Sunday, March 18, 2018

Justin Martyr and Immortality

There seems to be no doubt that Justin Martyr understands the soul to be immortal. But when I say that Justin affirms the immortality of the soul, I am not claiming that he believes the soul exists immortally in the Platonic sense because he clearly rejects the Platonic view of the soul in most respects--despite the fact that he was a Neoplatonist. However,
Justin does believe that wicked souls are punished after death which requires that the soul live on post mortem. See Arthur J. Droge, "Justin Martyr and the Restoration of Philosophy," Church History 56.3 (1987): 303-319. He provides textual evidence that Justin retains certain Platonic doctrines in a mutated form, particularly, that the wicked will be punished after death. Compare Plato's Republic and the Myth of Er.

Admittedly, there is a passage in Dialogue with Trypho 80, wherein Justin denigrates those so-called Christians who believe their souls will ascend to heaven in the flesh after death. However, while Justin does appear to believe that the prophecies foretold in Isaiah will be fulfilled through the Christian congregation, he nonetheless argues that the ungodly will be consigned to eternal torment. Maybe such texts can be interpreted differently, but I would humbly submit that Justin affirms there is an immortal soul in some sense of the term--At least there is for the wicked.

See Dialogue with Trypho 130.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Some Definitions for Logic Terms

I've compiled a list of definitions for terms commonly employed by logicians since logic is an essential part of academic theology. For without logic, there is no theo-logic:

Logic Definitions

(1) Ostensive Definition: Pointing toward an entity in order to signify a term (e.g., pointing toward a car in order to signify what "car" means).

(2) Extension: The set of individuals, objects, or events to which one can correctly apply a term (e.g., "boat"). Logicians also classify a set of individuals, objects or events as the denotation.

(3) Intension: The set of all and only those properties that a thing must possess in order for a term to have applicability for it (= connotation).

(4) Theory: Refers to a general approach to or belief about some subject matter that is expressed in a set of interrelated statements concerning the nature of the subject.

Secondly, theory may refer to a set of general but precise claims about the nature of society or the physical world.

(5) Epistemology: The branch of philosophy that concerns itself with theories regarding the sources, nature, and limits of knowledge (i.e., theory of knowledge). One writer defines "epistemology" as the critical analysis of cognition.

(6) Validity: If the premises of an argument happen to be true, then the conclusion of the argument has to be true.

(7) Conditional: A statement of the form "If P then Q," asserting that Q is, or will be, the case, so long as P obtains.

(8) Sound: Both the conclusion and premises are true. So the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises: a sound argument has all true premises and is valid.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Romans 8:5 (NWT 2013)-Work in Progress

Greek: οἱ γὰρ κατὰ σάρκα ὄντες τὰ τῆς σαρκὸς φρονοῦσιν, οἱ δὲ κατὰ πνεῦμα τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος. (NA28)

"For those who are in accord with the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those in accord with the spirit on the things of the spirit" (Romans 8:5 NWT 1984).

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, on the things of the spirit" (2013 Revision).

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit" (ESV).

Comments: George Carraway (Christ Is God Over All: Romans 9:5 in the Context of Romans 9-11, page 41) demonstrates that κατὰ σάρκα in Rom. 8:5; Eph. 6:5 and Col. 3:22 functions attributively by modifying a participle or a noun. On the other hand, compare Rom. 9:5.

κατὰ σάρκα-"in accord with the flesh" (NWT) or "according to the flesh" (NWT 2013; ESV).

"In accordance with the flesh" (J.D.G. Dunn).

Rogers and Rogers on Rom. 8:5:

ὄντες pres. act. part. εἰμί to be. Part. as subst. φρονοῦσιν pres. ind. act. φρονέω to think, to set one's mind or heart upon something, to employ one's faculty for thoughtful planning, w. the emphasis upon the underlying disposition or attitude (LN, 1:325). It denotes the whole action of the affections and will as well as of the reason (SH).

τὰ-definite article, accusative plural neuter.

φρονέω-"to incline to, be set upon, mind, Mt. 16:23; Mk. 8:33; Rom. 8:5; Phil. 3:15, 19; Col. 3:2" (William Mounce)

"think, concentrate on, be devoted to" (Zerwick-Grosvenor)

According to the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology:

φρόνησις (phronēsis), way of thinking, frame of mind, intelligence, good sense (G5860); φρονέω (phroneō), think, judge, give one's mind to, set one's mind on, be minded (G5858); φρόνημα (phronēma), way of thinking, mentality (G5859); φρόνιμος (phronimos), intelligent, discerning, sensible, thoughtful, prudent (G5861).

