Jungian sense I know it was. How it will be, we haven't the faintest idea.
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
Just to be explicit, Jamat, Gamaliel, et al - you may consider the Hostly imperatives on this thread to be functionally divine. Such that either they will be complied with, or reality will be altered that questions of compliance will become moot.

You will get no further warnings.

-RooK
Admin
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
And it's CERTAINLY not '...simply a plot device by Matthew, putting the words of that prophecy in the mouths of the scribes to make the whole thing more exciting.'. That takes fast and loose beyond my comfort zone in to absurd Crossan-Spong territory.

Thanks for the clarification.

I think I'm with you most of the way.

What you say here, though, confirms my suspicion that it's your comfort zone, rather than a particular school of textual criticism, that stops you applying the same logic to Matthew. I have every sympathy for that and can understand the reasons why (I think), but I still think that's a teeny bit inconsistent.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The Bible seems consistent in using 360 days for a year. In the ancient times it seems lunisolar years were the norm.

With respect, I wouldn't treat Sir Isaac Newton as an authority on this question.

A lunisolar calendar is one where you use the phases of the moon to determine when each month starts, and then add intercalary months to ensure the months don't drift too far from the seasons with which they're associated. By definition the year length will average 365 and a bit days, because that's the average you need to prevent the seasons from drifting.

One lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. If you use 30-day months then it takes less than three years before the first day of the month is the Full Moon instead of the New Moon.

On the modern Hebrew calendar, the months have either 29 or 30 days according to set rules. Presumably in origin you would have just looked at the sky and thought 'New moon = new month'.

Likewise, if you use a 360-day year with no intercalation, then it takes less than 40 years before your midsummer festivals are in midwinter.

If you have contrary evidence that the ancient Hebrew year was 360 days I would like to see it.
quote:

When the book of Daniel speaks of a seven, it is accepted generally that this is 7 years. Daniel's 70 th week is divided in half and one half is referred to as a time,times and half a time. Twice this same length of time is described as 42 months and twice as 1260 days. 1260 days are 42 months of 30 days. Using the Julian year, 3 and one half years would be 1278 days. The bible then must measures a 'prophetic' year as 360 days.

a. Accepting for the sake of argument that all of these periods refer to the same event: If I were to say in one place that a bridge took three and a half years to build, and in another place that it took 1260 days to build, then the natural conclusion would be that three and a half years was the approximate figure and 1260 days the exact figure. The natural reading would emphatically not be that I was using my own private definition of a year.

b. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 1260 days comes from Revelation, not Daniel. Your scheme requires that a prophecy was given at the time of Belshazzar but the interpretive key that was required to understand it wasn't given until the time of John of Patmos, by which point 69 of the 70 weeks had already elapsed.

@ hosts I appreciate your warning and apologise.

Ricardus:
I think when one googles the calendar issues, it is obvious that in the ancient world there were lots of adjustments for reasons we do not understand from this vantage point in time. The issue is not straightforward. You will be aware that the Bible has two places where the sun was said to have stopped, the long day of Joshua and Hezekiah's sundial.

The analysis of Sir Robert Anderson in the 19th century, does indeed seek to reconcile the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 with actual historical events. Critics both here and elsewhere accuse him of arbitrarily starting his time clock to suit his time line to make the prophecy fit. That is one way, but I think a cynical way, of looking at it.

Anderson, though, begins with assumptions not shared by sceptics of the Bible record. He assumes that the Bible does have integrity of form..that it is God's revelation and that we can expect its details to line up with history. He was, I think, the first dispensationalist to make a credible attempt at such a reconciliation. His thinking is still accepted today by dispensationalist theologians like John Walvoord and Arnold Fructenbaum

As you can see from responses here, he is assumed by his critics as all dispensationalists are, to be creating a scenario to fit his theology rather than actually exegeting scripture which is what he claims to do. I think that this is the major criticism that needs addressing.

I would just make two points as a supporter of Anderson in view of your comments.

The first is to claim of the OT does actually support his assertion that the Bible, when it treats of a prophetic year, uses a year of 360 days. It seems that right from Genesis, in detailing the days of the flood, this actually was the case and as you point out right through to the book of revelation this is a consistent pattern in scripture. This is despite the fact that different civilisations throughout history have needed to adjust their calendars. To me at least, it makes sense that God has done this in the Bible in references to days years and months or there would be hopeless confusion. My link below has a clear message about this.

I think a second accusation is the more serious. Occam's razor is said to be violated. The schema is said to be made more complex to fit the details. Well, first, Occam's razor is not science. It suggests only that the simplest explanation is most likely the right one. However, the 70 week prophecy is so detailed and specific that there IS no 'most likely' explanation. Shipmates here cannot supply alternative 'simpler' explanations except to dismiss it on the basis of undermining the text by assuming, and that's all it is, that it is late dated or error ridden. This is the sceptical fall back position.

OK, fair enough but it is not mine. All I would say and the reason I post on this web site is that there may be some readers who are willing to consider a different view. If not, so be it.

Depends where you look
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, and I'm not looking where you are looking, at highly partial and selective Protestant fundamentalist websites.

That one has the RCs down as 'The Beast' for instance, in almost 17th century fashion.

I'll admit that I don't take Anderson or people like him terribly seriously.

There is good reason for that. Eutychus had already outlined a few.

I could add some more.

I'm sorry but I have no time whatsoever for pre-millenialist Dispensationalism in any way, shape or form, although I'll readily accept that some more recent exponents have moved things on a bit from the numpty stuff I first encountered as a young Christian.

I'd certainly prefer some form of conservative theology to the Spongiform version but find it very hard to take fellas like Anderson very seriously.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sure, and I'm not looking where you are looking, at highly partial and selective Protestant fundamentalist websites.

That one has the RCs down as 'The Beast' for instance, in almost 17th century fashion.

I'll admit that I don't take Anderson or people like him terribly seriously.

There is good reason for that. Eutychus had already outlined a few.

I could add some more.

I'm sorry but I have no time whatsoever for pre-millenialist Dispensationalism in any way, shape or form, although I'll readily accept that some more recent exponents have moved things on a bit from the numpty stuff I first encountered as a young Christian.

I'd certainly prefer some form of conservative theology to the Spongiform version but find it very hard to take fellas like Anderson very seriously.

That’s fine Gamaliel I see no further point in exchanges with you over this. Live long and prosper. Trust health on all fronts is good.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well, it's not as if you are going to convert me to your eschatological schema - nor am I going to persuade you to adopt what I consider to be a more sensible one.

But there we are.

I wish you well and every blessing to you and yours. When the Kingdom comes in its fullness we won't any of us be checking proof-texts and verses to see which of us were closest to the way it all panned out.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I think when one googles the calendar issues, it is obvious that in the ancient world there were lots of adjustments for reasons we do not understand from this vantage point in time. The issue is not straightforward.

Absolutely. But what this incontrovertibly does is create plenty of wiggle room to make a an apparently precise timeline like Anderson's fit.
quote:
You will be aware that the Bible has two places where the sun was said to have stopped, the long day of Joshua and Hezekiah's sundial.
And here's some more wiggle room. (I mean, I know these episodes come before Daniel, but the point is, acknowledging God can arbitrarily suspend time makes a nonsense of any argument based on a strictly linear, chronological progession of time. You can't invoke both and be consistent).

quote:
Critics both here and elsewhere accuse him of arbitrarily starting his time clock to suit his time line to make the prophecy fit.
That's not quite what I said. I said that allowing for the possibility of the "clock of prophecy" stopping and starting on the basis of a factor with a degree of subjectivity (when "Israel is walking in the blessing of God") is incompatible with trying to measure a linear, chronological progression of time.

Again, you can reasonably apply one of these ideas, but you can't sensibly apply both. It's just too easy to "stop the clock" as the need arises to make the chronology fit.

quote:
He assumes that the Bible does have integrity of form
What does that mean exactly, to your mind?
quote:
I think a second accusation is the more serious. Occam's razor is said to be violated. The schema is said to be made more complex to fit the details.
That's not what I said either. I said that when objections to the schema were raised, the answers to the objections became ever more complex than the initial objection.

This can be seen, as referred to above, in our discussions about the Rapture. In response to the objection that Scripture, especially the NT, presents us with one people of God, your particular take on eschatology explains there are multiple categories, all obtaining salvation in different ways, which all have to be explained by complex cross-referencing and speculation, and in addition all these different categories have to inhabit different sectors of the New Heaven and the New Earth, come to the New Jerusalem only on visits, and so on.

You can qualify Occam's Razor how you like, but such an approach seems to me to be likely to generate more confusion than enlightenment. Inasmuch as it makes understanding the Bible ever more complex, I think it runs counter to the promise of the New Covenant. Put bluntly, that way madness lies.
quote:
Shipmates here cannot supply alternative 'simpler' explanations except to dismiss it on the basis of undermining the text by assuming, and that's all it is, that it is late dated or error ridden. This is the sceptical fall back position.
I disagree. I've constantly reiterated that I have an open (and largely uninformed) mind about OT dating. And I don't qualify Scripture as "error-ridden".

As I understand it even you accept that just because the Bible refers to four corners of the earth does not mean it is in error because of its use of that metaphor. I am however convinced that plenty of errors can arise by not reading it as it was intended to be read.

I'm not going to try and find out how to fix my car or washing machine by looking in the Bible; neither do I expect to be able to open it and discern a 1:25,000 scale map of all history. That doesn't mean I believe it's "error-ridden". That is a mischaracterisation of my position.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
I said that allowing for the possibility of the "clock of prophecy" stopping and starting on the basis of a factor with a degree of subjectivity (when "Israel is walking in the blessing of God") is incompatible with trying to measure a linear, chronological progression of time.

Again, you can reasonably apply one of these ideas, but you can't sensibly apply both. It's just too easy to "stop the clock" as the need arises to make the chronology f

You assume that he does this arbitraily for his convenience. If you are open minded, I suggest you read him. He is very specific on this point. You may not be convinced but quite definite criteria are applied.

You evidently misunderstand the application of this. There is no contradiction. He does not stop the clock when the need arises to suit his theological presumptions though like any researcher he does work from assumptions which he is testing, but rather, in those OT periods when Israel falls from grace. These periods are well signalled, eg, previous to the time of Gideon. The analogy of ‘time on,time off’ in sports games is apt. However the umpire in this case is other worldly. If these times can be ascertained, the years to measure are simply those in between them..no inconsistency.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
6
quote:
I'm not going to try and find out how to fix my car or washing machine by looking in the Bible; neither do I expect to be able to open it and discern a 1:25,000 scale map of all history. That doesn't mean I believe it's "error-ridden". That is a mischaracterisation
I only know you from what you write here and you seem to me to be a knowledgeable and honest person on that basis so I do apologise if you feel mischaracterised. One can only respond to points that strike one in a lengthy post.

Neither am I going to fix a utility that way but this is not about fixing utilities it is about assumptions that the Bible is flawed as to fact and history where it touches these things.

If one assumes there are anachronisms, scribal errors etc, or that it is a Bronze Age text written by liars who alter dating, as many critics do then I think you cannot see it as God’s message, you will be sitting in judgement on it. You will only learn from it what you choose to. You selfish human with all kinds of possible motives remain in control of what you let in and reject regarding Bible truth.

Now I do not make any assumptions about others in saying this but I am currently convinced that it has integrity and that the prophecy it contains is explicable and relevant to humankind.

Note: this is not to say that I am right necessarily in my current beliefs about it but the principle of its truth is for me a non negotiable and over 40 odd years and many arguments, It is clear to me that most Bible trashing, is an excuse to be free from the moral strictures it imposes. I want to behave in a certain way contrary to Biblical injunctions? No problem! The Bible has got so many errors after all! This is often what one is up against in discussion about it. Morality is the elephant in the room.

Sorry about the rant.

[ 06. January 2018, 21:42: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I can understand why you might want to rant but from where I'm coming from it seems one that is misdirected and misplaced.

Nobody here has said that the scriptures were written by Bronze Age 'liars' who altered dates.

If there are later dates for parts of Isaiah or for Daniel that doesn't betoken bad faith or deceit on the part of the authors, it simply means that these texts accumulated over time as was a common pattern for ancient writings.

It doesn't obviate the import of the message or impugn the integrity of the writers. It's only a problem if one insists on scripture behaving in a particular way - a way favoured by mid to late 19th century conservative / fundamentalist (using the word in its original non-pejorative sense) commentators who were reacting - quite understandably - to the excesses of the Higher Critics.

It's sometimes been said that liberal 19th and 20th century scholars saw themselves staring back up out the waters of the bottom of the well when they peered down in 'quest of the historical Jesus.'

I have a lot of sympathy with that view. They read the scriptures in the light of their own predelictions.

They saw what they wanted to see.

Ricardus here has tried to argue that there is a third way, that to consider the findings of recent scholarship isn't necessarily to topple into liberalism and apostasy.

I would agree. I may sympathise with the motives and intentions of someone like Anderson but I'm afraid, like Eutychus, I find such arguments convoluted and unconvincing.

Equally, I find the conclusions of people like Karen Armstrong somewhat convenient and contrived.

I wouldn't accuse either of bad faith - but they each, inevitably, have an agenda.

As long as we are aware of that, fine.

The reason that I - and others like me - don't subscribe to a pre-millenialist or Dispensationalist viewpoint isn't down to closed-mindedness in the face of incontrovertible facts, rather it's because we have actually examined the material and come to a different conclusion.

It's not a 'cover' so we can elide this, that or the other scriptural injunction at will.

'I believe in a late date for Daniel, that means I can cheat on my tax returns or have extramarital affairs ...'

FWIW the IVP commentary I have here - far from a liberal one - states that there is no firm consensus on whether the 69 weeks fit neatly with the events of Christ's life. It doesn't dismiss it as a possibility, but neither does it present it as an article of faith and worthy of all acceptance.

That doesn't mean it doesn't accept the Messianic import of Daniel.

Just saying ...
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Jamat, to go back quite a bit, I can't find where you set out what you would define as scripture. Does it include what we Anglicans would call either the Apocrypha or Deutero-canonical works, but which Catholics would include completely? Then there's the range of texts, various Gospels and the like, which some of the Oriental Orthodox churches would include, but not by the Eastern Orthodox or any of the Western ones. And if you don't include every book which some church would include, how do you draw the line?

As to Anderson - you say he had a good reputation as a policeman as well as a theologian. IIRC, he was sacked as a deputy commissioner or some such position because he was hopeless at pursuing the Fenians, and his time trying to investigate Jack the Ripper had the grand effect of muddying the waters and probably making the offences insoluble.

You may think otherwise, but I don't think I'm alone in finding his theological writings little more than an attempt to twist all sorts of facts and figures, particularly dates, to suit his own purposes. Others above have pointed out some of the basic flaws he has fallen into.

But if you like that sort of exercise, try this: the life of each Phoenix was 1,460 years. Think about it and see what you come up with.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
You assume that he does this arbitraily for his convenience. (...) He does not stop the clock when the need arises to suit his theological presumptions though like any researcher he does work from assumptions which he is testing, but rather, in those OT periods when Israel falls from grace.(...)If these times can be ascertained, the years to measure are simply those in between them..no inconsistency.

He may well not set out to do so arbitrarily, but the problem I'm trying to point out is that "those OT periods when Israel falls from grace" is a flexible enough concept to allow him some latitude.

I'd be willing to bet that one or both of two things are true: a) there is at one tendentious instance of "Israel falling from grace" in his list (and/or at least one that is left out) b) there is at least one for which the date cannot be assigned with certainty.

It's like saying "I'll time this race but stop whenever the crowd aren't cheering". The elapsed seconds during timing will no doubt be accurate enough but the problem is, how do you define, to the second, when the crowd starts and stops cheering? These are two incompatible systems.
quote:
it is about assumptions that the Bible is flawed as to fact and history where it touches these things.
No, it's (largely) about differences of opinion as to how the Bible touches fact and history. It is no fault of the text if we're reading it wrong.

Stating that Isaiah prophesied a "young girl" would give birth does not make the Bible "wrong" if Isaiah (or God's) intent was never to provide a pixel-accurate predictive prophecy, any more than it is "wrong" to say of someone who dies at a ripe old age "he had a good innings" even if he never played cricket. And so on.

quote:
I am currently convinced that it has integrity
The fact that I have different criteria for integrity doesn't mean I believe it has none.

If you could find it within yourself to accept that it's at least possible to be a sincere Christian, have a different view of Scripture to you, and still believe Scripture has integrity, it would take a lot of the hostly-ire-inducing heat out of this debate.
quote:
It is clear to me that most Bible trashing, is an excuse to be free from the moral strictures it imposes. I want to behave in a certain way contrary to Biblical injunctions? No problem! The Bible has got so many errors after all! This is often what one is up against in discussion about it. Morality is the elephant in the room.
I can't see anybody arguing that here.

What is more, my experience of getting on for 50 years of belief ( [Razz] ) is that a "conservative" or "fundamentalist" view of Scripture is absolutely no guarantee of moral integrity.

This can easily be seen from the seemingly endless stream of hypocritical evangelical leaders who condemn loudly from the pulpit the very sins they themselves are guilty of.

For much of my adult life I was led to believe that "sound" teachers and preachers embodied the upright theological morals and honesty they preached and could instinctively be relied on, in contrast to wicked liberals. My experience, which has cost me dearly in my own life, is that they cannot.

It would be nice if individuals' morality broke down so straightforwardly along the lines of the doctrine one professes to hold, but it doesn't. My criterion for assessing a theological argument these days sets a lot of store by the intellectual honesty with which the argument itself is made, over and above whether it comes to the "right" conclusions.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
And it's CERTAINLY not '...simply a plot device by Matthew, putting the words of that prophecy in the mouths of the scribes to make the whole thing more exciting.'. That takes fast and loose beyond my comfort zone in to absurd Crossan-Spong territory.

Thanks for the clarification.

I think I'm with you most of the way.

What you say here, though, confirms my suspicion that it's your comfort zone, rather than a particular school of textual criticism, that stops you applying the same logic to Matthew. I have every sympathy for that and can understand the reasons why (I think), but I still think that's a teeny bit inconsistent.

Ah go on, you can drive a coach and horses through it surely? And my response will be the same. It's the Jesus effect. It's the pathos of the Jesus effect which drives the logos in my rhetoric. Jesus. The rock in the pond. 'Matthew' wasn't the even more elusive 'Daniel'. They are separated by two centuries of turbulent, swirling cultural evolution and above all by Jesus. There is no comparison between Daniel and Matthew, between the OT and the New. Between the yearning of priest class pre-Christian, exilic-post-exilic Jews for a national deliverer and the somewhat more egalitarian shepherds, fishermen, tradesmen, a tax collector, a light fingered possible former terrorist, a doctor and an array of women of all classes and the disabled who one way or another witnessed God incarnate and were involved in his chronicling.

In their seething Caravaggio pre-Enlightenment yet most illuminated humanity, the Mark, Matthew, Luke and the latter pair's mate Quelle and utterly separate John schools, with all their agendas and takes to different audiences decades after the Chicxulub of Jesus hit the Gulf, in their confusion there is utter authenticity. And honesty. They weren't going to make stuff up like Herod's scribes knowing about Bethlehem, that's just wasted effort, far too contrived, utterly unnecessary. It's obvious the scribes would have known that anyway. Shave it. Conspiracy theories never work because it assumes people know what they're doing, that they are preternaturally competent, that lone genius works. Nope. This mob of decent gobsmacked people did not have the massive resources of the state religion to cook the books of Isaiah and Daniel in the interests of the deep state.

Where's the inconsistency? There is no comparison.

How did the sermon go?

[ 07. January 2018, 10:24: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Jamat, I too agree that there is integrity in the scriptural writings - but I don't see why that necessitates an insistence that there was only one writer in instances where it seems likely that there may have been more.

But we've been around that several times now ...

I too am currently convinced that the prophecies are 'explicable and relevant to humankind.'

They can be explicable and relevant if interpreted in a Preterist, Historicist or Futurist way.

The trick, of course, is to know when to apply each or when to mix and match or merge them.

That's not an admission of defeat or a hand-waving refusal to engage with the issues, rather it's a considered opinion having been round the block a few times ... not 50 years as in Eutychus's case nor 40 in years but 30+ years - getting on for 40 soon years soon ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I've been engaged with this stuff for nearly 50. Thank God I'll know sooner than any of you probably. Although my daughter just told me in Dutch that I have a reason to stick around. Most inspiring.

Oh and Jamat, what is this morality that I don't want, that goes hand in hand with God the micromanaging, empire puppeteering, baby drowning Killer?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
One suspects it's a reference to another Dead Horse.

But let's let sleeping equines lie.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
How did the sermon go?

OK. PM me if you want to brush up on your French [Big Grin]

So things get more reliable, honest, and accurate the nearer we get to the meteor crater of Jesus and/or as culture progressed. I suppose that's a fresh way of saying "the Old is by the New explained".

Now where does that leave Revelation?

[ 07. January 2018, 15:42: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It leaves it as a 'Revelation of Jesus Christ'.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

The first is to claim of the OT does actually support his assertion that the Bible, when it treats of a prophetic year, uses a year of 360 days. It seems that right from Genesis, in detailing the days of the flood, this actually was the case

Again, I think the most natural reading of that passage from Genesis is that the ark landed on Ararat before the end of the 150 days - when the waters had abated to the level of the mountain-tops, but not the level of the plains.

A 'standard' Hebrew year could not be 360 days, because that is incompatible with the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles, as described by Leviticus 23: 'Now, the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep the festival of the Lord, lasting seven days'. So the seventh month is always round about harvest-time - which would not be the case with a 360-day year.

In fact this is obvious from Anderson's own schema. You start on 1 Nisan and end on 10 Nisan. But on a 360-day year, 173,330 days after 1 Nisan would also be 1 Nisan.

Anderson's schema therefore requires Daniel's readers to understand he meant not what they would mean by a year, but a special kind of year whose existence has to be inferred from an apparent discrepancy in a completely unrelated story about Noah.

quote:

I think a second accusation is the more serious. Occam's razor is said to be violated.

To me the problem is that if your interpretative framework allows a wide spectrum of interpretations, then you need to build a very strong case to show that any particular interpretation is correct.

For example: apparently the prophecy 'After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary' is fulfilled by the events of Palm Sunday. But the only point of commonality between Palm Sunday and that verse is the presence of the Messiah - and even then, that is dependent on 'anointed' in v26 referring to the Messiah but in v25 referring to an earthly ruler.

But if that is all that's required to show an event is a fulfilment of a prophecy, then practically any event could fulfil it. For example, if we assume 'regular' years instead of 360-day years, we get to AD 39, during which year (from Wikipedia):

- Agrippa I, king of Judaea, successfully accuses Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, of conspiracy against Caligula. Antipas is exiled and Agrippa receives his territory.

- Caligula orders that a statue of himself be placed in the temple in Jerusalem. The governor of Syria, Publius Petronius, who is responsible for erecting the statue, faces mass demonstrations by Jews of the region and manages to delay construction of the statue until the death of Caligula in AD 41.

Surely either of those events could be seen to fulfil the prophecy equally well?

Anderson's schema makes Daniel either vague or obscurantist. By contrast, in a historicist interpretation the author's meaning would have been plain to his readers because it would recall events that had only just happened.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
E.

I follow Capitaine Monique and her helmsman Guirec Soudée avec mon Franglais abominable sur Visagelivre.

Revelation? That's Jesus. He is the revelation of God by country miles, by orders of magnitude.

And He never said a word or three ("That's me, that.") about Isaiah 7 or Daniel 9.

[ 07. January 2018, 16:52: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Yes, of course. But how does the book of Revelation fit into your meteor-crater-and-cultural-advances-make-everything-around-the-time-of-Jesus-crystal-clear framework?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
As for Revelation, The Book Of, I haven't the faintest idea compared with all I used to know.

And Ricardus. Masterful.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Crossed in the post. Where do I claim the Rock in the pond is crystal clear? Cuh. Fuh. We can't even say WHAT He was coherently (a person or Person with natures and wills and that). We've got what He said and did and none of us agrees on what that means unless we've walked to a meeting of minds by education and experience. So I certainly don't expect any of His contemporaries to make any sense at all. Not when they go off on one, as we say round 'ere. And John of Patmos certainly went off on one. And it may WELL have been a fully immersive movie by the Holy Spirit for him and his audience. I'm not his audience.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Crossed in the post. Where do I claim the Rock in the pond is crystal clear?

I didn'y say you did. But you seem to be arguing that the records about him are more reliable, and the odds of the supernatural happening higher, the closer one is to him in time.
quote:
So I certainly don't expect any of His contemporaries to make any sense at all.
No, but you expect them to be reliable witnesses so far as they are able. You expect Matthew to be recording the views of the scribes on prophecy accurately and our record of that record to be reliable while whatever Isaiah(s) or Daniel(s) were up to is completely hermetic to us.
quote:
Not when they go off on one, as we say round 'ere. And John of Patmos certainly went off on one. And it may WELL have been a fully immersive movie by the Holy Spirit for him and his audience. I'm not his audience.
Who was it who said he had clearly drunk too much retsina whilst waiting for one of the Greek islands' notoriously late ferries? Alright. But we value what he wrote nonetheless, don't we?

If we are not somewhere, somehow also his audience, why accept the canon at all? Why bother passing on the Bible as preserved by the Church down the ages at all? Why not just use Earthsea novels or Tolkien instead?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Crystal: Aye, closer is good. So 30-40 year after He were resurrected, John of Patmos had his trip, not a problem. It's a work of genius whatever.

The Expected Reliables: Aye, as expected. What the older schools were up to was politics; propaganda swathed in cabalistic magic.

Audience value: We're inheritors, beneficiaries of heirlooms that need careful handling. The LEAST said about them the better in some ways. Apart from as art, literature by our spiritual ancestors. What use they are beyond that, the arcana - including takes on atonement, weird stuff like the harrowing of hell - beyond the reporting, I've no idea.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
Hi Ricardus
In denying that the Prophetic year is 360 days, you are contradicting major expositors. If you are really interested and wish to investigate it further, I suggest you look at Anderson who Pentecost who also quotes others who have thought it through thoroughly but suffice it here that Leviticus 23 does not constitute a rebuttal and Genesis 7 and 8 are conclusive. The flood began on the seventeenth day of the second month 7:11and ended on the seventeenth day of the seventh month 8:4. This is exactly 5 months also said to be 150 days. Quick arithmetic tells you these months have to be 30 days and 12 of them 360 days.

quote:
Surely either of those events (Caligula’s statue etc) could be seen to fulfil the prophecy equally well?

Anderson's schema makes Daniel either vague or obscurantist

This is simply nonsense. Once again, if interested, I suggest you investigate further. If you are not and in point scoring mode, then there is no point in further interactions.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Aye, closer is good. So 30-40 year after He were resurrected, John of Patmos had his trip, not a problem.

I can't avoid a wry smile at the difference between what you classify as "not a problem" and what Jamat classifies as "not a problem" [Big Grin] .

So, the nearer-to-(or further-from)-the-incarnation half of your argument works in this case, but not the culture-has-progressed-so-we-know-better-still-40-years-on part?

quote:
It's a work of genius whatever.
It's certainly easier than Finnegan's Wake.

quote:
Audience value: We're inheritors, beneficiaries of heirlooms that need careful handling. The LEAST said about them the better in some ways. Apart from as art, literature by our spiritual ancestors. What use they are beyond that, the arcana - including takes on atonement, weird stuff like the harrowing of hell - beyond the reporting, I've no idea.
Almost thou persuadest me, but... everything beyond the Gospels, Acts, and possibly Epistles should basically be treated like the Deuterocanonicals?

I know we all have a "canon within the canon", but I struggle with pushing it that far, especially in view of how long the current one's been there. Seems a bit hasty to ditch half of it.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I don't think it's a case if ditching any of it, rather of keeping things in perspective.

Christ provides that perspective, of course.

Meanwhile, on the Anderson thing, I can't see why Jamat is so keen - evangelistic almost - for the rest of us to adopt that particular schema. What possible difference does it make?

I can see the attraction of neat schemes but not why we should be so keen to win everyone else round to our own way of thinking on issues that are speculative at best.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Put another way, the basic problem I have with Martin's approach is that while it might filter out some loony kabbalism and psychosis-inducing content (for some people*), I think it might make us too easily dismiss things that have come down to us to be more than just a museum piece.

The main thrust of the course I teach on Revelation is indeed about teaching people to not miss the wood for the trees in Scripture in general and not get tied up on the number of the Beast etc.

That said, I also think it says some things about the sovreignty of God in history (a touchy one for Martin and thus just the kind of thing to be brushed conveniently aside), Jesus the Alpha and the Omega, the eschatalogical hope... if the promise of the risen Christ to wipe away every tear is just the result of acid, I'm going to be more than disappointed.

==
*I mean this. I was with a guy only yesterday... brr.

[ 07. January 2018, 21:03: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
But is that what saying?

Like most posters here, I can't always work out what Martin is trying to say - when he's at his most cryptic.

At his best, though, it can sometimes sound like a jazz solo.

For my own part, I've understood some of his comments on this thread in a hyperbolic way. I'm not sure what he's leaving in or taking out. I'm not even sure he means us to see it that way.

Just as your course on Revelation discourages people from fixating on the Number of The Beast and getting tied up in 'detail', then could it not be that Martin is doing something similar? 'Don't focus on all that, focus on Christ ...'

I don't know if I'm right but that's how it comes over to me.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Hi Ricardus
In denying that the Prophetic year is 360 days, you are contradicting major expositors.

AFACT, the only expositors who assert the existence of a 360-day prophetic year are premillennial dispensationalists, who are very much a minority. By contrast the idea that a week means seven years seems to have much more widespread support, even among historicists.
quote:

If you are really interested and wish to investigate it further, I suggest you look at Anderson who Pentecost who also quotes others who have thought it through thoroughly but suffice it here that Leviticus 23 does not constitute a rebuttal and Genesis 7 and 8 are conclusive.

If you can point to a passage of Anderson that reconciles a year of 12 30-day months with the reality that the lunar cycle is 29.5 days, then I will happily read it.

Does he assert:
a.) That the Hebrew calendar was not lunar, i.e. there was no connection between the new moon and the first day of the month;

b.) That the lunar cycle used to be exactly 30 days but has accelerated;

c.) That the Prophetic year is different from the year used for the computation of religious festivals, tithes, etc;

d.) Something else I haven't thought of?

quote:
The flood began on the seventeenth day of the second month 7:11 and ended on the seventeenth day of the seventh month 8:4. This is exactly 5 months also said to be 150 days.
No, it says that the waters 'had abated' after 150 days and that the ark came to rest on Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month. It doesn't say that those two events were simultaneous.

The only other possibilities that present themselves are that the months weren't lunar, the lunar cycle was longer, or the scribe miscalculated.
quote:
quote:

Anderson's schema makes Daniel either vague or obscurantist

This is simply nonsense. Once again, if interested, I suggest you investigate further. If you are not and in point scoring mode, then there is no point in further interactions.
I apologise if you were offended. You might want to consider, though, whether the assertion that historicists regard Daniel as fraudulent, and/or are only interested in dissing the Bible so that they can commit immorality, might also be a little bit offensive.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Gamaliel: The problem is that you can admire a jazz solo, but you can't teach someone else how to repeat it.

Of course we need our jazz artists, including our theological jazz artists (what a great thought*).

And indeed, as a musician, I drive fellow-musicians crazy with my improvisation and indiscipline with regard to music theory.

But as a Bible teacher, while I'd be dishonest if I claimed not to seek at all to impress others in my teaching, I like to think my main concern is to pass on stuff that other people can understand, process and think through for themselves, and pass on in their turn.

So for my own purposes I'm trying to do the verbal equivalent of replaying Martin's solos again and again, finding the chords, trying to work out the fingering, and so on, and see if it's something I can make sense of.

==
*Wow, what a tangent. I think jazz is like abstract art, isn't it? To do it really well you first have to learn the classical rules, then work out just how far you can bend and break them... I had a job once interpreting for a week-long jazz seminar in Kent. Guitarist paused and leant over to show the keyboard player how to play his bit, playing it for him flawlessly on the keyboard - from the wrong side of the keyboard, i.e. "upside down". Mind. Blown. I didn't go anywhere near any of the instruments all week.

[ 07. January 2018, 21:42: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Please don't tell me God is sovereign in history. The correct adjectival phrase would have to be "to blame". Human history is hideous. It's not helped that Boy #1 bought me Dunkirk for Christmas, but, really, you'd not want to be held responsible for human history, really you wouldn't.

As for Martin, bless him, I love his solos, when I can follow them, but he'd probably be considered a bit too weird to play sax for Gong...

[ 07. January 2018, 22:35: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
, it says that the waters 'had abated' after 150 days and that the ark came to rest on Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month. It doesn't say that those two events were simultaneous
The Bible end-dates the flood! No other argument is needed.

Dispensational theology is the only school of prophecy that takes these things literally. Historicists and Preterists seem to me to cherry pick what is convenient for their schemas...They do the very thing that dispesationalists are accused of. Ladd is interesting. Though not a dispensatioalist himself, he points out that using literal exegesis, one would have to be a dispensationalist..but he does not.
They deserve a hearing but that is up to you.

Justifying behaviour is a major human pastime. No specific offence was intended.

Anderson in ‘ The Coming Prince’ devotes a chapter (ch 6) to the ‘prophetic’ year. It will be out of print. Not sure if you can get it on kindle. I also refer to J Dwight Pentecost. ‘Things to Come’ and Arnold Fructenbaum’ ‘The footsteps of the Messiah..a study of the sequence of prophetic events’.

For an informed, dissenting view, you might be interested in Stanley J Grenz in ‘The Millennial Maze’. Ch 4 entitled A Future Kingdom for Israel’.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
G Dee: how do you draw the line?

Thank you for your comment. I am not an academic. No original research or anything like that. I use the NASB for personal devotions. 66 books ...40 authors.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Please don't tell me God is sovereign in history. The correct adjectival phrase would have to be "to blame". Human history is hideous. It's not helped that Boy #1 bought me Dunkirk for Christmas, but, really, you'd not want to be held responsible for human history, really you wouldn't.

As for Martin, bless him, I love his solos, when I can follow them, but he'd probably be considered a bit too weird to play sax for Gong...

Can I read it after you? The key is ‘human’ history..ie done by humans?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
In which case you must be listening to a different solo to the one I can hear.

Martin's solos can strike me as off-key or a cacophony at times, but it doesn't strike me that he leaves God out of the equation. His blue-note, if you like, is that of the Incarnation

Fully human, fully Divine.

He's said that himself enough times.

It might be the case, as with Eric Morecambe, that he has all the notes but not necessarily in the right order ...

But he bashes the tin-hat of the Incarnation often enough.

Anyhow, I'm not convinced the forced harmonies of the pre-millenialist literalists are any more harmonious. They give a semblance of order but they have to bend notes to make them fit.

It's this very elasticity whilst purporting to provide a reliable framework that enables them to make the challenge, 'Show me in the Bible where it doesn't fit ...'

Because they can adjust the musical goalposts to contrive it to do so. Why they do so is beyond me. It's like watching patterns in the fire.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
G Dee: how do you draw the line?

Thank you for your comment. I am not an academic. No original research or anything like that. I use the NASB for personal devotions. 66 books ...40 authors.
Nor am I an academic. But this does not address the real point I was making - you assert that all scripture is divinely inspired, so how do you define scripture?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
G Dee: how do you draw the line?

Thank you for your comment. I am not an academic. No original research or anything like that. I use the NASB for personal devotions. 66 books ...40 authors.
Nor am I an academic. But this does not address the real point I was making - you assert that all scripture is divinely inspired, so how do you define scripture?
As the books of the Bible. Have a good day.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
But what Bible? The Authorised Version or one of its more modern translations? The Douai? The Latin one I'd find on a lectern in St Peter's? That used by the Eastern Orthodox. That used by the Copts, or the one in you'd find in the ancient churches of Kerala and Sri Lanka, those talking of foundation by St Thomas?

This is not a question of translation, but the inclusion or exclusion of particular books.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
But what Bible? The Authorised Version or one of its more modern translations? The Douai? The Latin one I'd find on a lectern in St Peter's? That used by the Eastern Orthodox. That used by the Copts, or the one in you'd find in the ancient churches of Kerala and Sri Lanka, those talking of foundation by St Thomas?

This is not a question of translation, but the inclusion or exclusion of particular books.

Of what relevance and what is the point of your question?
To me Bible=Bible. I have several versions. I told you that personally, I like the NASB. I do not know the Apocryphal books apart from superficially.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Please don't tell me God is sovereign in history. The correct adjectival phrase would have to be "to blame". Human history is hideous.

This is a bit off-topic, but it seems to me very difficult to have an eschatological hope without a bare minimum of sovreignty. Alpha and Omega, if not every last detail in between.

For more on my idiosyncratic "quantum" version of God's sovereignty and human history, see the end of this post here.

(Gong come up on my current YouTube playlist from time to time, but I think nothing beats Supper's Ready as a soundtrack to Revelation).
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Jamat, I'd have thought the relevance was obvious. If you claim that all scripture is divinely inspired, you have to define what all scripture is. To say that it's the Bible does not take matters much further as there are different reckonings of what is in the Bible. The obvious example is the books excluded by Luther and the Anglican churches, but included as deuterocanonical by the Catholics, who constitute by far the largest Christian community. I understand that there are yet different lists in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox traditions.

So how would you define scripture? Is it simply what you would call the Bible, and if so, which of the varying list of contents has your allegiance? Why is that so, and by what criteria do you include and exclude? ISTM that this is highly relevant to the thread. I'm not talking of which translation you use, which seems to be the limit of your understanding of the point. And why do you have only a superficial knowldedge of the apocrypha?

[ 08. January 2018, 05:21: Message edited by: Gee D ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Jamat, I'd have thought the relevance was obvious. If you claim that all scripture is divinely inspired, you have to define what all scripture is. To say that it's the Bible does not take matters much further as there are different reckonings of what is in the Bible. The obvious example is the books excluded by Luther and the Anglican churches, but included as deuterocanonical by the Catholics, who constitute by far the largest Christian community. I understand that there are yet different lists in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox traditions.

So how would you define scripture? Is it simply what you would call the Bible, and if so, which of the varying list of contents has your allegiance? Why is that so, and by what criteria do you include and exclude? ISTM that this is highly relevant to the thread. I'm not talking of which translation you use, which seems to be the limit of your understanding of the point. And why do you have only a superficial knowldedge of the apocrypha?

Scripture=Bible. Apocrypha =non Bible
Apocrypha consequently is irrelevant.
Are you trying to set me up for something?
If so, not interested.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
The canon might be a tangent too far, but note that if you'd been living any earlier than the nineteenth century, the Apocrypha would have been in your Protestant Bible. As a non-conformist protestant it pains me to say it, but the canon is not as clear-cut as protestants, especially non-conformists, would like to have you think either. It just isn't.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Jamat,

1. I am not trying to set you up for anything. I'm trying to get you to look at the topic and define it.

2. You give some short definitions (or more accurately descriptions) and translations of apocrypha. Those would be acceptable to Luther and Cranmer, but as I've said none is a description acceptable in many other Christian traditions, including the 2 largest as well as some rather smaller.

3. Are you now able to give a proper definition of what you would call scripture, and what is constituted by it?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Come on, Gee Dee, we all know non-conformist Protestants wrote the Bible.

Daniel was a Protestant. Isaiah was a Protestant. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all Protestants.

What's more,they were also pre-tribulation Rapture, pre-millenialist, Dispensationalist Protestants.

Isn't that obvious?

It's the plain meaning of scripture isn't it? What the Bible says?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gee Dee: Are you now able to give a proper definition of what you would call scripture, and what is constituted by it?

Not apart from What I already said. Perhaps you could enlighten?

Gamaliel: Dear chap, are you trying to pull my pig tail?
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
No Jamat. You seek to make a case that all scripture is divinely inspired. An essential part of that is that you define scripture. Basically, the ball's in your court.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
No Jamat. You seek to make a case that all scripture is divinely inspired. An essential part of that is that you define scripture. Basically, the ball's in your court.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
Gee Dee: whatever is written in the Bible is divinely inspired. If you do not agree, you make the case.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Again, no. What is the Bible you refer to? Is there but 1 Bible?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Again, no. What is the Bible you refer to? Is there but 1 Bible?

Yes, the authoritative version.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
The 1 God dictated 1604-1611.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek, Jamat but also trying to make a serious point.

I'm not accusing you of this, but I once heard the Rev Ian Paisley on the radio declaring, 'St Patrick was not a Roman Catholic! St Patrick was a Protestant!'

Thereby betraying a common approach found among certain brands of conservative Protestantism - that their particular 'take' is the only one there is and has been so from the outset.

I've previously introduced the fact that the Eastern Churches were the last to officially adopt the Book of Revelation as canonical scripture, an observation you dismissed as 'irrelevant' or at least you questioned its relevancy.

Now you appear to be suggesting that the fact that it's irrelevant that other brands of Christianity differ from Protestants in which texts they consider canonical.

Your answer, 'the authoritative version' begs a number of questions of course, as you'll undoubtedly by aware.

Deemed authoritative by whom?

Who decides?

If the Ethiopians, for instance, hold that the Book of Enoch is authoritative, what criteria do we have to disagree with them?

How do we know that the Book of Enoch isn't authoritative?

Unless by some kind of collegial, conciliar and consensual agreement that is shared in common by all but the Ethiopians (and whoever else may include the Book of Enoch in the canon).

What grounds are there for not including it? Jude quotes it. Why should it not be included?

[Biased] Ok, of course I'm not arguing a case for its inclusion. But my reasons for not including it may or may not tally with yours. How do we know which of us is right?

As I understand it, the issue of which scriptures were officially canonised was more an issue of deciding which were profitable to be read in church - the Christians of the time weren't saying that the other writings were somehow beyond the pale ...

Of course, over time, some texts such as The Shepherd of Hermas (which appear to have been treated almost on a par with the canonical scriptures) fell out of regular use.

So what we have in the 'authoritative' scriptures, as you put it, are those texts which both 'stood the test of time' as it were and which were universally (or almost universally) regarded as being authoritative.

That doesn't deny inspiration, nor does it take away the Godward aspects - it's a 'synergistic' thing.

The scriptures are both the words of men and the word of God. Inspiration isn't dictation. But then, you know all that ...

I'm not suggesting that we all have to adopt The Book of Enoch or whatever texts there might be among the Syriacs, the Copts, Armenians and so forth that aren't found in RC, Eastern Orthodox or Protestant Bibles.

All I'm saying, along with Eutychus, is that the question of canonicity has never been as cut-and-dried as some have made out.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Jamat, to put it mildly, your post's more than a bit flippant. Which of the numerous versions is what you would call the authoritative one? Any of those I mentioned? Any other?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Jamat, to put it mildly, your post's more than a bit flippant. Which of the numerous versions is what you would call the authoritative one? Any of those I mentioned? Any other?

More importantly, WHY? Why are the 66 books of the Protestant Bible the only ones that constitute "The Bible"? How do you know the Apocrypha isn't part of the Bible?

Is your answer simply, "Well that's what my denomination teaches"? If that answer is good enough to determine what is Scripture, is it good enough for every question about Scripture? Is what is true exactly and only what your denomination teaches? What makes your denomination, out of the hundreds or thousands of Protestant denominations, so highly favored? I think this is extremely relevant to this thread.

