Friday, August 30, 2013

John Hick Explains the Distinction Between BIOS and ZOH in Johannine Literature

"In Johannine terms, the movement from the image to the likeness [of God] is a transition from one level of existence, that of animal life(Bios), to another and higher level, that of eternal life(Zoe), which includes but transcends
the first. And the fall of man was seen by Irenaeus as a failure within the second phase of this creative process, a failure that has multiplied the perils and complicated the route of the journey in which God is seeking to lead mankind."

ZOH may include but transcend BIOS in the case of humans, but we would not apply the term BIOS to Jehovah, Christ or the angels (as well as the 144,000 who are raised from the dead). If it's correct to say that BIOS refers to "animal life" or biological organisms (as commonly understood) then God (or those spirits he has created) should not have the term BIOS applied to him. Elsewhere in the same work, Hick describes BIOS as "the biological life of man" [or animals] which is to be contrasted with ZOH.

See Hick's work here:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Origen of Alexandria Believes That Jude Mentions "Assumption of Moses"

In De Principiis III.2.1, Origen writes:

"We have now to notice, agreeably to the statements of Scripture, how the opposing powers, or the devil himself, contends with the human race, inciting and instigating men to sin. And in the first place, in the book of Genesis, the serpent is described as having seduced Eve; regarding whom, in the work entitled The Ascension of Moses (a little treatise, of which the Apostle Jude makes mention in his Epistle), the archangel Michael, when disputing with the devil regarding the body of Moses, says that the serpent, being inspired by the devil, was the cause of Adam and Eve’s transgression."

Origen believed that Jude invoked The Ascension of Moses (also known as The Assumption of Moses) when he mentioned the Devil having a dispute with Michael over the body of Moses.

De Principiis is also called Peri Archon in Greek.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Matthew 24:30 (Sign of the Son of Man)

I'd like to quote what Donald Hagner writes (in his Word commentary concerning Matthew 14-28, pp. 713-714) and then make a few observations. Hagner points out:

"When Matthew introduces the reference to the appearance of TO SHMEION TOU hUIOU TOU ANQRWPOU EN OURANWi, 'the sign of the Son of Man in heaven,' with TOTE, 'then,' and introduces the following reference to the actual coming of the Son of Man with another TOTE, he makes it impossible to take the sign as either the phenomena in the sky of v 29 or as itself (as an appositional genitive) the coming of the Son of Man mentioned in the last half of the present verse [Mt 24:30] (contra Gundry; Bruner). Matthew thus apparently regards the appearing of the sign of the Son of Man as something independent of both, but if so, it is very difficult to know what he has in mind. It is obviously some further spectacular event that will by its conspicuousness alert the world to what immediately follows, the parousia itself (cf. the question of v 3). Possibly the 'sign' is the setting up of an 'ensign,' which is often mentioned (see, e.g., Isa 18:3; 49:22; Jer 4:21; 1 QM 2:15-4:17) together with a trumpet call (thus Glasson, Schweizer, Hill)."

As you can see, Hagner thinks that it is impossible for the genitival construction in Mt 24:30 to be appositional in view of the way Matthew employs TOTE. After all, the apostle writes:


According to BDAG(PAGE 1012), TOTE in Mt 24:30 introduces that which follows in time. And not only do we have TOTE in 24:30, but KAI TOTE, "and then." At any rate, we are dealing with a portrayal of subsequent events in Mt 24:30. Matthew thus outlines the Son of Man's "appearance" by using TOTE as follows:

(1) Heavenly phenomena occurs (Mt 24:29).
(2) And then (KAI TOTE), the sign of the Son of Man
appears in heaven.
(3) And then (subsequent to this phenomenon) all the
tribes of the earth beat themselves in grief and they
see the Son of Man's coming.

