Saturday, October 10, 2009

Plotinus and Birthdays

"Plotinus was so fervently committed to his Platonic ideas regarding the imperfection of his physical body, in contrast to the perfection of his eternal soul, that he refused to celebrate his birthday. His reasoning was that he was ashamed that his immortal soul had to be contained in such an imperfect vessel as his body, and that celebrating its birth was a cause for regret, not celebration" (John Chaffee, The Philosopher's Way: A Text with Readings, page 105).

Now I'm not citing this information to prove that we should not celebrate our day of birth (although I believe that celebrating birthdays is not a biblically based practice). However, I never knew that Plotinus did not celebrate his birthday and I found his reason for not celebrating his it to be an interesting one.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Thomas Hobbes on Genesis 3

Taken from Hobbes' work Leviathan (chapter XX):

Whereupon having both eaten, they did indeed take upon them God's office, which is judicature of good and evil, but acquired no new ability to distinguish between them aright. And whereas it is said that, having eaten, they saw they were naked; no man hath so interpreted that place as if they had been formerly blind, and saw not their own skins: the meaning is plain that it was then they first judged their nakedness (wherein it was God's will to create them) to be uncomely; and by being ashamed did tacitly censure God Himself. And thereupon God saith, "Hast thou eaten," etc., as if He should say, doest thou that owest me obedience take upon thee to judge of my commandments? Whereby it is clearly, though allegorically, signified that the commands of them that have the right to command are not by their subjects to be censured nor disputed.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Walter Kasper on the Son of God Concept in the Old Testament

The following is taken from Jesus the Christ (page 164):

"Although the Old Testament uses the title of Son for
the people of Israel (cf., among other texts, Exod
4.22-3; Hos 11.1), for the king as representative of
the people (cf., among other texts, Ps 2.7; 2 Sam
7.14) or - as in late Judaism - for any devout and
righteous Israelite (cf., among other texts, Ecclus
4.10), this usage is not based either on the
background of mythological-polytheistic thinking or on
the pantheistic background of Stoic philosophy,
according to which all men in virtue of their common
nature have the one God as Father and are therefore
called sons of God. The title Son or Son of God in the
Old Testament must be understood against the
background of election-faith and the theocratic ideas
based on it. Consequently, divine sonship is not
founded on physical descent, but is the result of
God's free, gracious choice. The person so chosen as
Son of God receives a special mission within salvation
history, binding him to obedience and service. The
title of Son of God therefore is understood, not as
natural-substantial, but functionally and personally."

I would add that the title "son of God" is also used as a scriptural metaphor for Jesus Christ and others.