Before I can make any use of the fact that all Scripture is inspired by God, I need to know what counts as "Scripture." And consequently I need to know why.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
I think the quick'n dirty answer to this issue is that the felt need for a nailed-down canon is inversely proportional to the presence of a priesthood and the expectation of the congregation that Scripture is to be mediated to them through a priest rather than placed into their own hands.

The invention of the printing press and the Reformation both put a big dent in the prevailing traditional model to an extent that post Vatican II Catholics are positively encouraged to read the Bible, which they weren't previously. I don't know how Orthodox practice has evolved if at all.

This leads to new questions about how the canon and the doctrine of inspriation are addressed.

[ 08. January 2018, 10:33: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I think the quick'n dirty answer to this issue is that the felt need for a nailed-down canon is inversely proportional to the presence of a priesthood and the expectation of the congregation that Scripture is to be mediated to them through a priest rather than placed into their own hands.

And the irony in this is that the people who most eschew the priesthood, and most value personal interaction with scripture, are the most ignorant about the history of the books and their canonization. They purport to be Bereans, but unknowingly take the canon on the authority of others. So proud of finding out for myself what the book says, when it was handed to me and I was told, "Here, only read this." That direction is never questioned. Hell, it's not even acknowledged. Hell, its existence is not even dreamed of.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
That reminds me that, again as a non-conformist protestant, I have a Bible on order from an inmate, containing (not least because of my input) the Deuterocanonicals, about which we had a discussion on this very subject. So don't paint us all with the same brush please.

More generally, I think that since the Reformation and the printing press (not to mention the internet) the Pandora's box of access to the text has been opened and is not likely to slam shut again any time soon. Any church that doesn't factor this in is going to have problems. I'll have to ask the 25-year-old Russian Russian Orthodox churchwarden newly elected to our ecumenical bureau, who appears to have a rather reformist approach to Orthodoxy, what she thinks about it.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
That reminds me that, again as a non-conformist protestant, I have a Bible on order from an inmate, containing (not least because of my input) the Deuterocanonicals, about which we had a discussion on this very subject. So don't paint us all with the same brush please.

More generally, I think that since the Reformation and the printing press (not to mention the internet) the Pandora's box of access to the text has been opened and is not likely to slam shut again any time soon. Any church that doesn't factor this in is going to have problems. I'll have to ask the 25-year-old Russian Russian Orthodox churchwarden newly elected to our ecumenical bureau, who appears to have a rather reformist approach to Orthodoxy, what she thinks about it.

I think your 'quick and dirty' answer was just that, quick and dirty ...

As you'll know, of course, there was more to the Reformation to 'have printing press will read Bible.'

The RC authorities didn't react badly to the invention of the printing press. They simply used it to produce missals and prayer books.

The issue wasn't the printing press per se, of course, but the ability to circulate polemical tracts and arguments - as Luther and the other Reformers did. A bit like social media and the internet having an impact on the consumption of news - fake or otherwise.

As far as the 'deuterocanonicals' go - well the RCs regard them as such, the Orthodox, as far as I am aware, don't make that kind of distinction.

As for the individual Orthodoxen's approach to scripture - Mousethief and your somewhat reformist Russian Orthodox friend will be able to shed light on that but my impression seems to be - with English-speaking Orthodox in the UK at least - their approach to scripture doesn't differ that drastically from what you might find among High Church Anglicans, say.

That might only because most of them used to be High Church Anglicans ...

That said, I've met Romanian monks and so on who seem to use the scriptures in not that dissimilar a way to the way Anglicans might.

I suspect it all depends on who you speak to.

Non-conformist Protestants don't all use the scriptures in the same way either.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
And then there's all the stuff about the 1611 Authorised Version being translated in such a way as to conform to King James I's proclivities.

'Bishops' rather than 'elders' for instance ...

[Biased] [Big Grin]

'No Bishops, no King ...'

Which is doubly ironic when some of the most non-conformist of non-conformist sects insist on the King James Only ...

[Roll Eyes]

But that's another issue.

However we cut it, we all of us defer to some kind of tradition or 'priesthood' whether it's a paper-priest or a real live one - whether it's a school of interpretation - Schofield, Anderson etc - or whether it's a Big T Tradition.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
And then there's all the stuff about the 1611 Authorised Version being translated in such a way as to conform to King James I's proclivities.

'Bishops' rather than 'elders' for instance ...

Bishop = overseer, not elder. Elder translates presvyter = priest.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ok, yes, I was being too 'quick and dirty' too ...

[Biased] [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Submerged by work, listening to this, imagining it's this thread set to music...
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Ok, yes, I was being too 'quick and dirty' too.

Okay that's between you and your confessor.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gee Dee: to put it mildly, your post's more than a bit flippant
Not at all. The canon to me is a settled issue. It does not include the additions Jerome made and I will not be commenting further on it.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Gee Dee: to put it mildly, your post's more than a bit flippant
Not at all. The canon to me is a settled issue. It does not include the additions Jerome made and I will not be commenting further on it.
I don't think Gee D was necessarily referring to whatever additions Jerome made.

Did Jerome make any additions for the Ethiopians, the Oriental Orthodox? The Syriacs and the Mar-Thoma churches of India?

I think one of the points Gee D was making was that this is a wider issue than spats between Roman Catholics and Protestants as to what should be included in the canon of scripture.

There are other churches outside of the Western context - or the Eastern Orthodox context - which have a somewhat different history or trajectory and who a different take on these things.

What about them?

You appear to want to shut the lid down very firmly on discussing issues around the canon.

Why can't we examine and discuss that issue as well as any other issues?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Gee Dee: to put it mildly, your post's more than a bit flippant
Not at all. The canon to me is a settled issue. It does not include the additions Jerome made and I will not be commenting further on it.
In this you are historically plain and simply wrong. Jerome didn't make any additions. He supported REMOVING certain books, and was swatted down by the Catholic Church authorities. It was somewhere in the Reformation or post-Reformation tumult that the books got subtracted, not by any council or any kind of authority. To an extent arbitrarily. They finally stopped being printed to save printers money. There's your spiritual heritage.

That the canon is, for you, a settled issue clearly says you accept unthinkingly the decisions of your forebears -- which is to say, big-T Tradition. Now you are in the position of accepting some Traditions and rejecting others. One might reasonably ask what your criteria are for this distinction.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel:
Why can't we examine and discuss that issue as well as any other issues?

Obviously, you may.

Source
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It depends, of course, on the sources you use.

Here's a link from what appears to be a polemical Protestant site aimed at Catholics in order, presumably, to teach them the error of their ways:

http://www.justforcatholics.org/a108.htm

According to this, St Jerome was persuaded to include the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books against his better judgement and that be rejecting them later on the Protestants were simply following his original intention.

I'm sure there are Catholic and other historians who would dispute this version of events.

It's certainly the case that the Bible Society stopped including the Apocrypha in editions of the KJV intended for use overseas in the early 1800s, to save on printing costs.

However, the Apocrypha had quietly disappeared from editions of the KJV printed during the Commonwealth and Protectorate following the lead of the Westminster Confession (1647) which declared that the 'books commonly called Apocrypha' were not of divine inspiration and therefore not to be included in scripture.

Use of readings from the Apocrypha remain permissible for Anglicans, of course, but it tends only to be those at the Higher end of the spectrum who avail themselves of this opportunity.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Gamaliel:
Why can't we examine and discuss that issue as well as any other issues?

Obviously, you may.

Source

But this article says nothing about Orthodox practice or the customs of the Oriental Orthodox nor the Syriacs, Ethiopians and so on.

It assumes that there are only Roman Catholics and Protestants.

The point I'm trying to make is that however we understand and wherever we ourselves draw the line on what's in and what's out, it's a wider issue than Jerome and the Reformers.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
According to this, St Jerome was persuaded to include the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books against his better judgement and that be rejecting them later on the Protestants were simply following his original intention.

That's actually not far from the truth, but you need to point out that he wasn't ADDING them against his judgment, but KEEPING them against his judgment. He wanted to toss them out, a novel and unprecedented idea that was, in fact, rejected by the Powers That Be in the Church. His judgment was largely based on the fact that he couldn't find Hebrew copies of them. Hebrew copies of some of them have since turned up. Will the Protestants add those back in?

Do the Protestants accept all of Jerome's judgments? Will they use the Vulgate as a blueprint for their translations?

Again, arbitrary decisions made without defensible reason.
 
Posted by RdrEmCofE (# 17511) on :
 
quote:
As I understand it, the issue of which scriptures were officially canonised was more an issue of deciding which were profitable to be read in church - the Christians of the time weren't saying that the other writings were somehow beyond the pale ...
The decisions around the selection of the canon concerned: (a) Had the book been in wide and general usage by the church for a long time? (three centuries or so). (b) Had it been found useful pastorally with no objection from any quarter to its tenets, reasoning and advice. (c) Was its authorship verifiable, and if not was its claim to purported authorship at least reasonable. (d) Did it's teaching radically conflict with any other books already unquestionably accepted by the church as a whole.

A very sensible practice initially, which became rather corrupted eventually due to Constantine's obsession with unification of doctrine and praxis as a means of establishing control of his earthly empire.


With regard to Revelation, the oldest title was probably "Apocalypse of John"; then in the Latin Church, "Revelation of John". 'Divine' appears no earlier than 4th cent. and simply means 'theologian'. However the title is misleading in that John is not what is 'revealed' so it would be more correct to refer to it as "The Revelation of Jesus Christ TO John the theologian", which is what the book actually purports to be.

The John of authorship could be one of many possible John's and for textual analysis reasons probably not the John who authored a Gospel and 3 epistles. One thing seems certain though the John who wrote it was Jewish. Probably Palestinian, one John the Prophet, with Galilee his original home, having then migrated to Asia Minor. Writers of apocalypses generally lived outside Judea and this type of literature was usually read where the Law was less observed.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I've always been told that one of the reasons the Reformers were wary of them was because of references to prayers for the dead in one of the Books of The Maccabees.

What they didn't seem to realise that the Jews do pray for the dead. They do it to this very day. I've seen them.

Anyhow, I once asked an awkward question of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, that if a copy of Paul's letter to The Laodiceans were ever to turn up (and there are apocryphal versions apparently) and it could be proven to be such, should we include it in the canon?

His answer was an interesting one. As well as a wry dig at me for asking awkward and hypothetical questions, he suggested that if it could be proven to be genuinely Pauline and all of Christendom, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox were convinced of it then it could conceivably be accepted - but from the Orthodox side it'd need an Ecumenical Council to agree it.

Interesting conciliar take ... Which is what one would expect when you think about it ...

Coming back to the Apocrypha, I've always been told that the Jews don't accept them into their canon - but as far as I know there were plenty of copies and fragments at Qumran as well as what Protestant would consider OT canonical texts.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
Gamaliel wrote:
quote:
Coming back to the Apocrypha, I've always been told that the Jews don't accept them into their canon - but as far as I know there were plenty of copies and fragments at Qumran as well as what Protestant would consider OT canonical texts.

I think the issue of canonicity is not coterminous with regarding writings as helpful or even interesting, unless all you ever read is canonical scripture. I think the drive for canonicity revolved more around use in the liturgy, did it not?

Plus of course that Judaism today is pretty much derivative from one strand of Judaism, and Qumran was not in that strand. Neither, judging from Jesus's run-ins with the pharisees, was he, at least insofar as their practices were concerned.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Gee Dee: to put it mildly, your post's more than a bit flippant
Not at all. The canon to me is a settled issue. It does not include the additions Jerome made and I will not be commenting further on it.
My question was much wider than that. If there's no definition of what scripture is or is not, it's pointless to assert that all scripture is divinely inspired in the manner in which you advance that proposition.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
My question was much wider than that
Gee Dee: Do you actually doubt what is scripture? If yes, I do not believe you.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
For him it's the TaNaKh for a start, but not
the Qumran or Masoretic versions we have now. The 'lost original' version at least partially translated correctly in the Septuagint.

I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
I'd start from a different position to that which I think you do. I would not say that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, for a start. A better definition is that scripture was composed by people especially inspired by God and that their writings are generally accepted as containing teaching to instruct and guide us.

Moving on from there, forming an exact list of contents is not easy and that is a task I'm not competent to perform. The task I do carry out is to understand that various Christian churches have different lists, and to respect the traditions which produced them.

What I don't do is engage in the Bibliolatry such as that of the Moore College clique. But that is another topic and not relevant to this thread.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
My question was much wider than that
Gee Dee: Do you actually doubt what is scripture? If yes, I do not believe you.
Not to answer for Gee D, who can answer for himself just fine, but I know exactly what is scripture. And I know that you are wrong about it. And what is more, I know why, and you clearly do not.

quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
I think the issue of canonicity is not coterminous with regarding writings as helpful or even interesting, unless all you ever read is canonical scripture.

But if you are saying "all scripture is given by inspiration of God" it behooves you to know what exactly you mean by "Scripture" and why. At the very least it lessens the appearance of not knowing what you're talking about.

quote:
I think the drive for canonicity revolved more around use in the liturgy, did it not?
Daily readings, yes. Not necessarily during the Divine Liturgy.

quote:
Plus of course that Judaism today is pretty much derivative from one strand of Judaism, and Qumran was not in that strand.
Yes. This.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
This point is often missed;there is a fashion at the moment for looking to Judaism to understand Christianity, and whilst there's much to commend this (leaving aside the rather odd trend amongst some Evangelicals now to keep not only the Jewish festivals but also Kosher), the idea does seem to be that you could have dropped anyone from Jesus' culture straight into Golders Green and he'd feel immediately at home. This may not be entirely accurate. /tangent
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, perhaps it's material for another thread, but I'd be interested in more on how modern Judaism has developed and the various strands that have fed into it.

Meanwhile, I don't know what the current scholarly consensus is, but I have heard that the received wisdom on the Qumram caves, that it had to do with the Essenes, has recently been challenged and revised.

Of course, that's how these things work, hypotheses are put forward and then challenged and redressed.

On the canonicity issue, I've also heard it postulated that the Jews didn't formalise their canon until well on into the 'Christian era' ... and some have suggested that their reasons for doing so may have been something to do with the emergence of the Church and a reaction to the sect of the Nazarenes ...

Whatever the case, yes, these things do seem to have been fuelled by a desire to agree on what was helpful and useful both for public liturgical use and for private reading - for those few people able to read and, presumably, fewer who actually had access to documents.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
40 Years On: Ah, yes Alan Bennett, before your time though. Not enough to know better though. We needed the intervening 1900+ years. The arc is long and we are remarkably slow learners.

Joyce: Must start before I'm too old. Like Proust...

Ever increasing circles: Aye, even stuff in the first circle around Jesus, Christ the cynosure, Gamaliel's perspective giver and focus from a two thousand year later postmodern perspective, is alien. I wouldn't ditch a ripple, no matter how far it reached and was modulated by the sea bed of culture.

Revelation Wood: The sovereignty of God is ABOVE history. There isn't a trace of God for Karl to have to blame in history. Of divine intervention even at the level of inspiration. Except in the second and third circles beyond history. Where Jesus lives. I brush NOTHING aside. I wish I could brush it in, unlike Jerome. But it can't be done. Not with barely intellectual honesty. I'm touchy about claims. Jesus is the be all and end all, the transcendent hope. He will be in a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, ... years. Ten or so for me. With my eyes I see history. With my heart I feel Jesus. Their ever increasing circles overlap with fascinating interference. Here. On this thread. With some finding second, third order, circle inspiration in apocalyptic, prophecy.

I'd like to take your course. In French of course!

Too weird for Gong! Well I'll be didgiri-done!

G: I still feel sorry for Andre Previn. God through the Incarnation is in the off-key cacophony, including of history and 'prophecy'. Like Sibelius in The Nice's Keith Emerson's version of The Karelia Suite from Five Bridges, bursting through the white noise from 06:13 at 07:45.

Sovereignty: Like eschatology is transcendent. As in your sermon I'm painfully translating. Not of this world. It has NOTHING to do with history, not a single detail. The quantum of solace is in our mental interference between God above Godless history.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sorry Martin, you've lost me again ...

[Confused]
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
mousethief wrote:
quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
I think the issue of canonicity is not coterminous with regarding writings as helpful or even interesting, unless all you ever read is canonical scripture.

But if you are saying "all scripture is given by inspiration of God" it behooves you to know what exactly you mean by "Scripture" and why. At the very least it lessens the appearance of not knowing what you're talking about.

Oh, I agree - and I suppose there is also a supplementary point about how you regard inspiration. I think one of the factors about the texts we now have as the NT was the proximity of the writers to the main actors, which seems very matter-of-fact, though entirely reasonable.

quote:
I think the drive for canonicity revolved more around use in the liturgy, did it not?
Daily readings, yes. Not necessarily during the Divine Liturgy.

Actually I was thinking of the OT canon at this point - sorry for lack of clarity.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sorry Martin, you've lost me again ...

[Confused]

Sorry G. Ijit me. The main addressee was E. I should have made that clear.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RdrEmCofE:
[QUOTE][b]
The John of authorship could be one of many possible John's and for textual analysis reasons probably not the John who authored a Gospel and 3 epistles. One thing seems certain though the John who wrote it was Jewish. Probably Palestinian, one John the Prophet, with Galilee his original home, having then migrated to Asia Minor. Writers of apocalypses generally lived outside Judea and this type of literature was usually read where the Law was less observed.

Do you have any firm evidence for the presumption that the author was not John the apostle, who also wrote the 4th gospel? Authorship of Revelation
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gee D:I would not say that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, for a start. A better definition is that scripture was composed by people especially inspired by God and that their writings are generally accepted as containing teaching to instruct and guide
What seems to be the difference to you. Why change from 2tim3:16? This establishes scriptural authority and function pretty tightly.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
I have always read those as giving my position rather than yours.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Gee D:I would not say that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, for a start. A better definition is that scripture was composed by people especially inspired by God and that their writings are generally accepted as containing teaching to instruct and guide
What seems to be the difference to you. Why change from 2tim3:16? This establishes scriptural authority and function pretty tightly.
A good false dichotomy. Were the Torah writers and editors especially inspired to attribute millions of deaths to God the Killer? I see that they WERE especially inspired despite that, transcendently despite where they were in social evolution. Even in dreadfully wonderful stories like Abraham under the Terebinth Trees at Mamre, with God acceding to his every request for mercy to the five cities He was about to nuke. As they evolved, God got better. He completely spared Nineveh. Funny that.
 
Posted by RdrEmCofE (# 17511) on :
 
quote:
A good false dichotomy. Were the Torah writers and editors especially inspired to attribute millions of deaths to God the Killer? I see that they WERE especially inspired despite that, transcendently despite where they were in social evolution. Even in dreadfully wonderful stories like Abraham under the Terebinth Trees at Mamre, with God acceding to his every request for mercy to the five cities He was about to nuke. As they evolved, God got better. He completely spared Nineveh. Funny that.
A good point which leads on to the question of what 'inspiration' is supposed by many to mean. It seems to me that many conservative traditionalists, (most don't like being labeled fundamentalists), seem to think that wherever an Old Testament author refers to incidents as having been attributable to the will and action of God Almighty, this makes the assertion an inspired 'fact', not just the human opinion of the author.

If it is merely an explanatory footnote to the recorded detail, added by the author, there is no absolute obligation to assume the human opinion was 'inspired' in the sense that the author actually knew the mind of God, and God's reasoning behind the attributed action. Other scripture actually tells us otherwise. Isa 55:8-9, 1 Cor. 2:16. The written assumptions made by OT authors attributing the deaths of many thousands to an angry and vengeful God may be uninspired personal human opinion, but the scripture record itself is still able to be legitimately declared to be 'inspired', in the sense that it now has a God ordained purpose. That purpose is almost certainly NOT to glorify a vengeful and violent God though. It is more likely to reveal a vengeful, violent, self deluding, God blaming, self excusing, humankind., still in the process of discovering the nature of God, rather than having actually found and identified it.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Bliss.
 
Posted by RdrEmCofE (# 17511) on :
 
quote:
Do you have any firm evidence for the presumption that the author was not John the apostle, who also wrote the 4th gospel?
Does it really matter? John was a common name, even in Asia Minor, and the seven churches there, that his apocalypse was addressed to, would have known which John had been exiled to Patmos recently, surely. We don't know who wrote The Epistle to the Hebrews, but does that mean it is not 'inspired'?

If we can't be sure the apostle John, the favorite disciple, wrote Revelation, why insist that it was that particular John?

As I said, textual analysis suggests otherwise.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RdrEmCofE:
quote:
Do you have any firm evidence for the presumption that the author was not John the apostle, who also wrote the 4th gospel?
Does it really matter? John was a common name, even in Asia Minor, and the seven churches there, that his apocalypse was addressed to, would have known which John had been exiled to Patmos recently, surely. We don't know who wrote The Epistle to the Hebrews, but does that mean it is not 'inspired'?

If we can't be sure the apostle John, the favorite disciple, wrote Revelation, why insist that it was that particular John?

As I said, textual analysis suggests otherwise.

So, no then?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Jamat once again it is not up to RdrEmCoE to make their case here: the burden of proof is on you to show it was John the apostle and not on everyone else to show it wasn't.

But that's not the important question.

The important question, which I've already asked too and which I don't think you've answered, is why does the authorship matter (cf Hebrews, which I also cited)?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Jamat once again it is not up to RdrEmCoE to make their case here: the burden of proof is on you to show it was John the apostle and not on everyone else to show it wasn't.

But that's not the important question.

The important question, which I've already asked too and which I don't think you've answered, is why does the authorship matter (cf Hebrews, which I also cited)?

It matters because who said it is critical in determining its authority.
Some sort of 2nd century John ain’t the same as the one who walked 3 years with the master.
Regarding your other question, the burden of proof is on the claimant not on the questioner of the claim.
That is why I dismiss the perpetual virginity and sinless state of Mary, Christ’s mother. No authoritative text supports it so if you claim it, it is yours to demonstrate.
Rdr.Cof E, glibly wrote that the Author of Revelation was in all probability not John the apostle. Does he have evidence? No, none to cite. He chooses to raise the question and the question devalues the scripture. Someone who reads that scholarly sounding twaddle might just believe it.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
It matters because who said it is critical in determining its authority.

So Hebrews, Job, Ruth... in fact everything between Joshua and II Chronicles and some more... are not authoritative because their authorship is unknown?

quote:
Some sort of 2nd century John ain’t the same as the one who walked 3 years with the master.
What proof do you have that the John mentioned in Revelation is the Apostle?

quote:
Regarding your other question, the burden of proof is on the claimant not on the questioner of the claim.
My other question is not about proof. My other question is asking your opinion, and that's twice you've dodged it now.

Why do you believe specific authorship to be important? I'm not asking you to prove anything. I'm asking you why you believe it's important, as is RdEmCoE.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Rdr.Cof E, glibly wrote that the Author of Revelation was in all probability not John the apostle. Does he have evidence? No, none to cite. He chooses to raise the question and the question devalues the scripture. Someone who reads that scholarly sounding twaddle might just believe it.

This is part of where we part company. You are saying that some questions must not be raised because they devalue Scripture and risk leading people astray.

By contrast, it is my contention that if Scripture is in any meaningful way inspired, and indeed if any of my beliefs are worthwhile, they and it ought to be able to withstand questioning. We are, after all, instructed to love God with all our minds.

If my beliefs rely partly on "la, la, la, I can't hear you", it doesn't give me much assurance that they are correct.

Besides, nobody has a monopoly on scholarly sounding twaddle.

You make a number of assertions about which you seem extremely certain (most recently the authorship of revelation, previously the meaning of 'almâ, for instance) and which are apparently cricitcal pillars of your theology. When challenged, you respond with what can equally be described as "scholarly sounding twaddle".

On issues like authorship, I'm instinctively, temperamentally quite close to where you're coming from. I instinctively believe in a literal Abraham, a single Isaiah, Revelation written by the Apostle John, and so on. But when I read the way you try to defend these positions in the face of intelligent, honest questions, and look at how my IVP stalwarts deal with issues like the meaning of 'almâ, I realise that the arguments being set forth are indeed twaddle.

Championing a "high value of Scripture" is great. But trying to use twaddle to do it really doesn't recommend your view of what assigning it a high value means.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Eutychus:So Hebrews, Job, Ruth... in fact everything between Joshua and II Chronicles and some more... are not authoritative because their authorship is unknown?
No, they are accepted as part of the OT canon by the Jewish Rabbis etc. They are part of the Septuagint are they not? Not sure how the ancient Jews sorted their canon. I am told that one of the Ptolemaic kings locked up 70 rabbis and made them translate their scriptures into Greek. It is not about authorship with them rather it is about what the likes of Paul would have accepted as scripture and those books, most of them are endorsed by NT writers by quotation or reference.

I am NOT an expert on the canon and you may know more than me. I accept the Bible as received.

I cannot see I am dodging anything OR obligated to justify anything either. It is not I who made claims that the apostle John probably did NOT write Revelation. The link I posted makes a fair case for his authorship. I merely asked if there was evidence of a contrary view. obviously not.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
No, they are accepted as part of the OT canon by the Jewish Rabbis etc.

Um, Hebrews?

And besides, you have moved the goalposts. The importance is "accepted as part of the canon" now, is it, not authorship? If so, why does it matter how many people contributed to, say, Isaiah?

quote:
They are part of the Septuagint are they not? Not sure how the ancient Jews sorted their canon.
Indeed, as I understand it at least some versions of the LXX include the Deuterocanonicals. Why do you leave them out?

quote:
It is not about authorship with them rather it is about what the likes of Paul would have accepted as scripture and those books, most of them are endorsed by NT writers by quotation or reference.
Right. So why is the authorship of Revelation such a big deal?

quote:
I accept the Bible as received.
From whom? This is not as self-evident as you are making out.
quote:
The link I posted makes a fair case for his authorship. I merely asked if there was evidence of a contrary view. obviously not.
I had to look no further than Wikipedia. I don't pretend to be in a position to evaluate these claims, but to claim that they "obviously don't exist" appears to me to be a prime example of "la, la, la, I can't hear you".

[ 11. January 2018, 07:08: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
E.

Do you have any response to my 4th and last paras here?

We have twin tracks on this thread, the two 'extremes' of Jamat and me. I don't regard my position as extreme of course. Neither would Jamat his I'm sure.

What intrigues me is that you seem to be paralleling my journey in coming from extreme (but non-damnationist) fundamentalism (not that you were ever there) via sovereign evangelicalism, neo-orthodoxy to postmodern existential theology. As soon as you examine why you have conservative, traditional beliefs you find that there is no rational basis for them. No intellectually honest basis.

You explicitly want to believe that an historical Abraham from the C19th BCE existed as described by an implicitly historical Moses in the C15th BCE. You exclude the Torah from unknown authorship? Or is it in your 'some more...'?

I do too. An Abraham who was prepared to murder his son under God's command? A God who stopped by to bargain for the lives of thousands of people?

I'm still truly surprised that you still instinctively believe in a single Isaiah. I don't. I can't. But for at least 40 years I did admittedly. John the Apostle on Patmos is still reasonable to me after all. But Isaiah son of Amoz prophesying Cyrus centuries ahead by name?

Believe it or not I just pause there. Could the God we know ONLY in Jesus have done that? Not if it involved crafting Cyrus' nature or decisions regardless to be a good bad guy. No.

And when you look for faithful scholarship, you find people who distort the latter with the former.

Not so long ago I was against female ordination, gay marriage, you name it. I absorbed liberalism despite the apparent lack of scriptural warrant and despite scriptural chauvinism and homophobia on the basis of the trajectory of revelation in culture. Despite conservatives apparently having a point. They must have surely? They build such vast traditional structures on them. But whenever I investigate what they actually say, there's NOTHING there. They have no point that survives scrutiny. As you find?

And so it goes with inspiration, scripture, prophecy, sovereignty, eschatology.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
I'm not sure I can do your questions justice, Martin, but here goes for now:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Do you have any response to my 4th and last paras here?

Not really. I don't really understand them.
quote:
As soon as you examine why you have conservative, traditional beliefs you find that there is no rational basis for them. No intellectually honest basis.
The one I keep coming back to, which I think we share, is a belief in the resurrection of Christ, and I agree with you, in my own way, that everything flows forwards and backwards from the Christ Event.

The thing is, there's more going on here for all of us than pure rationality or intellect, isn't there? Rationality and intellect can only get you so far. We need the Spirit as well(*)

This, posted by TomOfTarsus back in 2012, resonates with me:
quote:
Maybe I’ll die and that’s it. I’ll admit that as a purely scientific possibility. But I really doubt it. Heaven beats in my chest and runs through my veins, I can already hear the music, I can almost feel the warm embrace of my Lord, the peeling laughter of His final triumph, when He has made me to be in His image. From this peak I can see the far more glorious peak in the distance. I don’t like the valley I must cross to get there, and I may loose sight of that peak as I descend into the valley’s darkened depths, but I have the Psalmist’s comfort and my Lord’s reassurance.
quote:
You explicitly want to believe that an historical Abraham from the C19th BCE existed
I didn't say I "wanted" to believe it, I said that's what I instinctively believe. Abraham jumps out at me compared to Gen 1-11 as inhabiting a world I can relate to.
quote:
You exclude the Torah from unknown authorship?
No, I never said that.

I don't really have the time or inclination to dig into issues of authorship because unlike Jamat, the actual authorship doesn't really bother me. Legitimacy is what is important to me. On that score, I suppose if I think about it I look increasingly to "big-T" Tradition on issues such as the canon. But also (broadly) on issues of interpretation.

quote:
I do too. An Abraham who was prepared to murder his son under God's command? A God who stopped by to bargain for the lives of thousands of people?
On that kind of thing I find myself much in agreement with ReDrCoE; but that's not incompatible with the existence of a historical figure, but again, I'm not really bothered. There's a seminar on here next Saturday put on by a Catholic theologian on the OT God of Violence. 15 euros admission! Perhaps I should go.

quote:
Despite conservatives apparently having a point. They must have surely? They build such vast traditional structures on them. But whenever I investigate what they actually say, there's NOTHING there. They have no point that survives scrutiny. As you find?

And so it goes with inspiration, scripture, prophecy, sovereignty, eschatology.

What I'm increasingly convinced of is that religious institutions have abused the faith to wield power in abusive ways. I'm nervous that this might have been the case right from the start and that the whole thing is and has never been anything more than a scam. Against that I have TomOfTarsus.

I'm also keen to avoid lurching from one fundamentalism to another as my pastor friend did. Agenda-driven intellectual dishonesty is not the monopoly of either side and harder to spot among the new thought community you've just enthusiastically embraced than the one that's just thrown you out.

What is more, while I believe very much in the imperative need to reinterpret Scripture for our times, illumined by the Spirit, as (delightfully recursively) explained to us by Scripture(*), I'm concerned that extreme post-modernism might break the continuous heritage handed down by Tradition for all time, like Humpty Dumpty. If you want to riff on a jazz standard, you still need the basic chords, otherwise you just have noise.

It wasn't so long ago we thought we had reached the End of History. I think Scripture shows us a linear arc and that a sovereign (in some sense of the word) God is both implied and required by that. Interpretations of history are not neutral as Marxism shows.

If I decide only "my" "story" has value then I'm left looking at a worldview shared by Donald Trump and his spin doctors, in which "controlling the narrative" is more important than the facts. I'm not sure I want to take my faith there.

That will have to do for now.

==

(*) as discussed here, for the nth time of referencing.

(**) you can also look (in English!) about what I said about the interpretation of Scripture with a precedent in Scripture here, hopefully, although there seems to be a server problem right now with my site.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Thank you very much Eutychus.

Sorry for the incomprehensibility.

I'll respond further and try and make it clear later. I have a sense of us going past each other, along with everything else more positive or at least understood. Due to my failure to communicate.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Eeeee E. We've been doing this for bluddy YEARS now.

I don't think we're talking past each other as I thought. We're in complex orbits round the same Body. And I'm less precise than you in my attribution of things to you, on Torah authorship and Abraham for example. I gotta watch that. And you do my questions justice.

Writing for comprehensibility: Concepts like the sovereignty of God, prophecy and eschatology are not of this world. They are metaphors. Yearnings. They aren't true in this world, they'll never be realised in this world, except through us. Shadows on the cave wall at best, even if we achieve egalitarianism of outcome in a thousand years. They will be realised in the next, sublimed, transcendent world.

Conservative, traditional beliefs: Aye, we share the ones with warrant. The ones centred on the Incarnation-Resurrection. All else is opinion.

I remember that beautiful post of Tom's. Thanks for the reminder. Aye we need the Spirit. We have Him. Or rather He has us. The Spirit of a sound mind. The Spirit of rationality, of intellect. Of logos. And ethos and pathos yes, in equal measure. 100% of each.

Intellect and Spirit. I have a paucity of either. On a good day. But I would say that postmodernism is of the Spirit. It helps. Me. But is a threat to you? It used to threaten me big time. There is nothing to fear, even though I'm afraid, because I can't lose, we can't lose Jesus. He won't let go. I've lost everything else, which is scary, but not Him. I can't believe in an afterlife, can't see how that can work at all, apart from purgatorially, but there has to be one, because of Him.

Legitimacy: Your orbit includes your increasingly looking to "big-T" Tradition on issues such as the canon and broadly on interpretation. Mine doesn't. I don't exclude them, but they're subject to postmodern overview. And my paradoxical focus on the incarnation. The canon can be as wide - and as attenuated from that - as it likes.

€15! There again I've paid much more for Rob Bell. And I've corrected his maths. In the absence of historical evidence for the patriarchs, as with Job and Jonah, the silver lining of divine transcendence in the story is the thing.

Scam nerves: Don't worry about the corruption of the Church, of us. Of course we're corrupt. Of course we're hollow. Evil. It doesn't matter. Jesus still loves us, His bride.

Lurching: I think it's easier to be educated out of religion from fundamentalism with no redeeming features: Once one just deconstructs damnationism there's nothing left. I don't see that happening to you. We've seen it happen here some years ago have we not, to Andreas wasn't it? Not that he was damnationist. Just manically religious. You cling to that which is good in Big-T whilst still kicking the tyres I perceive.

I've certainly kicked the tyres of Rob Bell and Brian McLaren in particular. Vigorously. I'm allergic to liberal agenda projection in to the text. Steve Chalke won me round DESPITE my perception of that recently with regard to NT homophobia. If you think I'm deceiving myself and perverting my severely constrained intellect in the name of an arc that isn't in God's intent, you MUST say. That's why I'm on the Ship. To be challenged. The Ship's liberalism helped my long, hard deconstruction and I trust its broad and deep intellect from orthodox, creedal scientists, philosophers, theologians, historians to give my tyres a good kicking.

No community has actively driven me out, I have withdrawn, although I remain involved where I can and will be able to do more soon. I MISS services. I love the Eucharist.

Humpty Dumpty: This needs its own thread. In many ways. What do you mean by extreme post-modernism? By Tradition? Nothing can scare the be Jesus out of me!

I remember Francis Fukuyama's hubris of '89. And yep, I nodded. Islam subsequently said Foxtrot Oscar to that. So does China, Russia, almost everywhere really, bar the educated of W. Europe and its colonies.

My story value: I'm all for setting the narrative free, not controlling it. Letting the facts speak for themselves.

Aye, that'll do!
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Thanks. I understood about 45% of that, and need to think about this Sunday now, but I think this nugget might be sig-worthy:

quote:
Nothing can scare the be Jesus out of me!

 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Bugger. I suspect that's a vast improvement.

OK, my attempt to respond to you admittedly all too laterally, paragraph by paragraph with a key word, without quoting every bloody thing is too much. Sorry. I'll quote in future and be as direct as I can.

Talking of which, if there's one single point it's this: it's ALL agendaed metaphor. Apart from the reportage. All? The thousands of years of evolving culture rolled up in scrolls. And all of the other Tradition since.

If that's not explicit enough, within the Tradition we make up, we make God's sovereignty up. It will, can only be experienced in the resurrection, in transcendence.

Just as there is no foretelling prophecy to any significant degree, with any intensity of signal above noise, there is no inspiration, no Tradition, no sovereignty. There is nothing that stands up to critical analysis which necessarily includes extreme post-modernism.

How does that diminish Christ?

Now there's a thread.

God luck for tomorrow.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
God luck for tomorrow.

I can never make out whether these are typos or intentional.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
HAH! Serendipity: a happy accident.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
The trouble with looking to Big-T for anything is that everything about it is tainted with patriarchy, sexism, homophobia which all bespeak conservative literalism which colours everything; including inspiration, intent, the mind, will and purposes of God, 'natural' law, interpretation, epistemology.

[ 14. January 2018, 11:07: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
I was looking to it more in terms of preserving and passing on the text and its authority, rather than on interpretive content.

Liberals are always berating conservative evangelicals for not recognising the role of the Church in delineating the canon. It seems a bit expedient to then turn round and dismiss the role of the Church altogether. What has come down to us has come down to us via the Church.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sorry! Absolutely.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
How does that diminish Christ?

By redefining him and rewriting history..which is a luxury everyone would like but cannot afford.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Redefining him in what sense?

I believe that Christ is Very God of Very God, One in essence with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.

Who is 'redefining Christ' on this thread?

As for rewriting history, who is doing that here also?

The scriptures aren't history in the modern sense.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
How does that diminish Christ?

By redefining him and rewriting history..which is a luxury everyone would like but cannot afford.
Redefining Him how? As what? Rewriting what history? How?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
And talking of rewriting history, what's the story documented in the rocks?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The scriptures aren't history in the modern sense.

And reinterpreting them isn't rewriting them, unless one fondly thinks one doesn't have an interpretation, but somehow has magic access to the True Meaning -- the typical conevo fault ("everyone else has an interpretation; I have the real meaning").
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Martin60: as there is no foretelling prophecy to any significant degree, with any intensity of signal above noise, there is no inspiration, no Tradition, no sovereignty. There is nothing that stands up to critical analysis which necessarily includes extreme post-modernism.

How does that diminish Christ?

Maybe, by making him a fictional character equivalent to a pseudo-scholarly epithet or maybe the protagonist of a piece of historical fiction.
Is there a real resurrection in there? Nope didn’t think so, so you have a cosmic Christ like Teillard de Chardin. That is rewriting the Christ of the gospels.
And..
The gospels are history. If they are not we may as well be making it up as we go along like you seem to be doing.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
I think Martin's answer to this is along the lines of

a) we have mansucripts for the Gospels that are much closer in time to the events they claim to record than for the OT so we can be surer of their reliability

b) the type of supernatural intervention seen in the NT is not of the same order as that seen (on a "plain reading") in the OT in that it is neither genocidally violent nor of such a nature (thinking here specifically of predictive prophecy) as to imply a wholly deterministic world.

I think the central problem is that there is both continuity and hiatus between the OT and the NT. If there wasn't hiatus, we'd still all be Jews or converts to Judaism. If there wasn't continuity, we wouldn't believe in the one God, and we'd be hard put to understand the background to the Gospels or the theology of the epistles. The church has struggled with this paradox since the council of Jerusalem.

The question is how this paradox is to be resolved.

Dispensationalism in particular, along with various other types of millenialism and adventism, seeks to resolve it by (as it has it), "rightly dividing the word of truth" to constitute multiple categories of people, types of salvation, and so on, and imposing (as I see it) unnatural breaks in the text to consign various parts to various dispensations as the system requires.

The alternative is to allow the Scriptures, and more particularly the OT, to be reinterpreted as society and our understanding of God changes.

Of course there are risks to this approach, and I share some of your concerns, but I prefer it to the dispensational approach because I think shows more respect (not less) for the integrity of the texts, and because of the precedents:

a) reinterpretation (or at least reapplication) in the light of social change is recorded by the Bible itself as early as the Pentateuch (Numbers 25)

b) the NT writers reapply the LXX for their own ends in line with the Jewish tradition of midrash

c) so did Jesus ("but I say unto you...")

d) the Council of Jerusalem pragmatically reinterpreted and re-applied OT law as their understanding of God's will evolved and as the nascent Church dealt with a changing demographic

e) Paul in 2 Corinthians 3 states the need for Scripture to be understood with the help of the Spirit, failing which it is a "letter which kills": this to my mind suggests that no understanding of inspiration is properly complete if it does not extend to include interpretation

f) this tradition has continued throughout history, during which the Church has reinterpreted Scripture in ways almost universally approved today (eg on the divine right of kings, slavery), so this is nothing new

g) reinterpretation is the only alternative to a kind of fundamentalism that eventually leads either to social withdrawal and irrelevance (eg the Amish) or to violent extremism.

[ 15. January 2018, 05:41: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Are the only two possibilities Dispensationalism and cultural relativism?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
I don't think I'd agree that what I've outlined is cultural relativism because it centres on the Gospel and on its calling to be counter-cultural...

Of course there may be other alternatives, but I can't nail down any rationales other than the two I've summarised above; can you?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
I don't know what you mean by "rationales." You say either we accept Dispensationalism, or allow the faith to be reinterpreted at intervals.

Neither Catholicism nor Orthodoxy is dispensationalist, but neither require ongoing reinterpretation if I understand what you mean by that.

You seem to have created a false dichotomy when there are many other possibilities. Heck, there are even static Protestant interpretive frameworks that are not dispensationalist.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Let me put it another way; I think all interpretive frameworks struggle with how to reconcile the God of the OT and the God of the NT, and that Jamat and Martin are polar opposites in how that may be achieved.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
What puzzles me is how Jamat appears to believe that only by adherence to a rigid and somewhat brittle fundagelical approach we can avoid drifting off into some kind of error or other.

Of course, Big T Tradition or Big C Church systems believe this to be the case if we don't adhere to those - although these are broader and more expansive places that the narrow, sectarian enclaves that fundagelicalism creates.

Be that as it may, I can only speak for myself and I don't see how it is at all incompatible to hold to a traditional creedal understanding of the Person and work of Christ and of the Holy and Undivided Trinity and yet not go in for the somewhat rigid demands of a system like Jamat's.

Jamat seems puzzled by this.

To which I'd say, 'Try it, give it a go. Come on in, the water's lovely and after a while you won't need the inflatable water-wings provided for you by Schofield, Anderson and others who saw some people drowning in a pool of 19th century Liberalism and Modernism and started doing out life-jackets rather than teaching people how to swim ...'
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Martin60: as there is no foretelling prophecy to any significant degree, with any intensity of signal above noise, there is no inspiration, no Tradition, no sovereignty. There is nothing that stands up to critical analysis which necessarily includes extreme post-modernism.

How does that diminish Christ?

Maybe, by making him a fictional character equivalent to a pseudo-scholarly epithet or maybe the protagonist of a piece of historical fiction.
Is there a real resurrection in there? Nope didn’t think so, so you have a cosmic Christ like Teillard de Chardin. That is rewriting the Christ of the gospels.
And..
The gospels are history. If they are not we may as well be making it up as we go along like you seem to be doing.

How does there being no foretelling prophecy to any significant degree, with any intensity of signal above noise, no inspiration, no Tradition, no sovereignty, nothing that stands up to critical analysis which necessarily includes extreme post-modernism make Jesus a fictional character equivalent to a “pseudo-scholarly epithet” or maybe the protagonist of a piece of historical fiction?

Your, if any, answer will be as irrational.

How does there being no foretelling prophecy to any significant degree, with any intensity of signal above noise, no inspiration, no Tradition, no sovereignty, nothing that stands up to critical analysis which necessarily includes extreme post-modernism obviate the Resurrection?

Is there a real resurrection in there? How can you think not?