δὲ is adversative here: "but."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Significance of Redness and Revelation 6:4

Is the color red inherently connected with sin, anger or prostitution? Revelation 6:4 mentions a HIPPOS PURROS that admittedly is associated with death, warfare and destruction in John's apocalypse, but the fiery-red horse of Zech. 1:8; 6:2 evidently is not. The color "red" also seems to have been viewed from somewhat of a dualistic perspective in ancient Egypt. It was associated with life and death, peril and quickening, preservation and destruction. What red signifies metaphorically or symbolically will greatly depend on the speech context in which it appears.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Rogers and Rogers Comments on Anwqen--John 3:3

Source: The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament by Cleon L. Rogers, Jr., and Cleon L. Rogers III.

Friday, March 09, 2018

The Greek "Pistis" Used in a Wider Context (Platonic Usage)

πίστις can be translated "faith" or "faithfulness" (Galatians 5:22-23) but in Plato, it's more commonly rendered "belief" although C.D.C. Reeve offers the rendering "folk-wisdom." Plato famously makes a distinction between opinion/εἰκασία (at the lower epistemic level) and belief/folk-wisdom (πίστις) at the higher epistemic level of knowing--the via cognoscendi. Conviction would also be a good way to render πίστις.

In this case, I'm discussing supposed logical movement from epistemic darkness to epistemic light (based on the Greek ἐπιστήμη). Plato seems to argue that some individuals perceive things at the level of opinion (εἰκασία) whereas others apprehend things mentally at the level of πίστις: yet πίστις is not knowledge since knowledge for Plato is likely (maybe) "justified true belief." Knowledge only materializes (according to the Republic) when one begins to reflect on abstract/intelligible objects. Therefore, one only begins progressing towards genuine knowledge when contemplating mathematical objects and subsequently reflecting on the Forms (εἶδος). Unless someone has passed through the various stages of knowing (the epistemic ladder) discussed by Plato, then one is only perceiving shadows or identifies objects via πίστις instead of apprehending those objects by dint of genuine knowledge (i.e., νόησις).

My understanding is that the cave and divided line in Plato's Republic should be read as close parallels. Granted, there are differences between the two analogies, but from what I recall, we should understand progression to be occurring in the divided line as one moves up the epistemic ladder.

Richard Hays' 1 Corinthians 11:3 Remarks

The following quote is taken from Richard Hays' commentary on 1 Corinthians. This material is just for general informational purposes:

"Another strategy would be to begin with the clause 'God is the head of Christ' (v.3) and to ask what such headship means concretely within a Trinitarian understanding of God. Paul, of course, did not have an explicit doctrine of the Trinity, and he often appears to operate with a subordinationist christology (cf. 15:28). If, however, we now read 11:3 through the lens of a theological tradition that affirms Christ's full participation in the Godhead, then we must ask ourselves how this affects our understanding of the analogy between 'God is the head of Christ' and 'man is the head of woman.' The subsequently developed orthodox doctrine of the Trinity actually works against the subordinationist implications of Paul's argument about men and women: it presses us to rethink the way in which 'in the Lord' men and women participate together in a new identity that transcends notions of superiority and inferiority. Such suggestions move us beyond simplistic arguments about whether Paul was right or wrong and enable us to rethink more deeply the substantive theological issues raised by his treatment of hairstyles in the worship
of the Corinthian church" (Richard Hays, 1
, page 192).

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Our Weapons Are Not Carnal (2 Cor. 10:3-5): Clement of Alexandria on War According to the Flesh

Paul specifically professes that Christians do not wage war carnally. Our weapons, he contends, are not fleshly but spiritual (2 Cor. 10:3-5). The inspired apostle seems to allow no room for Christians participating in wars that result in the taking of human life, whether such life can be termed innocent or not. Clement of Alexandria appears to believe that Paul's words in 2 Cor. 10:3-5 apply to carnal warfare. He reports:

"For we do not train our women like Amazons to manliness in war; since we wish the men even to be peaceable. I hear that the Sarmatian women practise war no less than the men; and the women of the Sacae besides, who shoot backwards, feigning flight as well as the men" (Stromata IV.VIII).

Elsewhere, Clement insists that Christians do not even "draw an outline" of bows or swords since they opt for peace. If Christ's professed disciples in Clement's time (generally speaking) would not even trace outlines of war armaments, then how could they actually pick them up and kill their enemies in polemic activity? Furthermore, Clement quotes Paul's words when delineating his apparently pacifistic stance. So, at least Clement, Justin and other pre-Nicenes (including Origen, Arnobius and Lactantius) thought Paul's words applied to carnal warfare and they fittingly encouraged disciples of Christ to eschew such activities.