Of course, I'm willing to hear what others have to say about this matter, but Hagner's explanation makes sense to me (which is not to say I think he's correct). I also recommend that you consult BDAG for more on SHMEION. For an interesting and helpful discussion of Mark's eschatological account (Mk 13:24-27), see GRB Murray's Jesus and the Last Days (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1993), pp. 427-432.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Prophet Isaiah Could Have been Sawn Asunder

"On account of these visions, therefore, Beliar was wroth with Isaiah, and he dwelt in the heart of Manasseh and he sawed him in sunder with a wooden saw. And when Isaiah was being sawn in sunder, Belchira stood up, accusing him, and all the false prophets stood up, laughing and rejoicing because of Isaiah" (The Ascension of Isaiah 5:1-2).


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sexism? Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Others

Donald Bloesch (Is the Bible Sexist?, pages 94-95) thinks that "later Judaism" manifested an increasingly coarse attitude toward women as indicated by daily prayers like "I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast not created me a woman." However, this disposition apparently was not limited to ancient Jews since Augustine of Hippo believes that man, not woman, is the image and glory of God, Ambrosiaster likewise considers women inferior to men and even Thomas Aquinas evidently thinks that women are (in one sense) defective males in whom reason evidently does not predominate. Of course, I've read articles that try to ameliorate Thomas' position. However, such arguments don't seem all that convincing in light of the ST 1.91.1, Reply 1:

"As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence; such as that of a south wind, which is moist, as the Philosopher observes (De Gener. Animal. iv, 2)."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Must a Person Believe in the Trinity Doctrine to be Counted a Christian?

"The church is the community and a Christian is someone who, when the identity of God is important, names him 'Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.' Those who do not or will not belong to some other community" (Robert Jenson, Systematic Theology, 1:46).

Monday, August 19, 2013

Did Tertullian Move Toward Heresy?

Was Tertullian really a heretic by the prevailing (orthodox) standards of his day and those standards which obtained a century or so later? Interestingly, a number of scholars are now answering this question with a resounding "nay!"

One powerful line of evidence that suggests Tertullian never stopped being "catholic" is the fact that (for a time) Cyprian of Carthage evidently read nothing but the works of Tertullian. He in fact called him "the master" and tried to emulate his approach vis-à-vis theological and salvific issues (Vide Jerome, De Viris Illustribus, Chapter 53).

Yet there are other lines of evidence that indicate Tertullian, by the standards of orthodoxy prevailing during his time and shortly thereafter, was not a heretic.

T. Barnes writes: "Tertullian's later writings receive abuse and condemnation in subsequent ages. Many of the charges are unmerited"(83). He concludes that Tertullian was bold enough to sound forth an "unpalatable truth," namely, that "the church is not a conclave of bishops" but functions as the ordained locus of the Holy Spirit. In other words, where the Spirit of God is, there is the church (Ibid., 83-84). Cf. Pudicitia 21.17:

"And accordingly 'the Church,' it is true, will forgive sins: but (it will be) the Church of the Spirit, by means of a spiritual man; not the Church which consists of a number of bishops (ecclesia spiritus per spiritalem hominem, non ecclesia numerus episcoporum). For the right and arbitrament is the Lord's, not the servant's; God's Himself, not the priest's."

William Tabbernee believes it is "highly unlikely" that Tertullian "ever separated from the catholic church at all." He also argues that the fiery Carthaginian surely did not found the group known as the Tertullianists, a post-Montanist sect (475-476). While Tertullian's works are supposedly condemned by Pope Gelasius in the Decretum Gelasianum, patristic scholars note that this document could be forged (Cf. J. Quasten).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Matthew 24:48 and EAN DE EIPHi

One point to consider about the construction in Matthew 24:48 is that Jesus doesn't technically say that the "evil slave" will begin to think his master is delaying or that he will beat his fellow servants, etc. Rather, Matthew uses ἐὰν δὲ εἴπῃ which means that we have a third class conditional in 24:48.

Richard A. Young states that a speaker/writer who employs the third class conditional thinks that it has the prospect of coming to fruition, but the outcome is left undetermined. See for more information on these kind of conditionals in Greek.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Does Tertullian Clearly Distinguish the Persons of the Trinity?