How does there being no foretelling prophecy to any significant degree, with any intensity of signal above noise, no inspiration, no Tradition, no sovereignty, nothing that stands up to critical analysis which necessarily includes extreme post-modernism make a “cosmic Christ like Teillard de Chardin [sic]”.

Your, if any, answer will be as irrational.

How does there being no foretelling prophecy to any significant degree, with any intensity of signal above noise, no inspiration, no Tradition, no sovereignty, nothing that stands up to critical analysis which necessarily includes extreme post-modernism rewrite the Christ of the gospels.

Your, if any, answer will be as irrational.

And the gospels are not history. They are not historical documents. So what?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Was my restatement of your position here about right, Martin?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Superb Eutychus.

I'm fascinated by how this is developing with mousethief's input.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well yes, and Jamat ain't going to like this, but it seems to me that, at their best, the RCs and Orthodox don't descend into false dichotomies as much as some of the more conservative Protestants do.

I have friends who accuse both RCs and Orthodox of 'switching off their brains' when it comes to Tradition - 'The Church teaches it, I believe it despite my personal reservations ...'

However, some of them seem to do the same when it comes to their own small t - tradition. That's more the case with those who don't even seem to realise that they represent a tradition, but it is a charge that can sometimes be levied somewhat wider than that, I think.

Whether we ratchet things up as high as Big T or operate within a small t tradition, it strikes me that there is indisputably something about Eutychus's points e) and f) that we need to consider.

As to whether Jamat and Martin are polar opposites ... I think there are more polar extremes out there than either of these guys.

There is a broad continuum between absolutely wooden fundamentalism on the one hand (and Jamat is by no means as far along that spectrum as some) and Spongiformity on the other.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Superb Eutychus.

I'll take that as a "yes" to my question... [Biased]

quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
No community has actively driven me out, I have withdrawn, although I remain involved where I can and will be able to do more soon. I MISS services. I love the Eucharist.

Where does the Church fit in for you, Martin? Does it remain a safe mother within which you can think heretical thoughts, or have you gone beyond her into isolation? How does it mesh with your thought trajectory?

[ 15. January 2018, 10:29: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Your analysis of my position (deist beyond Christ, theist in Him) is as good as it gets.

Church. Hmmmm. If I had the money I'd move to Waterloo and attend and utterly immerse myself in Steve Chalke's literal Oasis. Also I've never been disappointed by a Cathedral service, including Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (RC). Was blown away by a most Marian service at St. Pancras once.

Went to choral evensong a couple of months ago in a high church nearby. Too many wordy hymns. "...differs from the cathedral style in being 'Classic FM' rather than 'Radio 3'". Yeahhhh. Need time to fellowship, get to know people and there isn't any. Time. There will be soon, but...

Every Friday night except the first of the month and even some of them if needed I go to the charevo Anglican church I mainly attended since changing cities in 2009 (twice on Sunday for the first year and probably more - on the basis of always go to your local), having become a confirmed Anglican in 2005, to volunteer with the homeless. It's oxygen. Gets me out of myself like nothing else. With more opportunity coming we'll go Sundays. Despite everything [Smile] Despite being the dangerously near operative word. I do NOT want to be isolated. Therein, in every way, is death. I'm enough of a loner (surprising? Intro-extro. Or extro-intro? A solitary plant spotter anyway.) as it is.

For a couple or three years I attended the church I could spit on with a following wind, a nice little MOTR Anglican village one. That was least problematic. The city church regarded us as liberals. We moved back to the city 2 years ago. Tried a more local church plant of the main city church. Too mother and child oriented for me and my wife. One big Sunday school.

I've been to other non-conformist services for special occasions. Never say never again, but... And the Deobandi Mosque. THAT was awesome.

I regard the Church (ALL of her over time and space) as my mother, yes. I can't have a real relationship with her (except in the Friday night interactions), a real conversation apart from here and with my wife. I am the beneficiary of her 2000 year continuity, of her Tradition to say the least. I couldn't exist without her.

I'm not entitled to any expectations along the subversive trajectory, except here and more remotely. At least here there is two-way analytical, reflective communication.

As do I, pick the bones out of that!
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Yeah, well just imagine living with those sorts of dilemmas and having a flock in your charge. My problem is seeing where everyone else around me will be theologically in a generation's time (at least, that's what's happened over the last 20 years or so) and struggling to bridge the gap whilst having nobody IRL to bounce ideas off - you just get blank looks (apart from Mrs Eutychus, thankfully).

Aside from that, though, inasmuch as your theology owes a debt to the Church and you recognise the need for meeting together, it seems important to me that your (one's) theology is capable of incorporating some form of local church (gathering together).

If your theology - especially, here, of inspiration of Scripture - takes you on an arc out of church altogether, I think it's rather like sawing off the branch you're sitting on, isn't it? The Church is what's got Scripture this far. You have to be missing something (generic you here).

To put it another way, in order not to drift into pure relativism or illuminism, and in order to be eschatolocially meaningful, reinterpretation needs to be taken on board by a community in some form of continuity with the historic Church. I think.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Stone me E.! You have no up-line? No peer group? It's normal for the clergy to be more liberal than their flock, but not alone surely?

Fellowship outside bad coffee after services would be nice. We had a great small group in the village. Kept my wife going far more than services. No such thing in the city church any more. Not allowed. I wasn't allowed to go to the local one in 2009. Had to drive miles. And I did. Nowt ter do wi' me that. Charevo control freakery.

My theology can't take me out of the Church. I got it IN the Church. Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Steve Chalke are in the Church. Just not in Leicester.

They will NEVER allow public discussion of the reinterpretation of eschatology, prophecy, sovereignty. Any more than Big-T can heterosexist patriarchy. Whilst allowing BENNY FFFFFFFF.....lamin' HINN! to have a say. He came to Leicester on a 'word' and we were all encouraged to go. I'd rather set fire to myself. Mark Stibbe was bad enough before his sordid fall. Andrew White was just eccentric.

So no, I won't pay for any of that.

And if I were so enlightened, how come I know that I am appallingly limited in love?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
I didn't say you were illuminated, as we say here. But there has to be a way for bleeding-edge theology to bring the Church along with it, otherwise it's a dead end. And it has to recognise its roots.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
All it takes is another millennium or ten along the trajectory. Whether the Church has any part in that, I can't see.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Yeah but you have to take people with you. Joshua made sure everyone got across the Jordan, didn't he?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Until Pope Joshua I then!
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Well seriously (dragging us off-topic here a bit) I think that's what Francis is trying to do, isn't he? Drag the RC Church kicking and screaming into the 21st century with a leaf taken out of the evo piety book?

I nicked my insights about the inspiration of interpretation from conversations with our local RC archbishop (although he nicked them from Paul Ricoeur, a good protestant).
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
The last shall be first: Ricouer! Wonderful stuff. Sorry, I've gone through the thread, but could you point out your aye, aye, aye alliteration; Insights about the Inspiration of Interpretation? Or reiterate them? I know they're there, but I'm old and dim. And the first shall be last: Francis, well said. Happy to regard him as my Pope. Which for a former Whore AND Her (Reform) Daughters man is saying a lot. Could you elaborate on evo piety? Anti-materialist, inclusive traditionalism?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Gee D:I would not say that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, for a start. A better definition is that scripture was composed by people especially inspired by God and that their writings are generally accepted as containing teaching to instruct and guide
What seems to be the difference to you. Why change from 2tim3:16? This establishes scriptural authority and function pretty tightly.
A good false dichotomy. Were the Torah writers and editors especially inspired to attribute millions of deaths to God the Killer? I see that they WERE especially inspired despite that, transcendently despite where they were in social evolution. Even in dreadfully wonderful stories like Abraham under the Terebinth Trees at Mamre, with God acceding to his every request for mercy to the five cities He was about to nuke. As they evolved, God got better. He completely spared Nineveh. Funny that.
What is more tragic than funny is the pathos of attempts to discover an inescapable God not believed in, somehow, within a metanarrative not believed in but inescapable also. Anyone who tries to play with the rules cannot be legitimately part of the game.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Whose rules? Whose game?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
A fine chiasmus.

Rule number 1. The rocks lie.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Rule number 2. The entire universe lies.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Rule number 3. The bible is a flat cookbook that must be swallowed whole and no matter how randomly bitten off, in what sequence, is always the same in plain meaning. Every permutation of the elements of the original perfectly dictated whole is the same.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Jamat, I assume that when you said inescapable God not believed in you were not suggesting that Eutychus, Martin60 and others were non-belivers.

How would you interpret the saying "You are Peter and on ts rock I shall build my church". In the way that the majority of Christians since then have interpreted it, that is to give primacy to Peter and then the church at Rome which Peter established?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Oooh. Do you need a postmodern hand there Jamat?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Jamat, I assume that when you said inescapable God not believed in you were not suggesting that Eutychus, Martin60 and others were non-belivers.

How would you interpret the saying "You are Peter and on ts rock I shall build my church". In the way that the majority of Christians since then have interpreted it, that is to give primacy to Peter and then the church at Rome which Peter established?

Uh-oh ...

You do realise, Gee D that Jamat grew up Roman Catholic?
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
How would you interpret the saying "You are Peter and on ts rock I shall build my church". In the way that the majority of Christians since then have interpreted it, that is to give primacy to Peter and then the church at Rome which Peter established?

I realize that Roman and Eastern Rite Catholics comprise the majority of Christians, both now living and, I’d guess, historically. But that interpretation is pretty much limited to them, and perhaps some Anglicans, mainly of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion, isn't it? It's not the Orthodox interpretation, as I understand it, nor is it the understanding of any Protestant or Oriental churches. So I’m not quite sure what the point here is.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Gamaliel, yes, I did know that.

Nick Tamen, IAs you can see, I'm aware of Jamat's background. Of course, we'll never know the exact numbers, but I'd be very surprised if the majority of Christians had not followed Rome's teaching on this point. Given Jamat's background and his present position, I'd like to know how he interprets it now.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Jamat, I assume that when you said inescapable God not believed in you were not suggesting that Eutychus, Martin60 and others were non-belivers.

How would you interpret the saying "You are Peter and on ts rock I shall build my church". In the way that the majority of Christians since then have interpreted it, that is to give primacy to Peter and then the church at Rome which Peter established?

What I meant was that If God is an issue, then he is inescapable. The wrestle for enlightenment continues..everyone comes at it from viewpoints which occasionally may intersect.

The Matt 16:14-18 is interesting. ISTM that the revelation given to Peter is the rock on which the church stands but that Peter himself was given ‘keys’ to unlock that revelation. We seein Acts how his words bring immediate change to the crowds in Acts 2 and later how he spearheaded the first offering of the gospel to the gentiles in the Cornelius story. It was on his testimony that the rest of apostles accepted this. It is if he used the ‘keys’ and after that, the door stayed open.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
What I meant was that If God is an issue, then he is inescapable. The wrestle for enlightenment continues..everyone comes at it from viewpoints which occasionally may intersect.

With this I heartily agree.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Jamat, I assume that when you said inescapable God not believed in you were not suggesting that Eutychus, Martin60 and others were non-belivers.

How would you interpret the saying "You are Peter and on ts rock I shall build my church". In the way that the majority of Christians since then have interpreted it, that is to give primacy to Peter and then the church at Rome which Peter established?

What I meant was that If God is an issue, then he is inescapable. The wrestle for enlightenment continues..everyone comes at it from viewpoints which occasionally may intersect.

The Matt 16:14-18 is interesting. ISTM that the revelation given to Peter is the rock on which the church stands but that Peter himself was given ‘keys’ to unlock that revelation. We seein Acts how his words bring immediate change to the crowds in Acts 2 and later how he spearheaded the first offering of the gospel to the gentiles in the Cornelius story. It was on his testimony that the rest of apostles accepted this. It is if he used the ‘keys’ and after that, the door stayed open.

Hmmmm. Your inescapable God is Killer. God the Baby Drowner. For 'sin'.

Aye, the revelation given to Peter is that by the Father, that Jesus is the anointed Son of the living God. This is the key to the taking of the abused keys to the Kingdom from the scribes and Pharisees.

Peter was never in Rome of course.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Martin--

Why do you believe that Peter was never in Rome?
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
I had missed Martin's reply (blame the beach holiday). AFAIK, the evidence we have is that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
There is no biblical or historical evidence. Which is rather odd.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I might be wrong, but one of the gripes the Antiochian Orthodox seem to have with Rome (alongside the usual reservations that the Orthodox have about the See of Peter) is that they claim Peter as their founder ...

I'm not sure about the historical evidence. I'd like to see sources for and against on that one, but it may be a tangent too far.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Perhaps no historical evidence along the lines of a death notice in the tTmes, or a centurion record of those executed during that year. But a strong, very strong, tradition for the best part of 2 millenia.

And yes, Peter is the traditional founder of the church at Antioch as well as at Rome.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
A self serving tradition. And not a word about it in the Bible. Most odd.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
"Peter" was originally called "Simon"; According to John 1; 42 it was Jesus who gave him the 'nickname' of "Cephas", in Greek "Petros", in English in effect "Rocky".

On this basis it would be a plausible paraphrase of Matt 16; 18 that Jesus is responding to Peter's confession of Jesus as "The Christ, the Son of the Living God" with the idea "See how appropriate it is that I named you 'Rocky' because your confession just now is the 'Rock' on which the church will be built".

As a personal 'Rock' it is noteworthy that Peter almost immediately fails when, a few verses later, Jesus starts teaching about how he must fulfil his Messiahship by being killed by the Jewish authorities, and Peter comes back with "Mercy on you, Lord; this must never happen to you!"

To which Jesus replies "You get behind me Satan, (instead of being a rock) you are (now) a snare to me; for you are not minding things divine, but things human".

The big difficulty in the Petrine claim for Rome is simply in the transfer from something applied to Peter being turned ultimately into a claim of rather absolute authority for 'successors' - and as the mention of Antioch rather shows, one line of succession only, with nothing anywhere in the Bible to confirm that arrangement and lots of later history to show it up as a self-serving thing on the part of later bishops of Rome in disputes far later and arguably more about secular worldly authority in a state church than about spiritual authority....

Plus of course the rather obvious that when either the Popes or the Eastern Orthodox patriarchs are clear that the Bible is the Word of God, who should we choose when those somewhat self-proclaimed authorities appear to contradict Scripture??
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
AIUI there is a strong tradition for Peter as bishop of Rome though probably not the first. One list gives a predecessor in the post as one 'Linus', possibly derived from the Celtic name 'Llyn', and there is a pleasant though of course far from guaranteed legend that 'Llyn' was a relative of or from the household of the exiled British king Caractacus!

The only 'evidence' for him not being in Rome would appear to be I Peter 5; 18 where he refers to a 'joint-elect in Babylon' in the end-of-epistle sign off greetings. Protestants were later very keen, in a dubious attempt to undermine the papacy, to see this as evidence of Peter not being in Rome - but AIUI the consensus is that like John in Rev 17, Peter is in fact referring to Rome anyway. (John's meaning is made fairly clear by a reference to 'seven hills' on which "Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots..." is sitting!)
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
AIUI there is a strong tradition for Peter as bishop of Rome though probably not the first. One list gives a predecessor in the post as one 'Linus', possibly derived from the Celtic name 'Llyn' . . . .

Linus is mentioned in the closing of 2nd Timothy. Unless I’m mistaken, those sources that list Linus as the first bishop of Rome do not have him as a “predecessor” to Peter. Peter just isn’t in the list at all, or is called “apostle” rather than “bishop.” As I recall, those sources describe Linus as being ordained to the episcopate by Peter and/or Paul.

But yes, the earliest of the sources naming the bishops of Rome comes 100+ years after Peter and Linus.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Thanks Nick; I was going off a somewhat distant memory about Linus. Linus is not hugely important; my main point was the second para., about Where the idea of Peter 'in Babylon rather than Rome came from'
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
A self serving tradition. And not a word about it in the Bible. Most odd.

I accept that there's nothing about it in the Bible, and so have no problem at all in relying on tradition. I know that the Eastern and most Oriental Orthodox churches do not accept the Catholic interpretation (it would be strange if they did) but AFAIK, they do not dispute the foundation of both the Roman and Antiochian churches by Peter. I can see no problem in his founding both.

And I do not find it odd that there's no mention in the Bible. There's none of much of the earliest days of the churches there.

[ 20. January 2018, 01:41: Message edited by: Gee D ]
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
hosting
This seems to be straying from inerrancy. If you want to discuss St Peter either relate it to inerrancy or please go discuss it somewhere else. Kerygmania for the Bible verse and Purgatory for anything else about Peter not directly relating to the Dead Horse.
Thanks
Louise
DH host

hosting off
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Sorry Louise, this seems to be a case not of posts crossing but simultaneous ones. My correction and your post went together.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
This is simply nonsense. Once again, if interested, I suggest you investigate further. If you are not and in point scoring mode, then there is no point in further interactions.

OK, I haven't forgotten this and have finally composed a response which is on the Kerygmania thread.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sorry for my part Louise.

I suggest that it shows another main danger of believing the OP. As well as having to deal with the flat cookbook of the random here a little there a little, the same yesterday today and forever, God the Killer one has to deal with vast institutions, powers, built after centuries on a sentence, segued by a possible code word.

Two errors for the price of one.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
So the Pope and Eastern Orthodox patriarchs are 'self-appointed' and Protestant leaders/pastors and Bible commentators somehow aren't ...

How does that work?

But then I did think this will heading off on a tangent ...
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
This is simply nonsense. Once again, if interested, I suggest you investigate further. If you are not and in point scoring mode, then there is no point in further interactions.

OK, I haven't forgotten this and have finally composed a response which is on the Kerygmania thread.
Thanks, I read that.
You seem to present the historical picture, (in a limited way,) as evidence that the Bible could not use a 360 day prophetic year.

It is clear that calendars changed in the ancient world. Apparently, in 701BC there was a major adjustment of the Babylonian calendar. However, I do not think that citing such changes makes your point.

It seems though, that despite the lengthening of the year for practical purposes, the Bible stuck with the 360 days. It is internally consistent as we see this in Daniel 9, 11 and 12 and previously in Genesis as mentioned before and also in the NT in Revelation where 3.5 years is described as 1240 days?

When God is specifying his programme, it seems that he has provided this consistency and it seems Robert Anderson demonstrated this. By the way, his book, ‘The Coming Prince’, you can get on kindle as I saw it there the other day.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
So the Pope and Eastern Orthodox patriarchs are 'self-appointed' and Protestant leaders/pastors and Bible commentators somehow aren't ...

How does that work?

But then I did think this will heading off on a tangent ...

I don't know about others but for me the point is precisely that I don't claim authority - not for myself. The Word of God has the authority, and when I interpret I have to convince and satisfy those to whom I speak or write, and I have to pay attention to the questions of others. I don't get to say that because I'm the successor of Peter, or have some other institutional place, my ideas are infallible and my interpretation, my 'tradition' overrules yours just because of who I am. And BTW, Hosts, I see that as a very relevant part of what it means that the Scriptures are inspired/inerrant/etc. The Word rules, the interpreter doesn't - not in the way that the papacy suggests.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
So the Pope and Eastern Orthodox patriarchs are 'self-appointed' and Protestant leaders/pastors and Bible commentators somehow aren't ...

How does that work?

But then I did think this will heading off on a tangent ...

If that was derived from what I said, might I ask how?
 
Posted by RdrEmCofE (# 17511) on :
 
It seems to me that a logical interpretation of the Peter / Rock / build MY church passage would indicate that the ROCK Jesus was referring to was not Peter, but Himself.

quote:
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;
The conversation is actually broken by the comment [and Jesus answered and said unto him].

That which flesh and blood had not revealed unto Peter was that [Jesus was The Christ, the Son of the living God]. This is the important clause that Jesus is referring back to, when He says "Upon THIS rock I will build MY church. Not Peter's church,,but Christ's church.

quote:
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The keys to the kingdom were not given specifically to Peter. They are obviously given to ALL Christ's disciples. They ALL also have the authority to bind or loose. John 20:23.

Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

This final anecdote returns us to the key statement in the passage. That Jesus Christ is the rock upon which the church is built.

Matt. 7:24, (alegory) Luke 8:6,13, (alegory) Rom. 9:33, 1 Cor. 10:4, 1 Pet. 2:8. 1 Cor. 3:11. Eph. 2:20. Deut. 32:4, Ps. 18:31,
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
That last post is precisely what Louise suggested less than ten posts ago would be appropriate if this were a Kerygmania thread. It is not. I'll assume the writer inadvertently missed Louise's post when he was composing. But none of the Hosts will be as gentle from here on in.

John Holding
Dead Horses Host
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
A tangent but within the OP. I DO accept the inspiration of the NT as a basis for the findings of the ecumenical councils of course. I'm not just a Jeffersonian, red-letter bible deist.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Martin, my comments were directed more at Steve than they were at you, but I think you were the one who introduced the Papacy into the discussion.

Anyhow, we've discussed this many times before, Steve Langton and myself so I'm not going to go over old ground now, save to make the observation that we could have another irregular verb parsing going on here:

- Your interpretation is flawed because you are self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy.

- My interpretation isn't flawed because I can self-evidently interpret the Bible better than you can.

The irony of that is, as always, lost on those who argue that way.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Indeed G., indeed. What?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Is that a rhetorical 'what?'
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
(Ass juss me pruhhtendin' ter be fick like, yer know, realisin' after the event, like, that you're implyin' summin', like. Yer know.)

[ 20. January 2018, 21:46: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Gamaliel

quote:
My interpretation isn't flawed because I can self-evidently interpret the Bible better than you can.
For me, more a case of my interpretation may be flawed but at least I'm allowing you to challenge it rather than hiding behind a questionable claim to insitutional authority to be right just because of my position in the institution. And hey, if you've got a better argument you do have a serious chance to change my position - it does happen.

[ 20. January 2018, 22:53: Message edited by: Steve Langton ]
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
(Ass juss me pruhhtendin' ter be fick like, yer know, realisin' after the event, like, that you're implyin' summin', like. Yer know.)

Is there an English translation please?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
@ Steve Langton. Nice post Steve. The point you make about the preeminence of text over interpreter rather than vice versa, raises the question of where the ‘authority’ is ultimately vested. People talk about the necessity of tradition as a safeguarding factor against ‘private’ interpretation so there is a spectre raised. Interesting that that did not greatly trouble the reformers.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
People talk about the necessity of tradition as a safeguarding factor against ‘private’ interpretation so there is a spectre raised. Interesting that that did not greatly trouble the reformers.

Calvin, of course, condemned private interpretation of Scripture just as he did Rome's claims to exclusive interpretation. I believe Luther did as well, but someone else might know better as to him.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
People talk about the necessity of tradition as a safeguarding factor against ‘private’ interpretation so there is a spectre raised. Interesting that that did not greatly trouble the reformers.

Yes. And look where that led.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
Ah, but surely it did trouble some reformers?

You have only to look at the actions taken against, for example, Levellers by Parliament after the execution of Charles I in England. And even before the king's execution, especially after the Putney debates, various factions were marginalised and moved against on religious grounds.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The point you make about the preeminence of text over interpreter rather than vice versa, raises the question of where the ‘authority’ is ultimately vested.

Firstly, what is meant by "preeminence of text over interpreter"? You need a text to interpret, but as far as I can see the interpreting is just as important as the text itself in terms of outcomes; it's not difficult to find biblical examples of this.

Secondly, "where authority is ultimately vested"; by whom?

Thirdly, it seems to me that the really important thing is neither preeminence nor authority but accountability: my personal responsibility before God to give an account of myself. Trying to bludgeon people with Scripture as though it was intrinsically authoritative rather than owning one's interpretation didn't go down too well for the devil.
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
From my perspective, this whole debate is so suffused with irony it's hard to know where to start. The position according to which the biblical text is the only witness to God and is entirely self-interpreting only works for those who hold it because it is entirely worked into their own personal identity and the form of their faith. That faith is so formed around certain axioms about and interpretations of those texts that those who hold it cannot tell the difference between it and God because, for them, there is no difference.

This is why I cannot help seeing it as idolatrous, because it is so monolithic, so self-consistent, and so utterly impenetrable by anyone and anything, including God.

To be clear: the biblical text does not give unmediated access to God because it does not and cannot give unmediated access to itself. We construct our readings out of our identities, and we construct our identities by interpreting the world around us. We are interpretative animals, from our first breath. Any attempt to give coherence to the vastly varied and disconnected sensory information with which we are bombarded even while within the womb is necessarily an act of interpretation, and once we've started, we don't stop because we can't.

We are made in the image and likeness of God, and we interpret because we are co-creators. The biblical text is a witness to this truth, but it is not either its source or its final truth. The Creator is its source, and relationship with that creator is the proof.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
We'll put, Thunderbunk.

I'm still sufficiently squeamish not to lay the idolatry / Bibliolatry charge against the extreme conservative fundagelicals but some of them ain't far off that for sure.

Meanwhile, I think I understood Martin60's attempt at phonetic demotic accented English more than some of his other posts, but there we go ...

As for Jamat's comment about the Reformers, it only goes to show how much ignorance there is out there on the popular conservative evangelical level as to what the Reformers actually taught about these matters or not what many of them assume.

To borrow a phrase, 'I agree with Nick ...'

Mind you, look where that led ...
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
People talk about the necessity of tradition as a safeguarding factor against ‘private’ interpretation so there is a spectre raised. Interesting that that did not greatly trouble the reformers.

Calvin, of course, condemned private interpretation of Scripture just as he did Rome's claims to exclusive interpretation. I believe Luther did as well, but someone else might know better as to him.
Were most of the reformers not former catholic priests who rejected the authority of the church? Luther, in particular, claimed that scriptural authority was paramount right?
No one, certainly not me suggests they believed in ‘private interpretation’ but that is what he was accused of, certainly.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Were most of the reformers not former catholic priests who rejected the authority of the church? Luther, in particular, claimed that scriptural authority was paramount right?
No one, certainly not me suggests they believed in ‘private interpretation’ but that is what he was accused of, certainly.

The Reformers insisted that Scripture could only be properly interpreted by the church—the Body of Christ, the community of believers. They asserted that Rome had usurped this authority from the church as a whole and had adopted interpretations that were at odds with Scripture itself..

Luther was a monk, though I’m not sure he was a priest. Zwingli, Knox and Simons were priests. Calvin was a lawyer, and Melancthon an academic.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Nick Tamen
quote:
The Reformers insisted that Scripture could only be properly interpreted by the church—the Body of Christ, the community of believers. They asserted that Rome had usurped this authority from the church as a whole and had adopted interpretations that were at odds with Scripture itself..
That, AIUI, would be pretty much the Anabaptist position too. Purely 'private' interpretation has obvious problems; though it can also be a safeguard that everybody has the right to question 'authorities' and say, in effect, "But it doesn't say that...."

It is of course true that "the church of the living God (is)the pillar and support of the truth"; but this is 'church' as in 'ekklesia', a congregation or assembly - the bottom-up organisation, the people, rather than the institution seen later. And yes, Bible interpretation should be done mostly by the church,

Indeed this is in a way outside the church as well - as in the case of the Bereans checking what Paul told them by the Scriptures,for example, and again Paul is said a good few times to have 'reasoned' with hearers, in Acts 17; 2 specifically reasoned with them from the Scriptures - the word used is the root of our word 'dialogue', discussing rather than a 'laying down the law' preaching. I personally take the attitude that when I'm using the Bible with non-Christians I can't just go "the Bible says..." or offer my interpretation as unquestionable - I need to say "Check it for yourself", and if that applies with outsiders it pretty much has to be case inside the church too.

So yes, I do interpretation in and with the church I go to locally; and face-to-face in some other groups as well. I also do interpretation, in what admittedly can't be a two-way dialogue, with the aid of a wide range of Christians via books and these days other media as well - interpretation with the wider church, and not just with those I totally agree with. Not 'private' in any absolute purely personal sense.

I'll let you think about that one for a bit; for now I'm being a bit distracted by other stuff.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Not a great deal there to think about, Steve Langton, that the rest of us, of whatever tradition or Tradition don't already do ourselves.

Whichever branch of Christianity we come from we are all party to some extent to an ongoing dialogue with scripture and tradition / Tradition.

I was at a conference last summer when a debate started between the Orthodox and the RC participants about divorce and remarriage with the Anglicans and evangelicals weighing in on one side or the other.

Both sides were citing scripture of course.

How would we resolve an issue like that?

Well, they didn't resolve it, of course but agreed to disagree.

The same thing happens here aboard Ship, of course.

Ultimately, however we cut it, we go with interpretations that fit with the context and framework of our particular tradition or Tradition - that applies to all of us, Anabaptist, Anglican, Reformed, Lutheran, RC, Orthodox or whatever else.

It's just that some traditions /Traditions are better at acknowledging that this is what they are doing rather than imagining that they are somehow interpreting the scriptures outwith some kind of interpretive framework that they inhabit.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Part of the question here is whether 'Scripture' needs some special interpretation method that we don't apply to other writings. Tyndale and other Reformers clearly thought they don't. In the passage from Tyndale that I've frequently quoted he is saying, in effect, read the Bible like other books; not with a narrow 'dumb wooden' literalism, but with full allowance for figures of speech, genre, and other literary devices. And specifically that we are not dependent, in interpreting Scripture, on some external person such as the Pope who effectively gets to tell us what the interpretation is without the need of proper 'reasoning/dialogue' but just a claim that "I have this authority, so there!".
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
No it isn't, part of the question here is about how we read the scriptures in community and in the context of whatever Christian tradition we belong to or which has influenced us the most.

That applies whether we go in for a Papal Magisterium, the Orthodox conciliar/collegial approach or the Reformed approach, radical reformed approach or whatever else ...

I'm not talking about the Pope nor Tyndale necessarily, I'm simply making an observation that some conservative evangelicals and fundagelicals seem reluctant to accept or concede, even if they understand the concept in the first place - which is that the scriptures come to us in the context of a faith community.

They don't come to us in glorious isolation. But we've had this discussion before with Lamb Chopped's story of imbibing an understanding of the faith sitting on the john with an open Bible.

Well, yes, but I'm simply suggesting that it ain't quite as straightforward as that.

I'm all for Tyndale's ploughman with his Bible but he, like the rest of us, will have received that Bible in community and interpreted that Bible in the context of a faith community.

Even if we go along with your thing about a bottom-up ekklesia rather than a top-down Magisterium, that still applies.

There is no getting around it.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Also, whilst it's true that the Pope or Magisterium has the casting vote I think you'll find that the level of debate in RC - and other 'High Church' circles - tends to be way, way, way more sophisticated than, 'I'm the Pope, so there ...'

Heck, I've been in a meeting where a leading Dominican scholar accused the current Pope of being a heretic ...

[Eek!]

It wasn't as if he wasn't exercising his reasoning or critical faculties or simply toeing a party-line.

I sometimes wonder where some conservative evangelicals get their ideas from. 'Janet & John join the Reformation'?

'The Reformation Painting-by-Numbers Colouring Book'?

If they spent more time outside their little holy huddles and conventicles and actually having proper, informed dialogue with people of other traditions both small t and Big T they'd soon realise that life and faith is a lot more complicated that a Chick Tract, Banner of Truth tub-thumping tome or Countdown to Armaggedon Numpty-Dumpty Eschatology By Numbers book.

[Biased] [Razz]
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
I think you do know I'm not that simplistic....

Thing is, Mark, say, writes his gospel, which he's probably been making notes for over a few decades of mission work alongside Paul, Peter, etc., perhaps particularly Peter. Surely he is expecting that his book will simply be READ (or occasionally listened to) by individuals as well as groups and he intends that what he writes will be pretty straightforwardly understood by those readers/hearers. He's not setting a crossword puzzle that needs special techniques of understanding, and most of his hearers/readers are going to be ordinary guys and he'll be expecting they will basically understand without some special help.

OK, some will need it translated to another language; and some will need help with cultural details of things different from their own culture - but this is just the ordinary help implicit in any kind of reading. And yes, reading in community will help. But again Mark is not writing to be deliberately obscure; he is trying to give a plain account to plain readers.

The big problem is when people are making a claim to special interpretative authority over and above ordinary 'reasoning from the Scriptures' with that 'check it out for yourself' factor. And when they try to make their interpretation binding forever.

Peter, John, Paul etc do have obvious 'authority' as eyewitnesses and/or specially appointed by Jesus to represent him; and those trained by the apostles can make a similar claim, and those who they train in turn. But a few generations of that, including cases where even if appointed by, say, Peter, there wasn't a long period of apprenticeship, and you'll be dealing with a good deal of both 'Chinese whispers' effect and just that the person concerned is doing his best to apply what he knows to new situations and so on. And essentially you either have to recognise the limitations of that or resort to a claim that somehow that one 'successor of Peter' or whatever is 'magically' guaranteed to get it right. And then, mind you, even his words are going to need interpreting...!

My point, and I think the Reformers' as well, is that the nearer you can get to 'im-mediate' reading of Scripture with ordinary ways of understanding the better. And any claim of authority that is in effect 'magical' and so hard to ever meaningfully 'check out for yourself' is creating a possibility of improper exploitation (not to mention a very dubious version of 'personal private interpretation'!) and is to be resisted.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Part of the question here is whether 'Scripture' needs some special interpretation method that we don't apply to other writings. Tyndale and other Reformers clearly thought they don't. In the passage from Tyndale that I've frequently quoted he is saying, in effect, read the Bible like other books; not with a narrow 'dumb wooden' literalism, but with full allowance for figures of speech, genre, and other literary devices.

I came across a couple of interesting blog posts about a month ago. The first was an analysis of the two different narratives about the birth of Jesus in the two Gospels that give us an account of the event. The second was the writer's reaction to the comments he received trying to reconcile or dispel the obvious contradictory points in the two accounts.

quote:
There is nothing ‘wrong’ with confessional goals in interpreting biblical texts, if it is clear that it is done in the service of Christians, for Christian Bible-reading. But on the other hand, if your goal is critical exegesis, it is insufficient to simply raise “possible” interpretations, without critically assessing which of these interpretations are also probable or at least plausible interpretations of the text. Yet that’s what I’ve seen here in response to James’ and my posts: the raising of a “possibility” in order to preserve a harmonizing, and so confessionally acceptable, interpretation. That’s fine for church, but not for the academy.

That’s why I wasn’t interested in narrowing interpretation of the two Jesus birth stories down to a single “problem” verse, such as Luke 2.39, and discussing “possible” ways to avoid a clear contradiction. That is a game for inerrantists, infallibalists, etc, including their more sophistic academic counterparts. No – if you are interested in establishing the meaning of the text (as opposed to harmonizing the most “problematic” bits), you have to respect the whole context of the narratives before you.

Italics from the original. Bolding added by me.

In short, an impulse to maintain some predetermined theological point or to "harmonize" disagreeing texts seems to be one of the most common way scripture is held to require "some special interpretation method that we don't apply to other writings".
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Point taken, Croesos.

But one point which doesn't seem to have been raised in the blogs you quote does at least make for a different and more plausible/less obviously contradictory account.

In some ways the biggest 'difficulty' in the narratives is the reading of Luke 2; 7 as there being "... no room at the inn", as if the bureaucrats involved in the census would be so stupid as to send Joseph to register at a town where he had only ancestral ties and as a non-resident would have to stay in an 'inn' while he registered.

The Greek word rendered 'inn' is actually a 'guestchamber' (and its other biblical occurrence is a reference to the 'upper room' of the Last Supper in - traditionally - the family home of Mark the evangelist). The implication of this would be that Joseph was actually basically resident in Bethlehem though working in the Galilee where at the time there was profitable work available in his trade as a 'tekton/builder'; specifically work in the then booming city of Sepphoris later destroyed after a revolt against the Romans. In effect the family would have two homes and travel between them until the Magi made it impractical for them to continue in Bethlehem.

I accept that this is in your terms a 'possibility' rather than the nailed-down certainty desired by academics. But it certainly makes the Matthew and Luke stories a great deal more potentially compatible, and does so on the basis of a more likely rendering of a key word.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Point taken, Croesos.

But one point which doesn't seem to have been raised in the blogs you quote does at least make for a different and more plausible/less obviously contradictory account.

In some ways the biggest 'difficulty' in the narratives is the reading of Luke 2; 7 as there being "... no room at the inn", as if the bureaucrats involved in the census would be so stupid as to send Joseph to register at a town where he had only ancestral ties and as a non-resident would have to stay in an 'inn' while he registered.

The Greek word rendered 'inn' is actually a 'guestchamber' (and its other biblical occurrence is a reference to the 'upper room' of the Last Supper in - traditionally - the family home of Mark the evangelist). The implication of this would be that Joseph was actually basically resident in Bethlehem though working in the Galilee where at the time there was profitable work available in his trade as a 'tekton/builder'; specifically work in the then booming city of Sepphoris later destroyed after a revolt against the Romans. In effect the family would have two homes and travel between them until the Magi made it impractical for them to continue in Bethlehem.

I accept that this is in your terms a 'possibility' rather than the nailed-down certainty desired by academics. But it certainly makes the Matthew and Luke stories a great deal more potentially compatible, and does so on the basis of a more likely rendering of a key word.

Yeah, I think that's a good illustration of what you call "some special interpretation method that we don't apply to other writings". We don't usually bend over backwards to harmonize books by different authors by imagining implausible but still possible explanations completely unsupported by the text. To take an example, we can accept that there are differences between the account of the battle of Salamis we find in Herodotus and the one from The Persians by Æschylus. We typically find ways to explain such differences (Æschylus may have been a participant at Salamis, whereas Herodotus was compiling accounts from multiple witnesses after the fact; each was trying to convey different narratives; one is a drama whereas the other is history; etc.) What we usually don't do is come up with implausible explanations why Æschylus and Herodotus are really saying the same thing, despite the apparent differences in their accounts. That's a "special interpretation method" that only gets applied to scripture.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Steve Langton: it certainly makes the Matthew and Luke stories a great deal more potentially compatible
The two stories are perfectly compatible. Really, the issue is whether the same basic facts give or take a few omissions and additions narrated from differing viewpoints, would be credible if they harmonised too closely. It all comes down to defining a contradiction. If you have an agenda to find some you will. The Prima facie narrative that Joseph had to go to Bethlehem as he had been born there, to register for the census seems quite reasonable and, of course, providential guidance. If, for instance, the angel had told Mary, “you are having a son, and by the way, you must somehow get to Bethlehem to have him”, that would be a big red flag.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The Prima facie narrative that Joseph had to go to Bethlehem as he had been born there, to register for the census seems quite reasonable and, of course, providential guidance.

Well, the narrative in Luke goes like that (Nazareth -> Bethlehem -> Jerusalem -> Nazareth). The narrative in Matthew is different (Bethlehem -> Egypt -> Nazareth). The details are at the link provided previously and aren't really amenable to a plea of details omitted from one account or the other.

This seems to be a case of people reading what "everyone knows" is in the text rather than what is actually in the text.

[ 22. January 2018, 19:37: Message edited by: Crœsos ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The Prima facie narrative that Joseph had to go to Bethlehem as he had been born there, to register for the census seems quite reasonable and, of course, providential guidance.

Well, the narrative in Luke goes like that (Nazareth -> Bethlehem -> Jerusalem -> Nazareth). The narrative in Matthew is different (Bethlehem -> Egypt -> Nazareth). The details are at the link provided previously and aren't really amenable to a plea of details omitted from one account or the other

This seems to be a case of people reading what "everyone knows" is in the text rather than what is actually in the text.

As I said, give or take a few additions and omissions. Given a variation of viewpoints it would be less credible if they harmonised exactly. Matthew mentions no angel, Luke doesn’t mention Joseph’s dreams or Egypt but anyone on the same holiday and writing about it later would do the same thing. It is no king hit to the credibility of the narratives that they select different details to include. It probably would be if they did.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
All of which reinforces the point Croesos was making.

Steve Langton's the same.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
All of which reinforces the point Croesos was making.

Steve Langton's the same.

My impression was that his point was that the accounts were contradictory. What was yours?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
That many attempts to reconcile apparent contradictions are misguided and raise more issues than they actually resolve.

We don't have to fit all the contradictions together and force them to slot together like a jig-saw puzzle in order to defend scriptural inspiration or a high view of scripture.

One wag said, 'The Bible is full of contradictions, and I believe them all.'

I'm comfortable with contradictions. I can live with them. I'm comfortable with Mystery. I can live with it.

That's my point. That we don't have to sign up to a woodenly literal framework of inerrancy and infallibility in the way conservative evangelical and fundagelical models would have us do.

There's no need to. It doesn't help and it doesn't get us very far.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Croesos;
quote:
We don't usually bend over backwards to harmonize books by different authors by imagining implausible but still possible explanations completely unsupported by the text.
Excuse me but I thought in this case I was not 'imagining implausible but still possible explanations completely unsupported by the text'. In this case the 'implausible' explanation is the idea that Joseph was sent by bureaucrats to register at a place with which he had so little connection that he had to go to an inn. And I was making the point that this idea is in fact 'unsupported by the text'; the text, using a word which means 'guestchamber' rather than 'inn' actually supports a more plausible account of a Joseph not just born in Bethlehem but still basically living there even if work (and no doubt the residence of his fiancee!) regularly took him to another area. The idea of an 'inn' seems to have arisen at the point of early translations from Greek to Latin and therefore is not the original text.

I'm not 'bending over backwards' to imagine this - just correcting a misunderstanding/mistranslation.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Croesos;
quote:
We don't usually bend over backwards to harmonize books by different authors by imagining implausible but still possible explanations completely unsupported by the text.
Excuse me but I thought in this case I was not 'imagining implausible but still possible explanations completely unsupported by the text'. In this case the 'implausible' explanation is the idea that Joseph was sent by bureaucrats to register at a place with which he had so little connection that he had to go to an inn. And I was making the point that this idea is in fact 'unsupported by the text'; the text, using a word which means 'guestchamber' rather than 'inn' actually supports a more plausible account of a Joseph not just born in Bethlehem but still basically living there even if work (and no doubt the residence of his fiancee!) regularly took him to another area. The idea of an 'inn' seems to have arisen at the point of early translations from Greek to Latin and therefore is not the original text.

I'm not 'bending over backwards' to imagine this - just correcting a misunderstanding/mistranslation.

Unnecessarily so.

What possible difference does it make if it was an 'inn' or some kind of digs he was living in while he was working?

I really don't understand why you feel the need to 'correct' apparent 'misunderstandings' that are either neither here nor there or which make absolutely no difference whatsoever to our understanding of the Christian faith, conduct or practice.

We rightly roll our eyes at the medieval tendency to calculate how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

Now, it seems, certain Protestant Christians engage in useless speculation over minor details that don't make a blind bit of difference.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Gamaliel;
quote:
What possible difference does it make if it was an 'inn' or some kind of digs he was living in while he was working?
Please re-read and get the sequence right....

On the view implied by the 'guestchamber' rendering, Joseph's family home, as descendants of David, is in Bethlehem on a part of the ancestral lands of the family of Jesse.

He works up in the Galilee where Sepphoris and other such of the Herodian era supplied a good income, and possibly stays in all kinds of temporary 'digs/bothies', including sometimes with his fiancee's family. For census purposes he would not register up there, but return to the family home in Bethlehem.

This makes a considerable difference compared to the rather ridiculous idea (which I once saw Stephen Fry well and truly mocking on Qi) that bureaucrats would be sending Joseph to register in a town where he had only long past ancestral connections and had to stay in an inn.

A period in which the Joseph/Mary/Jesus family effectively had two homes and occasionally travelled between them could have gone on for a while before the Magi (who didn't necessarily turn up on 'Christmas night' itself) drew Herod's attention and made continued residence in Bethlehem impossible.

And the point is that this view is supported by the text, with its wording of 'guestchamber', ie the 'spare room' in Joseph's family house, which for some reason wasn't available on the day of Jesus' birth. Whereas the inn and the totally implausible story that implies is not in the text at all. Surely it is a useful difference to scrap a clear misunderstanding and as a result have a basically plausible story....
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
If Stephen Fry wasn't mocking that story he'd find something else to find fault with.

After all, a virgin birth, angels appearing to shepherds, Magi being guided by a star are hardly the stuff of 'plausibility' either ...

My old mum-in-law used to make a big deal about it being 'incorrect' for the Magi to appear on Christmas cards as they didn't appear to have arrived until around 18 months/2 years after Christ's birth.

As if that was a big deal and as if it would form the basis of people's disbelief.

Whether your alternative account of the census 'corrects' misunderstandings is beside the point in the overall scheme of things. In and of itself it's not going to persuade or convince anyone of the veracity of the Gospel accounts.

That's the point I'm making.

It's not just Protestants who go in for this sort of thing. I've heard Orthodox speculate about how extra-biblical stories about the childhood of the Virgin Mary and the life of Joachim and Anna might have been passed on and transmitted by eyewitnesses and people who knew them.

Whether we accept that or dismiss it as pious legend it's likely to be no more convincing in and of itself as a piece of 'evidence' than your attempts to square apparent contradictions or anomalies in the Gospels.

It might be an interesting exercise or parlour game but inferences about Joseph and the census aren't going to get us very far one way or the other.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Croesos;
quote:
We don't usually bend over backwards to harmonize books by different authors by imagining implausible but still possible explanations completely unsupported by the text.
Excuse me but I thought in this case I was not 'imagining implausible but still possible explanations completely unsupported by the text'. In this case the 'implausible' explanation is the idea that Joseph was sent by bureaucrats to register at a place with which he had so little connection that he had to go to an inn.
Implausible or not, that's the text we have to work with. Luke portrays Joseph as having to go to Bethlehem for the Quirinius census and that he has no fixed abode there and requires a guest room. (I picked the NIV translation since it has your preferred translation.)

It's not just that the two accounts include different details, it's the fact that each includes details that make something depicted in the other one impossible. Let's start with Luke's account.

quote:
Joseph has to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem to comply with the Quirinius census (2:1-5). While there Mary gives birth and places the child in a manger "because there was no guest room available for them" (2:6-7). There are signs and wonders and a visit from some shepherds (2:8-20). Jesus get circumcised (2:21) and the family then travels to Jerusalem to consecrate their firstborn and to perform the necessary post-childbirth purification sacrifices (2:22-24). Somewhat tellingly they make the offering allowed for the poor (two turtledoves) rather than the standard sacrifice (a sheep). After taking care of all the ceremonial necessities they all "returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth" (2:39).
It's a pretty straightforward narrative, with the family starting in Nazareth, going to Bethlehem, stopping off in Jerusalem, and coming returning to "their own town of Nazareth". As you point out it may not make sense bureaucratically for a census to be conducted that way, but that's what the story says. If we read it "like other books" the narrative speaks for itself without the need for the unsupported parenthetical insertions you provide.

So what does Matthew tell us?

quote:
Jesus is born in Bethlehem during the reign of "King Herod" (2:1), presumably Herod the Great. Magi/wise men show up at Herod's court and ask after the new king of the Jews (2:2-8). The magi/wise men find Jesus at "the house", not a guest room or any place that would require using a manger as a makeshift cradle (2:11). Joseph then has a dream telling him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt, which he does (2:13-15). Contrary to Luke, Joseph and Mary do not go to Jerusalem (Herod's capital) and hang around the Temple for forty days undergoing ritual post-childbirth purification at a time when Herod's troops are on the lookout for newborn boys. Instead they go to Egypt until Herod dies (2:15). After that Joseph gets another dream telling him it's safe to return, but he's scared to go back to Judea (where his former Bethlehem house would be) and instead relocates to Nazareth (which is in Galilee, not Judea) (2:19-23). Interestingly the language of Matthew 2:23 seems to deliberately echo the language used when Old Testament patriarchs would settle in a new place, translated alternatively as "making his home" there or "came and dwelt" or other similar locution.
So the two narratives are almost completely different. They've got different starting points, locations visited, and ending points. One takes place when Israel is a new Roman province having its first census (so Herod would already be dead when Jesus was born), while the other is set while Israel is still a nominally independent Roman client state (which would not be subject to a Roman census. In fact there are only two points of agreement between the two narratives: that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that Jesus and his family lived in Nazareth afterwards. Everything else is different, and in some cases contradictory. (e.g. if the magi/wise men visit Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at their house - oikia, which typically means a family dwelling - in Bethlehem, there would not seem to be the need for a guest room - katalymati - or need to resort to a manger-cradle.)

If we were to read these two stories "like any other book" we would say they disagree with each other, most likely because the authors are trying to communicate different messages. Typically when we read books in which different authors deal with what is ostensibly the same material (e.g. the previously mentioned battle of Salamis) we accept that they may disagree with each other regarding factual matters. But for some reason there seems to be a strong urge to claim that "'Scripture' needs some special interpretation method that we don't apply to other writings".

[ 23. January 2018, 15:36: Message edited by: Crœsos ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
The reason for the 'strong urge'?

Fear I think. The scriptures have to be shown to be completely consistent in every respect otherwise they can't possibly be inspired and can't possibly be the word of God.

That's how the reasoning runs.

It is an odd idea. It's rather like suspecting that the Battle of Salamis didn't take place because there are different accounts of the same event, as you've observed very helpfully upthread.

It can get silly, like the speculations about where Cain and Abel's wives came from ...
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The reason for the 'strong urge'?

Fear I think. The scriptures have to be shown to be completely consistent in every respect otherwise they can't possibly be inspired and can't possibly be the word of God.

That's how the reasoning runs.

It is an odd idea. It's rather like suspecting that the Battle of Salamis didn't take place because there are different accounts of the same event, as you've observed very helpfully upthread.

There's that, and the fact that we're pattern-recognizing organisms. We'll look for pattern and consistency even in situations where it doesn't exist or is coincidental.

An interesting example of this tendency comes from The Man With the Twisted Lip, one of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries. In it Dr. Watson's wife Mary addresses him as "James", despite his name being established as "John" throughout the series. This was particularly egregious because of the authorial conceit that the Sherlock Holmes cases are "really" recorded by Dr. Watson.

The most straightforward explanation would be something along the lines of "Arthur Conan Doyle screwed up and accidentally replaced one common name starting with J with another", but a craving for consistency (which is a close cousin to the suspension of disbelief necessary for drama) led to a more creative interpretation. Dorothy Sayers speculated that Watson's middle name, which elsewhere was established as beginning with H, was "Hamish", a variant of "James" and was his wife's pet name for him. This is unsupported by the text, but rather cleverly does not contradict it either and takes advantage of earlier, unrelated information, in this case Watson's middle initial.

Of course Dr. John H. Watson is a fictional character so everything about him is an invention. As such we don't risk anything by adding additional fictions. The popularity of Holmes-based pastiches attests to that. We feel freer to add speculative details to his life than we would to the life of, say, Queen Victoria. In that sense we do actually use different interpretive methods to different writings. We interpret fiction in a different way than we interpret non-fiction. What's interesting is that attempts to 'harmonize' scripture through the addition of non-canonical [Big Grin] details seems a lot closer to the way we interpret fiction than non-fiction.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well yes, and I'm the one who gets told off by Jamat on these boards by suggesting that there's such a genre as 'apocalyptic literature' (much of Daniel, the Book of Revelation, passages in Ezekiel ...) that should be handled differently to other forms of narrative ...
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Well yes, and I'm the one who gets told off by Jamat on these boards by suggesting that there's such a genre as 'apocalyptic literature' (much of Daniel, the Book of Revelation, passages in Ezekiel ...) that should be handled differently to other forms of narrative ...

Well, apocalyptic literature isn't a genre any more, which I guess is somewhat problematic for modern readers who are expected to easily interpret an extinct literary genre.

A take on the Bible and genre from Fred Clark:

quote:
But if you didn’t know that the books of the Bible were the books of the Bible, the Dewey Decimal system would have you running all over the library trying to figure out how to classify this odd pile of texts. Some of them, I suppose, should get shelved at 892 (“Afro-Asiatic literatures: Semitic”) while others should find a home in section 933 (“History of ancient world: Palestine”) but in several cases you’d be hard pressed to figure out which was which.

Quite a few of these smaller volumes could be shelved as 886 (“Classical Greek letters”). But then a handful should probably just be shelved as 880 (“Hellenic literatures; Classical Greek”) since they contain such a mix of elements that you could make a case for classifying them as 883, 885, 887 or 933. And if we don’t count the very special place the Dewey Decimal system provides for John’s Apocalypse (228), then it would be hard to know what to do with such a book, since apocalypses — a genre unto itself — don’t really have a home in Dewey’s system.

The good news is that this is only a hypothetical exercise and you won’t ever really have to go off into the stacks with a cart of 66 books, some of which defy easy classification.

The bad news is that if you want to read those 66 books, then you’ll still need to figure all that out. You need to figure out what kind of books these are because unless you know what kind of book you’re reading, you won’t know how to read it.

Generally, this is something we do almost unconsciously. We understand that there are different genres and different kinds of texts, and we’re usually pretty good at allowing the kind of text to provide the context for what we’re reading.

It goes on from there and is well worth a read in full.

[ 23. January 2018, 20:23: Message edited by: Crœsos ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Interesting.

Thanks Croesos.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
So the two narratives are almost completely different.
Of course, and each adds essential elements.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
As I pointed out,

quote:
with its wording of 'guestchamber', ie the 'spare room' in Joseph's family house, which for some reason wasn't available on the day of Jesus' birth.
Joseph goes to Bethlehem because that's his family home. It's not that he needs a guestchamber to be in Bethlehem at all, it's simply that on the day of Jesus' birth the obvious 'spare room' wasn't available for some reason (another relative visiting?) so they cleared out the stable (the animal area which was a common feature of houses in those days, somewhat akin to a later North English 'bastle house'), and used the manger as a cradle.

A lot of what you all have said above has clearly not grasped this point.... I thought I'd stated it clearly enough, but if not I apologise.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Croesos
quote:
One takes place when Israel is a new Roman province having its first census (so Herod would already be dead when Jesus was born), while the other is set while Israel is still a nominally independent Roman client state (which would not be subject to a Roman census.
Such a census would essentially be for tax purposes; in the situation of that time it seems a reasonable proposition that client kingdoms would be expected to make tribute as well and would do the necessary by their internal rules. Gentile Luke from outside Palestine doesn't give the full details of the situation.

And note BTW that it specifically says

quote:
They all went to be registered, each to his own city, and Joseph too went up from Galilee...
confirming in effect that Joseph was in fact a Bethlehem resident with an oikia there even though obviously spending time in Nazareth at the period in question.

As I said, if you thoroughly rid yourself of the idea of an 'inn', the story does make good sense.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
And note BTW that it specifically says

quote:
They all went to be registered, each to his own city, and Joseph too went up from Galilee...
confirming in effect that Joseph was in fact a Bethlehem resident with an oikia there even though obviously spending time in Nazareth at the period in question.
[/QB]

But as Croesos points out 9and at the risk of getting too Kerygmania-y), v39 specifically says that they returned to "their own town of Nazareth" - which surely casts doubt on the idea that Joseph was a resident of Bethlehem: why would Nazareth then be his own town, as well as Mary's, which is what the text seems to indicate? Surely it's better to understand "their own towns" in v3 as either their ancestral home (which fits for Joseph as a descendant of David), or "hometown" in the sense of place of birth, or place where you grew up (for example, I live in Urmston near Manchester, but Sheffield is where I grew up and I'd class that as my hometown).

On the wider point, the more time I spend with the Bible, especially as a preacher, the less important I find it to try and reconcile apparent contradictions. It's either impossible, or makes you get into sorts of contortions in order to make them "fit". But more than that, it disrespects the idea that these stories weren't written to be harmonised with other accounts, but were written with a particular purpose and point that the author wants to make. Eg Luke tells his story of the nativity for a particular purpose (I would guess, to show Jesus as a king in the line of David), and Matthew for a different purpose, which is why there are such differences. To try and harmonise them and resolve the apparent contradictions runs the risk of overlooking why those differences are there, why one writer tells the story in this way and another writer tells it in that way, and what point they're trying to make through the way they tell them.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
More 'sense' than angelic appearances to shepherds, a miraculous virgin birth ...?

Yes, I believe in those things, but not because you consider yourself able to reconcile apparent discrepancies about the census accounts and whether the holy family stayed in a B&B, a Travel Lodge, an inn or a caravan ...
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I cross-posted with Stejjie, but yes, even though I don't preach or teach, I concur 100% with what he says.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Stejjie, no great problem with what you're saying. As I see it, the 'problem' here is generated by a situation in which Joseph and Mary were in effect living in two homes at once before and after the birth of Jesus. Joseph was legally a citizen of Bethlehem and would need to register there; but he had also become virtually resident in Nazareth because of his work.

But for the intervention of the Magi drawing hostile attention from Herod (possibly some time after Jesus' birth) this might have carried on for some time. The biblical account as I see it reflects this ambiguity.

But please can we all at least agree on getting rid of the idea of an 'inn' which does make the events look a bit silly!!
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
But please can we all at least agree on getting rid of the idea of an 'inn' which does make the events look a bit silly!!

As far as I can tell, Steve, no one has been caught up on the “inn idea” except you. No one has said Luke meant an “inn.” What Crœsos is saying is that even if the better translation of “guest room” is used, Matthew’s versions and Luke’s version contain contradictions—contradictions that have nothing to do with whether it was an inn or a guest room, and that are not resolved if it’s a guest room instead of an inn.

I can relate to the Bethlehem-Nazareth conundrum. In my neck of the woods, the question “Where are you from?” means “Where is your family from? Where did you grow up?” Ask someone where they’re from, and you very well may get, “Well, I’ve lived in Charlotte for 50 years, but I’m from Raleigh.”

Maybe Mary and Joseph (and Luke) were actually Southerners. It would explain a lot.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Jesus weren't no Southerner ...

[Biased] [Razz]

Mind you, a Welsh preacher I used to know told me that his mother used to talk about Jesus as if he was Welsh ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
@Crœsos, why would Herod's troops be looking for new born males at the temple? The magi hadn't been yet.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Jesus weren't no Southerner ...

[Biased] [Razz]

Mind you, a Welsh preacher I used to know told me that his mother used to talk about Jesus as if he was Welsh ...

'e were from Tan Hill, at the tripoint o' Cumbria, Yorkshire and Northumbria.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Bugger, Durham.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ee, I know it well, tha knoars ...

(Or should I say, 'I ken ah, Martin ...')
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Croesos
quote:
One takes place when Israel is a new Roman province having its first census (so Herod would already be dead when Jesus was born), while the other is set while Israel is still a nominally independent Roman client state (which would not be subject to a Roman census).
Such a census would essentially be for tax purposes; in the situation of that time it seems a reasonable proposition that client kingdoms would be expected to make tribute as well and would do the necessary by their internal rules. Gentile Luke from outside Palestine doesn't give the full details of the situation.
Luke give us plenty of details. He specifies that it's "the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria", an historical event which we can independently date. It took place early in the Tetrarchy. Herod was dead about ten years at the time. This is a fairly different situation than the Herodian monarchy, which was expected to deliver tribute but which wouldn't have a Roman census. (Such matters were typically left to local control in client states.) The question of dating would be a side issue were it not for the fact that it's a fairly significant plot point in each narrative. Luke uses the Quirinius census to give Joseph a motivation to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, while Matthew uses Herod as a motivation for the family's flight to Egypt and their later settling in Nazareth rather than returning to Bethlehem.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
And note BTW that it specifically says

quote:
They all went to be registered, each to his own city, and Joseph too went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, . . .
confirming in effect that Joseph was in fact a Bethlehem resident with an oikia there even though obviously spending time in Nazareth at the period in question.
I added back in the bit you cut out. Luke takes the trouble to explain to us why Bethlehem is Joseph's "own town", it's "because he was of the house and lineage of David". This is another example of special and different interpretive methods being applied to scripture than to any other book. The author takes the trouble to explicitly spell out what he means (Bethlehem is Joseph's "own town" because of his ancestry) but you feel the need to reject this plain assertion because it doesn't match up with the work of a completely different author.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
As I said, if you thoroughly rid yourself of the idea of an 'inn', the story does make good sense.

[Confused] When did I ever mention an inn?

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Stejjie, no great problem with what you're saying. As I see it, the 'problem' here is generated by a situation in which Joseph and Mary were in effect living in two homes at once before and after the birth of Jesus.

There is no textual evidence to believe this. The only reason to postulate this is a desire to harmonize Luke's nativity with Matthew's, or possibly to harmonize how Luke claims Roman censuses worked with how Roman censuses actually worked. Either way, you're pretty far beyond what could be called "read[ing] the Bible like other books".

It should be noted that your proposed "solution" to the different narratives simply introduces more problems. Joseph and Mary can apparently afford to maintain two residences in different cities, yet can only afford the post-birth purification offering for paupers. Joseph is a migrant laborer who, despite having two homes, requires his pregnant fiancée to migrate with him from city to city.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
This tangent is getting a bit out of hand....

I'm making a simple point; Matthew refers simply to Jesus being born in Bethlehem, fairly clearly implying it's the family home. Luke, if you accept the rendering of 'katalyma' as an 'inn', appears to be telling a different story in which Bethlehem definitely isn't the family home but a place to which Joseph has to travel for reasons which are not entirely sensible. As in, why does he have to go and register for the census in a place with which he has no current connection?

And there are other anomalies like if they are having to stay in an inn - or more accurately, in the stable because there isn't room in the inn, why are they still there forty days of Mary's purification later?

IF however, you accept the correct translation of a 'katalyma' as a guestchamber, by implication in the family home, then Luke is telling the same basic story as Matthew, of Jesus born in Joseph's family home, and it is reasonable, indeed necessary, to read his account in that light. Other aspects also make sense - Mary's origin in Nazareth, for example.

I'm not claiming everything is resolved just by that. But it seems to me to be a good start to get rid of a needless problem produced by a later mistranslation.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
How could there not be room in Joseph's own family home for Joseph?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
And the dating of the census, Steve?
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
I sometimes suspect the literally truest words in the gospels on Jesus' birth are when the crowd says "we don't know where this man comes from".

[ 25. January 2018, 07:51: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
It was a kinsman's home. The kataluma may have been the rooftop booth built for Sukkoth. Xmas came early that year. Being a kinsman's home would explain why the Sagrada Família was still in town months or YEARS later when the magi came.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
How could there not be room in Joseph's own family home for Joseph?

That's a rather exaggerated statement of what's going on. The point is that normally the 'guest chamber' would have been the ideal place for Mary to give birth to Jesus; for some reason that had become impractical and the animal quarters were adapted instead. In an attempt a few years ago to rewrite the traditional nativity play without the obviously wrong 'inn', I envisaged (partly for comic effect!) a visit at just the wrong moment from demanding elderly and somewhat hypochondriac maiden aunt Hepzibah; another option I considered was a visit from the steward of one of Joseph's customers to discuss a building job - a person of such status you certainly couldn't have relegated him to the stables! There are lots of possibilities and I wouldn't wish to be definite. If you do write a nativity play round this idea you've got to come up with a specific answer; but you'd also make plain that some aspects were speculative and you'd invite discussion afterwards....

What I'm trying to do here is come up with reasonable probabilities/likelihoods based on a mix of the indications in the gospel accounts and a wider knowledge of the things which were typical of the period.

For example I had for some time been aware of the general type of building that would be involved, including that likeness to the North England 'bastle house' - the general idea was widespread in 'antiquity' from well BCE to well into CE. When we discussed this in a church housegroup a few years back I was able to show an illustration in a book borrowed from our local library which was described as a typical ordinary house from the region over many centuries. Basically it was two stories plus a roof usable for summer accomodation. Downstairs was divided between a stables/animal accomodation, a cooking area, and a daytime living space. Upstairs had the family bedroom and a guestchamber/spare room.

Such a house would be lived in by a family a bit larger than our 'nuclear family' and there might be servants even in quite a modest household. As an artisan rather than peasant house most of downstairs in Joseph's case would probably be a workshop with more of family life happening upstairs. With the illustration in front of you it was quite easy to envisage how this might work out in the situation implied in the gospels.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
And the dating of the census, Steve?

There are a couple of curious points about this.

To start with, Luke refers to it as 'the first census' under Quirinius. And also he uses the general wording of Quirinius 'governing Syria' rather than being the formal "The Governor". This would fit an earlier period when Quirinius was apparently running the Middle East generally while conducting a 'police action' against unrest in Asia Minor.

The census of 6CE was the one that kicked off the revolt of Judas the Galilean and resulted in the destruction of the 'new city' of Sepphoris in Galilee. I think it to be fair comment that setting the nativity in that census would produce a very different story to the one in the gospels!! Being post-Herod it was an emphatically Roman effort and probably carried out somewhat unsympathetically....

And Acts 5;37 shows that Luke was well aware of the Judas the Galilean revolt, and would know that that census was an unlikely period for the nativity.

An enrolment in the late Herod the Great period would, though originating in Roman needs, be carried out by Jewish authorities in a client kingdom and would not create such a stir. I'm going to do a bit of further online checking but it is my understanding that following Julius Caesar's death there was a long period of instability, with Octavian/Augustus' position only being regularised in 27BCE and the eastern empire continuing unstable till much later. Around 10-5BCE would be a plausible time for Augustus to be making an attempt at getting a grip on the administration via enrolments throughout the empire. We should probably not be imagining anything quite as elaborate as a modern UK census.

I've recently been trying to confirm an account which I was told appeared in a US astronomy magazine a few years ago, in a discussion of the 'Star of Bethlehem', which claimed there was inscription evidence in modern Turkey of a census in the c6BCE period. If that checks out it would answer your question - but I've not yet been able to confirm it.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It was a kinsman's home....

Certainly a possibility, and also fitting the point of Joseph's family connection with Bethlehem. But overall I think the probabilities are better that Joseph was a resident in Bethlehem and enrolled in a place where he had property that the bailiffs could be set on if he defaulted on the taxes.

Croesos, BTW, I think exaggerates what I was implying in referring to Mary and Joseph having 'two homes' for a period.

As I see it both are in modest respectable circumstances, nowhere near destitute but also nowhere near rich. Joseph is probably the head of his modest household in Bethlehem but sharing the house with a somewhat extended family. Mary of course doesn't have her own household, she is a dependent young adult in her father's house.

The point I was making was that with convenient work taking Joseph to Galilee he would be partly living 'on site' and partly receiving the hospitality of his fiancee's family in their house. This state of affairs could potentially have continued after Joseph and Mary formally married and started their family, with Joseph still legally resident in Bethlehem but spending time in Galilee as well; in the event continuing in Bethlehem became impossible and the family became permanent Nazareth residents.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
[Roll Eyes]

Well, if it keeps you off the streets and makes for a fun Nativity Play ...

It's not exactly going to convince anyone from an apologetics point of view, but then that could be said about a lot of things ...
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
It's not exactly going to convince anyone from an apologetics point of view, but then that could be said about a lot of things ...

It is my experience that what might be called the "INN-terpretation" is increasingly found even more unconvincing from an apologetics point of view. So how does it make sense to perpetuate it? Why not preach an account which is more convincing and also more biblically accurate?
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
The point is that normally the 'guest chamber' would have been the ideal place for Mary to give birth to Jesus; for some reason that had become impractical and the animal quarters were adapted instead.

Which raises the obvious question of why, if Joseph and Mary were staying with family, Joseph’s family would kick a pregnant woman out of the house and send her to the stable to give birth.
quote:
In an attempt a few years ago to rewrite the traditional nativity play without the obviously wrong 'inn', I envisaged (partly for comic effect!) a visit at just the wrong moment from demanding elderly and somewhat hypochondriac maiden aunt Hepzibah; another option I considered was a visit from the steward of one of Joseph's customers to discuss a building job - a person of such status you certainly couldn't have relegated him to the stables! There are lots of possibilities and I wouldn't wish to be definite. If you do write a nativity play round this idea you've got to come up with a specific answer; but you'd also make plain that some aspects were speculative and you'd invite discussion afterwards....
And here you demonstrate the elaborate assumptions that have to be constructed to explain this treatment of a family member giving birth.

quote:
What I'm trying to do here is come up with reasonable probabilities/likelihoods based on a mix of the indications in the gospel accounts and a wider knowledge of the things which were typical of the period.

. . . Such a house would be lived in by a family a bit larger than our 'nuclear family' and there might be servants even in quite a modest household. As an artisan rather than peasant house most of downstairs in Joseph's case would probably be a workshop with more of family life happening upstairs. With the illustration in front of you it was quite easy to envisage how this might work out in the situation implied in the gospels.

Believe it or not, Steve, some of us are very familiar with everything you’re sharing about housing and the like, and yet it still seems you’re straining to force a convenient reading where it won’t fit. Luke is suggesting that Mary and Joseph lived in an artisan house rather than a peasant house? Then why does Luke specifically tell us that when Jesus was circumcised, Mary and Joseph offered two doves—the offering of the poor?

If Luke wanted us to understand that this was Joseph’s family house, wouldn’t he yet have said there was no room for them in the house, instead of in the guest room?

Instead of having to construct elaborate assumptions about why Joseph's family wouldn’t make room for Joseph’s wife to deliver a baby, why not go with the more straightforward assumption that fits with the rest of Luke’s story: With people coming to Bethlehem to be counted, residents of Bethlehem were essentially taking in boarders, allowing others to stay in their guest rooms. Mary and Joseph couldn’t find a room, but someone said “my guest room is full, but you can stay in my stable.”

Which interestingly enough, gets to the idea conveyed by “inn,” even if “inn” isn’t a proper translation of the Greek.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It was a kinsman's home....

Certainly a possibility, and also fitting the point of Joseph's family connection with Bethlehem. But overall I think the probabilities are better that Joseph was a resident in Bethlehem and enrolled in a place where he had property that the bailiffs could be set on if he defaulted on the taxes.

Croesos, BTW, I think exaggerates what I was implying in referring to Mary and Joseph having 'two homes' for a period.

As I see it both are in modest respectable circumstances, nowhere near destitute but also nowhere near rich. Joseph is probably the head of his modest household in Bethlehem but sharing the house with a somewhat extended family. Mary of course doesn't have her own household, she is a dependent young adult in her father's house.

The point I was making was that with convenient work taking Joseph to Galilee he would be partly living 'on site' and partly receiving the hospitality of his fiancee's family in their house. This state of affairs could potentially have continued after Joseph and Mary formally married and started their family, with Joseph still legally resident in Bethlehem but spending time in Galilee as well; in the event continuing in Bethlehem became impossible and the family became permanent Nazareth residents.

Nope. They were dirt poor, like almost everybody. From a hovel in Nazareth. Joseph wasn't renting out another hovel in Bethlehem.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Nick Tamen;
quote:
With people coming to Bethlehem to be counted, residents of Bethlehem were essentially taking in boarders...
Why would all these people be "coming to Bethlehem to be counted..."? It's rather the point of such an enrolment that you're enrolling the residents - the people who live there and pay their taxes there and have property there that the bailiffs can get at if there is a default. The idea that lots of non-residents are rather pointlessly turning up to be registered at a place they aren't actually practically connected to is precisely the really really incredible feature of the 'INN-terpretation', and your suggestion of everybody taking in boarders is just perpetuating that inherent MASSIVE improbability. In my lifetime my mother registered to vote in Stockport where she then lived; she didn't have to go back to Oldham where she was born but no longer had any connection. The same practicality also applies to the NT enrolment.

And this kind of stable is not quite the cold out in the inn's backyard place you're thinking of - in this kind of house this is animal accommodation inside the house. For the house itself to be tolerable the place can't be allowed to get too messy or smelly. It offers space, privacy, and a manger as improvised cot.

'Artisan house'? Simply the house of a tradesman or jobbing builder rather than a farmworker. Still poor enough to take the doves option for a sacrifice.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Martin60;
quote:
Nope. They were dirt poor, like almost everybody. From a hovel in Nazareth. Joseph wasn't renting out another hovel in Bethlehem.
NO, Joseph was resident in Bethlehem from the start and was a guest in his fiancee's house in Nazareth when he went up there because there was good work for his trade. That is so regardless of 'hovel' or relatively respectable house.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
From what I can gather, a carpenter in 1st century Palestine included work as a jobbing builder and although not high up the social pecking order certainly wasn't as low as agricultural workers, with shepherds being at the bottom of the heap.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
And this kind of stable is not quite the cold out in the inn's backyard place you're thinking of - in this kind of house this is animal accommodation inside the house.

Steve, please stop assuming that you are providing all of us with new information. As I already told you, nothing you have said about any of this is new information to me. That includes the meaning of the word typically translated into English as “inn.”* It also includes stables. I already know. So there’s no need to take it upon yourself to teach me.

I simply think that the spin you’re trying to put on Luke’s account based on the translation of this one word doesn’t work because it’s undercut or contradicted by other things Luke says.

* For the record, I’ve gone with the translation of “katalyma” as “guest room” (or “guest chamber”) because that’s what you used. My understanding is that “lodge” or “lodging” is probably a better translation. “Katalyma,” as I understand it, comes from a root having to do with “breaking up,” as in breaking up a journey. The sense is of a room that can be used by someone on a journey or without a place of their own.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
IF however, you accept the correct translation of a 'katalyma' as a guestchamber, by implication in the family home, then Luke is telling the same basic story as Matthew, of Jesus born in Joseph's family home, and it is reasonable, indeed necessary, to read his account in that light.

There's nothing to indicate that the katalymati referred to is in Joseph's home, or necessarily even in a family home. The etymology suggests that the term is applied to travel and travelers. (Literally to down [kata] lay [luó], probably from the idea of wayfarer's laying down their packs or unharnessing any harness animals.) The only other place where Luke uses a cognate of the word (katalyma) is also used in the context of travelers coming to some place that is not their home.

So we have a relatively straightforward narrative of travelers on a journey reaching their destination and having some unanticipated difficulty relating to the lack of a "guest chamber" (alternative translation "lodging place"). The easiest and least complicated interpretation is that the destination these travelers have reached is one where they don't normally reside or have a regular dwelling place. At least that's the case if you read this narrative "like any other book".

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'm not claiming everything is resolved just by that. But it seems to me to be a good start to get rid of a needless problem produced by a later mistranslation.

It's only a "problem" if you have an a priori assumption that Luke is saying the exact same thing as Matthew. In other words, you're not reading the Bible like any other book, but instead forcing it to conform with the intellectual priors of your (large or small 'T') tradition.

Have you considered the possibility that Luke is saying different things than Matthew because he's trying to say different things than Matthew? If the Gospels all conveyed exactly the same information Christians would only need one, not four.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
The census of 6CE was the one that kicked off the revolt of Judas the Galilean and resulted in the destruction of the 'new city' of Sepphoris in Galilee. I think it to be fair comment that setting the nativity in that census would produce a very different story to the one in the gospels!! Being post-Herod it was an emphatically Roman effort and probably carried out somewhat unsympathetically....

No, that doesn't sound like a "fair comment" since one of the Gospels tells you right up front that the Nativity is set during that census. A Nativity during the Quirinius census is "the one in the gospels" (Luke's), as is the Nativity set during Herod's reign (Matthew's).

This seems to be another example of reading what's expected rather than what's actually there.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
And Acts 5;37 shows that Luke was well aware of the Judas the Galilean revolt, and would know that that census was an unlikely period for the nativity.

How so? People get born during wars and revolutions all the time. They even travel during them. Given that Luke actually does date the Nativity to this census, he would seem to disagree with your analysis of his work. Why is your half-assed guessing more reliable than the author's own words?

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Why would all these people be "coming to Bethlehem to be counted..."? It's rather the point of such an enrolment that you're enrolling the residents - the people who live there and pay their taxes there and have property there that the bailiffs can get at if there is a default. The idea that lots of non-residents are rather pointlessly turning up to be registered at a place they aren't actually practically connected to is precisely the really really incredible feature of the 'INN-terpretation', and your suggestion of everybody taking in boarders is just perpetuating that inherent MASSIVE improbability.

INN-probability? I understand that it seems like a massive plot hole to you, but that's the account we have. Luke describes Joseph and Mary requiring guest accommodations while in Bethlehem and refers to Nazareth as "their own town" (polin heauton). If this doesn't comport with your understanding of how a Roman tax census should work you're not alone, but that's the account we have.

This returns to what I noted earlier were the two narrative points of agreement between Luke's Nativity and Matthew's: that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that he and his family lived in Nazareth afterwards. This seems to indicate that these were the most important points to the two Gospel authors who felt Jesus' origin story was important enough to document. Everything else was negotiable. They take opposite approaches, though. Luke sets up Joseph and family in Nazareth and has to explain how Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem, while Matthew starts with Joseph and Mary living in Bethlehem and has to explain how they ended up living in Nazareth.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Martin60;
quote:
Nope. They were dirt poor, like almost everybody. From a hovel in Nazareth. Joseph wasn't renting out another hovel in Bethlehem.
NO, Joseph was resident in Bethlehem from the start and was a guest in his fiancee's house in Nazareth when he went up there because there was good work for his trade. That is so regardless of 'hovel' or relatively respectable house.
What?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
From what I can gather, a carpenter in 1st century Palestine included work as a jobbing builder and although not high up the social pecking order certainly wasn't as low as agricultural workers, with shepherds being at the bottom of the heap.

Yeah. If carpenters were dirt poor, imagine what it was like for unskilled, landless peasants.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
It’s only a "problem" if you have an a priori assumption that Luke is saying the exact same thing as Matthew. In other words, you're not reading the Bible like any other book, but instead forcing it to conform with the intellectual priors of your (large or small 'T') tradition.

Have you considered the possibility that Luke is saying different things than Matthew because he's trying to say different things than Matthew? If the Gospels all conveyed exactly the same information Christians would only need one, not four.

Exactly this. And, regardless of all the specific problems that others on this thread have pointed out, it’s this refusal to accept that the differences in the texts may exist for a reason, this refusal to see these texts (and others like them) as texts that were designed by their writers to say and point out particular things, and not to be harmonised or reconciled or anything else with other texts, that’s at the heart of this.

This isn’t taking the Bible seriously, it isn’t respecting the text or anything like that. It’s the opposite: it’s refusing to take Mathew and Luke’s stories seriously on their own terms, that they must somehow be reconciled to each other because that’s the only way they can be “inspired”.

And it leads to the convoluted mess that all the attempts to harmonise them and “iron out the problems” have led to here: coming up with all kinds of solutions to non-existent problems that have no support from the texts, or from any information about how things were in those days, or that flat-out contradict the texts, like the insistence that the nativity couldn’t have really happened during a census, even though that’s exactly what Luke says. If, in your attempt to show the inspiration of Scripture, you’re contradicting what it says then you’ve lost your way, badly.

It feels less like taking Scripture seriously and more like treating it like an embarrassing relative who needs to be explained away.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
On re-reading Croesos’ last post, I should row back on one point in mine: he and Steve appear to be debating whether the nativity happened during one particular census, not whether it happened during any census (I think). If so, then Intake back that one point.

My wider point still stands, though.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
On re-reading Croesos’ last post, I should row back on one point in mine: he and Steve appear to be debating whether the nativity happened during one particular census, not whether it happened during any census (I think). If so, then Intake back that one point.

My wider point still stands, though.

I won't speculate about what Steve is arguing, but you got my point just fine. Luke's nativity takes place during the Quirinius census because that's what Luke tells us. Matthew's nativity occurs "during the time of King Herod" because he says so himself. I'm open to arguments that either author (or even both) is mistaken about the underlying facts, or using dramatic license to make some broader point, or any of the other propositions we often take up when analyzing a text. I'd even be willing to entertain the notion that one (or both) is the victim of a mis-translation or an alteration by a later writer, but it would require more evidence than "it's inconvenient for me if these two different authors don't say the same thing".
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Croesos;
quote:
INN-probability? I understand that it seems like a massive plot hole to you, but that's the account we have. Luke describes Joseph and Mary requiring guest accommodations while in Bethlehem and refers to Nazareth as "their own town" (polin heauton). If this doesn't comport with your understanding of how a Roman tax census should work you're not alone, but that's the account we have.
It's not that it's a 'massive plot hole' or that it's about my understanding of "how a Roman tax census should work". It's just very fundamental common sense. This enrolment isn't just collecting a list of names for the fun of it; it is being done for a purpose and it seems 99% or better certain that it's for a purpose of collecting tax from those enrolled.

The sensible and obvious way to achieve that is to enrol/register people at either places where they live, or places where they have relevant property and you may need to summon them to the place to clarify things. On this basis most people stay where they are or at worst have to go a short journey from their village to a neighbouring town where the registry has been set up.

Only a very few will have to travel further and the vast majority of them will have no need of an inn or other accommodation because they'll either be returning to their home or to the kind of property where they would as owner be given the best accommodation available while servants/slaves would do their best to cope with sleeping on the floor or some such.

What is extremely unlikely - indeed pretty much insane - is that bureaucrats would be arranging to enrol people in a place where they don't live, possibly never have but only have a long past ancestral connection, and don't own any property - Martin even seems to think this might happen to someone who is 'dirt poor', who surely in reality might not even have to enrol since he probably doesn't have anything to tax in this kind of context!

You all seem to be quite happy to argue not only that the Romans might do this utterly absurd thing, but that they did do it. And possibly on such a scale that Bethlehem was effectively paralysed by all the needlessly displaced people going to be pointlessly enrolled in an irrelevant place....

I'm simply arguing that the Romans did the registration in the obvious sensible way and that Joseph went 'to his own city' (Luke 2; 3) which happened to be Bethlehem because of his ancestry. The city where he lived. What's so hard about that? He didn't need an inn because he went HOME!!

When Jesus' birth came due, the house's 'guestroom' was not available for whatever reason, so they improvised in a way that made sense in the kind of house it most likely was.

Yes the 'katalyma' means something like a 'lodge', a place for people who don't normally live there; that's what a 'guestchamber' is. In this case it would also have normally been available as a good place for Mary to give birth - but it wasn't available....

As of now this really comes down to "Are you proposing that the Romans organised this enrolment on a completely stupid basis so that Joseph was required to pointlessly go to a place he had no relevant connection with?" And if you're not proposing that, what is supposed to be wrong with my interpretation based on the assumption that the Romans organised the enrolment in a normal sensible way with which the actual text is totally compatible? - whereas the 'inn' idea isn't a good translation anyway....
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
What is extremely unlikely - indeed pretty much insane - is that bureaucrats would be arranging to enrol people in a place where they don't live, possibly never have but only have a long past ancestral connection, and don't own any property

How often do you interact with bureaucrats?

In France you can be taxed for land you own that doesn't even exist.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
[

The sensible and obvious way to achieve that is to enrol/register people at either places where they live, or places where they have relevant property and you may need to summon them to the place to clarify things. On this basis most people stay where they are or at worst have to go a short journey from their village to a neighbouring town where the registry has been set up.

What is extremely unlikely - indeed pretty much insane - is that bureaucrats would be arranging to enrol people in a place where they don't live, possibly never have but only have a long past ancestral connection, and don't own any property - Martin even seems to think this might happen to someone who is 'dirt poor', who surely in reality might not even have to enrol since he probably doesn't have anything to tax in this kind of context!relevant connection with?"

It may seem sensible and obvious to you in this day and age, but there may have been all sorts of reasons to have some people return to their birthplace. In a strictly feudal society, people would be bound by fealty to the person from whom they held any land. Even the landless would owe duties. This period is before the feudal system as we know it came into operation even in northern Europe, but that does not mean that the ties to the land and its local lord did not exist. Then there were the family ties that saw Palestine divided amongst the various tribes after the return from Europe. While those particular ones no longer existed, the general concept of returning to the land of one's forebears certainly did.

BTW, any basis for the comment that Joseph was living in Nazareth as a boarder with Mary's parents?

Otherwise, what Eutychus has so simply put about modern bureaucrats.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
Steve:
Luke specifically says that Joseph went to Bethlehem "because he was descended from the house and family of David" (2:4). He goes on to say in v39 that Mary and Joseph "returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth". He gives no indication that the reason Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem was because he lived there. The only way you can get that is an inference you're putting on "their own towns" in v3, which could be interpreted in several different ways. If he knew Joseph was living in Bethlehem, why didn't he just come out and say it explicitly? There's no reason not to, especially for a writer like Luke, who's keen on "the facts".

And this, again, is my problem with this whole enterprise. In order to prove the scriptures as inspired, according to a particular view of "inspired", you end up doing some horrible, horrible eisegesis that denies what's written in the text to try and make it "fit" with another text. Why? Why not accept that these 2 texts don't fit neatly together, stop trying to mangle one to fit with another, and try and work out what Matthew and Luke (or whichever texts it may be) are trying to tell us through their distinctive, different, stories?

(And it's distracting me from doing work/playing SimCity*. [brick wall] )
*delete as appropriate
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Croesos;
quote:
INN-probability? I understand that it seems like a massive plot hole to you, but that's the account we have. Luke describes Joseph and Mary requiring guest accommodations while in Bethlehem and refers to Nazareth as "their own town" (polin heauton). If this doesn't comport with your understanding of how a Roman tax census should work you're not alone, but that's the account we have.
It's not that it's a 'massive plot hole' or that it's about my understanding of "how a Roman tax census should work". It's just very fundamental common sense. This enrolment isn't just collecting a list of names for the fun of it; it is being done for a purpose and it seems 99% or better certain that it's for a purpose of collecting tax from those enrolled.

The sensible and obvious way to achieve that is to enrol/register people at either places where they live, or places where they have relevant property and you may need to summon them to the place to clarify things. On this basis most people stay where they are or at worst have to go a short journey from their village to a neighbouring town where the registry has been set up.

Only a very few will have to travel further and the vast majority of them will have no need of an inn or other accommodation because they'll either be returning to their home or to the kind of property where they would as owner be given the best accommodation available while servants/slaves would do their best to cope with sleeping on the floor or some such.

What is extremely unlikely - indeed pretty much insane - is that bureaucrats would be arranging to enrol people in a place where they don't live, possibly never have but only have a long past ancestral connection, and don't own any property - Martin even seems to think this might happen to someone who is 'dirt poor', who surely in reality might not even have to enrol since he probably doesn't have anything to tax in this kind of context!

You all seem to be quite happy to argue not only that the Romans might do this utterly absurd thing, but that they did do it. And possibly on such a scale that Bethlehem was effectively paralysed by all the needlessly displaced people going to be pointlessly enrolled in an irrelevant place....

I'm simply arguing that the Romans did the registration in the obvious sensible way and that Joseph went 'to his own city' (Luke 2; 3) which happened to be Bethlehem because of his ancestry. The city where he lived. What's so hard about that? He didn't need an inn because he went HOME!!

When Jesus' birth came due, the house's 'guestroom' was not available for whatever reason, so they improvised in a way that made sense in the kind of house it most likely was.

Yes the 'katalyma' means something like a 'lodge', a place for people who don't normally live there; that's what a 'guestchamber' is. In this case it would also have normally been available as a good place for Mary to give birth - but it wasn't available....