Certain ecclesiastical historians (Jean Danielou and Jaroslav Pelikan) have argued that Tertullian possibly does not distinguish the three Persons of the Trinity, as one might expect, if he was really a Trinitarian qua Trinitarian. Reading Adv Praxean 12, I think they might be right. It says:

"If you are still offended by the plurality of the Trinity, on the ground that it is not combined in simple unity, I ask you how it, is that one only single speaks in the plural, Let us make man after our image and likeness,1 when he ought to have said, Let me make man after my image and likeness, as being one only single . Also in what follows, Behold, Adam is become as one of us, he is deceptive or joking in speaking in the plural while being one and alone and singular. Or was he speaking to the angels, as the Jews explain it, because they, like you, do not recognise the Son? Or, because he was himself father-son-spirit, did he for that reason make himself plural and speak to himself in the plural? Nay rather, because there already was attached to him the Son, a second Person, his Word, and a third Person, the Spirit in the Word, for that reason he spoke in the plural, Let us make, and Our, and Of us."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Aquinas Believes That Christ Still Has His Fleshly Body

Thomas Aquinas writes:

Christ's body in the Resurrection was "of the same nature, but differed in glory." Accordingly, whatever goes with the nature of a human body, was entirely in the body of Christ when He rose again. Now it is clear that flesh, bones, blood, and other such things, are of the very nature of the human body. Consequently, all these things were in Christ's body when He rose again; and this also integrally, without any diminution; otherwise it would not have been a complete resurrection, if whatever was lost by death had not been restored. Hence our Lord assured His faithful ones by saying (Mat. 10:30): "The very hairs of your head are all numbered": and (Lk. 21:18): "A hair of your head shall not perish."

But to say that Christ's body had neither flesh, nor bones, nor the other natural parts of a human body, belongs to the error of Eutyches, Bishop of Constantinople, who maintained that "our body in that glory of the resurrection will be impalpable, and more subtle than wind and air: and that our Lord, after the hearts of the disciples who handled Him were confirmed, brought back to subtlety whatever could be handled in Him" [St. Gregory, Moral. in Job 14:56]. Now Gregory condemns this in the same book, because Christ's body was not changed after the Resurrection, according to Rom. 6:9: "Christ rising from the dead, dieth now no more." Accordingly, the very man who had said these things, himself retracted them at his death. For, if it be unbecoming for Christ to take a body of another nature in His conception, a heavenly one for instance, as Valentine asserted, it is much more unbecoming for Him at His Resurrection to resume a body of another nature, because in His Resurrection He resumed unto an everlasting life, the body which in His conception He had assumed to a mortal life.

See Summa Theologica (Tertia Pars, Quest. 54, Art. 3)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hebrews 10:26-31

The wording, "after having received the accurate knowledge [τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν τῆς ἀληθείας] of the truth," is evidently a reference to Christians and apparently encompasses more than just a knowledge of Christ's atoning sacrifice. Such knowledge as spoken of in Epistle to the Hebrews actually entails an intimate acquaintance with many details regarding the Christian faith. The writer of Hebrews certainly does not have unbelievers--ones who have merely been presented with the Gospel--in mind; he is talking about believers, who accurately (i.e. fully and deeply) come to know the truth about God and Christ, then reject such knowledge because they develop a wicked heart lacking faith (Heb 3:12). It is important to note that the author of Hebrews is referring to those who willingly and persistently sin. He is not talking about those Christians who commit transgressions out of ignorance:

"Apostasy can only occur μετὰ τὸ λαβεῖν . . . a condition which is explained in detail in chap. 6 [of Hebrews]. Without this preceding knowledge of the covenant its willful repudiation is impossible. Those spoken of in ver. 25, as having abandoned meeting with their fellow Christians, and possibly as having neglected, if not renounced, the confession of their hope, were perhaps alluded to here, as on their way to apostasy. They are warned that they are drifting into an irredeemable condition, for to those who have repudiated and keep repudiating the one sacrifice of Christ, οὐκέτι περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν ἀπολείπεται θυσία"(Expositor's Greek Testament 4:348).