As of now this really comes down to "Are you proposing that the Romans organised this enrolment on a completely stupid basis so that Joseph was required to pointlessly go to a place he had no relevant connection with?" And if you're not proposing that, what is supposed to be wrong with my interpretation based on the assumption that the Romans organised the enrolment in a normal sensible way with which the actual text is totally compatible? - whereas the 'inn' idea isn't a good translation anyway....

As I said, what? Deal with that.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Stejjie;
quote:
And this, again, is my problem with this whole enterprise. In order to prove the scriptures as inspired, according to a particular view of "inspired", you end up doing some horrible, horrible eisegesis that denies what's written in the text to try and make it "fit" with another text.
Not "In order to prove the scriptures as inspired..." but simply trying to work out what they actually mean, in a situation where the common interpretation has a glaring anomaly. There are in effect about five slightly different ways of interpreting the text, most of which involve either the Romans stupidly organising an enrolment in a bizarre way that could displace huge numbers of people to provide irrelevant information in an irrelevant place, or involve someone else (Joseph or Luke?) stupidly thinking that's what happened. All those explanations are seriously improbable.

The other explanation is that the Romans set up a totally sensible normal enrolment, and Joseph went to the obvious place to enrol, 'his own city' (Luke 2; 3) where he was legally resident even if at this period he was spending time elsewhere and had to go back home to enrol.

The primary reason for believing Joseph went to a place where he didn't live is the rendering of that word 'katalyma' as being an 'inn', implying that Joseph didn't live there and needed to stay at an inn in order to attend the enrolment. If that is a later misunderstanding, then the text reads quite naturally as Joseph going home to enrol and some problem with a guest-room/spare bedroom resulting in Jesus being born elsewhere in the house and a manger being used as an improvised cot/cradle.

Sure, some things remain unexplained which we'd like to have details of and where, if writing a nativity play you'd need to imagine one particular reason; but lots of plausible explanations are available which make far better sense than the basic absurdity of registering lots of people for tax where they don't actually live.

Among other quite major anomalies, would Joseph risk drawing attention to his Davidic descent in a Judaea ruled by the notoriously insecure, paranoid and brutal Herod? Luke is not saying Joseph HAD to go back to Bethlehem, even though he didn't live there, because of the ancestral connection; rather he is saying that Joseph's residence in Bethlehem was connected with his ancestry.

As far as I can see, all the 'eisegesis/reading into' stuff is being done in the cause of justifying the implications of a later misunderstanding/mistranslation of one word of the original text; and produces a clearly anomalous and stupid result. Restore the proper rendering of that one word and exegesis gives a sensible account even if we would have liked Luke to give us more details....
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
As far as I can see, all the 'eisegesis/reading into' stuff is being done in the cause of justifying the implications of a later misunderstanding/mistranslation of one word of the original text; and produces a clearly anomalous and stupid result. Restore the proper rendering of that one word and exegesis gives a sensible account even if we would have liked Luke to give us more details....

No, no, for the umpteenth time no. No one is hung up on the “inn” translation (except you) or trying to justify the implications of the traditional word “inn.”

[brick wall]

What everyone else is saying is that the interpretation of Luke’s version you’ve put forward—particularly the idea that Joseph had homes both in Bethlehem and Nazareth—relies on assumptions that aren’t supported by what Luke wrote and that are actually contradicted by what Luke wrote.

As for the census, the appropriate question is not whether having everyone move around makes any sense. The question is whether that is how Luke describes it. And the answer is yes, it is.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
I was going to say the same as Nick Tamen, but he got in first. I gave a number of reasons why I thought your idea, Steve, of Joseph living in Bethlehem was wrong and unsupported by the text, and none of them had to do with the translation of "inn". So let's try again:

1) Luke nowhere says explicitly that Joseph lived in Bethlehem - if he knew that, why didn't he make it clear?
2) Luke gives an explicit reason for Joseph and Mary travelling to Bethlehem - because Joseph was of the line of David. Again, if it was really because Joseph lived there, why didn't he say that?
3) Luke explicitly says that after presenting Jesus in the Temple, Mary and Joseph returned to "their own town" of Nazareth, clearly identifying that as home for them. Why would he say this if Bethlehem was really home for Joseph?

There's also the point GeeD raises: do we have any evidence that Joseph was boarding with Mary's parents?

As for the census: I know most scholars seem to think Luke's got himself muddled up when referring to the census Augustus ordered when Quirinius was governor, because those dates don't match up. But his intention seems clear: to see Mary and Joseph having to move to Bethlehem on the orders of the Romans, as a result of which Jesus is born in Bethlehem - the town of David. I think for Luke that movement from Nazareth to Bethlehem is important, theologically if nothing else. By trying to make it "make sense", you not only mangle the text, you miss the more interesting question of why is this so important to Luke?

And again, for the sake of clarity: It. Has. Nothing. To. Do. With. The. Inn.

[ 26. January 2018, 11:06: Message edited by: Stejjie ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Well done throughout Stejjie.

Steve cannot possibly go back on making up Joseph being a Bethlehemite.

[ 26. January 2018, 11:36: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
As for the census, the appropriate question is not whether having everyone move around makes any sense. The question is whether that is how Luke describes it. And the answer is yes, it is.

Not necessarily - Luke only says that everyone went to their own towns to be registered. That doesn't mean that everyone moved around to the town of origin of their clan or tribe, as Joseph did. For most people "their own town" would mean the urban centre with a tax office nearest to their place of residence, which would be a minimal amount of moving around, but possibly enough, with the more distant rural population moving temporarily to the towns, to fill up available inns and guest rooms.

It's entirely possible that Joseph's decision not to register in Nazareth but to go to Bethlehem and identify himself with his kingly ancestry, was deliberate, not imposed. The requirement to register was certainly imposed (at least, according to the text) but the text doesn't say one way or the other whether Joseph was specifically required to go to Bethlehem, just that he did, in fact, go there, not because he was a resident, but because of his lineage.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
[Luke] seem[s] to be quite happy to argue not only that the Romans might do this utterly absurd thing, but that they did do it.

<snip>

As of now this really comes down to "[Is Luke] proposing that the Romans organised this enrolment on a completely stupid basis so that Joseph was required to pointlessly go to a place he had no relevant connection with?" And if [Luke's] not proposing that, what is supposed to be wrong with my interpretation based on the assumption that the Romans organised the enrolment in a normal sensible way with which the actual text is totally compatible?

Fixed that for you. None of this is invented by me or anyone here. It's Luke's account.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
The primary reason for believing Joseph went to a place where he didn't live is the rendering of that word 'katalyma[ti]' as being an 'inn', implying that Joseph didn't live there and needed to stay at an inn in order to attend the enrolment.

Actually the primary reason for believing that according to Luke Joseph lived in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem is the common authorial conventions associated with most forms of narrative writing. Authors explain things they feel need an explanation and don't explain things they feel require no explanation. Luke spends a lot of time explaining why Joseph is traveling to Bethlehem. He spends almost no time explaining why Joseph is traveling from Nazareth. He also doesn't spend any time specifying the number of legs or eyes Joseph has. Absent some bit of text telling us otherwise we simply assume what's typical; that Joseph has the normal number of eyes (two) and that he needs no special explanation for why he's in Nazareth because he lives there. On the other hand Luke spills a lot of ink on why Joseph has to go to Bethlehem and goes out of his way to specify that he needs a guest chamber when he gets there. If we read this account like we would any other narrative writing the obvious conclusion we're supposed to draw is that Joseph being in Bethlehem is an anomaly while his presence in Nazareth is the normal state of affairs. Compare Luke's convoluted explanation for the trip to Bethlehem, with a census and a description of Joseph's ancestry, with his later description of the family's return (epestrepsan) to Nazareth. He simply and plainly states that they go there because it's "their own town/city", without the need for a further gloss or explanation.

This is in contrast to Matthew, for whom Joseph's presence in Bethlehem requires no explanation but his reasons for moving to Nazareth require a lot of words to explain.

To borrow a term from cinema, for Luke the Quirinius census seems to be a MacGuffin, something which is used to motivate the people in his account to take the actions his narrative requires them to take. The exact details of the MacGuffin are usually irrelevant, whether it's Brazilian uranium ore, the Golden Fleece, or the Holy Grail, so long as the MacGuffin gives a reason for the required actions to be taken. Whether the Gospel of Luke is an accurate depiction of a Roman tax census misses the point, since the question is premised on the idea that the Gospel of Luke is about Roman tax censuses.

quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
As for the census: I know most scholars seem to think Luke's got himself muddled up when referring to the census Augustus ordered when Quirinius was governor, because those dates don't match up.

Match up with what? They don't match up with Matthew's chronology, but there's no historical contradiction within the text of Luke's Gospel. Since Luke only gives us one fixed point in time (the Quirinius census), it's hard to see what else that point is supposed to match up with.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Superb. Sir.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
As for the census, the appropriate question is not whether having everyone move around makes any sense. The question is whether that is how Luke describes it. And the answer is yes, it is.

Not necessarily - Luke only says that everyone went to their own towns to be registered. That doesn't mean that everyone moved around to the town of origin of their clan or tribe, as Joseph did.
Point taken, and I did think of that. But I’m not sure it’s that different from what I was saying—or at least thinking. Luke says that the decree went out and “everyone went” to their own towns. I read that as suggesting more than just people going to the tax office downtown. I think it suggests some greater degree of movement, even if it doesn’t mean everyone went to the tribal-ancestral seat.

And I agree with others that the question to be asked is not whether it happened or exactly how. The question to ask is what Luke intended to convey by telling the story the way he did.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:

quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
As for the census: I know most scholars seem to think Luke's got himself muddled up when referring to the census Augustus ordered when Quirinius was governor, because those dates don't match up.

Match up with what? They don't match up with Matthew's chronology, but there's no historical contradiction within the text of Luke's Gospel. Since Luke only gives us one fixed point in time (the Quirinius census), it's hard to see what else that point is supposed to match up with.
Luke gives us two people in chapter 2 v1 as fixed points in time: Caesar Augustus and Quirinius; he also sets the story in the time "when Herod was king of Judea" back in chapter 1 v5; so far as I can tell, this is universally taken to refer to Herod The Great.

By "not matching up", I mean that Herod The Great died (c4 BCE) before Quirinius became governor of Syria. There also appear to be doubts about whether any Empire-wide census took place under Augustus and whether, even if it did, it would've included the lands Herod was king of (as far as I can make out, the 6CE census took place after Herod the Great's son was deposed and the land came under direct Roman rule). So the census couldn't have happened during Herod The Great's reign, which is when Luke sets the story of Jesus' birth. The three points Luke gives us (Quirinius, Augustus and Herod The Great) don't match up with each other and with the census.

There's an article on it on Wikipedia which, although the usual Wikipedia warnings apply, seems to sum up the problem reasonably accurately.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Other matters taking a lot of my time today and between you you have posed me a lot of issues....

For tonight, just one where I think Eliab (probably unintentionally!) has put his finger on the problem....

quote:
It's entirely possible that Joseph's decision not to register in Nazareth but to go to Bethlehem and identify himself with his kingly ancestry, was deliberate, not imposed. The requirement to register was certainly imposed (at least, according to the text) but the text doesn't say one way or the other whether Joseph was specifically required to go to Bethlehem, just that he did, in fact, go there, not because he was a resident, but because of his lineage.
The problem with this is simple. Whether in Herod's kingdom or later Roman Judea, it's not exactly going to be safe for Joseph to openly "identify himself with his kingly ancestry", is it? I can imagine the conversation...

"So, Joseph ben-Jacob, why have you come to enrol in Bethlehem, a long way (about the length of Wales) from where you live?"

"It's because of my ancestry!"

"Which is...?"

"Well basically I'm probably the rightful king of Judea ahead of that Edomite upstart Herod, and I or a descendant might be the promised Messiah who will free Israel from foreign domination and conquer the world...."

At which point surely his life as a free man would be a matter of minutes, and his total life only much longer because they'd want to interrogate him and make sure that not only he but a lot of his family were ... er ... 'disappeared'.

And if it's not safe for Joseph to go public on that one with Herodian or Roman officials, why would he go to Bethlehem at all? It's unlikely anyone will make any waves if he takes the 'healthier' option and just stays where you all think he lives and enrols there instead.

On the other hand if he lives in Bethlehem but happens to be spending an extended time elsewhere when he becomes aware of the need to enrol, no problem - he just goes to Bethlehem and enrols as a normal resident.

Luke on that basis is not telling us the reason Joseph will give for registering in a not exactly obvious place; he's telling us the reason why Bethlehem is "Joseph's own city" - he lives there because he is descended from David. And he's again unlikely to face any awkward questions or need awkward explanations - he's the guy with the local building business and he's been away working....

And another thought before bed - some of you have been majoring on the reference to Nazareth as "Their (Joseph and Mary's) own city" (though in our terms I think at best a 'walled town' rather than anything we'd call a 'city'). But why not give equal weight to the earlier reference to Joseph going up to Bethlehem as one of many who go 'to be enrolled, each to his own city'? The point being that for Joseph on his own, Bethlehem is his own city; but for the couple, Nazareth is 'their' own city - and especially in an account written when it had been so for many decades after they settled there. The two ways of looking at the phrase 'own city' are not necessarily incompatible.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Luke on that basis is not telling us the reason Joseph will give for registering in a not exactly obvious place; he's telling us the reason why Bethlehem is "Joseph's own city" - he lives there because he is descended from David.

Except that’s not what Luke says. Luke explicitly says:
quote:
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.”
In other words, for Luke the whole reason Joseph goes to Bethlehem is because he is of the line of David. That’s it: nothing to do with Joseph living there; Luke never gives that as a reason, it’s something you’ve come up with. And there was no need, when giving a reason for his coming to Bethlehem, for Joseph to go off on one about Herod’s illegitimacy; he just had to say he was there because he was a descendant of David and leave it at that.

I keep trying to connect this rabbit hole we’ve fallen down with the wider questions about inspiration, infallibility etc that this thread started off about, and I just can’t. It came from a discussion about harmonisation of differing biblical accounts, about whether Scripture could be interpreted the same as any other book or not. You claimed, Steve, that reading Luke’s account of the nativity in this way made it easier to harmonise with Matthew’s, and that this might make it more plausible. Which seems to see Scripture as something that is... what? It’s not literalism, it’s not infallibility because it’s asking us to see Scripture as actually saying something very, very different from what the text says. Is it such a fear of contradictions that may exist between different accounts, that elaborate explanations have to be created that end up contradicting what the text says?

I don’t get this view of “inspiration” at all:Schrodinger’s scripture, that is at once inspired and at the same time needs to be made “plausible”?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I don't get it either, but it has an appeal to particular mindsets and approaches that find comfort in tying up loose-ends and have everything neatly sewn up and cut and dried.

I'd suggest that it's the kind of mindset that appeals to certain forms of Dispensationalism, or some of those who lean very heavily on extra-biblical material within the High Church traditions in order to 'fill the gaps' or explain apparent anomalies or things the Gospels don't tell us up front.

Of course, there are shades and gradations at both ends of the spectrum and I'm a lot more open to extra-biblical stuff than I used to be, without according it the status of holy writ.

On the Protestant evangelical side there sometimes be the assumption that if all the threads can't be demonstrated to tie up internally, then somehow the status of the scriptures as the word of God is at stake and we are all going to hell in a handcart.

Hence the obsession with biblical prophecy and pinning it all down to fixed dates and times - despite our Lord's clear instruction not to do so.

Hence the obsession in some quarters with a kind of pseudo-science Young Earth Creationism.

It's all completely unnecessary of course and entirely counter-productive.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
It’s not literalism, it’s not infallibility because it’s asking us to see Scripture as actually saying something very, very different from what the text says.

This.

Conservative evangelical scholarship claims, often loudly, to be based on what the text actually says, but behind all the bluster, on closer inspection, the text often turns out not to say what is claimed. Steve offers a textbook example of this here.

It's like the nutrimatic drinks dispenser's idea of tea: almost but not quite entirely unlike what the text actually says.

And yes, I think Gamaliel's right about personalities. Jamat's explanation of his dispensationalism on the Rapture thread, "it all goes to bed quite nicely", has passed into the Eutychus household vernacular.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Other matters taking a lot of my time today and between you you have posed me a lot of issues....

For tonight, just one where I think Eliab (probably unintentionally!) has put his finger on the problem....

quote:
It's entirely possible that Joseph's decision not to register in Nazareth but to go to Bethlehem and identify himself with his kingly ancestry, was deliberate, not imposed. The requirement to register was certainly imposed (at least, according to the text) but the text doesn't say one way or the other whether Joseph was specifically required to go to Bethlehem, just that he did, in fact, go there, not because he was a resident, but because of his lineage.
The problem with this is simple. Whether in Herod's kingdom or later Roman Judea, it's not exactly going to be safe for Joseph to openly "identify himself with his kingly ancestry", is it? I can imagine the conversation...

"So, Joseph ben-Jacob, why have you come to enrol in Bethlehem, a long way (about the length of Wales) from where you live?"

"It's because of my ancestry!"

"Which is...?"

"Well basically I'm probably the rightful king of Judea ahead of that Edomite upstart Herod, and I or a descendant might be the promised Messiah who will free Israel from foreign domination and conquer the world...."

At which point surely his life as a free man would be a matter of minutes, and his total life only much longer because they'd want to interrogate him and make sure that not only he but a lot of his family were ... er ... 'disappeared'.

And if it's not safe for Joseph to go public on that one with Herodian or Roman officials, why would he go to Bethlehem at all? It's unlikely anyone will make any waves if he takes the 'healthier' option and just stays where you all think he lives and enrols there instead.

On the other hand if he lives in Bethlehem but happens to be spending an extended time elsewhere when he becomes aware of the need to enrol, no problem - he just goes to Bethlehem and enrols as a normal resident.

Luke on that basis is not telling us the reason Joseph will give for registering in a not exactly obvious place; he's telling us the reason why Bethlehem is "Joseph's own city" - he lives there because he is descended from David. And he's again unlikely to face any awkward questions or need awkward explanations - he's the guy with the local building business and he's been away working....

And another thought before bed - some of you have been majoring on the reference to Nazareth as "Their (Joseph and Mary's) own city" (though in our terms I think at best a 'walled town' rather than anything we'd call a 'city'). But why not give equal weight to the earlier reference to Joseph going up to Bethlehem as one of many who go 'to be enrolled, each to his own city'? The point being that for Joseph on his own, Bethlehem is his own city; but for the couple, Nazareth is 'their' own city - and especially in an account written when it had been so for many decades after they settled there. The two ways of looking at the phrase 'own city' are not necessarily incompatible.

What?
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Stejjie;
quote:
Except that’s not what Luke says. Luke explicitly says:
quote:
quote:
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.”

In other words, for Luke the whole reason Joseph goes to Bethlehem is because he is of the line of David. That’s it: nothing to do with Joseph living there; Luke never gives that as a reason, it’s something you’ve come up with. And there was no need, when giving a reason for his coming to Bethlehem, for Joseph to go off on one about Herod’s illegitimacy; he just had to say he was there because he was a descendant of David and leave it at that.
And you are omitting the thing Luke says immediately before that passage, that "All went to be enrolled, each to his own city".

Luke has been telling the story thus far centred on Nazareth and Mary's family and the related family of John the Baptist. But Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Luke now explains the move; Bethlehem is in fact Joseph's 'own city' where he lives and where naturally he would register - he happens not to be there at the time, so he goes there with Mary, from his viewpoint taking her home to his residence. Joseph lives in Bethlehem because he is descended from David....

If there were not the later mistake of rendering the 'katalyma(ti)' as 'Inn' rather than 'guestroom' in a house, I doubt if we'd be having this discussion; it is the idea of Joseph and Mary needing to stay in an inn or hotel which has led to the impression of Joseph not actually living at Bethlehem. Without that, all is consistent - Joseph goes to 'his own city' to enrol and is in his own house.

Of course by this time there are lots of descendants of David. But in the unsettled circumstances of Palestine/Israel/Judea at that time, I don't think anyone would find it wise to make a point of asserting their royal lineage by going expensively out of their way to register in a former royal city rather than just register where they normally live. Eliab appeared to be suggesting exactly that unwise act.

Whether Roman or Herodian, the census is for the hard-nosed practical purpose of taxation; that purpose is best served by registering where you normally live. If Joseph lived in Nazareth, that would be where he would register. Going to Bethlehem, the other end of the country, to register is at best rather pointless - doing so to actually deliberately draw attention to your royal lineage at that time would be virtually an act of open treason. Herod's reaction in Matthew's account shows the likely result....
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Stejjie;
quote:
Except that’s not what Luke says. Luke explicitly says:
quote:
quote:
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.”

In other words, for Luke the whole reason Joseph goes to Bethlehem is because he is of the line of David. That’s it: nothing to do with Joseph living there; Luke never gives that as a reason, it’s something you’ve come up with. And there was no need, when giving a reason for his coming to Bethlehem, for Joseph to go off on one about Herod’s illegitimacy; he just had to say he was there because he was a descendant of David and leave it at that.
And you are omitting the thing Luke says immediately before that passage, that "All went to be enrolled, each to his own city".

Luke has been telling the story thus far centred on Nazareth and Mary's family and the related family of John the Baptist. But Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Luke now explains the move; Bethlehem is in fact Joseph's 'own city' where he lives and where naturally he would register - he happens not to be there at the time, so he goes there with Mary, from his viewpoint taking her home to his residence. Joseph lives in Bethlehem because he is descended from David....

If there were not the later mistake of rendering the 'katalyma(ti)' as 'Inn' rather than 'guestroom' in a house, I doubt if we'd be having this discussion; it is the idea of Joseph and Mary needing to stay in an inn or hotel which has led to the impression of Joseph not actually living at Bethlehem. Without that, all is consistent - Joseph goes to 'his own city' to enrol and is in his own house.

Of course by this time there are lots of descendants of David. But in the unsettled circumstances of Palestine/Israel/Judea at that time, I don't think anyone would find it wise to make a point of asserting their royal lineage by going expensively out of their way to register in a former royal city rather than just register where they normally live. Eliab appeared to be suggesting exactly that unwise act.

Whether Roman or Herodian, the census is for the hard-nosed practical purpose of taxation; that purpose is best served by registering where you normally live. If Joseph lived in Nazareth, that would be where he would register. Going to Bethlehem, the other end of the country, to register is at best rather pointless - doing so to actually deliberately draw attention to your royal lineage at that time would be virtually an act of open treason. Herod's reaction in Matthew's account shows the likely result....

What?


I'm reading Haidt's superb The Righteous Mind at the moment. Your reasoning is directly analogous, structurally the same, as most moral reasoning, which is after the event.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
If there were not the later mistake of rendering the 'katalyma(ti)' as 'Inn' rather than 'guestroom' in a house, I doubt if we'd be having this discussion;

If you didn't feel the need to tie up every apparent loose-end in scripture than I doubt we'd even be having this discussion ...

[ 27. January 2018, 17:41: Message edited by: Louise ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Mind you, if I were any good at code, a kindly Host or Admin wouldn't have to come along and tidy up the mess I've made with the quote from Steve ...

Be that as it may, you've not resolved your own issue, Steve Langton.

You haven't answered why there wasn't any room in Joseph's own house in Bethlehem nor why they would require to stay in a 'guest room' in their own house. The only way you can square that one is to speculate.

Perhaps they had relatives staying? Perhaps other people were in the house?

None of which is indicated in any way in the text and only becomes a possible inference if, like you, we feel the need to mess around with it to get it to fit some scheme or format we are carrying around in our own heads.

It only becomes a problem if we want to make it a problem.

You clearly do.

Why?

Clearly not because you 'read the Bible like any other text.'

If you were really 'reading the Bible like any other text' then you wouldn't be bending over backwards to make sure this bit over here dove-tailed so neatly with that part over there ...

I very much doubt that any of us read the Bible 'like any other text.'

It's not like a railway timetable where we can expect - delays, the wrong kind of snow and leaves on the line permitting, that if a train leaves Paddington at such and such a time we should expect it in Didcot by whenever it happens to be ...

[Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
And you are omitting the thing Luke says immediately before that passage, that "All went to be enrolled, each to his own city".

Luke has been telling the story thus far centred on Nazareth and Mary's family and the related family of John the Baptist. But Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Luke now explains the move; Bethlehem is in fact Joseph's 'own city' where he lives and where naturally he would register - he happens not to be there at the time, so he goes there with Mary, from his viewpoint taking her home to his residence. Joseph lives in Bethlehem because he is descended from David....

Fixed that for you. You seem determined to ignore the actual written text. Luke tells us that everyone is traveling (eporeuontos pantes) for this tax census. This may be bureaucratically inefficient and contrary to everything we know about Roman tax censuses from every other source, but it's what Luke says.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Of course by this time there are lots of descendants of David. But in the unsettled circumstances of Palestine/Israel/Judea at that time, I don't think anyone would find it wise to make a point of asserting their royal lineage by going expensively out of their way to register in a former royal city rather than just register where they normally live.

This is kind of like suggesting that the newly installed Hanoverians were really worried about descendants of Harold Godwinson, rather than the Stuart line. That's about the chronological difference between the last rulers of the Davidic line and the much more recent Hasmonians.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Essentially I am doing Luke the courtesy of assuming that he really meant what he said in the first four verses of the gospel and that he is at least trying seriously to write something like a proper history of Jesus' life, even if it's not quite what we'd expect from a modern impartial historian writing a carefully balanced PhD thesis.

And therefore that his account of the nativity is based on the best evidence he could get about what happened, and that he'd be a bit insulted by suggestions like that he just regards the census as a 'McGuffin' to get the family to Bethlehem for arbitrary theological reasons, rather than that he puts that in because that's what his sources told him happened. The kind of account he produces suggests that the source would be Jesus' family recounting their family traditions, though given the time of composition not the direct eyewitnesses Luke would probably have preferred.

For some time there has been an assumption that what Luke wrote is to be interpreted in a particular way, with the family living in Nazareth and being required by the census to go to Bethlehem on the basis of ancestral lineage rather than any actual current connection with the place. I suspect in the past people would just be assuming that this was weird foreign customs and weren't really paying attention to the underlying absurdity. This is the account usually represented in nativity plays with the dramatic scenes of Joseph and Mary being turned away from inn after inn till somebody takes pity and lets them use a stable.

In the last couple of centuries this has been challeged by better knowledge of the customs of the area and era; and for example I know of the case of a great-grandfather of one of our church members who spent some years in the late 19thC in Palestine researching, and wrote books about customs in 'Bible lands'.

Atheist propagandists like Stephen Fry have attacked that older interpretation, mocking its obvious absurdities. It seems to me quite reasonable to ask whether Luke's text really gives that absurd story, or whether it has been misunderstood. And the aforesaid great-grandfather was one of quite a few people who have drawn attention to the different implications of "No room in the Inn" versus "No room in the guestchamber", in deciding what Luke intended.

In the traditional interpretation people are being required to travel what would be considerable distances even today to enrol in towns they no longer have real connection with - and apparently on such a scale as to overwhelm local inns and other boarding facilities. And doing this to provide information which would obviously be much more relevant and useful if they gave it by enrolling in a town near where they actually live.

But does Luke actually say this? Everything he says is totally compatible with maybe not the fully modern world where much of this stuff will be done online etc, but certainly with the pre-electronic world or pre-Industrial Revolution world where 'everyone travelling to their own town' to enrol would mean going only at most a few miles to register at the nearest town to where they live. Of course if you were away from home for some reason you might have to travel some distance, but not otherwise. ('town' because in our terms that's what most biblical 'cities' actually were)

As far as I can see, that's what Luke says happened - unless you accept that phrase 'no room at the INN' as meaning that Joseph and Mary were going to a place where they didn't have a home but had to stay in an inn. But if it doesn't mean an inn, but simply a room in an ordinary house, we're back in sensible territory.

Joseph is away from home when the need to enrol arises; not a great mystery that he is in Nazareth where his betrothed (and given the pregnancy, by now his wife) lives. But yes, there's a bit of a question that he is clearly spending quite a long time up in Galilee rather than occasional visits, and that it seems he hadn't taken Mary back to Bethlehem immediately on marriage. But that's hardly a major issue compared to the inherent daftness of the idea of Joseph having to go all the way to Bethlehem to enrol even though he doesn't live there!

We can't absolutely prove the notion of Joseph doing building work in Galilee. But the biblical word for him is 'tekton/builder' rather than what we would think of when we call him a 'carpenter', and at this period there was plenty of work in Joseph's trade in the Galilee in that city of Sepphoris. Joseph going where there was both work and his betrothed and her family is a reasonable explanation of what Luke describes. He would spend a fair bit of time there but of course would need to go home for the enrolment.

Again, take out that 'inn' and its implications, and this is not an arduous dash with a heavily pregnant wife who gives birth almost immediately on arrival; they don't have to worry about the expense of living in an inn for an extended period, and it's also not a problem that they stay over a month after the birth for that period of purification. They're at home and again it seems a reasonable guess that the family business is functioning locally and Joseph can earn some money now he is back at home.

Yeah, plausible guesses at what happened rather than certainty - but much more reasonable than the version where Joseph doesn't live in Bethlehem in the first place....

Agreed, Croesos, that there's a long time from David to Herod, and yes, Hanoverians would be more worried about the recent Stuarts like Bonnie Prince Charlie than the descendants of King Harold. But then Harold wasn't David, and despite their occasional pretensions the Stuarts were not the family in which the Messiah was promised. And even false Messiahs caused the Romans a lot of problems during and after the time of Jesus.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Atheist propagandists like Stephen Fry have attacked that older interpretation, mocking its obvious absurdities. It seems to me quite reasonable to ask whether Luke's text really gives that absurd story, or whether it has been misunderstood. And the aforesaid great-grandfather was one of quite a few people who have drawn attention to the different implications of "No room in the Inn" versus "No room in the guestchamber", in deciding what Luke intended.

This is all beginning to be uncomfortably like the debate over whether 'almâ means "virgin":

1. Conservative offers specific translation vs. word in the original text ("katalyma" -> "guest room"; "'almâ" -> "virgin").

2. Conservative insists on a particular and linguistically unlikely meaning of the word, invoking flaky evidence, to defend a hermeneutical assumption, not because it's prima facie more plausible but because the alternative opens the floodgates to evil liberals and atheists.

3. The flaky evidence is inspected and found to be wanting. The explanation creates more problems than it solves and departs further and further from the text.

4. People like me start wondering whether any con-evo argument actually holds up at all, or whether I've just been being conned all these years.

*

By the way, in addition for being taxed for fictitious land, French people frequently and traditionally stay on the electoral roll in their original home town or village, and travel great distances at election time to vote there.

[ 27. January 2018, 18:21: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
Steve, please, please, please will you stop making this all about the inn? I'm quite happy to believe that katalyma doesn't mean "inn", it's not a part of my case at all. In fact, here's a very good blog post arguing that Jesus wasn't born in a stable that specifically says that katalyma doesn't mean "inn" - but which doesn't remotely see that as incompatible with the idea of Joseph living in Nazareth but travelling to Bethlehem because that's what he was required to do.

And I really don't know how to go on with this any more (apart from to Hell, which I must admit is tempting), because there's just so much that seems wrong with your account. In your attempts to make it more harmonious with the Matthew story, in your attempts to make it more plausible to the Stephen Frys of our world (and when has doing that ever, ever been a hallmark of good exegesis?), you're constructing a very elaborate theory that has practically no support in the text, apart from one possible interpretation of the phrase "their own town" in v3 (which I did address in one of my previous posts). Far from taking Luke seriously as a writer (not just a historical writer, but a historical-theological-literary writer), your argument basically says that Luke didn't write what he means, but had a whole alternative scenario in his mind that for some reason he didn't make explicit. I wonder how this squares with what you said earlier about the importance of Scripture being understandable and interpret-able by the "ordinary reader" (something that, with caveats, I'd agree with): what you're proposing is so far from what Luke's text says, has so many guesses and suppositions and assumptions and "it says this, but actually means that" statements that it's as far from what an ordinary reader could glean from the text.

And I still don't get what this elaborate theory has to do with the bigger picture questions of interpretation that this thread is all about: how does your theory about Luke 2 square with your views on the inspiration of Scripture? Because I'm completely at a loss.

But I feel I and others have already said all this upthread and I should probably stop for fear of tipping over into Hellish-mode, because you simply aren't addressing the issues we've raised at all.

[ 27. January 2018, 19:33: Message edited by: Stejjie ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
He's not addressing them because he can't.

Consequently he has to do a limbo dance to get things to fit.

Eutychus, conned by conservative evangelicalism? Have a slurp of coffee and get over it. These days I'm happy to share in common with con evos what they share with the rest of Christendom but beyond that ...
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Essentially I am doing Luke the courtesy of assuming that he really meant what he said in the first four verses of the gospel and that he is at least trying seriously to write something like a proper history of Jesus' life, even if it's not quite what we'd expect from a modern impartial historian writing a carefully balanced PhD thesis.

And anyone who disagrees with your interpretation doesn't? Oh, and don't bother answering me until you answer the question that I asked you 8 months ago (then again about 6 months ago) and you slunk off and ignored.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Stejjie, I checked out the blog you refer to and well, it seems to be in the same ball-park as my argument apart from the suggestion that Joseph might get accommodation as a visitor in something other than an inn. I note the additional notes at the end refer to examples of pretty exactly both the scenario I'm suggesting and the reasons I'm offering.

it does seem from the blog that the basic point is correct - that the word basically means guestroom in an ordinary house rather than a separate inn/hotel. It also seems that I'm far from alone in finding it incredible that Joseph gets sent so far to enrol where he doesn't live. The house plan in that blog is pretty much what I envisaged. Main difference, which wouldn't bother me, is the suggestion that the stable per se might not have been used, but a manger within the people accommodation.

Thing is the traditional 'inn-terpretation' also involves assumptions beyond Scripture, most notably simply the idea that you send people to enrol uselessly far from where they live.

What huge extra problems are created by my proposal, please?

It's not a major scriptural problem; Joseph still basically goes to Bethlehem because he is of Davidic lineage; just that he lives there because of that, and he happens to be away from home when the enrolment comes due. He still goes to 'his own city' in a completely straightforward sense.

Yes I've offered possible explanations of things Luke doesn't mention; I fully recognise that they are speculative - but I also think they're more likely than the basic irrational idea at the heart of the 'inn-terpretation', that the authorities would waste Joseph's time and their own sending him to enrol in a useless place.

I am, mind you, detecting something a bit worrying in responses to what I've said. It does seem that quite a few of those responding actually also agree that the traditional 'inn-terpretation' is stupid and wrong, and that sending people to enrol at an irrelevant place is stupid. BUT - they are still insisting that Luke gives us the stupid version rather than the sensible one!

And I'm struggling a bit with the motivation for that except that they seem to be saying "So the Bible is wrong and we don't have to take it seriously". They don't want to accept a sensible interpretation or reading because that would spoil their case!! This seems even more dubious than some of the motivations that have been attributed to me....

PS; I also noted a link from that blog to another post about dating the census, which would appear to be relevant....
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
The precise meaning of the word "inn" is a complete and utter red herring when it comes to determining whether Joseph's habitual place of residence at the time of Jesus' birth was, against every immediate indication of the text, Bethlehem.

Now can we get back to discussing inspiration?
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Essentially I am doing Luke the courtesy of assuming that he really meant what he said in the first four verses of the gospel and that he is at least trying seriously to write something like a proper history of Jesus' life, even if it's not quite what we'd expect from a modern impartial historian writing a carefully balanced PhD thesis.

And anyone who disagrees with your interpretation doesn't? Oh, and don't bother answering me until you answer the question that I asked you 8 months ago (then again about 6 months ago) and you slunk off and ignored.
Well I'll have to answer this for everybody else whether MT will listen or not. But really it's just to repeat the point I made back in that post - it's hardly taking Luke seriously as a historian to basically suggest for example that he uses a census as a 'McGuffin' to make a point he wants to make for theological reasons rather than that he puts the census in because that's what his sources told him actually happened. If people are approaching Luke that way, no they're not taking him seriously.

Given how long ago that question you asked now is you'll have to ask it again, I'm afraid, MT. I've somewhere between very little and no hope of finding it in threads so long ago, and I wouldn't like to trust my memory on it. I do recall that I did have an answer, just never got round to posting it while the thread(s) in question was still alive.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
The precise meaning of the word "inn" is a complete and utter red herring when it comes to determining whether Joseph's habitual place of residence at the time of Jesus' birth was, against every immediate indication of the text, Bethlehem.

Now can we get back to discussing inspiration?

I too would like the thread to get back to discussing inspiration....

But the meaning of the word 'katalymati' is quite relevant to whether Joseph's residence was Bethlehem. If it is rendered 'inn' that makes it pretty much unavoidable that Bethlehem is not Joseph's residence; rendering it more accurately 'guestchamber' carries at least a very much more likely implication of a guestchamber in Joseph's house and of his being resident in Bethlehem. And I'd suspect myself that if it had never been rendered 'inn', nobody would be interpreting it as anything other than a guestchamber in Joseph's house in Bethlehem.

And I'd hardly accept that 'every immediate indication of the text' is against Joseph's residence in Bethlehem when the very first thing it says is that one about everybody going to their own town to register and implies that Joseph is one such going to his own town in a quite ordinary sense.

And Matthew does portray Joseph living in Bethlehem....
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
With reasoning like that, I can't help thinking that if the word incontrovertibly meant "inn" you'd be arguing that the clear implication was that Joseph owned a chain of inns and so it was unsurprising that when in his home town he would stay at his own inn... you are clearly arguing from the assumption Joseph habitually lived in Bethlehem above any other consideration.

If Luke had believed Joseph to be a usual resident in Bethelehem it seems far more likely that he would have said so in so many words instead of invoking his lineage to explain why he had to travel there.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
FWIW I have some sympathy with Steve Langton on two points:

1. There's a conflation of 'reconciling texts' with 'reading stuff into texts' that I don't really like. Supposing I have two accounts of an event, A and B, and so I try to reconstruct the event as something like C which contains elements of A and B. Now I may be wrong about C, but if I assert that C is what happened, it doesn't follow that I'm reading C into A, just that I'm using A as once of my sources for C.

2. This is purely subjective, but I don't think the census is a plot device*. If I'm writing a story and need the characters to be in a place where there's no earthly reason for them to be, then I might resort to contrived coincidence (and for a New Testament writer there's always the option of invoking an angel of the Lord), but I don't think I'd use something that wasn't possible at all.


* It's certainly not a MacGuffin. The MacGuffin, if there is one, would be Jesus.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
FWIW I have some sympathy with Steve Langton on two points:

1. There's a conflation of 'reconciling texts' with 'reading stuff into texts' that I don't really like. Supposing I have two accounts of an event, A and B, and so I try to reconstruct the event as something like C which contains elements of A and B. Now I may be wrong about C, but if I assert that C is what happened, it doesn't follow that I'm reading C into A, just that I'm using A as once of my sources for C.

Fair point and not every attempt to 'reconcile texts' will necessarily involve 'reading stuff into texts' and there may well be times when the former is necessary.

I guess I'm somewhat nervous about it with regards to Bible texts, though, as I've grown to see the different texts as having been written in the way they are for particular purposes (which, I would argue, includes the theological as much as the historical). I think there can be a danger of seeing those differences as problems to be erased, rather than possible clues to what some of those purposes might have been.

Could it be argued that in the case of Matthew and Luke's nativity stories, part of the problem is not that we have two versions of the same stories (like we might have, eg, differing accounts of the Feeding of the 5000 in the gospels), but effectively two different stories? Yes, Matthew and Luke are talking about the birth of Jesus, but they're effectively telling completely different stories about that event, which makes it that much harder to reconcile them.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
I think there can be a danger of seeing those differences as problems to be erased, rather than possible clues to what some of those purposes might have been.

This is what I'm coming around to.

I notice both Steve and Jamat brushing off difficulties as "not a problem" (sic). Apparent contradictions are taken as a sort of deliberate puzzle to be solved. I've mentioned before the tour de force I once sat through of a bible teacher reconciling all the Gospel accounts of the resurrection. Very impressive at the time, but somehow left one unsatisfied afterwards.

It's like trying to reconcile Paul's account of his doings at the beginning of Galatians with what Acts tells us.

If you have headspace for the idea that both accounts could be "inspired" without necessarily being factually accurate in all points it makes life a lot easier and the explanations a lot less contrived - and sets up less of a stumbling block for people initially swayed by the contrived explanations when they later look so ridiculous.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
FWIW I have some sympathy with Steve Langton on two points:

1. There's a conflation of 'reconciling texts' with 'reading stuff into texts' that I don't really like. Supposing I have two accounts of an event, A and B, and so I try to reconstruct the event as something like C which contains elements of A and B. Now I may be wrong about C, but if I assert that C is what happened, it doesn't follow that I'm reading C into A, just that I'm using A as once of my sources for C.

Fair point and not every attempt to 'reconcile texts' will necessarily involve 'reading stuff into texts' and there may well be times when the former is necessary.

I guess I'm somewhat nervous about it with regards to Bible texts, though, as I've grown to see the different texts as having been written in the way they are for particular purposes (which, I would argue, includes the theological as much as the historical). I think there can be a danger of seeing those differences as problems to be erased, rather than possible clues to what some of those purposes might have been.

Could it be argued that in the case of Matthew and Luke's nativity stories, part of the problem is not that we have two versions of the same stories (like we might have, eg, differing accounts of the Feeding of the 5000 in the gospels), but effectively two different stories? Yes, Matthew and Luke are talking about the birth of Jesus, but they're effectively telling completely different stories about that event, which makes it that much harder to reconcile them.

But it should still be possible if both are historically accurate, which I think is J and SL's point, and of course the reason this thread is here. The question under debate is not really "how did Jesus' birth occur" but "are the birth narratives literally and historically accurate?". J and SL's understanding of the nature of Scripture forces the answer "yes" and so harmonisation is necessary, not to tell us about Jesus' birth, but to protect Scripture from appearing erroneous.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Indeed. The next questions are: a) what did "historically accurate" mean for a 1st-century writer b) was that a consideration for all authors of the NT (let alone the OT)?

On the face of it, Luke makes a stronger claim to what we might understand by historical accuracy than Matthew, while the editorial approach of John seems quite obviously to be governed by theological rather than purely forensic considerations - not to say that it doesn't reflect historical fact, but objective reportage is not its primary consideration.

[ 28. January 2018, 07:53: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
Steve - a few points from the last posts you've written since my last post to you:

1) It still isn't about that (deleted) inn.

2) I noticed at the end of the blogpost I linked to the mention of the paper that goes along with the idea you're holding out here. I'm still not convinced, mainly for the reasons I and others have set out in our previous posts.

3) Again: if Joseph isn't going to Bethlehem primarily because he's a descendant of David (as you and the author cited at the end of that blogpost both argue), why does Luke explicitly state that as the reason for the journey to Bethlehem in v4? Please answer this question, because it seems to be the hole in this theory: why does Luke, whom I agree seeks to make this an accurate record of what happened (the mix up with the census date notwithstanding), come straight out and say this if it wasn't the case? It rather takes away from your claim that you're trying to:
quote:
[do] Luke the courtesy of assuming that he really meant what he said in the first four verses of the gospel
4) I'm not sure it's fair to privilege the historical aspects of the text over the theological aspects, as you seem to do by dismissing the census as a "Macguffin". Yes, Luke is clear that he's trying to set out a historically accurate version of events; but surely this is also a work of theology (or theological-history, or historical-theology)? Yes, Luke's concerned about what happened and presenting that as accurately as possible; but I would strongly suggest that he does this so that we can know who this Jesus who came into history is and what he has done for us, for his people and for the world.

5) I take exception to your suggestion that those of us arguing against you on this are essentially saying "So the Bible is wrong and we don't have to take it seriously". Far from it! I want to take it utterly seriously - if nothing else, it's my job as a preacher to do that (but that's not the only reason). But taking the Bible seriously suggests, to me at least, taking the actual text of the Bible seriously, working with what we have even if it's difficult or uncomfortable or implausible or doesn't necessarily fit with other bits. To you, it seems, this passage only has true value if a plausible explanation can be found that makes it fit better with Matthew's account (even if that means leaving out bits that are quite explicit in the text). I'd rather, as I've said before, take seriously what Luke or whoever has actually written and try and think and pray about why they've written that and what they want us to grasp from that - not just worry about why it doesn't "make sense" or seem "historically plausible".

But enough of my sermonising on here... I'm off to sermonise at church (poor souls!).

[ 28. January 2018, 08:47: Message edited by: Stejjie ]
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
What is fact? There was an interesting experiment here a few years ago at the annual conference of magistrates*. They watched a staged motor vehicle accident and having been asked beforehand both to write a general description and to answer particular questions. The responses differed greatly. This was from people whose office required them to make assessments of fact and of credibility of witnesses before them. Not just every now and again, but as an essential part of their day's work.

*Magistrates in NSW are full-time judicial officers but at the lowest rung of the judicial ladder and exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction. After some hard work a couple of decades ago by the then Chief Magistrate, their reputation and ability have both increased dramatically.

[ 28. January 2018, 10:15: Message edited by: Gee D ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Gee D, there is a short Alfred Hitchcock film called "I saw the whole thing" that uses this premise.

Stejjie, you'd be welcome to come and sermonise at my church any time! In fact I wish I could find more like-minded people in this neck of the woods.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
I'm leaving a major reply for now to do, I hope, a proper considered job, but

by Stejjie;
quote:
4) I'm not sure it's fair to privilege the historical aspects of the text over the theological aspects, as you seem to do by dismissing the census as a "Macguffin". Yes, Luke is clear that he's trying to set out a historically accurate version of events; but surely this is also a work of theology (or theological-history, or historical-theology)? Yes, Luke's concerned about what happened and presenting that as accurately as possible; but I would strongly suggest that he does this so that we can know who this Jesus who came into history is and what he has done for us, for his people and for the world.
I think you may have misunderstood that. It wasn't me who rather dismissively referred to the census as a 'McGuffin', that was somebody else. My point was precisely that the census isn't a 'McGuffin', a mere device. And that Luke doesn't put it in his account as a mere device but because he, at any rate, believed it was the real reason taking Joseph to Bethlehem. Which in turn would mean he thought he had it from a reliable source.

Some in this discussion have seemed to think that Luke and Matthew might, in effect, make things up to serve the theological point they wanted to make. Me, I'm happy that they themselves, at any rate, believed the accounts they have given us. The issue is how to interpret the accounts.

Does the census affect Joseph because as a Davidic descendant he is expected to go to Bethlehem even though he doesn't live there? Simply as a real world practicality unlikely, to say the least. Or does the census affect him because he does live there? Much, much more likely. And Luke is clear that the effect of the census was people going 'each to his own' city, and he implies that is what Joseph does - goes to his own city. And given the practicalities, would the Romans actually register him in Bethlehem if he only had the ancestral connection rather than a current one? Wouldn't that be rather pointless?

As regards dating the census, I note that
1) As mentioned in Acts 5; 37 - quoting the original Gamaliel! - Luke is aware of the Judas the Galilean revolt triggered by the 6CE Quirinius census, so probably wouldn't be confused about it; but also

2) He gives John the Baptist's mission as starting in the fifteenth year of Tiberius; that is at latest 29CE - and Jesus starts his mission at that time. But if born in 6CE, Jesus would not then be 'about thirty years old', but only 23! I can't see Luke making that kind of error, whether about Jesus' age or about the relationship of his age to the census....

And there's that curious phrase about this being the 'first' enrolment.

Like I said, I'll hopefully be back with more - and Eutychus, I do think this is relevant to the OP issue of 'inspiration'.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Gee D, there is a short Alfred Hitchcock film called "I saw the whole thing" that uses this premise.

Thanks - I could remember something, perhaps a film, perhaps another experiment, but not the detail
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Like I said, I'll hopefully be back with more

I personally would like you to start by answering Stejjie's question 3 above:
quote:
if Joseph isn't going to Bethlehem primarily because he's a descendant of David (as you and the author cited at the end of that blogpost both argue), why does Luke explicitly state that as the reason for the journey to Bethlehem in v4?

 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

Does the census affect Joseph because as a Davidic descendant he is expected to go to Bethlehem even though he doesn't live there? Simply as a real world practicality unlikely, to say the least. Or does the census affect him because he does live there? Much, much more likely. And Luke is clear that the effect of the census was people going 'each to his own' city, and he implies that is what Joseph does - goes to his own city. And given the practicalities, would the Romans actually register him in Bethlehem if he only had the ancestral connection rather than a current one? Wouldn't that be rather pointless?

Perhaps to a modern mind it would look both unreal and pointless, but at a time where people were classified by their tribe or family, what would be more real and have a point?
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Gee D
quote:
Perhaps to a modern mind it would look both unreal and pointless, but at a time where people were classified by their tribe or family, what would be more real and have a point?
Except that the big 'point' is going to be taxation, and you tax the guy where he lives, not the length of Wales away.

Another relevant film - Kurosawa's "Rashomon".

by Eutychus;
quote:
I personally would like you to start by answering Stejjie's question 3 above:
quote:

if Joseph isn't going to Bethlehem primarily because he's a descendant of David (as you and the author cited at the end of that blogpost both argue), why does Luke explicitly state that as the reason for the journey to Bethlehem in v4?


But is he giving that as the sole reason for the journey (despite Joseph living elsewhere) or is it adding a further explanation, relevant to the situation, of why Bethlehem is Joseph's 'own city'? Although I've not perhaps stressed it enough, Joseph has reason to be away from home at this point simply while he sorts out the issues around Mary and her unexpected pregnancy. And as a tekton/builder this need not be unprofitable because it is known work in his trade was available in the area.

As a question - are you asserting that this really was the only reason Joseph, living in Nazareth, ends up in Bethlehem, or just that Luke believes it's the only reason despite the gross improbability?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
What we have to consider, Steve, is the reason WHY Luke stresses this aspect.

One imagines it is important to him for theological reasons as well as 'historical' reasons.

Is to stress the lineage aspect - Jesus (humanly speaking) being in the line of David?

Let's look at the possible reasons for Luke emphasising this before we start making scale-models of Northumbrian 'bastle houses' and transplanting them to 1st century Palestine and introducing all the other red-herrings you have supplied us with on the thread so far.
 
Posted by balaam (# 4543) on :
 
Joseph was a carpenter, but not the sort that makes chairs. The Greek tekton would be either an architect or the guy who works with achitectural wood, such as roofing beams. the protoevangelion of James has Joseph as a builder. As this does not contradict the Gospels and reinforces a meaning of tekton there is no reason to doubt that.

Building jobs even today are semi nomadic, you go to where the work is so it is entirely possible that Joseph was based in Bethlehem and taxed there whilst working away in or near Nazareth. All we need to do is look for architectural evidence of large construction projects going on in that region at that time.

Unfortunately, history and archaeology goes against this. Josephus is sketchy on Galilee, and most of Herod's building projects, the Temples of Jerusalem and Caesarea Maritima, Jericho, Masada etc. were in Judea, not Galilee.

It is possible that Joseph was a semi nomadic builder, but for probability we have to look elsewhere. The reason that Joseph was in Nazareth and taxed in Bethlehem is elusive.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
Beat me to it, Gamaliel...

I think it's quite clear, whether or not that actually was the primary reason Joseph went to Bethlehem, it seems fairly clear to me at least that that's the reason Luke wants to see. It's not about where Joseph lived before the census, where his home was; it's about the "line-of-David" thing.

Bear in mind that this isn't the first time in the nativity story that Luke has mentioned David, nor is it the last. In 1:27, we're told that Joseph was "of the house of David", pretty much the first thing we're told about Joseph by Luke. When Gabriel announces speaks to Mary, he says that "the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David". In 2:4, Luke mentions David twice: the first time when he states that Bethlehem was the "city of David"; the second in the phrase we're debating, when he says that Joseph travelled there "because he was descended from the house and family of David" (and remember: that's the second he's told us that about Joseph). And then when the angel announces the news to the shepherds, he/she says, that the Messiah is born "in the city of David".

Clearly, the fact that Joseph is from the line of David, and that Jesus is born in the city of David, is hugely important to Luke - why else would he mention it so many times, why else would he tell us twice about Joseph's ancestry?

(I would hazard a guess that anyone who had David - Israel's greatest king - as an ancestor would know it and would claim it, however distant it was; particular, as GeeD says, in a culture when tribes and ancestors were of great importance. So I'm not sure I buy the argument that Joseph wouldn't know whom his ancestor was.)

Given the importance Luke places on Joseph and Jesus' links back to David, it seems natural that he would give Joseph's ancestry as the primary reason for the journey to Bethlehem - regardless of where Joseph lived. This is what matters: not the apparent logistical and logical impracticalities that we might think of; Joseph travels to Bethlehem because Messiah is to be born in city of David, of the line of David, because Messiah will be the one to restore the throne of David (though it will look very different from what people expect).

So I still don't understand the need to second-guess what Luke is saying here with apparent reconstructions, assumptions about impracticalities and all the rest of it. It's certainly a very strange view of inspiration that suggests we need to do all this...

[x-posted with balaam]
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Of course by this time there are lots of descendants of David. But in the unsettled circumstances of Palestine/Israel/Judea at that time, I don't think anyone would find it wise to make a point of asserting their royal lineage by going expensively out of their way to register in a former royal city rather than just register where they normally live. Eliab appeared to be suggesting exactly that unwise act.

Not exactly.

The text can be interpreted as Joseph, along with everyone else, being required by law to undertake a long pointless journey to register in his ancestral town. In which case, I think a careful reader would have to say "That seems stupid, and contrary to how we think Roman bureaucracy actually worked, and so I have to conclude that there are probably historical errors here, but nonetheless, that's what Luke appears to be saying".

My point is that Luke isn't necessarily saying all of that. He could be saying that, on the occasion of the census, Joseph made a personal decision to undertake the journey, for reasons connected with his ancestry. There's nothing (as far as I can see) which either compel or rule out this possible reading, but it avoids the apparent stupidity in the conduct of the census that you were concerned about.

As to Joseph's decision being irrational - well, maybe. I agree that the journey would have been just as unnecessary, and no less long or and arduous, if Joseph chose it than if Roman law compelled him. But the crucial difference is that it would be the sort of irrationality that people do, in actual fact, do quite often.

Imagine reading a story about, say, a modern American couple, wife heavily pregnant, stranded out in the wilds of Western Europe, taking great pains to travel to the US to register for a Presidential election (which they could have done by post) so that their baby would be born on American soil.

Lots of us would read it and think "Well, I wouldn't have done that", but very few of us would read it and think "FFS, no one would ever do that!", because we know that some people would. It would hit exactly the narrative sweet spot of being unusual enough to be noteworthy, without being so strange as to be implausible. The interpretation of Luke's account that has Joseph choosing Bethlehem to go to for personal reasons at a significant time is similar in effect.

Your alternative, which is that Bethlehem was Joseph's permanent place of residence, unlike either of the interpretations above, does not accord very well with Luke's broad account. Nothing else in the text suggests a family home in Bethlehem, nothing in the text addresses the (rather remarkable) question why Joseph and his pregnant wife should suddenly find themselves excluded from his family home, and nothing supports any conclusion that after the birth, Joseph ever went back to Bethlehem to live. Luke's nativity story is followed directly with an incident that took place 12 years later, which explicitly says that Joseph was living in Nazareth at that time, and strongly implies that his custom of travelling from Nazareth to Jerusalem had taken place in every one of the intervening years.

Reading Luke as if he were saying that Bethlehem were Joseph's actual, permanent, home, at any time of his life, is simply not a natural reading of the text. There is a better reading that avoids the absurdities that you have raised - however that better reading doesn't assist in harmonising Luke's account with Matthews's.

You could say, of course, that you prefer your account because it better accords with that of another writer, and that this is a legitimate way to read scripture - but I don't think you can do that and still say that you interpret scripture like you would any other book (because we don't usually read other books so as to rule out the very possibility of contradiction between different writers).


Interestingly, this strikes me as a mirror image of your position with regard to moral questions. I've previously argued that we ought NOT to read authoritative scripture "as other books" - and that in cases of ambiguity, it is legitimate to read the Bible on the assumption that the true meaning is the morally correct one, if a more plausible "natural" reading is grossly immoral. You took the contrary view, and thought that the most natural reading of the text should be preferred. What's changed?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
All I can say is that my experience of both people and bureaucracies requires none of the gymnastics about where Joseph habitually lived to make sense of Luke's account. Plus what everyone else said.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Thing is the traditional 'inn-terpretation' also involves assumptions beyond Scripture, most notably simply the idea that you send people to enrol uselessly far from where they live.

Actually that's in scripture, as I previously noted. Luke tells us that everyone (pantes) traveled (eporeuonto) for the census. From poreúomai, which is derived from poros or passageway. It literally means to go from one place to another. Luke uses the same word to describe the family's annual Passover trip to Jerusalem and for going along the road to Emmaus. In other words, it means travel, often between cities.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I am, mind you, detecting something a bit worrying in responses to what I've said. It does seem that quite a few of those responding actually also agree that the traditional 'inn-terpretation' is stupid and wrong, and that sending people to enrol at an irrelevant place is stupid. BUT - they are still insisting that Luke gives us the stupid version rather than the sensible one!

And I'm struggling a bit with the motivation for that
except that they seem to be saying "So the Bible is wrong and we don't have to take it seriously".

I can't speak for anyone else, but my motive is the straightforward translation of "eporeuonto". You've yet to offer a reason for translating this term any differently than usual.

quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
There's a conflation of 'reconciling texts' with 'reading stuff into texts' that I don't really like. Supposing I have two accounts of an event, A and B, and so I try to reconstruct the event as something like C which contains elements of A and B. Now I may be wrong about C, but if I assert that C is what happened, it doesn't follow that I'm reading C into A, just that I'm using A as once of my sources for C.

You can certainly do that. You run into difficulties if A and B disagree about certain important things, which is the situation with Luke and Matthew's competing nativities. Not just different details, but details that cannot both be true. In most historical accounts you weigh the accounts and try to figure out whether it's more likely that Herodotus or Æschylus (to return to an earlier example) is right about a certain fact. This is different from what SL and Jamat are doing. They feel forced to insist that both Herodotus and Æschylus are right in every detail, and have to contort the translation and invent highly speculative fictions to make this come out.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Yes. That game is not worth the candle. As I've said before, the same guy who did the sleight-of-hand 'reconciliation' of the resurrection accounts has also written a book explaining why all the judges in the eponymous book were all heroes of the faith at virtually all times (think Jepthah and his vow), because that's what Hebrews called them.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
What we have to consider, Steve, is the reason WHY Luke stresses this aspect.

One imagines it is important to him for theological reasons as well as 'historical' reasons.

Is to stress the lineage aspect - Jesus (humanly speaking) being in the line of David?

Let's look at the possible reasons for Luke emphasising this before we start making scale-models of Northumbrian 'bastle houses' and transplanting them to 1st century Palestine and introducing all the other red-herrings you have supplied us with on the thread so far.

It may take me a week to answer everything you've all thrown at me since my previous post! At least please ease up on new stuff while I tackle it all....

On this particular one
1) I'm nothing like "making scale-models of Northumbrian 'bastle houses' and transplanting them to 1st century Palestine". I'm just making the point that houses of that basic kind were common over a very long period all the way from the Middle East to medieval England - though also with differences, mud-brick in Palestine and stone in North England for example. My illustrated source that I referred to earlier was actually for a house centuries before 1CE but was specifically said to be typical till into and beyond the NT period. The blog Stejjie referred to showed an NT period example, didn't it?

2) Actually I do get that Luke is making a theological point and selecting accordingly. Likewise Matthew. Though given what they are reporting here, events thirty years before Jesus started his ministry, one wonders whether either had very much more than they actually give us. IF Luke knew some of what Matthew records I can see reasons why he might omit it in view of his audience even though it makes the Bethlehem/Nazareth transition a bit clumsy.

3) Yes Luke is stressing the lineage aspect; but not, I submit, to the extent of making things up to make the point. And in interpreting what he does say I'm assessing, among other things, which interpretations actually make sense; I'll come back to that....
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Croesos;
quote:
Actually that's in scripture, as I previously noted. Luke tells us that everyone (pantes) traveled (eporeuonto) for the census. From poreúomai, which is derived from poros or passageway. It literally means to go from one place to another. Luke uses the same word to describe the family's annual Passover trip to Jerusalem and for going along the road to Emmaus. In other words, it means travel, often between cities.

......

I can't speak for anyone else, but my motive is the straightforward translation of "eporeuonto". You've yet to offer a reason for translating this term any differently than usual.

According to a quick check of usage recorded in Young's Analytical Concordance, 'poreuomai' is a general word for 'go', and the 'travel' involved can vary all the way from indeed going to a different country to the phrase 'go in peace' which might hardly involve any physical movement at all, or the paralysed man lowered through the roof picking up his bed and going home, most likely within the same village or not so far away, to the centurion's "I say unto one, 'Go' and he goeth...." which might well be in the same house. Not to mention 'Go and learn what this means, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice"' - again hardly about the physical travel involved at all.

You're pretty much talking as if 'all/pantes' going to 'their own city' means absolutely everybody being uprooted and travelling absolutely miles, with more than a little disruption to the economy at large! But 'poreuomai' seems in fact to be a general enough word to include those who go no further than the local town with a tax office, or down the road to the tax office if they actually live in town. And so I can't see that I'm "translating this term any differently than usual".

Have you suddenly become a hyper-literal fundamentalist??
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Eliab;
quote:
Interestingly, this strikes me as a mirror image of your position with regard to moral questions. I've previously argued that we ought NOT to read authoritative scripture "as other books" - and that in cases of ambiguity, it is legitimate to read the Bible on the assumption that the true meaning is the morally correct one, if a more plausible "natural" reading is grossly immoral. You took the contrary view, and thought that the most natural reading of the text should be preferred. What's changed?
You'll have to remind me of the details of that - maybe by PM if it's not relevant to the current thread.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Croesos;
quote:
Actually that's in scripture, as I previously noted. Luke tells us that everyone (pantes) traveled (eporeuonto) for the census. From poreúomai, which is derived from poros or passageway. It literally means to go from one place to another. Luke uses the same word to describe the family's annual Passover trip to Jerusalem and for going along the road to Emmaus. In other words, it means travel, often between cities.

......

I can't speak for anyone else, but my motive is the straightforward translation of "eporeuonto". You've yet to offer a reason for translating this term any differently than usual.

According to a quick check of usage recorded in Young's Analytical Concordance, 'poreuomai' is a general word for 'go', and the 'travel' involved can vary all the way from indeed going to a different country to the phrase 'go in peace' which might hardly involve any physical movement at all, or the paralysed man lowered through the roof picking up his bed and going home, most likely within the same village or not so far away, to the centurion's "I say unto one, 'Go' and he goeth...." which might well be in the same house. Not to mention 'Go and learn what this means, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice"' - again hardly about the physical travel involved at all.
All true. If only Luke had given us some context about where all these people were going, like if he wrote that they were going to "their own cities" ([h]eautou polin). [Roll Eyes]

Seriously, we have Luke portraying "everyone" going to their own cities, Joseph making a trip at the same time for the same purpose, and an explanation as to why Bethlehem qualified as Joseph's "own city" ("because" [dia to, literally 'due to'] "he belonged to the house and line of David"). I'm not sure how much clearer an author could have made it.

Missing from this passage is any explanation of what Joseph was doing in Nazareth if he didn't live there, or why he returned to Nazareth after the post-birth trip to Jerusalem if his own town was really Bethlehem. We expect authors to explain things that need an explanation and accept that they don't explain things that require no explanation. For Luke, Joseph traveling to Bethlehem is something he felt required an explanation (i.e. it was out of the ordinary for Joseph to do this), whereas Joseph's presence in Nazareth is apparently seen by Luke as self-explanatory enough to simply be assumed.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Have you suddenly become a hyper-literal fundamentalist??

Just reading the Bible "like any other book", as someone suggested upthread. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Supplementary to my previous....

Did a bit of further checking in Young and online. First point, the word 'eis/to' can actually also mean 'in' - over a hundred times in the NT.

Plus Luke actually uses a different Greek word for Joseph's 'going up' - the word 'anabainoo' which as near as I can judge is not a general word for 'going' but seems to convey a concept of 'going up to' even without other prepositions.

What's basically going on here seems quite clear; everybody goes 'each to his own town' to be registered. And Luke uses a general description which can cover everything from the people who live in the town and just walk down the street, through those for whom it is the nearest town to their village/farm/etc so they go to it, through to those who are away from home at the time and have to go quite a distance. He doesn't, and doesn't need to, make clear separately all those various possibilities. He just uses a brief generalised description of what happened.

He certainly does not mean that literally "everybody/pantes" might have to go miles and miles to a place that isn't 'their own town' in the usual sense in order to be enrolled, with all the disruption that would entail.

And then in describing Joseph he does use a word that means 'go up' and implies distance - but Joseph is still included, in effect, in those who are going to "'their own town' in the usual sense"- "So went up Joseph also (kai) ... to Bethlehem". Because that is 'his own town in the usual sense'.

And again, clarification please - do you believe that it's seriously likely lots of people really had to go to enrol at places they don't live and have only distant connection to? Or are you saying Luke thought that and wrote his account accordingly even though it's almost (99.lots more 9s %) certainly not true of the real world situation? Or what?
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Plus Luke actually uses a different Greek word for Joseph's 'going up' - the word 'anabainoo' which as near as I can judge is not a general word for 'going' but seems to convey a concept of 'going up to' even without other prepositions.

Yes. Ancient writers often used this to denote a change of elevation. One "goes up" (anebē) from Nazareth to Bethlehem or from Jericho to Jerusalem. One "goes down" (katebainen) from Bethlehem to Nazareth or from Jerusalem to Jericho. This was an important distinction in antiquity, when most travel was by foot and the difference between uphill and downhill gave you some warning about what to expect.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
What's basically going on here seems quite clear; everybody goes 'each to his own town' to be registered. And Luke uses a general description which can cover everything from the people who live in the town and just walk down the street, through those for whom it is the nearest town to their village/farm/etc so they go to it, through to those who are away from home at the time and have to go quite a distance.

A general term was used because not everybody would be going uphill or downhill on different journeys with different destinations.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
And then in describing Joseph he does use a word that means 'go up' and implies distance - . . .

Well, at least enough distance that the elevation is a factor.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
. . . but Joseph is still included, in effect, in those who are going to "'their own town' in the usual sense"- "So went up Joseph also (kai) ... to Bethlehem". Because that is 'his own town in the usual sense'.

Nope. It's because if you want to travel from Nazareth (elevation 347m) to Bethlehem (elevation 775m) you have to literally "go up". Seriously, which one of us is reading the Bible 'literally' here? I admit the "going up"/"going down" distinction isn't one that's common in modern usage, but it's not unknown (river travel, for instance) and if you're going to read a work you should be somewhat familiar with common idioms of its native culture.

Also, "in the usual sense" is not in any of the Biblical translations of Luke 2:3 I've come across. Which Greek words did Luke use to convey this meaning?
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Sorry, my bad! Should have realised that you'd nit-pick about 'going up' and completely miss the major point. Of course I know that the going up bit is about the different elevation....

The major point is that the reality of a census is that people go to register sensibly and conveniently, both for themselves and the authorities, in the town where or near which they live. They do not go to register in a place the other end of the country where they don't really belong and have to stay in an 'inn', and register in a place which will actually be inconvenient to the authorities for taxation and other such purposes.

Luke describes this in general terms; he doesn't fussily consider all the possible options, he just says everybody registers in their own town and uses a general word for 'going' to describe their doing so. Obviously a lot of these people, if you are being fussily and inappropriately literalist, are not 'going to' the town, because they actually live within it. They just go down the road to register. Luke's wording is general enough to include that possibility.

No, the words 'in the usual sense' are not in the text - they don't need to be. I'm just making the point that if someone is claiming the word is being used in an unusual sense, the burden of proof is on them to show an unusual sense is intended. The 'So Joseph also went to ... Bethlehem' following the point of everybody going to register 'each to his own town' implies Joseph also went to 'his own town' in the usual sense.

Luke says Bethlehem is Joseph's 'own town' because of his royal descent. Is he saying that Bethlehem is NOT also Joseph's town 'in the usual sense' that he lives there? Or is he saying that a major reason for Bethlehem being Joseph's town 'in the usual sense', ie that he lives there, is that he is of the Davidic family with lands originally in Bethlehem and presumably reclaimed by the family after the return from the Exile in Babylon?

From my viewpoint the issue here is that there is a glaring anomaly in the common interpretation of Luke - and either Luke has got it wrong, or we've got Luke wrong. I'm suggesting we've got Luke wrong - you and others seem determined to insist at all costs that Luke got it wrong and gave us a massively improbable stupid account.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Or is he saying that a major reason for Bethlehem being Joseph's town 'in the usual sense', ie that he lives there, is that [...]

But he doesn't live there! He goes there from Nazareth to Bethlehem for a special occasion, can't find a proper place to stay, and then returns to Nazareth with his family, where he stays for at least the next 12 years.

All of that is in the text. It simply isn't consistent with Bethlehem being Joseph's ordinary place of residence, at least not if you read the account as you would any other book.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
No, the words 'in the usual sense' are not in the text - they don't need to be.

And yet you put them inside your quote marks along with a quote from Luke. I suppose that's just me "nit-pick[ing]" by reading what you actually wrote rather than reading your mind to figure out what you thought you meant. I don't have to explain how quote marks work to you now, do I?

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'm just making the point that if someone is claiming the word is being used in an unusual sense, the burden of proof is on them to show an unusual sense is intended. The 'So Joseph also went to ... Bethlehem' following the point of everybody going to register 'each to his own town' implies Joseph also went to 'his own town' in the usual sense.

Luke says Bethlehem is Joseph's 'own town' because of his royal descent.

Yes, he does. He takes the trouble to spell out for his audience that Bethlehem is Joseph's "own [ancestral] town". (See what I did there with the square brackets? Useful tool for commenting on a quote.)

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Is he saying that Bethlehem is NOT also Joseph's town 'in the usual sense' that he lives there?

It's something he doesn't comment on. He also doesn't clarify whether Joseph literally owns the town of Bethlehem, which is another possible translation of this verse. We're supposed to be able to figure it out from context, from what's included, and from what's not.

Luke tells us that:

I suppose we've got two possibilities here. Either Luke is a terrible writer who accidentally writes the opposite of what he means, or he means that Bethlehem is Joseph's "own [ancestral] town" while Nazareth is his "own town" [of residence].
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Or another possibility, that Steve Langton doesn't read the Bible 'like any other book' in the way he insists he does.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'm just making the point that if someone is claiming the word is being used in an unusual sense, the burden of proof is on them to show an unusual sense is intended. The 'So Joseph also went to ... Bethlehem' following the point of everybody going to register 'each to his own town' implies Joseph also went to 'his own town' in the usual sense.

If it was his own town in the usual sense, he wouldn't have to go there, he'd already be there.

[ 31. January 2018, 00:28: Message edited by: mousethief ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ah, but, Mousethief, you have missed the central plank of Steve's argument, that Joseph was a peripatetic joiner/builder and so worked away from home ...

Because he reads the Bible as he reads any other book, he doesn't make the same mistake as the rest of us by drawing on references and inferences from outside the text ...
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Croesos;
quote:
*traveling is part of the census for everyone
*everyone's destination is their "own town", and that everyone's "own town" is something they'd have to "go" to, rather than already being there

Trouble with this is that "travelling" in the sense of going a long way will evidently NOT be "part of the census for everyone" - the overwhelming majority will 'travel' locally, even within their town. And note that the Greek preposition 'eis' is broad enough to cover that.

Wherefore it is not necessarily the case that everyone's 'own town' is a place they have to go to in a major travelling sense.

And in any case, unless the Romans in 6CE or the Herodians about ten years earlier were incredibly stupid, no census would be arranged so that [dumb wooden literally] "everyone" has to do major travelling....

The 'going' may be no more than 'down the street' to register 'in/eis' one's own town where one already is.

What Luke says is that everyone goes to his own town, and Bethlehem is Joseph's own town as a result of his Davidic descent, though when the story starts he is in Nazareth so he has to 'go up to' Bethlehem.

I shouldn't really be having to repeat this, but my basic stance is that we should interpret the Bible in what medieval and Reformation scholars would have called 'the literal sense'. In the original context this clearly does NOT mean a 'dumb wooden literalism' as practised by many fundamentalists or the excessive literalism sometimes seen in autistics.

Instead it was the technical term for one of the 'four senses' of interpretation used by those scholars; the exact terminology varied with different scholars, but 'allegorical' and 'prophetic' were usually two of the others.

These 'senses' were in effect applied quite flatly to the whole text, often producing rather odd results. The Reformers preferred to emphasise the 'literal sense' as primary and authoritative. The others would obviously be used where a text was clearly allegorical or prophetic in which case that would actually also be the 'literal sense', and you might use them on other occasions but not make them authoritative equally with or above the 'literal sense' - because that would be an artificially imposed 'eisegesis/reading in' rather than proper 'exegesis/reading out'.

Tyndale, in a passage which I'll quote again if you're still having trouble with this, makes clear that the 'literal sense' involves giving full rein to understanding that human language uses all kinds of figures of speech and literary genres and other conventions which can make it far from simple literalism; and it is the interpreter's responsibility to use his brains to work this out.

Reading something from a different time or culture can involve a bit more of the 'using the brain' thing. I'll come back later to the implications of this in terms of how censuses work. As far as I can see Luke writes compatibly with how censuses work, but it seems loose once a later idea has arisen that something unusual has happened in Joseph's case; and I'm fairly sure that the problem is centred on that use of the word 'inn' which necessarily implies a state of affairs that wouldn't happen in real life....
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Gamaliel;
quote:
Because he reads the Bible as he reads any other book, he doesn't make the same mistake as the rest of us by drawing on references and inferences from outside the text ...
Unless you've deliberately ignored every time I've quoted that Tyndale passage, you know you're not describing my position accurately there....
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
I've never seen so many pixels used in an attempt to "reconcile" two apparently contradictory texts.

Would you expend as many on reconciling Paul's account of his travels in Galatians with the account in Acts, and why?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I've never seen so many pixels used in an attempt to "reconcile" two apparently contradictory texts.

Would you expend as many on reconciling Paul's account of his travels in Galatians with the account in Acts, and why?

You're thoughts mirrored my own. Personally I incline towards the South Galatian hypothesis AND the analytical view that Galatians/Acts cannot be completely reconciled.

So far as the exchanges here are concerned, it is a lot of pixels. I've come across this before. In defence of innerancy people fight hard to find a way, any way, by which they can avoid agreeing a real contradiction. Imperfect translation, a copying error from original manuscripts, convoluted textual arguments. To take texts inerrantly is not to take them literally, or respect plain meaning. It is defence of a 'red line'.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
Perhaps strangely, it feels almost like a lack of confidence in the Bible - almost as if there can't be any loose ends, contradictions, things that don't make sense or match up to what we think is "usual" or "sensible", because then the whole thing would come crashing down. So there has to be a "sensible" interpretation instead, no matter how far that leads from the text itself (which is where things start getting through-the-looking-glass: to 'protect' the text, you end up wandering away from it).

Just a couple of things to Steve about the Luke text:
1)
quote:
I'm fairly sure that the problem is centred on that use of the word 'inn' which necessarily implies a state of affairs that wouldn't happen in real life....
[brick wall] It really, really isn't. How many times must people make arguments that have nothing to do with the word 'inn' before you'll accept this isn't the 'problem'? [brick wall]

2) What point do you think Luke is trying to make and how do you think reading the text using your interpretation helps us to grasp that better than the 'traditional' way (whether inn or inn-less)?
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Stejjie;
quote:
So there has to be a "sensible" interpretation instead, no matter how far that leads from the text itself (which is where things start getting through-the-looking-glass: to 'protect' the text, you end up wandering away from it).
Which is exactly what I see as the problem here, only the other way round. On the way through, centuries of trying all kinds of guesswork and invention to come up with a 'sensible' interpretation of the basically impossible idea of a Joseph who supposedly lives in Nazareth being required to travel to Bethlehem just because he is descended from David.

And ironically all that effort over the years, including all the pixels all of you are currently putting into it, is defending something that quite absolutely wanders away from the text, indeed simply mistranslates it.

So when somebody suggests an interpretation that actually does follow the text, you all go through that looking-glass to insist on defending the view that really "...leads [far] from the text itself... "

Currently catching up on TV recorded while at the model railway group for the day; back tomorrow with more....
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Why is it "basically impossible"? Today it is most unlikely to occur, but was that the position 2 millenia ago?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
On the way through, centuries of trying all kinds of guesswork and invention to come up with a 'sensible' interpretation of the basically impossible idea of a Joseph who supposedly lives in Nazareth being required to travel to Bethlehem just because he is descended from David.

But that is precisely what the text says. That is the literal interpretation. It is the default assumption that you are arguing away from.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mousethief;
quote:
But that is precisely what the text says. That is the literal interpretation. It is the default assumption that you are arguing away from.

And the 'default assumption' in Matthew's account is that Joseph does live in Bethlehem where Jesus is born. To argue for your version of what Luke says, you have to 'argue away' from Matthew's default assumption, indeed 'literal interpretation'. How do you justify that?

And actually the 'literal interpretation' of Luke is that he says everyone went to enrol in 'their own city' and Joseph 'also' does the same; Bethlehem is his own city because he is of Davidic lineage. That is why he lives there. There is no reason in the text at that point to suggest that Bethlehem is Joseph's 'own city' in a radically different sense to other people's 'own cities'. It's just that Joseph has a distinct reason for living there because of his ancestry. And so long as 'katalyma' is read as a 'guestchamber' there is no need to challenge that 'default assumption'.

Only if you insist on rendering 'katalyma' as an 'inn', with the necessary implication that Joseph is going to a place where he doesn't actually live, do you need to challenge that 'default assumption' and start producing gratuitous further assumptions and suppositions outside the text to justify the idea of Joseph being sent to enrol where he doesn't actually live; and of course create problems in interpreting Matthew as well.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Why is it "basically impossible"? Today it is most unlikely to occur, but was that the position 2 millenia ago?

The fact that you put that as the question "...was that the position... ?" rather makes the point that you don't know that the 'basically impossible' was the position two millennia ago. Suggesting it was is a gratuitous assumption without real evidence.

Reality check - in this kind of enrolment people are registered where they live because it is completely useless to register them at the other end of the country where they don't live. A generalised descent from a former king is nowhere near enough to overturn that practicality without clear evidence.

And in the state of politics then, a close enough descent from David - the NT basically implies that he should have been king of the Jews rather than Herod - would surely have Joseph in danger of far worse than a pointless trip to Bethlehem...?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
To argue for your version of what Luke says, you have to 'argue away' from Matthew's default assumption, indeed 'literal interpretation'. How do you justify that?

[brick wall]

The alternative approach is to consider Matthew on the basis of what Matthew says and Luke on the basis of what Luke says, which despite your gymnastics is not the same thing.

If what they say doesn't match up perfectly on a factual basis, instead of expending energy constructing wild scenarios to make them do so, what is wrong (on any level) with wondering whether reading the text in such a way might be a mistake?

Reinterpreting the text of one book of Scripture on the supposed imperative of another book of Scripture so far that it breaks is the kind of approach that gives you dispensationalism.

Oh, and still waiting to hear your take on Paul's early travels in Galatians "versus" the account in Acts.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
SL I know this is hard to accept, but the point is that the two accounts contradict each other. They cannot both be literally true in their straight reading. Ergo, the literal straight reading is the wrong way to read them. Ditto David's census in Samuel and Chronicles - God's idea or Satan's?

[ 01. February 2018, 10:47: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Only if you insist on rendering 'katalyma' as an 'inn', with the necessary implication that Joseph is going to a place where he doesn't actually live, do you need to challenge that 'default assumption' and start producing gratuitous further assumptions and suppositions outside the text to justify the idea of Joseph being sent to enrol where he doesn't actually live . . . .

Good grief, would you please let the “inn” thing go and actually pay attention to what people in this thread have said? No one is insisting on translating “katamyla” as “inn.” What people have insisted is that even if “katamyla” is properly translated as “guest chamber” or “lodging,” your assertion that Joseph really lived in Bethlehem is not consistent with what Luke actually says. You seem to want to dismiss what Luke says because you think it doesn’t make sense—and many would agree it doesn’t make sense—or because you want him to line up with Matthew’s account. But it is what he says.

Is it really so hard to believe that in the decades between Jesus’s birth and the time Matthew and Luke wrote their gospels, the details of that birth—and particularly why it happened in Bethlehem rather than Nazareth—had gotten muddled, with different people and different communities having heard and passed along the story somewhat differently, and even with improbable aspects slipping in? Encountering that sort of thing is an everyday experience for me, and with events much more recent than what we’re talking about here.

As others have said, instead of doing mental gymnastics to make Matthew’s version and Luke’s version line up exactly, our time is better spent reading each according to what he said, seeking to understand what they thought the story as they had heard it meant.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Bethlehem is his own city because he is of Davidic lineage. That is why he lives there. There is no reason in the text at that point to suggest that Bethlehem is Joseph's 'own city' in a radically different sense to other people's 'own cities'.

Apart from the 12 year period where he is depicted as being a resident of a completely different city, you mean?

quote:
Only if you insist on rendering 'katalyma' as an 'inn', with the necessary implication that Joseph is going to a place where he doesn't actually live, do you need to challenge that 'default assumption'
Doesn't guest-chamber also imply "not the usual place of residence"? Doesn't the "guest" part of "guest-chamber" suggest a room for non-residents, or are you giving it a special meaning?

Or you could translate it "lodging", "place to stay" or even simply "room", and in Luke's text it would still imply that Joseph wasn't habitually resident there, because there was no space for him when he needed it.

The only thing that "inn" materially adds is the implication that the commercial places of temporary accommodation were full up - that it was not just Joseph who was looking for space, and that Bethlehem was full of travellers. You could make a good case for saying that this isn't explicit in the text, and ceases to be implied if "inn" is dropped. That's fine. You still aren't anywhere near showing that Joseph lived in Bethlehem, given that Luke could hardly be more clear that in fact he lived somewhere else.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Stejjie;
quote:
2) What point do you think Luke is trying to make and how do you think reading the text using your interpretation helps us to grasp that better than the 'traditional' way (whether inn or inn-less)?
I think Luke is trying to fulfil the intention he expresses in the first verses of the gospel - to provide his readers with the truest account he can of Jesus' life. And I think he might be both worried and entitled to feel a bit insulted that at least some of you out there seem to think otherwise.

Beyond that there is one issue you're all rather dancing round - or should that be "doing (really extravagant) gymnastics around"....

It does seem to be pretty unanimous - and certainly both Luke and Matthew agree on it - that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

It also seems absolutely clear that Luke says the immediate or proximate cause of Joseph taking his family to Bethlehem was the need to be enrolled in whichever census this was.

Now simply, IF LUKE HAS THAT ONE FACT RIGHT, then he is telling us that Joseph is a resident of Bethlehem - because essentially there is no other credible explanation for Joseph having to go to Bethlehem to be enrolled. And if you think about it, you'll realise that that has to hold good from the simple fact of Joseph being registered in Bethlehem, whether or not Luke and/or his source fully understand the implications of what they are reporting.

"Joseph of Nazareth" having to go to Bethlehem to enrol even though he doesn't live there just doesn't work. The idea that he has to in the eyes of the authorities because of his mere lineage falls apart in all kinds of ways as soon as you try to think it through properly.

"Joseph of Bethlehem" having reason for an extended stay in Nazareth from which he is called back to enrol, in contrast, works quite well, just starting with the fact that his betrothed lives there.

And if Luke is right on Joseph needing to be enrolled in Bethlehem, and therefore being a resident, then in interpreting the rest of Luke's account you basically have to interpret any apparent ambiguities as compatible with that.

Ok, we don't have details and have to make some suppositions; but these are far more credible suppositions than any that I've yet seen for the "Joseph of Nazareth" proposition. Sepphoris just down the road is described in quite a few sources as basically a burgeoning cosmopolitan city during Herod's reign, with a considerable number of what we'd call 'nouveau riche' types benefiting from Herod's policies, so yes, looks like a builder like Joseph can do quite well in the area.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Why is it "basically impossible"? Today it is most unlikely to occur, but was that the position 2 millenia ago?

The fact that you put that as the question "...was that the position... ?" rather makes the point that you don't know that the 'basically impossible' was the position two millennia ago. Suggesting it was is a gratuitous assumption without real evidence.

Reality check - in this kind of enrolment people are registered where they live because it is completely useless to register them at the other end of the country where they don't live. A generalised descent from a former king is nowhere near enough to overturn that practicality without clear evidence.

Let's be honest. I have nowhere said what the position actually was a couple of millenia ago; rather I have suggested that family/tribe etc was of very great importance and that may well have prompted the order to return to the tribal centre. As to the importance - look at today's reading from a bit further on in Luke 2 : 36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. THe identification of Anna with the tribe of Asher (or perhaps the association is that of Penuel, either is possible on this translation) places her as a real person for Luke's readers.

As to where Joseph and Mary lived, just go a few more verses further on: 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Not Bethlehem, but Nazareth. When you add to these points all that Nick Tamen has said, I find it very difficult to see your reading as being that Luke intended.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Indeed.

Your point about Sepphoris, Steve Langton, has been made before and I seem to remember that the animated puppet kiddies film 'The Miracle Maker' had Jesus working in Sepphoris before he started his ministry.

That's fine as far as background and context goes, but you can't elide the fact that Luke has the holy family going back to Nazareth.

Speculate as much as you like. That's what it says in the text.

At any rate, it's no big deal unless, for whatever reason, one feels the need to reconcile and tie up every apparent loose-end.

I don't see how or why that is necessary.

Real life isn't like that. The scriptures aren't like that.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
It does seem to be pretty unanimous - and certainly both Luke and Matthew agree on it - that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

It also seems absolutely clear that Luke says the immediate or proximate cause of Joseph taking his family to Bethlehem was the need to be enrolled in whichever census this was.

Now simply, IF LUKE HAS THAT ONE FACT RIGHT, then he is telling us that Joseph is a resident of Bethlehem - because essentially there is no other credible explanation for Joseph having to go to Bethlehem to be enrolled.

And THIS is where you are injecting your own ideas, and stop reading the text as given.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Now simply, IF LUKE HAS THAT ONE FACT RIGHT,

Yelling does not enhance the persuasiveness of your argument.
quote:
then he is telling us that Joseph is a resident of Bethlehem - because essentially there is no other credible explanation for Joseph having to go to Bethlehem to be enrolled.
And yet Luke specifically gives another reason.

quote:
And if you think about it . . .
We have.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
that the two accounts contradict each other.
A contradiction suggests you cannot reconcile them or that cannot both be true. You can do this simply by looking at the time frames. At Jesus’ birth, there were shepherds but no Magi. The birth was in a ‘stable cave’. These were common. There was burial cloth kept in then as often bodies were temporarily stored in them. Shepherds would have been conversant with these as part of the local geography.

The magi probably arrived 18 months later and the flight to Egypt occurred subsequent to their visit. At that time, the family were in a house..in Bethlehem. They could easily have done the temple dedication, returned to Nazareth but later settled in Bethlehem, where, as SL points out, Joseph probably had family.

From there, they travelled to Egypt and later returned to Nazareth when recalled from there, but did not return to Bethlehem from fear of Archelaus. The time frame of all the events mentioned could be up to 3 years.

The accounts are not irreconcilable, they are simply different in that the narratives are varied in viewpoint and selection of detail. If, as I said above, they were identical, one would suspect a set up.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
Steve:
Thanks for the reply, I'm not going to quote it in full because it would make this post enormous!

I'm right with you that a) Jesus is born in Bethlehem and b) that Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem because of the census.

But, as mousethief points out, you make a massive leap here:
quote:
Now simply, IF LUKE HAS THAT ONE FACT RIGHT, then he is telling us that Joseph is a resident of Bethlehem - because essentially there is no other credible explanation for Joseph having to go to Bethlehem to be enrolled.
But as has been said countless times to you on this thread, Luke does give us another explanation: Joseph is of the line of David. And as I outlined in this post, that is a huge deal for Luke, given how many times he mentions David in relation to Jesus and Joseph.

Whether or not you or I think this is "credible" is besides the point: this is what Luke says happens and the reason for it. It's not taking Luke seriously to assume he means something other than what he actually tells us, and it's certainly not taking the text seriously to ignore or play down the single most important thing that Luke tells us about Joseph, besides his betrothal to Mary. At this point in the narrative (assuming we're going to take the narrative as Luke presents it seriously and not bring in our own assumptions), we don't know that Joseph is a carpenter/builder/whatever, because Luke hasn't told us that yet; so we can't factor that into our interpretations of what Luke is trying to say to us here.

It feels like Luke is putting up a big, flashing neon sign that says "David! David is the reason for the journey to Bethlehem!", and you're asking us to ignore it and follow a hand-written piece of cardboard pointing in the wrong direction, not for any good reason in the text, but simply because it seems more credible to you. And that, I would suggest (and I'm trying to avoid getting Hell-ish here) is not a sign of taking the text, as we have it seriously - impracticalities and loose ends and all - but of being so concerned of those impracticalities and loose ends that we have to try and make the text say something else. And I'm sorry, but when you ignore the big, obvious things the text is saying in favour of your assumption of what's credible then that's what you're doing.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
Apologies for the double post:

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
that the two accounts contradict each other.
A contradiction suggests you cannot reconcile them or that cannot both be true. You can do this simply by looking at the time frames. At Jesus’ birth, there were shepherds but no Magi. The birth was in a ‘stable cave’. These were common. There was burial cloth kept in then as often bodies were temporarily stored in them. Shepherds would have been conversant with these as part of the local geography.

The magi probably arrived 18 months later and the flight to Egypt occurred subsequent to their visit. At that time, the family were in a house..in Bethlehem. They could easily have done the temple dedication, returned to Nazareth but later settled in Bethlehem, where, as SL points out, Joseph probably had family.

From there, they travelled to Egypt and later returned to Nazareth when recalled from there, but did not return to Bethlehem from fear of Archelaus. The time frame of all the events mentioned could be up to 3 years.

The accounts are not irreconcilable, they are simply different in that the narratives are varied in viewpoint and selection of detail. If, as I said above, they were identical, one would suspect a set up.

2 points:
1) I'd still suggest there's a contradiction between the two stories, when Matthew says that the family made their home in Nazareth after the escape to Egypt, but Luke says they returned home after the encounter with Simeon and Anna.

2) You're right, there are differences in the narratives; they're effectively different narratives. So why try and reconcile them; why not honour the fact that Matthew and Luke wrote them that way for a reason and work out what those reasons might have been?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
being so concerned of those impracticalities and loose ends that we have to try and make the text say something else.

The phrase that came to my mind this morning thinking of this thread was "straining at gnats and swallowing camels".

And I'd still like to know about Galatians vs Acts and the accompanying reasoning.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Stejjie
quote:
But as has been said countless times to you on this thread, Luke does give us another explanation: Joseph is of the line of David. And as I outlined in this post, that is a huge deal for Luke, given how many times he mentions David in relation to Jesus and Joseph.
by SL;
quote:
"Joseph of Nazareth" having to go to Bethlehem to enrol even though he doesn't live there just doesn't work. The idea that he has to in the eyes of the authorities because of his mere lineage falls apart in all kinds of ways as soon as you try to think it through properly. (boldening of 'mere' added for this citation SL)
Yes, ultimately Joseph goes to Bethlehem because he is of Davidic lineage - obviously!!!

But the point is that for purposes of enrolment lineage is not on its own enough to force the guy to go to a place he doesn't in fact live.

Think it through - everybody has all kinds of lineage; even in what were relatively stable times in terms of many people moving around at all, it would be totally impractical to expect everybody generally to go register in every place they had ancestors.

So for starters, even if they do this, and bear in mind that it's not exactly practical anyway, there'll be limits on it. Only some lineages could be important enough for this to be necessary in the first place, and even then it wouldn't be about every person of that ancestry by any route whatever. It kind of has to be limited to the line of primogeniture plus any side-skips that may have taken place when the direct line ended without issue; and perhaps you include some close lines that might be involved in such side-skips in future.

And when you're talking about the Davidic lineage, in a land now ruled by either Herod or Rome, and with prophecies of a Messianic ruler from David's line, that's political dynamite. Even if they did take such account of lineages in deciding where you register (and nobody seems to be producing any actual evidence that they did anyway), claiming to be that close to being a possible 'pretender' to rule is going to get you bigger problems than a pointless journey to Bethlehem.

As an explanation of "Why Joseph had to go to Bethlehem" in the eyes of the enrolment authorities, that simply doesn't work. Waffling about Luke's theological reasons is just that - waffle compared to real life practicalities; that is, you register people where they LIVE, not at the far end of the country where they've basically got nothing but remote ancestry.

But "Joseph's own town is Bethlehem because that's where he lives - and the very relevant reason why he lives there is his Davidic ancestry" - that works very well indeed.

Soon after he ceases to live there because of the unwanted Herodian attention drawn to him by the Magi - a pretty good indication of why he wouldn't want to be drawing attention to his lineage. He goes to Nazareth - where as Luke has told us, Mary and her family come from.

Luke is a Gentile from outside Judea who researches Jesus' life on his travels with Paul; he tells us what his sources tell him, and he tries for the most reliable sources he can for something by then, in the case of the nativity, fifty or more years in the past. He doesn't quite get a complete story, but he tells us what he does get, and as far as I'm concerned it's substantially true.

Matthew - slight difficulty because of the account that suggests a Matthew writing an Aramaic gospel for a Jewish audience which is later translated and integrated with Mark for a more complete account, and the translator possibly adding from other sources as well. Whether Matthew or the translator/editor, he tells us what he learned from his sources, a part of the whole account which Luke doesn't give us and may not have known.

In both cases the gospel writer may not have fully understood what he was told - Matthew doesn't seem to have fully grasped what Magi/astrologers would mean by a 'star' for instance. But there is substantial accuracy and substantial compatibility between the accounts, including - if it is right that Joseph was required to register in Bethlehem - compatibility about Joseph being a Bethlehem resident.

It is swallowing a whole herd of camels to insist that Joseph would be sent to register where he doesn't live; and it is also forcing artificial incompatibility between the accounts and introducing a strange wooliness into the whole thing for no necessary reason.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
OK. Let's assume, momentarily and for the purposes of the present discussion, you're right.

Now tell me about Paul's account of his early travels in Galatians and the one given in Acts.

Specifically, is it important to "reconcile" them, and if so, why?
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
(Apologies if this distracts from a reply to Eutychus' point, but I wanted to reply to Steve.)

I think we're arguing at cross-purposes. In my last post to you, I said this:
quote:
Whether or not you or I think this is "credible" is besides the point: this is what Luke says happens and the reason for it.
My point isn't, "there are no problems with the 'traditional' account". Perhaps Luke was aware of the problems when he wrote this down, we don't know. My point is that interpreting the text isn't just about whether we think such a thing is credible, or practical or anything else (otherwise we chuck out huge amounts of Scripture, if we're going to be consistent with that). Whatever our view of the practicalities of Joseph going to Bethlehem because, and only because, he is a descendant of David, that's what Luke says happens. That's the reason, the sole reason, Luke gives: it's not "Bethlehem is Joseph's 'own town' because that's where he lives; and he lives there because he's a descendant of David" (attractive as that interpretation might be), that's adding something to the text that isn't there. And the leap you made in the post I replied to (which I understand to be "Luke says Bethlehem was where Joseph went to register, therefore he must be a resident of Bethlehem") is just that, a leap based on your assumption of how the census should've worked.

I don't have the evidence of how Roman censuses worked, but that's not my point. My point is, regardless of the difficulties it seems to present to us, however impractical or crazy it might seem to us, Luke seems to be telling us that Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem because - and only because - Joseph was a descendant of David. That's what's important to Luke - nothing else.

And it won't do to list all the practical problems with this, they're not the point: Joseph is a descendant of David and so he goes from Nazareth to David's town, Bethlehem, to be registered. That's the point. Let's try and work out why Luke tells us the story this way, rather than the way we think he should've told us.

BTW, it seems strange to talk dismissively of "theological waffle" when we're dealing with what is, in essence, a work of theology (as well as history): the theological meanings are surely as important as the historical.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
"Joseph of Bethlehem" having reason for an extended stay in Nazareth from which he is called back to enrol, in contrast, works quite well, just starting with the fact that his betrothed lives there.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
As an explanation of "Why Joseph had to go to Bethlehem" in the eyes of the enrolment authorities, that simply doesn't work. Waffling about Luke's theological reasons is just that - waffle compared to real life practicalities; that is, you register people where they LIVE, not at the far end of the country where they've basically got nothing but remote ancestry.

Isn't this a self-contradictory argument? If Joseph is having "an extended stay" in Nazareth, why not simply register him there? I mean, if you're going to argue that Joseph is in Nazareth because he works there and resides there for an extended period with his betrothed, why isn't that good enough for the census takers to simply register him in Nazareth?
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Soon after he ceases to live there because of the unwanted Herodian attention drawn to him by the Magi - a pretty good indication of why he wouldn't want to be drawing attention to his lineage. He goes to Nazareth - where as Luke has told us, Mary and her family come from.

But Luke says nothing about the Magi or about unwanted Herodian attention. Nothing. He simply says, after describing the encounter with Simeon and Anna: "When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth." He says nothing to suggest that the return to Nazareth was anything other than a return home after concluding the business that had taken them to Bethlehem, and then to Jerusalem. The motivations you’re supplying come from Matthew, not Luke. (Of course, Matthew says the magi and the unwanted Herodian attention made the family go to Egypt, not Nazareth.)

The magi and the unwanted Herodian attention only come into play in Luke's account if you’re trying to make Luke's account agree with Matthew's. And as others have repeatedly said, if you're trying to make Matthew and Luke agree in all respects, then you're applying special rules of interpretation that would not be applied to any other writing.

[ 02. February 2018, 14:35: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Soon after he ceases to live there because of the unwanted Herodian attention drawn to him by the Magi - a pretty good indication of why he wouldn't want to be drawing attention to his lineage. He goes to Nazareth - where as Luke has told us, Mary and her family come from.

But Luke says nothing about the Magi or about unwanted Herodian attention. Nothing. He simply says, after describing the encounter with Simeon and Anna: "When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth." He says nothing to suggest that the return to Nazareth was anything other than a return home after concluding the business that had taken them to Bethlehem, and then to Jerusalem. The motivations you’re supplying come from Matthew, not Luke. (Of course, Matthew says the magi and the unwanted Herodian attention made the family go to Egypt, not Nazareth.)

The magi and the unwanted Herodian attention only come into play in Luke's account if you’re trying to make Luke's account agree with Matthew's. And as others have repeatedly said, if you're trying to make Matthew and Luke agree in all respects, then you're applying special rules of interpretation that would not be applied to any other writing.

"They returned" to "their own town" - Nazareth. So yeah, obviously Joseph normally lived in Bethlehem.

This harmonisation is desperate, it really is.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Desperate and unnecessary.

As has been said, the need to harmonise all the various accounts only applies if you don't actually read the Bible as you would any other text.

The irony is monumental.

If we really read the Bible in the same way we read any other text we wouldn't be so concerned about harmonising it all.

The only reason to attempt such a thing is to reinforce a particular view of how we think that scripture should 'work'.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
this harmonisation is desperate, it really is.

On the contrary it is perfectly reasonable. Of course we do not Know all the facts, only the details included but why should Nazareth not be Mary’s home town where they returned briefly, before deciding to settle in Bethlehem which was Joseph’s?

She wouldn’t be the first woman to insist that what was hers was ‘theirs’ and Luke is obviously relating her account. She took in all the detail of the temple,Anna, Simeon etc. Joseph probably had his eye on his ist century timepiece so they could get on the road.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
.. the need to harmonise all the various accounts only applies if you don't actually read the Bible as you would any other text.

No one here reads the Bible as any other text and that includes your good self. I totally agree that the issue of harmonisation is only of academic interest. It is just that we have a strong lobby for ‘proving’ or assuming contradictions lest an unbelieving position may be discredited and some may have to deal with scriptural truth.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
She wouldn’t be the first woman to insist that what was hers was ‘theirs’

Woah.
quote:

we have a strong lobby for ‘proving’ or assuming contradictions lest an unbelieving position may be discredited and some may have to deal with scriptural truth.

Are you seriously asserting that all the people challenging Steve Langton's explanations, which go further from the text than it is from Nazareth to Bethlehem, are doing so purely out of an agenda to avoid dealing with the truth of Scripture?

Because that is a pretty serious allegation.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Are you seriously asserting that all the people challenging Steve Langton's explanations, which go further from the text than it is from Nazareth to Bethlehem, are doing so purely out of an agenda to avoid dealing with the truth of Scripture
I am not endorsing anyone’s view but merely pointing our that there is an agenda behind the assertions against Biblical integrity. It is a serious assertion and a necessary one. It is the kind of challenge that Jesus confronted the Pharisees with when he said in effect that they trusted in scripture but the scripture spoke of him but they chose to reject him. The strong inference was that they had their own agenda..their own interests that they needed to protect.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
It is the kind of challenge that Jesus confronted the Pharisees with when he said in effect that they trusted in scripture but the scripture spoke of him but they chose to reject him. The strong inference was that they had their own agenda..their own interests that they needed to protect.

Right, so just to get this clear beyond all doubt, in your citing of Jesus in that passage you are positioning yourself as Jesus (or at least devoid of any agenda or interests you need to protect) whereas every last damn one of us who disagrees with you has their own agenda and interests causing us to reject him?

[ 02. February 2018, 21:14: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
this harmonisation is desperate, it really is.

On the contrary it is perfectly reasonable. Of course we do not Know all the facts, only the details included but why should Nazareth not be Mary’s home town where they returned briefly, before deciding to settle in Bethlehem which was Joseph’s?

She wouldn’t be the first woman to insist that what was hers was ‘theirs’ and Luke is obviously relating her account. She took in all the detail of the temple,Anna, Simeon etc. Joseph probably had his eye on his ist century timepiece so they could get on the road.

That second paragraph (apart from its fairly contentious introduction) sounds like more of the desperate attempts at harmonisation, loads of baseless speculation, and much scrabbling to find a justification where there is none.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
It is the kind of challenge that Jesus confronted the Pharisees with when he said in effect that they trusted in scripture but the scripture spoke of him but they chose to reject him. The strong inference was that they had their own agenda..their own interests that they needed to protect.

Right, so just to get this clear beyond all doubt, in your citing of Jesus in that passage you are positioning yourself as Jesus (or at least devoid of any agenda or interests you need to protect) whereas every last damn one of us who disagrees with you has their own agenda and interests causing us to reject him?
That is just stupid. You can assume whatever conclusion you like of course. I am not suggesting that I am like Jesus at all only that those with an agenda protect it.

[ 02. February 2018, 22:51: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Are you seriously asserting that all the people challenging Steve Langton's explanations, which go further from the text than it is from Nazareth to Bethlehem, are doing so purely out of an agenda to avoid dealing with the truth of Scripture
I am not endorsing anyone’s view but merely pointing our that there is an agenda behind the assertions against Biblical integrity. It is a serious assertion and a necessary one. It is the kind of challenge that Jesus confronted the Pharisees with when he said in effect that they trusted in scripture but the scripture spoke of him but they chose to reject him. The strong inference was that they had their own agenda..their own interests that they needed to protect.
Usual bollocks - attack everyone else's motivation. We're all evil Satanically inspired reprobates desperate to discredit Scripture. Bugger it, lads, game's up, he'd rumbled us. Back to the Black Altar for some gay sex devil-worship.

[ 02. February 2018, 22:57: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
this harmonisation is desperate, it really is.

On the contrary it is perfectly reasonable. Of course we do not Know all the facts, only the details included but why should Nazareth not be Mary’s home town where they returned briefly, before deciding to settle in Bethlehem which was Joseph’s?

She wouldn’t be the first woman to insist that what was hers was ‘theirs’ and Luke is obviously relating her account. She took in all the detail of the temple,Anna, Simeon etc. Joseph probably had his eye on his ist century timepiece so they could get on the road.

That second paragraph (apart from its fairly contentious introduction) sounds like more of the desperate attempts at harmonisation, loads of baseless speculation, and much scrabbling to find a justification where there is none.
And your reply looks more like a desperate attempt to discredit harmonisation..which is evidenced by your use of emotional language like baseless,scrabbling and desperate. Such terms are usually the last resort of the lost cause.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Where do I bill you for a new irony meter, as you just blew mine?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
You sod, I CANNOT stop laughing.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Let me try and keep this out of Hell.

Jamat, do you have any idea how rude it is to impugn the motivations of anyone with a dissenting opinion to yours in those terms?

As someone who preaches regularly, I have a responsibility for what I preach, one I try to take seriously. When I expound the Scriptures I try to "sit under" them rather than just use them to further my agenda, and if what I find there causes me to re-examine my presuppositions, I have to address that, sometimes from the pulpit (as it were), and take responsibility for having perhaps misled people in the past - something I believe I will one day have to give an account of before God.

I have to consider that the people hearing me expound the Scriptures may have differing ideas about issues like inspiration, and try and edify them all rather than become a stumbling-block for some, whilst remaining true to my own understanding before God. This can be an agonising process, and for you simply to suggest I (or anyone else here) am simply pursuing an agenda to undermine the integrity of Scripture is deeply insulting.

Besides, I think you have that passage in John, which I often allude to, all wrong.

The idea that the Pharisees had an agenda to protect is, once again, a complete interpolation into the text at this point. It's not what Jesus says. Jesus says (John 5:39) that the reason they studied the Scriptures diligently was not because they had an agenda to protect, but because they believed the Scriptures themselves were the source of eternal life in them. They were not entirely wrong in that; their mistake was not studying the Scriptures, but rather, failing to come to Jesus to have life.

To my mind that is as good a definition of bibliolatry as one is likely to find.

The issue here is not about disputing the integrity of the Scriptures - if I believed they had no integrity at all, I wouldn't be wasting my time here, and neither would anybody else here, I suspect. Rather, it's about whether attempting to harmonise them is an appropriate approach to them, just as one might challenge whether "harmonising" Monet's Water lilies is the most appropriate approach to the series.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
do you have any idea how rude it is to impugn the motivations of anyone with a dissenting opinion to yours in those terms
No one was impugned. No names were used, the point stands that in this discussion of whether gospel accounts conflict, that an agenda exists to prove contradictions in order to justify a stance of unbelief in those accounts. That is not offensive unless common knowledge is so. It is true that agendas exist on te other side of the argument also.

But to answer your question on the question of rudeness..

Perhaps something akin to the rudeness of suggesting someone using an illustration that includes Jesus, is actually ascribing themselves the status of him...yes, perhaps that rude..but maybe a fraction less so.

[ 03. February 2018, 10:13: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
You only point in using that illustration was to allege that the sole purpose of all the arguments ranged against you was to undermine the integrity of Scripture, and set yourself up opposite that as the sole defender of Scripture's integrity.

You did more than suggest the agenda existed in general - you suggested that agenda was that of dissenters to your view here.

You are entitled to your view, but impugning everyone else's motives is absolutely no substitute for engaging with the argument, and suggesting yours are purer than everyone else's will not facilitate discussion.

If your response to everyone who disagrees with you, despite their protestations to the contrary, is "well you're just out to undermine the integrity of Scripture" there's not much to discuss.

[ 03. February 2018, 10:35: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
There's not much to discuss.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
You only point in using that illustration was to allege that the sole purpose of all the arguments ranged against you was to undermine the integrity of Scripture, and set yourself up opposite that as the sole defender of Scripture's integrity.
No, just that such as they were, the arguments stemmed from a similar agenda as the Pharisees had. That agenda was in their case to repel the threat Jesus posed to them, in this case to justify unbelief by suggesting that the texts contradict..which they don’t.
That is all I will posting on this.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
So everyone here who acknowledges that there are contradictions in the Gospel accounts and are quite comfortable with that, are only doing so out of a Pharisaical desire to resist the claims of Christ and to justify their unbelief?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
So everyone here who acknowledges that there are contradictions in the Gospel accounts and are quite comfortable with that, are only doing so out of a Pharisaical desire to resist the claims of Christ and to justify their unbelief?

No, not what I said.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ok, so there isn't that kind of agenda here, but elsewhere?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I've made no attempt to check this great long list, but have fun, Jamat.

What do you make of these?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, but be fair, Barnabas, the list comes from a virulently secularist site that is just as, if not more fundamentalist than some of the Christian fundies it's tilting at.

But yes, if we are insisting on complete and utter, total consistency then we son tie ourselves in knots.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
just - about half an hour ago - got back from a nice if slightly damp day riding trains in Scotland to find ... well, the above.

I'm leaving it alone till at least tomorrow night after church....
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Why should the source matter, Gamaliel? If the claimed contradictions are nothing of the sort, then that can be demonstrated.

Let's look at the Genesis creation ones. I simply respond that it has been mainstream theological belief that Gen 1-2 contains not one creation myth, but two. So of course there are contradictions. There are two different stories.

For the Pentateuch, we have multiple source Wellhausen type theories, developed precisely because Wellhausen et al took the contradictions we see as a natural consequence of different sources.

Those of us who have taken seriously the theological findings of the past couple of centuries have no problems with sites like the secular one. Our understanding of the authority and inspiration of scripture is based on an honest facing of these contradictions, first pointed out by the Deists in the 18th centuries.

We are comfortable with them. Our theology has already taken account if this stuff. We do not seek to deny the existence of these differences. We have moved on.

[ 03. February 2018, 23:24: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Oh dear me. And what Eutychus and others have said.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
I agree generally, Barnabas. But some of the alleged contradictions are a stretch, I think. For example, he claims Luke says that Mary became pregnant after the Annunciation, but Matthew says she was already pregnant when the Annunciation happened. But the verse from Matthew he cites for that claim is about the angel appearing to Joseph, not to Mary, so not a contradiction at all.

And then there seem to be some where the apparent contradiction may really be a result of translation or may depend on exactly what is meant by specific terms and concepts (such as creation of light before creation of the sun).

quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Oh dear me. And what Eutychus and others have said.

Yes.

[ 03. February 2018, 23:34: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Heck, Nick, I didn't say I accepted all of them as true. Haven't even looked at all of them.

And in principle there is nothing wrong with seeing our world as others see it.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
And in principle there is nothing wrong with seeing our world as others see it.

O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
To see oursels as ithers see us!

Agreed, all.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
The thing that gets me about Jamat's take on that John 5 passage is that it's so much not what John is saying at that point; the irony is that this kind of sums up how inerrantist arguments often seem to be on close inspection (just like the 'almâ fiasco in Isaiah and the "Joseph really lived in Bethelehem" one).

There are plenty of places where the Pharisees are depicted as having an agenda, but that passage in John 5 isn't one of them. That passage has Jesus being persecuted by the Pharisees, not because he was threatening their position, but because in their eyes he was committing sacrilege. Sound familiar?

Their opposition is not depicted at this point as self-preservation, but due, as Paul puts it in Romans, to their zeal, righteous though it may have been, not being "after knowledge".

And what it says to me about Scripture is that it is possible to diligently, sincerely, and religiously study it and miss the point entirely.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

And what it says to me about Scripture is that it is possible to diligently, sincerely, and religiously study it and miss the point entirely.

Truth sets you free. Loyalty to an idea can imprison you. Inerrancy can be such an imprisoning idea. It prevents people looking for answers outside a certain range of 'sound' solutions. The circularity is caused by fear of the 'unsound'.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
If I might add. I have read Mein Kampf, Of the Jews and their lies, Das Capital, The Little Red Book. I've also read The Hiding Place, The Diary of Ann Frank, the whole of Solzhenitsyn's books, fact and fiction re Russian Communism and the Gulags I don't believe the polemicists. I believe the witnesses.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Truth sets you free. Loyalty to an idea can imprison you.

In fairness, almost everyone thinks that truth is important and freeing - I don't think anyone here is seriously arguing that they're not, somehow, a seeker after truth.

Almost everyone, equally, feels loyalty to a favourite idea. Very few don't care at all - so usually those who lose faith (for example in Christianity) tend to replace it with some other sticky idea.

It seems to me that some Christian ideas are actually fractal. So whilst it is obviously true that one can be a non-inerrentist Christian, the irrational strong belief in it mirrors the intensity of belief in a first (higher) level idea, which itself is no less explicable or rational.

Is loyalty to inerrancy really more damaging than loyalty to the incarnation? How does one measure the relative damage? Could they not both be wrong, and thus both ideas are holding adherents captive?

quote:

Inerrancy can be such an imprisoning idea. It prevents people looking for answers

I think it is quite an attractive idea.

And to me the whole project of rubbishing it as a system of thought is nonsensical.

Akin to pointing out that someone else's boat is sinking whilst the boat one is standing on is tilting at a sharp angle.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
As a critique of liberalism that does not embrace conservatives that it can never change, I'd agree.

But the incarnation is the most liberating, empowering idea ever.

[ 06. February 2018, 08:59: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


But the incarnation is the most liberating, empowering idea ever.

That's your belief not an objective fact.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Clearly inerrancy is attractive to lots of people. It provides a simple, consistent, principle. The Bible cannot err, therefore it must be possible to harmonise its contents.

But it just doesn't wash. It imposes an interpretative principle on scripture which scripture cannot bear. The result is incoherence.

This isn't just a personal opinion. Most of the theology of the past two centuries is a proper reaction to the finding that it doesn't wash. The analysis of the Synoptic problem, the multiple source theories for the Pentateuch, Barthian neo-orthodoxy, the quest for the historical Jesus; none of these arose out of thin air. A common thread was the realisation, as a result of actually looking at the texts, that they could not bear the weight of inerrancy. Whatever scripture might mean, whatever authority and inspiration might be thought to reside there, we simply had to find more honest, less incoherent ways of looking at its actual content and meaning.

I suppose one way of looking at that might be characterised as a view of a sunken ship from other sinking ships. That's not the way it strikes me. Historical critical approaches to the content and meaning of scripture are open ended. The working of others can be checked. The findings are not presented as infallible. I think that is freeing, rather in the same way as application of the scientific method is. At the very least, the historical critical approach does not sit on legitimate questions.

Where will it lead to? Must all the ships sink? Well, they haven't yet!
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Clearly inerrancy is attractive to lots of people. It provides a simple, consistent, principle. The Bible cannot err, therefore it must be possible to harmonise its contents.

But it just doesn't wash. It imposes an interpretative principle on scripture which scripture cannot bear. The result is incoherence.

The one thing it can't be said to be is incoherent. That's the wrong word.

I'm not defending it as an idea - other than pointing out that you are testing it in ways that those who accept it don't agree with. That you find it incoherent doesn't mean that it is, objectively, incapable of being seriously considered to be coherent.

quote:
This isn't just a personal opinion.

It absolutely is.

quote:

Most of the theology of the past two centuries is a proper reaction to the finding that it doesn't wash.

Some thinkers agree with you. What is this supposed to show? Plenty of Orthodox, Roman Catholics etc have systematic forms of theology that have little in common with yours. So what?

quote:
The analysis of the Synoptic problem, the multiple source theories for the Pentateuch, Barthian neo-orthodoxy, the quest for the historical Jesus; none of these arose out of thin air.
Again, so what? Deconstructionalists go further than you do, with some apparent reasons for doing so. That doesn't mean that their ideas must necessarily be accepted just because they've floated them.

quote:

A common thread was the realisation, as a result of actually looking at the texts, that they could not bear the weight of inerrancy. Whatever scripture might mean, whatever authority and inspiration might be thought to reside there, we simply had to find more honest, less incoherent ways of looking at its actual content and meaning.

And there you go again. You say something is or isn't coherent, therefore it is. Who cares about your definitions of coherence? Who made you Pope, capable of infallibly determining what is or isn't coherent?

quote:
I suppose one way of looking at that might be characterised as a view of a sunken ship from other sinking ships. That's not the way it strikes me. Historical critical approaches to the content and meaning of scripture are open ended. The working of others can be checked. The findings are not presented as infallible. I think that is freeing, rather in the same way as application of the scientific method is. At the very least, the historical critical approach does not sit on legitimate questions.

Where will it lead to? Must all the ships sink? Well, they haven't yet!

I think you just have to be careful about the terms you use and not seek to impose unsupportable and unprovable qualities to the ideas that you agree with.

I think inerrancy is batty. But calling it incoherent is a whole other thing.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Let me restate then. However consistent inerrancy may be as a principle, it produces incoherent interpretations of scripture. That is what James Barr said in his classic work "Fundamentalism'. I agree with him, not because he argues well (which he does) but because I have checked his working by reference to numerous examples. That's what I believe. And that is why it is not just a personal opinion. It is a shared opinion.

Can you unpack 'batty' for me? On the face of it, batty is a lot more pejorative than incoherent. Doesn't it mean insane. And isn't incoherence one of the consequences of insanity? The beliefs of the insane are indeed consistent for them, but that doesn't make them coherent by objective test.

[ 06. February 2018, 11:02: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I think inerrancy is completely wrong, unhelpful nonsense.

But incoherence suggests it is incapable of making any sense to anyone who bothers doing any thinking. Clearly that's not correct.

Similarly I think Mormonism is utter drivel. But clearly it makes sense to a lot of people in ways I don't think I could ever understand.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Doesn't it mean insane. And isn't incoherence one of the consequences of insanity? The beliefs of the insane are indeed consistent for them, but that doesn't make them coherent by objective test.

Not at all. I have had one experience of a person close to me experiencing psychosis with delusions.

The delusions were internally consistent. They were inconsistent with reality, but not internally. When they changed, they only changed in response to observations that could not be avoided and which contradicted a detail of the delusion. The underlying delusion was always unchanged.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Delusion is a good word, Karl. A delusion, however stubbornly held, does not cohere with reality. So why is it wrong to call a delusion incoherent by objective test?

I'll give you nonsense if you like, but what makes it nonsense is precisely because it does not cohere with reality. That is why it does not make sense to anyone outside the delusion. Delusions are similar to self-enclosing ideologies. The victim cannot escape the self-entrapment caused by the delusion.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

But incoherence suggests it is incapable of making any sense to anyone who bothers doing any thinking. Clearly that's not correct.

Oh, I've never argued that inerrantists don't think. The various processes of harmonisation found in books which defend the inerrant view of scripture require a lot of thought and ingenuity.

mr cheesy, at its heart this is a methodological argument. The inerrant principle produces an inferior methodology for the examination of scripture because it circumscribes the scope for examination of what is there. The historical critical approach does not do that. It starts with 'what is there', not 'what is there must harmonise somehow'. The inerrant approach pre-judges the material it seeks to examine.

[ 06. February 2018, 11:42: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


But the incarnation is the most liberating, empowering idea ever.

That's your belief not an objective fact.
Ooh, I dunno. I can't think of a better one can you? God stepping in to creation, identifying with, as creation, revealing Himself and that all will be well, despite the utter unbelievability of transcendence. No other claim comes close by a country parsec.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Delusion is a good word, Karl. A delusion, however stubbornly held, does not cohere with reality. So why is it wrong to call a delusion incoherent by objective test?

I'll give you nonsense if you like, but what makes it nonsense is precisely because it does not cohere with reality. That is why it does not make sense to anyone outside the delusion. Delusions are similar to self-enclosing ideologies. The victim cannot escape the self-entrapment caused by the delusion.

Hold it strongly enough and it must be reality that's wrong; cf. the fossil record, geology, the fact that genocide is actually evil; no, the Bible says otherwise, therefore otherwise.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Ooh, I dunno. I can't think of a better one can you? God stepping in to creation, identifying with, as creation, revealing Himself and that all will be well, despite the utter unbelievability of transcendence. No other claim comes close by a country parsec.

Martin, you know me well enough to know what I think.

But equally, just because you and I generally agree on this does not make it an objective truth.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider Hold it strongly enough and it must be reality that's wrong
[Killing me] Douglas Adams would be proud of you, Karl!
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Ahem. I'm afraid I put a statute of limitations on that quote just a day or so ago.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Nice one. The difference is that Karl knows.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
mr c, sorry, I'm recalibrated now. Got my mind right. Thought you'd gone squirly on me! I agree, the idea, the story of the incarnation is not the story of an objective fact. But the idea, the story is. Is that specious? No, but too fine a distinction? The idea and it's implications are vaster than anything else, whether it's an objective fact or not. Which it ain't of course. There is no greater claim? It's the ultimate claim way beyond the asylum of absurdities that is
the inerrancy of any text. Just thought it was an inappropriate comparison I suppose.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Delusion is a good word, Karl. A delusion, however stubbornly held, does not cohere with reality. So why is it wrong to call a delusion incoherent by objective test?

I'll give you nonsense if you like, but what makes it nonsense is precisely because it does not cohere with reality. That is why it does not make sense to anyone outside the delusion. Delusions are similar to self-enclosing ideologies. The victim cannot escape the self-entrapment caused by the delusion.

Hold it strongly enough and it must be reality that's wrong; cf. the fossil record, geology, the fact that genocide is actually evil; no, the Bible says otherwise, therefore otherwise.
There's always "if there's nothing wrong with me, maybe there's something wrong with the universe".

Back story: Episode "Remember Me" of "Star Trek: TNG". Wes, Dr. Crusher's son was working on a high-level physics experiment alone with an alien called "the Traveler". Unbeknownst to any of them, a temporary mini-universe had been created--and Dr. Crusher walked into it. After massive effort to figure out what had happened to her, Dr. Crusher came to the realization above. And she was right. If she hadn't figured it out, and pieced together how to get out, she would've been killed when the universe collapsed in on itself.

Sometimes, there really is something wrong with reality.
[Biased]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
An analogous episode featuring Dr Weir in Stargate Atlantis. And several SG1 multiverse episodes. SF does a lot of 'out of the box' story-telling.

For our present reality, I think the genius of Mark Knophler has said it best.

quote:
We have just one world
But we live in different ones

We're fools to make war on our brothers in arms.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Several people have been more or less carrying on discussion that started out here on the thread on Daniel in Kerygmania.

I've chosen to return here, as suggested by someone else, because what I have to say in response to Jamat seems to fit much more with where this thread started out. Apologies in advance for the length of what follows.

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
poetic reconstructions of literal events.
That the Bible is literally God’s revelation to man is my only non-negotiable. That is because I continually experience its power.
1. Poetic reconstruction and its implications

If you accept that even if Jonah, Job, etc. have some basis in historical fact, they also include poetic reconstruction, that implies conscious action on the part of the human author over and above objective reporting; action that brings with it authorial intention and infuses additional layers of meaning - brought by the author - to make a point.

For books such as Daniel the issue of authorial intention may have a significant effect on how the book is to be best understood.

Even if one believes that process to be divinely inspired, it opens up room for that inspiration to encompass contextualised, human takes on events.

If you don’t accept that, then I think your position is very much like that of a strict interpretation of the Koran which takes it as the very words of God, dictated, that only have their full meaning in their original language.

This seems to me to be utterly foreign to the very nature of Scripture, which contains translations – and thus interpretation and shades of meaning – even within itself, and which (as protestants at least) we believe should be made available to people in a linguistically accessible form, i.e. through further translation, with all that implies.

2. “The Bible is literally God’s revelation to man”

I don’t think this is a proper use of the word “literally”, unless you mean it in the 'Koranic' sense of dictation, which seems impossible if you admit to poetic reconstruction.

And in any case, I wouldn’t say “the Bible is God’s revelation to man”.

At most it is part of revelation (‘special revelation’).

Scripture itself attests that it is not God’s ultimate revelation (Heb 1:1)*:
quote:
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.
That was precisely Jesus’ point in John 5:39-40:
quote:
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
What is more, Scriptures are a dead letter unless they are illumined to us by the work of the Spirit.

To quote once again a passage that is central to my understanding of inspiration, 2 Cor 3:6,14,16-17:
quote:
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (…) their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away (…) whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom
To summarise, in my view, the Scriptures testify to God’s ultimate revelation to man, his Son Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and this testimony from the Scriptures is brought to us only through the enlightening of the Holy Spirit.

As John 15:16 says:
quote:
when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
This is a dynamic, relational process ("he will guide you..."), in which interpretation of necessity plays a part.

3. Experiencing power

I believe that the above passages, and much else, make it plain that Scripture itself has no intrinsic power.

Again, this is something that sets us apart from Muslims and their attitude to their physical holy book.

Any power we experience when reading the Scriptures (assuming it’s from God!) is not from the Scriptures themselves but from the Holy Spirit making God real to us through its text.

The text does not contribute anything on a standalone basis. It is an external, material artefact, brought to us through both human agency and divine provision, that serves as an aid to internal reflection as we seek to grow in our knowledge of, and walk with, God.

Thoughts, anyone?

==
* A verse I heard many times in my youth (hence the AV quote above), without at all understanding its implications, thus (somewhat ironically) proving my point here.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm not a fundamentalist literalist, but part of me baulks at saying that the scriptures have no intrinsic power ...

In my usual both/and not either/or way, I'd suggest they have both intrinsic and extrinsic power or authority.

I also not so sure these days that it is only Protestants who go in for 'language understanded of the people.'

I'm in Belgium at the moment and wandering around a bookshop / giftshop in a Benedictine convent earlier today was struck by how many Bibles and commentaries they had for sale as well as missals and the usual knick-knacks.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I'm not a fundamentalist literalist, but part of me baulks at saying that the scriptures have no intrinsic power ...

Well according to 2 Corinthians they seem to have the power to kill, I suppose. And Jesus suggests any intrinsic power they might have is nullified by tradition.

They're a bit like a PC. Without power you might as well use them as a doorstop.
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
Of course they have no intrinsic power. God speaks to the heart and breathes into his creation. The texts assembled into the Bible are witnesses to that power and records of its action, not a means of its exercise.

[ 08. February 2018, 20:27: Message edited by: ThunderBunk ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
... the Scriptures testify to God’s ultimate revelation to man, his Son Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and this testimony from the Scriptures is brought to us only through the enlightening of the Holy Spirit
Agreed..the question is does that allow for errors.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Some things make better channels for the Holy Spirit than others. The Scriptures being on the "more useful" side of the spectrum. Surely that's not too Orthodox a thing to say for a Protestant to agree?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Agreed..the question is does that allow for errors.

The more germane question is what qualifies as an error.

If one accepts poetic reconstruction as legitimate, it is not an "error" if the protagonists' declarations do not correspond to what they may have actually said.

If one accepts a narrative tradition that may make use of some real-life components to tell an allegorical story or parable that may be entirely made up - and which would be recognised by the original hearers as such - then there are no "errors" either.

For instance, the accuracy of the book of Job does not reside in whether it is factually true.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Some things make better channels for the Holy Spirit than others. The Scriptures being on the "more useful" side of the spectrum. Surely that's not too Orthodox a thing to say for a Protestant to agree?

Of course it isn't.

That's why I qualified it above as "special revelation", and quoted Jesus as saying in John that the Scriptures testified about him.

I don't assert Jamat's previous statement that "the Bible is ... God's revelation to man" because a) there are other sources of revelation (classically, creation; "the heavens declare the glory of God", etc.) b) I don't believe this revelation is effectual in the absence of the work of the Spirit; the Spirit is a necessary component of revelation via Scripture c) to assert this and no more is to run the risk of missing the crucial point that God's ultimate revelation is his Son, the Word of God (I never refer to the Scriptures as "the Word of God", either).

As far as I'm concerned, these are really really important distinctions.

Similarly, I beieve it is mistaken to talk, as Jamat did, in terms of "experiencing the power" of the Bible. As the passages I quoted to Gamaliel suggest, any "power" of the Bible apart from the Spirit is not constructive.

Consider the reasons Carnegie wants to get hold of the Bible in The Book of Eli (not normally my kind of film, but it's kind of fascinating, especially when it comes to considering how and why we deem the Bible itself to be important):
quote:
Carnegie: [to his men] Put a crew together, we're going after him.

Redridge: For a fuckin' book?

Carnegie: IT'S NOT A FUCKIN' BOOK! IT'S A WEAPON! A weapon aimed right at the hearts and minds of the weak and the desperate. It will give us control of them. If we want to rule more than one small, fuckin' town, we have to have it. People will come from all over, they'll do exactly what I tell 'em if the words are from the book. It's happened before and it'll happen again. All we need is that book.

Unfortunately, not only fictional characters think that way.

[missed a bit]

[ 09. February 2018, 05:36: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
It's a different kind of box, but these kinds of discussions always remind me of the struggles of Father Ramon Ruiz-Sanchez in James Blish's SF novel, 'A Case of Conscience'. The book has faults but is notable for its sympathetic portrait of a Jesuit priest wrestling with 'what is there' compared with what Catholic doctrine teaches him about 'what ought to be there'.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Eutychus;
quote:
to assert this and no more is to run the risk of missing the crucial point that God's ultimate revelation is his Son, the Word of God
True as it is that God's ultimate revelation is Jesus, there is this slight problem in all attempts to set the revelation through Jesus against the revelation in Scripture... which is that basically the only Jesus we know with anything close to certainty is the Jesus we find in the Scripture.

In effect whenever anybody claims to speak for Jesus the only anywhere near objective check we have on such a claim is to check 'their' Jesus against the Scriptural Jesus. And if 'their' Jesus doesn't match the Scriptural Jesus, then basically he doesn't match the real Jesus and those claiming to speak for him are making up a Jesus to suit themselves....
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
there is this slight problem in all attempts to set the revelation through Jesus against the revelation in Scripture... which is that basically the only Jesus we know with anything close to certainty is the Jesus we find in the Scripture.

I didn't say anything about setting one against the other.

(Nor indeed did I say anything about revelation "through" Jesus; Hebrews 1 says "by" (en) his Son, and the context makes clear it is in his person, over and above his "output", that God has spoken).

Scripture is not in competition with Jesus any more than John the Baptist was. The one testifies to the other.

Of course the Church attests that Scripture is our definitive record of the life and teachings of Jesus, and that reasoning could be seen as a bit circular, but what's important to me is that Scripture points beyond itself - not least to God's highest revelation being his Son, a person and not a book.

Amongst other things, the Scriptures record a certain attitude on the part of Jesus with regard to the Scriptures as they were in his day ("but I say to you..."), and how they were abused by some - as illustrated in my previous post.

[ 10. February 2018, 06:37: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
there is this slight problem in all attempts to set the revelation through Jesus against the revelation in Scripture... which is that basically the only Jesus we know with anything close to certainty is the Jesus we find in the Scripture.

I didn't say anything about setting one against the other.
No - but my experience suggests that in the end that is where this leads - even to the point of people setting an 'our Jesus' against the historical real Jesus reported by Scripture.


quote:
(Nor indeed did I say anything about revelation "through" Jesus; Hebrews 1 says "by" (en) his Son, and the context makes clear it is in his person, over and above his "output", that God has spoken).
In this case I could potentially have used an "Amplified Version" approach referring to a revelation "through/by/in/etc/etc Jesus". I just used one word and hoped it was strong enough to include the other options.


quote:

Scripture is not in competition with Jesus any more than John the Baptist was. The one testifies to the other.

Of course the Church attests that Scripture is our definitive record of the life and teachings of Jesus, and that reasoning could be seen as a bit circular, but what's important to me is that Scripture points beyond itself - not least to God's highest revelation being his Son, a person and not a book.

But nevertheless, like it or not, a person almost entirely revealed in that very book, which tells us what he did and taught. Including that he rather emphatically puts his own authority in support of that book in its OT form, the prophecies of which authenticate his own mission and (in prophecies of a 'new covenant') the changes made by his coming.

As I said, when people make claims to represent Jesus, it is consistency with the Jesus recorded in that book which enables us to judge (in a good sense) those claims, and exercise discrimination (in a good sense) about those claims. Appeals to a vague sentimental image (idol?) of 'Jesus' must not be allowed to overrule what that book - with Jesus' authority behind it anyway - teaches us.


quote:

Amongst other things, the Scriptures record a certain attitude on the part of Jesus with regard to the Scriptures as they were in his day ("but I say to you..."), and how they were abused by some - as illustrated in my previous post.

Yes exactly - he doesn't challenge the Scriptures but bad (though not always deliberately so) interpretation.

Your previous post - the one including the mention of the "Book of Eli" film? I'll come back to you on that; but a scan of the Wikipedia account of the plot suggests some very muddled ideas there. I'm also checking out the references to Scripture as 'Word of God' because I have a feeling you're being wrongly fussy in only using that description of Jesus himself....
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
but my experience suggests that in the end that is where this leads

What is the "this" here, please?
quote:
like it or not, a person almost entirely revealed in that very book, which tells us what he did and taught. Including that he rather emphatically puts his own authority in support of that book in its OT form, the prophecies of which authenticate his own mission and (in prophecies of a 'new covenant') the changes made by his coming.
Why should I not like it? I can't find much to disagree with there.

quote:
Your previous post - the one including the mention of the "Book of Eli" film? I'll come back to you on that; but a scan of the Wikipedia account of the plot suggests some very muddled ideas there.
There are. That doesn't stop it being thought-provoking; and Carnegie's observation quoted above is all too representative of how some church leaders wield Scripture to my mind.
quote:
I'm also checking out the references to Scripture as 'Word of God' because I have a feeling you're being wrongly fussy in only using that description of Jesus himself....
If you're looking for other uses of the term itself, you need look no further than Mark 7:13 to which I recently referred, but I think my point stands that Jesus is God's last Word, as it were, and furthermore that systematically referring to the Bible as the "Word of God" easily leads to a disastrous misunderstanding of what it is, and isn't.

Certainly nowhere in the NT does it refer to itself as the Word of God, whereas it unequivocally refers to the Son in those terms on more than one occasion. The most one can get from Scripture itself for the NT is Peter's reference to Paul's writings being "with the other Scriptures" in 2 Peter 3:16.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
How about, 'My words are spirit and they are life'?

John 6:63

http://biblehub.com/john/6-63.htm

One could certainly argue that if it wasn't for the scriptures we wouldn't have any record of what Jesus said and taught.

Could it not be said that there is intrinsic power within the scriptures themselves as they contain the very words of Christ?

Now, this isn't to get all 'red-letter' on us all, 'The words of Christ in red' as it were, but I am wondering about the link / relationship between Christ as the Incarnate Word and the scriptures as the written word.

I know what you mean, Eutychus, about the scriptures not profiting us a great deal unless the Spirit quickens them, as it were, and applies them to our hearts (and minds and wills).

But surely they aren't simply a doorstop or something to prop up a wonky table. Perhaps I'm sounding a bit too 'Catholic' and sacramental here ... I don't know ...
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
How about, 'My words are spirit and they are life'?

John 6:63

http://biblehub.com/john/6-63.htm

What, John 6:63? "The words I have spoken (lelaleka) to you are spirit and they are life". That is not the same as something written down. It's dynamic.

As the beginning of that very same verse makes clear, those words are life through the mediation, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. The Spirit makes use of the Scriptures, for sure, but without the Spirit, the Scriptures will not bring life.

To me this parallels Paul's argument in Galatians 3:21
quote:
For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law
To misquote the Hitchhiker's Guide again, if the written word had power to save then God would never have bothered with all that tedious mucking around in the incarnation.

quote:
One could certainly argue that if it wasn't for the scriptures we wouldn't have any record of what Jesus said and taught.
I've addressed this above. You are obviously correct so far as you go, but go on from there to assert that this means the written record is The Word of God™ with all that implies is to apply to the Bible a term it never uses to refer to itself as a whole but that it does unequivocally use, more than once, to refer to the Son; and thus is bibliolatry born.

It's precisely the wrong turning the Pharisees took that Jesus called them on in John 5:39-40.

quote:
Could it not be said that there is intrinsic power within the scriptures themselves as they contain the very words of Christ?
Paul says that absent the Spirit, the letter kills; I agree with him.

quote:
I am wondering about the link / relationship between Christ as the Incarnate Word and the scriptures as the written word.
That is not a distinction Scripture itself makes. "Scriptures" are, literally, written words.

Of course we take the Scriptures as authoritative (although we'll start arguing about the canon soon...) - not because they themselves are The Word of God™, but because they testify to the Word. Or at least that's what Jesus says.

quote:
the scriptures not profiting us a great deal unless
"For the letter doth not profit us a great deal, but the Spirit gives life"? I don't think that's how it reads...

quote:
But surely they aren't simply a doorstop or something to prop up a wonky table.
You're right. All too often they get picked up and wielded as a weapon to oppress, enfeeble and enslave.

Believing they have intrinsic power is one step away from believing - as Carnegie does in the Book of Eli - that we can wield any such power as we wish without bothering to come to Jesus to have life.

I think it's significant that we didn't get the original version of the Ten Commandments*, written by the finger of God. We got Moses' copy. That right there should tell us something about the status of the written word compared to God himself.

Moreover, as I said before, I also think it's significant we didn't get them in one holy language. Translation, with all the interpretation that implies, is an intrinsic part of the Scriptures.

==
*Or should that have been 15? [Two face]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, and like you I tend to refer to Jesus as the Word of God rather than the scriptures as the Word of God. I wouldn't baulk at referring them as the word of God (small w) ...

I suppose where I'm heading with this - and I'm not explaining myself very well - is what might be called a more 'sacramental' or even 'eucharistic' approach ...

Can we talk about a 'real presence' in the holy scriptures as we can (if we do) in the Eucharist?

If ordinary bread and wine can somehow become mysteriously infused with the very presence of the Living Christ then perhaps it's not a great jump to see the same as being possible for the written / recorded words of Christ in the Gospels?

I'm treading carefully here, but I think you get my drift.

The action and working of the Holy Spirit is, of course, required in both word and sacrament - or ordinance ...
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
One could certainly argue that if it wasn't for the scriptures we wouldn't have any record of what Jesus said and taught.

This is kind of tautological, and yet not. There are other records of what Jesus said and taught that are not part of what Christians call Scripture, e.g. the Gospel of Thomas.

It was the church that decided the Gospel of Mark is Scripture and the Gospel of Thomas isn't. That is part of big-T Tradition. So pitting the Scriptures against big-T Tradition is somewhat of the nature of a paradox.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Translation, with all the interpretation that implies, is an intrinsic part of the Scriptures.

Quotes file.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Can we talk about a 'real presence' in the holy scriptures as we can (if we do) in the Eucharist?

If ordinary bread and wine can somehow become mysteriously infused with the very presence of the Living Christ then perhaps it's not a great jump to see the same as being possible for the written / recorded words of Christ in the Gospels?

As someone who tends to be more of a Zwinglian than anything else, this argument is not going to get very far with me [Biased]

For communion (hello tangent...) I might talk in terms of a "means of grace"; a divinely ordained means through which one can receive grace.

Approach communion in the right frame of mind and one can expect to be blessed, more blessed than if one doesn't, not least because one should, according to Paul, be examining oneself, remembering the Lord, and discerning the body of Christ (which I take to include his body, the Church). Fail to have the right frame of mind and you get nothing more than a bollocking from Paul (and possibly get weak, sick, or die! [Eek!] ).

In other words, I think the important thing is what happens within me, by the Spirit, as I celebrate communion. I don't believe in any intrinsic properties of the bread or wine.

The same principle applies when it comes to the Scriptures. I don't mean one has to have a mystical, charismatic experience for one's Bible reading to have been worth it (any more than all our experiences of communion are equally powerful) but that any useful insight we gain is, and should be recognised as, the revelatory work of the Spirit and not as an intrinsic property of the words on the page.

And as with communion, we should approach the Scriptures in the right frame of mind: seeing that the Bible, as memoraby summarised by Nick Tamen,
quote:
contains divine revelation, as recognized by the community of faith—the covenant people—over the years.
There are conservatives who seem to see the Scriptures pretty much as the Pharisees mostly saw them - as a weapon to defend entrenched positions, their divine inspiration seen not as a cause for reverence but as a way of nuclear-tipping their arguments, all the better to enslave others.

Then there are liberals who deride the whole thing as a bunch of fairy tales put together by primitives too stupid to recognise, say, Jonah, as a parody when compiling the canon.

Then again there are those, spanning the entire theological spectrum, who bring not only scholarship but also a basic respect for the text, not as a magical, do-not-touch-or-analyse tablet of the original 10 commandments written by the finger of God, but as a testimony to the Living Word by human authors borne along by the Spirit. Those are the people I try and pay attention to.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
briefly....

I don't believe in 'magic' - though I'm certainly prepared to exercise 'suspension of disbelief' to enjoy a fantasy work. On communion I am fairly content with the Anglican BCP phrasing "Feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving".

But I'm also savvy enough about books to see that even without actual magic, communication is so important a part of humanity that words do have power, and words inspired by the Holy Spirit surely unusually so.

Carnegie in the Book of Eli film is of course pretty crass - and also appears to be some kind of 'proto-Constantinian'.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Carnegie in the Book of Eli film is of course pretty crass - and also appears to be some kind of 'proto-Constantinian'.

That's about as true (and relevant) as saying that Eli is the archetypal Anabaptist [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I wondered how long it would be before the 'C' word came into it ...

Anyhow, I wasn't expecting my eucharistic/sacramental speculations to get very far with you, Eutychus. That's not why I was making them. I'm thinking aloud (thinking allowed?) and making connections and drawing parallels.

These may or may not be accurate.

That said, I'm not so sure that the communion issue is as much of a tangent as all that. If communion can be a 'means of grace' then surely so can the public reading of scripture, so can preaching and teaching.

Otherwise, why bother with them in the first place if we aren't expecting them to impart some kind of grace or benefit to those who receive them?

Sure, frames of mind come into it but what if we aren't in the 'right frame of mind' (whatever that means)?

Should I only ever pray if I'm 'in the right frame of mind'?

How do I know when I am or aren't?

Talking about frames of mind, these days, I find it helps if I consider theological or spiritual issues in what might be termed an 'artistic' way ie in the same way I might approach a work of art, a piece of music, a painting, a novel or a poem. I approach it 'intentionally' (mindfully perhaps?) and aware of - in the right sense - the 'artifice' of it.

I know that a communion service, say, is a piece of religious theatre. I approach it on those terms. That doesn't make it any the less 'real'.

That doesn't mean that it's all 'subjective' of course. We work with the frames of reference, the cues, the conventions and the vocabulary - in the same way that we do, consciously or sub-consciously, with a film or any other construct.

A film may have no intrinsic power within itself to move, thrill or entertain, yet it does so. Why? Because it 'works' on us in a particular way as we engage with it. We know how it operates, what particular types of staging, lighting, music etc convey and what emotions they are meant to stimulate.

So I'm probably not saying anything that is a million miles from what you're saying, simply framing it differently. As I've said, I'm feeling my way forward in all of this.

I think Mousethief's reminder that there are other 'words of our Lord' that are not canonised or enshrined in the canonical scriptures is a salutary one. That's a good point. There was also a lot of what he said and taught, of course, that wasn't written down anywhere.

Your other points, about the way that scriptures can be used to batter people we might disagree with, are well made. The current argy-bargy over on the baptism thread strikes me as a case in point - scriptures being thrown around like artillery shells as if in an attempt to bombard opponents into submission.

It does seem to me, though, that nature abhors a vacuum and where 'sacraments' do not formally exist, there is a tendency to invent new ones. Hence the sacralisation of the 'worship time' in charismatic circles where the repetitive singing of worship choruses or singing in tongues is somehow seen to be the high-point of the meeting.

Hence the sacralisation of the sermon in the Reformed tradition - which I'd see as fair enough, provided it's not done in a bibliolatrous way.

Where one draws the line on that is a moot point, though.

These are just thoughts I'm punting out.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
"Imparting grace" is not an Orthodox idea since for us grace is an uncreated energy of God, and not some kind of liquid one can pour out from some source or other. Which is really how a lot of Protestant verbiage surrounding grace makes it seem.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sure, and like you I tend to refer to Jesus as the Word of God rather than the scriptures as the Word of God. I wouldn't baulk at referring them as the word of God (small w) ...

This is the tack taken by the Confession of 1967:
quote:
The one sufficient revelation of God is Jesus Christ, the Word of God incarnate, to whom the Holy Spirit bears unique and authoritative witness through the Holy Scriptures, which are received and obeyed as the word of God written. The Scriptures are not a witness among others, but the witness without parallel. The church has received the books of the Old and New Testaments as prophetic and apostolic testimony in which it hears the word of God and by which its faith and obedience are nourished and regulated.
Of course, the lower-case w works better when reading than hearing.

quote:
I suppose where I'm heading with this - and I'm not explaining myself very well - is what might be called a more 'sacramental' or even 'eucharistic' approach ...

Can we talk about a 'real presence' in the holy scriptures as we can (if we do) in the Eucharist?

If ordinary bread and wine can somehow become mysteriously infused with the very presence of the Living Christ then perhaps it's not a great jump to see the same as being possible for the written / recorded words of Christ in the Gospels?

I'm treading carefully here, but I think you get my drift.

The action and working of the Holy Spirit is, of course, required in both word and sacrament - or ordinance ...

And I think that last part is key if one is going to talk about Scripture in quasi-sacramental terms, because it makes clear the power is not in the Scripture (or sacraments) themselves, but in the divine working through them.

There is a part of the liturgy that's standard in most Reformed churches (so far as I know) that (again, so far as I know) doesn’t seem to appear in other traditions. It's the Prayer for Illumination, a short prayer immediately before the reading of Scripture that asks for God's presence in the reading and hearing of Scripture. The prayer I tend to use when I’m the reader is "Overwhelm us with your Spirit, O Lord, that the words we hear may speak to us as your Word, made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." One thing I like about this prayer is the subtle play on W/word of God as Scripture and Christ.


Eutychus, I get where you’re coming from, and I think it’s a valid point and a valid concern. But to me, there is a bit of throwing the baby out with the bath water if we must always say that Jesus, not Scripture, is the word of God. I think we risk losing some important connections.

I affirm fully that Jesus is the Word, and the complete revelation of God. But Scripture uses "word" and "word of God/word of the Lord" in contexts where Jesus isn’t necessarily meant. There are all the instances of the word of the Lord coming to the prophets. There’s Psalm 119 ("Thy word is a lamp unto my feet"). There's Paul in Ephesians 6:17 ("Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God"). There’s Jesus in the parable of the sower, to Satan in the wilderness ("Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God") and in John 10:35 ("Jesus answered, 'Is it not written in your law, "I said, you are gods"? If those to whom the word of God came were called "gods"—and the scripture cannot be annulled. . . .'").

I agree we have to be careful, lest someone get the idea that God dictated the Scripture. But the idea that God speaks through the Scripture, that Scripture is in some sense the word of God (which in the Hebrew sense connotes activity on God's part, not just speaking), is certainly woven itheoughout Scripture, and that idea feeds directly to Christ as the Incarnate a Word, the definitive Word, the Word to which the Scriptural word gives witness.

I’m very willing to exercise care in referring to Scripture as the word of God, but I think one problem is traded for another by avoiding it altogether. That’s my 2 cents, at least.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Thanks Nick.

I'm being polemic rather than dogmatic in my choice of terminology, really doing so largely due to the pond in which I mostly swim in which people make the "Word of God" shortcut all the time.

(Besides, while the verses you cite don't obviously refer to Jesus, it's not at all obvious to me that they all refer to the Scriptures, either. I know that's how I was brought up to think of the "sword of the Spirit" in Ephesians 6, but wait... what's that about the Spirit again? Isn't he the one who makes, um, Jesus and his words known to us?)

In brief, I think we neglect the dynamic aspect of God's word at our peril. Indeed, I note the confession you quote says this (emphasis mine):

quote:
The church has received the books of the Old and New Testaments as prophetic and apostolic testimony in which it hears the word of God and by which its faith and obedience are nourished and regulated.
Hearing the word of God in the testimony of the OT and NT is, again, not quite the same as saying they are the Word of God.

And you can pray before I preach from the Scriptures* as you do any time [Smile]

==

*Jonah 1 this morning. Thanks Goperryrevs!
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
(Besides, while the verses you cite don't obviously refer to Jesus, it's not at all obvious to me that they all refer to the Scriptures, either. I know that's how I was brought up to think of the "sword of the Spirit" in Ephesians 6, but wait... what's that about the Spirit again? Isn't he the one who makes, um, Jesus and his words known to us?)

Agreed, and frankly I think that ambiguity is a beneficial thing, not a negative.

quote:
Hearing the word of God in the testimony of the OT and NT is, again, not quite the same as saying they are the Word of God.
Agreed again. I think sometimes people confuse the book (books) with what the writings record and convey.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Carnegie in the Book of Eli film is of course pretty crass - and also appears to be some kind of 'proto-Constantinian'.

That's about as true (and relevant) as saying that Eli is the archetypal Anabaptist [Roll Eyes]
Which of course I didn't say because Eli's role is one of the more confused aspects as far as I can gather from the Wiki summary, and little if any seems Anabaptist. But yes I stand by the idea that Carnegie's idea of using the Bible for worldly power is decidedly NOT a million miles removed from the ideas which have led to state churches....

by mousethief;
quote:
"Imparting grace" is not an Orthodox idea since for us grace is an uncreated energy of God, and not some kind of liquid one can pour out from some source or other. Which is really how a lot of Protestant verbiage surrounding grace makes it seem.
Oddly, that 'some kind of liquid one can pour out...' is pretty much the Protestant idea of how the RCs and Orthodox see grace. And even 'an uncreated energy of God' seems far too impersonal/magical. Grace is God exercising undeserved favour, especially in the context of forgiveness of sin. It is an aspect of his decidedly personal love. Well at least in early/Reformation Protestantism - it may be different among some modern 'liberal' groups.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Oddly, that 'some kind of liquid one can pour out...' is pretty much the Protestant idea of how the RCs and Orthodox see grace.

Surely not all of them are that ignorant.

quote:
And even 'an uncreated energy of God' seems far too impersonal/magical. Grace is God exercising undeserved favour,
You only say that because you don't know what "uncreated energy of God" means. It means God in action in this world.

A lot of people, Protestants especially, would do well to learn a lot more about Orthodoxy before making assumptions and pronunciations about it.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
A lot of people, Protestants especially, would do well to learn a lot more about Orthodoxy before making assumptions and pronunciations about it.

Well where would the fun be in that? [Two face]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
From my experience, there is a lot of illumination to be gained that way. Kallistos Ware's short book 'The Orthodox Way' is very helpful. Very well written, easy to read, a real mind-opener.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
But yes I stand by the idea that Carnegie's idea of using the Bible for worldly power is decidedly NOT a million miles removed from the ideas which have led to state churches....

As I said, I think people's basic attitude to Scripture (which is the topic at hand here) is a whole different kettle of fish to whether they are "conservative" or "liberal", and the same applies to whether they are "constantinian" or "anabaptist".

The difference is between people who, regardless of the nitty-gritty of their doctrine, apprehend Scripture as being God-breathed, and something they sit "under" - even if they ascribe more of it to human agency than conservatives - something they are willing to have shape their lives as the Spirit directs, and those who see it as something they can harness to their agenda - the latter including many supposed conservatives.

I am increasingly convinced this yardstick cuts across other theological standpoints. Thinking of John 5 again, there are those who simply study the Scriptures for whatever reason, and there are those whose study is fundamentally motivated, if this doesn't sound too cheesy, by a desire to come to Jesus to have life*.

Blaming the Carnegies of this world for all the theological ills of everyone else apart from your own stable is setting yourself up for self-deception. There are and have been anabaptist tyrants, too.

==
*Of course each of us can have mixed motives at different times, too. To quote more fiction, I've really been enjoying the series Greenleaf, which managed, at least in part, to increase my sympathy for those in prosperity-themed mega-churches, especially black ones.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Once again, there is a whole lot of talking past each other when talking about the Bible - and judging others based on standards that they don't accept.

In this example, we are apparently being told that only the Anabaptists have the keys to true interpretation of the scriptures (with the implication that if people bothered to read the scriptures without various other wrong baggage, then we'd obviously all be Anabaptists). But then there are clearly other Protestants who believe that they've got the only-and-clear reading of scripture. Others say that scripture can't be read out of a certain historical context.

I'm not sure there is anything else to say: it is entirely possible to take something in isolation and make determinations about what it means and be completely wrong. Even those small percentage of people who have read the US Constitution are not going to get much of a handle on what it means outside of historical context. Simply saying that you are reading it "straight" doesn't mean that you are right. Without assistance, you are probably wrong.

But then one can obviously also build upon years of interpretation and be completely wrong too. Islam has many centuries of tradition and interpretation of the Bible and what it means - that most of us here would agree is offbeam.

Of course the whole thing is even more complicated with different perceptions of context and history and meaning and so on.

With all of those bundles of differences, is it any wonder we are talking past each other?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
The 'Carnagies'?

Would that be Dale Carnegie?

Or Dale Constantine?

Or, more likely, predictive text?

Meanwhile, I understand and appreciate Mousethief's rebuff about grace being seen as some kind of property that can be conferred or even 'bought' in some Western emphases - and I'd broaden this out from Protestantism to include Catholics as well.

I'd acknowledge that my own thinking will inevitably been influenced by all of that. How can it not have been?

I would also agree that Steve Langton doesn't appear that well informed about the Orthodox view of grace, mixing it up with a somewhat caricatured version of what he imagines Roman Catholics believe.

I wouldn't beat him up too much about that, I've been rubbing shoulders with the Orthodox for over 20 years and still don't always 'get' what they mean - because I'm approaching things from a different and Western angle.

Inevitably.

Even if I crossed the Bosphorus tomorrow I reckon it would take me years and years to start thinking in a more Orthodox fashion.

As I keep saying, I'm feeling my way and fumbling. I'll bump my head and say daft things.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The 'Carnagies'?

Would that be Dale Carnegie?

No, it would be "the Carnegies" (sic), in reference to this post.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I was reflecting on this earlier: why is it that some seem so intent on getting others to change their mind on topics like this? It doesn't seem to be solely about individuals (although that is clearly part of it), but on some level it must also be about the nature of (some of) the ideas.

I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule, but it seems to me that those who hold most strongly to a concept like biblical inerrancy are least accepting that there is any validity in other ways to look at the issue.

But then maybe this is just about the people we are most exposed to - maybe there are staunch Quakers who are unwilling to accept other understandings of the inspiration of scripture.

Or is it just that one's view of scripture is used as shorthand by many different groups to assess the level of "soundness" of the Other and expressed alternative viewpoints are used as an opportunity to preach "the truth", hopefully with the end result that someone reading might change their mind?

But then I suppose it is hard to see an alternative. Having everyone explain what they believe and why - and having others sitting around stroking chins and saying "that's interesting" wouldn't be much of a discussion.

Maybe I've been here too long.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Gamaliel;
quote:
I would also agree that Steve Langton doesn't appear that well informed about the Orthodox view of grace, mixing it up with a somewhat caricatured version of what he imagines Roman Catholics believe.
I wasn't claiming to be well informed - just commenting on the irony that mt's idea of the Protestant view of grace was pretty much the same as the typical Protestant idea of how grace works according to RCC and Orthodoxy. At least in the original the Protestant view was definitely a counter to such views on anybody's part, and perhaps particularly so among Baptists on the grace of baptism and Zwinglians on the grace of communion. Reality is I guess that all parties sometimes get this wrong.

by mr cheesy;
quote:
In this example, we are apparently being told that only the Anabaptists have the keys to true interpretation of the scriptures (with the implication that if people bothered to read the scriptures without various other wrong baggage, then we'd obviously all be Anabaptists).
Not what I said (though obviously true [Big Grin] !). I simply commented on the similarity between Carnegie's agenda and ideas in the film and much of the thinking - even if not always so rapaciously expressed - that underlies the desire for state churches and so-called "Christian countries". Theodosius must have been thinking somewhat similar thoughts with his 381CE edict making Christianity compulsory in his empire.

What is important here is that Christians and the Churches they belong to should regard themselves as emphatically under rather than over Scripture.

There is no particular 'key' to interpreting scripture - just read it as a whole in context. The problem is with those who claim that they can do so from a privileged position, eg the Popes.

It is interesting that when people do that basic reading Scripture thing they generally end up with something close to Anabaptism.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

What is important here is that Christians and the Churches they belong to should regard themselves as emphatically under rather than over Scripture.



Why should they?


quote:


There is no particular 'key' to interpreting scripture - just read it as a whole in context. The problem is with those who claim that they can do so from a privileged position, eg the Popes.

It is interesting that when people do that basic reading Scripture thing they generally end up with something close to Anabaptism.

QED
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Ye ken, ever since Jamat started talking about Agendas (may have been here, may have been in Keryg but it's on this actual topic) I've been thinking.

He's a little bit right. I have an agenda. But it's neither motivated by nor having the intention that he stated.

Let's start with the intention. The intention is to find a way to read Scripture that doesn't end up with conclusions which are contradictory and/or morally repugnant. We familiar with the well-worn moral repugnancy issues of the Joshua genocides, many of the provisions of the Law, eternal Hell, and what not. And a response to that is "you mean you don't like it?" - and up to a point yes, but you have to ask what's unreasonable about not liking that stuff. But the real issue is contradiction - genocide contradicts God's love for all the world; it also contradicts God's apparent command to not murder. A literal interpretation can't resolve the moral repugnancy nor the contradictions; on the one hand God tempts or deceives no-one; on the other we have God sending a lying spirit to confuse a king. Satan is cast out of heaven, but there he is having a conference with God about Job. And there's this mighty king of the universe, abounding in love and compassion, taking on a bet with said Satan and both watching as Job's children die just to prove the point one way or the other.

So that's the "what" of my agenda - Scripture I actually can take seriously.

As to the why - the motivation - it's not to discredit it. Far from it. Nothing discredits it more in my mind than literal interpretation. Why do the more militant Atheist sites always attack literal interpretations, be it God the mass murderer or Young Earth Creationism? Because they're the weak point; they're where it's easiest to attack. No, my motivation is to take Scripture seriously. And that means interpreting it in a way which I can take seriously. I'm not there yet; the wounds of literality (not helped by a tendancy to autistic thinking traits) are deep and re-opened every time I read the thing. But I haven't given up yet.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
It is interesting that when people do that basic reading Scripture thing they generally end up with something close to Anabaptism.

Or alternatively, Orthodoxy (read the book and it will tell you that "that basic reading Scripture thing" is precisely what Gillquist and his fellow-travellers did. Get off your hobby-horse.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Fair points, Karl.

And yes, apologies to Eutychus, I've heard of the Book of Eli and remember the earlier exchange but had forgotten that one of the protagonists was called Carnegie ...

But I was also having a tilt at the Big C thing which always seems to muddy the waters during these discussions. Not that I am seeking to elide the baleful effects of that but simply trying to think more broadly than the usual pre-Big C good, post-Big C bad trope that certain posters seem to use as a catch-all ...

I'm sure I'm trying to change anyone's thinking, I've got enough on trying to grapple with my own.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Or alternatively, Orthodoxy (read the book and it will tell you that "that basic reading Scripture thing" is precisely what Gillquist and his fellow-travellers did. Get off your hobby-horse.

Or even - dare I say it - Chestertonian Catholicism.

According to Gilbert, he set out to come up with a fashionable heresy but ended up persuading himself that Orthodoxy (by which he meant Roman Catholicism) made more sense than heresy.

Indeed it seems to me that a lot of hand-waving is necessary to get to the conclusion that a basic reading of scripture ends up in Anabaptism. It strikes me that there are many examples of people who have ended up all over the place, including Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism - but also (presumably) with ideas as diverse as Chrisadelphianism etc. Indeed, it seems that the "new" sects mostly make a claim about having the new-and-authentic obvious reading of scripture, and some are nothing like Anabaptism.

In fact given how few new people become Mennonites (and the like), it seems like an individual reading the scriptures in isolation - whatever that means - is very unlikely to become an Anabaptist.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Cross-posted with Eutychus and apologies for the double-post.

I've not read Gilquist's book, although I've read lots of accounts of evangelicals and others who have become Orthodox.

Dyfrig, who used to regularly frequent these boards, once told me that he'd read it and come to the conclusion that Gilquist and his fellow-travellers had simply exchanged 'one form of fundamentalism for another.'

Without having read the book I think there is some truth in this, particularly as many of the US evangelical converts to Orthodoxy I come across on social-media platforms are sometimes scarily right-wing and fundamentalist when judged from a Western European perspective - or a more Democratic US perspective.

Mousethief will know that only too well ... [Frown]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Anyway, this thing about "all scripture is God-breathed..." (2 Tim 3:16) isn't used by anyone to think that all of the Bible is from God.

For a start, some of the text is quoted words of Satan. That scripture cannot then be God-breathed by definition. And so, according to the logic of inerrancy, the passage from 2 Timothy is wrong and thus the whole Bible must be thrown out.

Of course, the reality is that everyone uses various criteria to determine which bits of the Bible are useful for "teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" and which bits are not. That, in and of itself, is a system of interpretation which precludes any "straight" reading of scripture.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Dyfrig, who used to regularly frequent these boards, once told me that he'd read it and come to the conclusion that Gilquist and his fellow-travellers had simply exchanged 'one form of fundamentalism for another.'

What's important is what they thought they did, i.e. a "straightforward reading of the Scriptures".

The point is, contra Steve Langton, that such an approach clearly does not land everybody up in the same place.

[ 12. February 2018, 12:14: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, indeed.

I know an Adventist chap, who protests that he isn't a 'Seventh Day Adventist' even though his tiny congregation is loosely affiliated with them, who makes exactly the same claim in relation to his particular position.

They meet at 3.16pm on a Saturday (from John 3:16 of course) ...

He's also got some eccentric eschatological views which he also claims to have arrived at through 'a plain-reading of scripture.'

The reality, of course, is that they've all imbibed these things from one another as they've met to study the scriptures and started inviting guest speakers along who convinced them that all the other churches had got it wrong and they needed to form their own tiny group ...
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I suppose I think that there are very few novel ideas about how to do Christianity, and new Christian innovations are almost always versions of previous ideas.

But I also think that it is basically impossible to read the Bible (and do Christianity) without consciously or unconsciously borrowing a system of interpretation from someone else.

Steve has determined that Anabaptism makes most sense and answers the questions he has. But I find it hard to see how he could have come to that conclusion without the influence of others.

I dunno, I can accept that people honestly believe that they've come up with things all on their own; I just don't really believe that they have.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I suppose I think that there are very few novel ideas about how to do Christianity, and new Christian innovations are almost always versions of previous ideas.

Oh, you just have to look. There's Mormons, for instance. Or
on beyond zebra, into the wild blue yonder of religion.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Oh, you just have to look. There's Mormons, for instance. Or
on beyond zebra, into the wild blue yonder of religion.

I have a hard time believing that these are genuinely new and novel ideas. Even Mormonism doesn't seem to me to be cut from completely new cloth but grew out of other ideas.

But that's not a criticism - I would genuinely have been interested in the Glasites/Sandamanians, had they still existed in contemporary times.

I suppose all I'm saying is that ideas emerge from the melting pot of Christianity - but these are very often built on older ideas and (consciously or not) regurgitate and repackage the old as something new.

[ 12. February 2018, 13:24: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

But I also think that it is basically impossible to read the Bible (and do Christianity) without consciously or unconsciously borrowing a system of interpretation from someone else.

How true. But I think the borrowed clothes represent a starting point, not a permanent fit. Borrowed clothes are not always a very good fit, even at the start. As we learn and move on, they can become an even worse fit.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Borrowed clothes are not always a very good fit, even at the start. As we learn and move on, they can become an even worse fit.

To continue with this thought: to me the problem comes when one has borrowed an ill-fitting shirt, then has adjusted it (either with one's own skill, with someone else's instructions etc) and then presents it with an "ah-ha! Take a look at this! The perfect shirt that I came up with on my own with no assistance which is obviously the optimum way anyone could possibly make a shirt, and if you all bothered to do even the minimum of thought about the design of clothing - as I have - you'd inevitably agree with me."

It not only ignores the way that the design has been influenced by others and bodged by the individual, it also ignores and belittles all the other options for clothing that have developed from alternative ways to approach the problem over 2000 years.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
True again. The analogy reveals very well the tension between individual fit and communal fit. With the exception of a few hermits, Christianity has always been a communal journey. Jim Wallis observed about Sojourners that until they attempted it they didn't fully realise just how individualised they were, what the real practical issues arose when you tried to share all things in common.

Doing life together includes doing theology together. Sharing becomes a work in progress. You discover your own red lines, and others' red lines. Sometimes it isn't possible to agree to disagree. It's worth trying, particularly if you have become friends.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy;
quote:
For a start, some of the text is quoted words of Satan. That scripture cannot then be God-breathed by definition. And so, according to the logic of inerrancy, the passage from 2 Timothy is wrong and thus the whole Bible must be thrown out.
If I apply that kind of reasoning to other books I will find myself absolutely decimating them. Seriously, authors of all kinds quote or describe in a story or history stuff they disagree with; yet the book is still fundamentally (pun intended) the work of that author. You simply have to read in a normal in context way.

Although you do demonstrate why I personally hesitate to use the term 'inerrancy' in this context....
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
If I apply that kind of reasoning to other books I will find myself absolutely decimating them. Seriously, authors of all kinds quote or describe in a story or history stuff they disagree with; yet the book is still fundamentally (pun intended) the work of that author. You simply have to read in a normal in context way.

Although you do demonstrate why I personally hesitate to use the term 'inerrancy' in this context....

Well yes. This is a particular problem for inerrancy - and yet biblical knowledge would suggest that some biblical texts are more useful than others for teaching rebuking and the rest. It is going to be quite difficult to rebuke using a quote from Satan.

But more to the point, it isn't always obvious what the meaning of Bible passages is, what one is supposed to take from them, whether the characters were listening to God or acting under their own initiative and so on.

So simply suggesting that it is all good and that someone can find a clear-and-obvious way through it in the absence of a theological framework of understanding is baloney.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
I did not say that reading the Scriptures would simplistically turn people into specifically Mennonites or other traditional Anabaptists. What I said was that it generally leads to
quote:
something close to Anabaptism
and it does. Even when people still belong to other denominations, they're often doing it with a flavour of Anabaptist ideas and attitudes.

I could alternatively have put it that it leads to what Lewis would have described as 'Mere Christianity' - the common ground without the added extras which cause the problems. And when it comes to it, there's not much distance between 'Mere Christianity' and Anabaptism.

Gillquist now on my reading list - fortunately it's available for Kindle. I'll be interested to see where he slipped up....
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
7
quote:
simply suggesting that it is all good and that someone can find a clear-and-obvious way through it in the absence of a theological framework of understanding is baloney.

The real issue is not whether such a frame is necessary but where it arises. The Catholic tradition came noticeably from Augustine,not the scriptures. A further challenge to any such framework is the extent to which it is based on scripture. A constant accusation that a systematic theology is imposed on scripture rather than arising out of it is dealt with only by a wide understanding of scripture itself which is impossible while people continue to challenge the integrity of the Bible. Simply put if you sit in judgement on scripture it will be impossible to learn from it in the same way that a teacher who has lost the respect of students will not teach them anything much.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy;
quote:
It is going to be quite difficult to rebuke using a quote from Satan.
Actually it could be very easy IF I am using the quote as it appears in Scripture with its Scriptural context. And in such a case the context without the embedded quote would likely be meaningless. If it is in Scripture God intends it to be there as part of the whole; it has become part of 'the Word of God'. Its presence is one of those 'riddles' Tyndale refers to which you're meant to use your brain to resolve.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
[

I could alternatively have put it that it leads to what Lewis would have described as 'Mere Christianity' - the common ground without the added extras which cause the problems. And when it comes to it, there's not much distance between 'Mere Christianity' and Anabaptism.

This is about your perception and your arbitrary claiming people you like as "Anabaptist". In reality, of course, Lewis was no type of Anabaptist.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
By that argument, Jamat, then Protestantism comes from Augustine too. Luther was an Augustinian monk and Calvin rated Augustine as chief among the early Fathers.

All of Western Christianity is heavily influenced by Augustine.

As for people claiming that there own particular tradition represents Mere Christianity ... Bishop Kallistos Ware claims that for all the apparent complications, Orthodoxy is simple Christianity.

You may as well turn your claim about Anabaptism or something like it around and say that if there is anything good and noble and true within Anabaptism - and there certainly is - then that's because it's there already in the older traditions from which Anabaptism derives.

And yes, neither C S Lewis, nor Richard Baxter who first coined the phrase 'Mere Christianity' were in any way Anabaptist.

Indeed, for all his relatively eirenic stance, Baxter was critical of Anabaptism for its somewhat holier than thou claims.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
[

I could alternatively have put it that it leads to what Lewis would have described as 'Mere Christianity' - the common ground without the added extras which cause the problems. And when it comes to it, there's not much distance between 'Mere Christianity' and Anabaptism.

This is about your perception and your arbitrary claiming people you like as "Anabaptist". In reality, of course, Lewis was no type of Anabaptist.
Decidedly NOT what I actually said. And I do know Lewis pretty well, having been somewhat of a fan since my teen years. Are you aware of his extremely harsh words about 'Christendom' in The Four Loves? The 'might-have-been' about Lewis that interests me is, had he lived to see the renewed Ulster 'Troubles' of the late 60s, would he have come to similar conclusions to those I reached? He in some ways lived in a different time when (albeit briefly) state and church issues seemed less urgent. I'm also aware he was no 'fundamentalist' - but his essay 'Fernseed and Elephants' is a trenchant critique of liberal Christianity....
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Gamaliel;
quote:
Indeed, for all his relatively eirenic stance, Baxter was critical of Anabaptism for its somewhat holier than thou claims.
I'm not sure Baxter knew much of the continental Mennonite etc tradition. When he referred to 'Anabaptists' he will have meant English Baptists like Bunyan. The modern usage of 'Anabaptism' to refer primarily to the Continental tradition is a later development.

As for 'holier than thou' I think it likely that many Anglicans would have seen Baxter and his fellow Presbyterians as 'holier than thou'. And it would simply have been a fact in both cases that the attempt to be more biblical would be slagged off as 'holier than thou' by those challenged by it.

Also by Gamaliel;
quote:
You may as well turn your claim about Anabaptism or something like it around and say that if there is anything good and noble and true within Anabaptism - and there certainly is - then that's because it's there already in the older traditions from which Anabaptism derives.
Of course the good, noble and true is "already in the older traditions from which Anabaptism derives" - it's just sad that others have declined so much from those older traditions.... Especially in the disastrous idea of state churches....
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
by that argument, Jamat, then Protestantism comes from Augustine too. Luther was an Augustinian monk and Calvin rated Augustine as chief among the early Fathers.
Indeed, which accounts for stuff like infant baptism in Calvin’s Geneva which is nowhere in scripture. The problem though is that Augustine brought his non negotiables to scripture as indeed did Luther and Calvin not withstanding the justice of Luther’s stance against Roman stuff like indulgences.

[ 12. February 2018, 23:47: Message edited by: Louise ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I rather suspect that thee and me and Steve Langton and any other Protestants we might mention are rather more Augustinian than we are aware we are and might be comfortable to acknowledge.

Besides, infant baptism doesn't come from Augustine. There's a whole other thread where that is being contested.

The Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox both practice paedopbaptism (as well as credobaptism) and neither of them have had much influence from Augustine.

Your knowledge of these things seems limited to a very partial sound-bite view of the Reformation combined with an egregious dollop of Andersen and Schofield and nothing much in between.

@Steve Langton, yes, I'm sure Baxter didn't know a great deal about the continental Anabaptists and was referring to the Bunyan style English Baptists. He probably didn't know a great deal about the 'Greeks' and 'Ethiopians' either yet he mentions both - in equally positive and negative terms.

Of course the Anglicans would have looked down on both the Presbyterians and the Independents, but not, I suspect in a 'holier than thou' way but more because they thought they were subverting what they would have seen as the 'natural' church and state order. So yes, they were Constantinian in that respect.

However, you have made Baxter's point for him. Baxter was listing what he saw as the besetting sins of the available forms of Christianity in his day - whilst conveniently eliding those of his own particular expression, of course ...

So the 'Papists' and the 'Greeks' get some stick for their exclusivity and pride in their size, the Anabaptists get some censure for thinking they are better or holier than everyone else.

Fair enough. Both those accusations held true and probably still do to an extent.

As with all these things when it comes to how this that or the other church, group or individual behaves then the onus is on us to take the planks out of our own eyes.

Look around the world and we'll find Mennonites doing things that are good, bad or indifferent, Copts and Catholics the same, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists or whatever else ...

I might not choose to be a Methodist, say, for whatever reason, but it ain't going to do them or myself a great deal of good if I go, 'Whinge, whingeing, whinge, the Methodists practice paedopbaptism, that's not in the Bible ...' or 'Moan, moan, moan, a lot of the Anglicans are nominal unlike the true and stalwart believers in my own non-conformist chapel ...' 'Chelp, carp, pick, pick, pick, those Presbyterians don't share the same eschatology as I do ...'

Sure, differences exist and we can't elide them but riding hobby-horses and tilting at windmills and strawmen doesn't get us very far. It doesn't get me any further when I do it.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
Pleeeassse don’t let this become another thread about Anabaptism vs Constantianism...

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