"It is most important here to keep this cardinal point distinctly in mind; that the Ἐκουσίως ἁμαρτάνοντες are not mere professors of religion, but real converts, or else ver. [Heb 10:29] becomes unintelligible . . ." (Alford's Greek Testament 4:199).

The text is more intelligible if we interpret Heb 10:29 as a reference to a hypothetical apostate Christian. Notice that the writer also uses ἡμῶν in 10:26. How could he be
referring to non-Christians or those who have simply been exposed to the Gospel since he employs ἡμῶν?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Differences Between the Great Crowd and the 144,000

Firstly, the 144,000 are said to hail from the 12 tribes of Israel, and they have a definite number; conversely, the "great multitude" comes from all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues and they cannot be numbered. Granted, the kings and priests of Revelation 5:9-10 are said to come from diverse backgrounds too. But it seems odd for John to describe the 144,000 as Israelites in Revelation 7:1-8, then do a literary flip, as it were, and talk about the 144,000 as an indefinite and uncountable group from all tribes, etc.

While there are certainly differing scholarly views of Revelation 7:9, Robert L. Thomas thinks that META TAUTA EIDON "indicates a vision that is distinct from the preceding one" of Revelation 7:1-8. Furthermore, he reasons that the 144,000 and the great multitude cannot be the same group since "The earlier one was numbered, but this one is innumerable. One is exclusively Jews, the other is not. One is facing a period of wrath, the other has been delivered from it (Beckwith; Scott). This multitude includes far more than the 144,000" (Thomas, Revelation 1-7, page 484).

It has been suggested that the great multitude could be a heavenly group. Regardless of that debate, I just find it hard to believe that the multitude is numerically identical with the 144,000. Numerical identity is a concept that tries to explain what it means for two objects (A and B) to be the same. For instance, if the apostle named Paul who lived during the first century is numerically identical with the apostle of the same name resurrected to heaven by God, then the two "Pauls" are the same person. The above mentioned principle would similarly apply to the 144,000 and the great multitude, if they are numerically identical. But it's highly doubtful that they constitute the same (numerically identical) group.

The Constitutions of the Holy Apostles on Acts 7:56

to Him that has given us Himself for an earnest of the resurrection; who was taken up into the heavens by the power of His God and Father in our sight, who ate and drank with Him for forty days after He arose from the dead; who is sat down on the right hand of the throne of the majesty of Almighty God upon the cherubim; to whom it was said, "Sit Thou on my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool;" whom the most blessed Stephen saw standing at the right hand of power, and cried out, and said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God," as the High Priest of all the rational orders,—through Him, worship, and majesty, and glory be given to Almighty God, both now and for evermore. Amen.

Constitutions of the Holy Apostles VI.6.30

Friday, August 09, 2013

More Comments on John 6:49 (Died in the Wilderness)

I wanted to get these comments all in one place:

Jamison, Fausset and Brown explain John 6:49 thus:

"recurring to their own point about the manna, as one of the noblest of the ordained preparatory illustrations of His own office: 'Your fathers, ye say, ate manna in the wilderness; and ye say well, for so they did, but they are dead—even they whose carcasses fell in the wilderness did eat of that bread; the Bread whereof I speak cometh down from heaven, which the manna never did, that men, eating of it, may live for ever.'"

Clarke's Commentary on the Bible also makes this observation:

"It was an opinion of the Jews themselves that their fathers, who perished in the wilderness, should never have a resurrection. Our Lord takes them on their own ground: Ye acknowledge that your fathers who fell in the wilderness shall never have a resurrection; and yet they ate of the manna: therefore that manna is not the bread that preserves to everlasting life, according even to your own concession."

William Milligan and William Moulton (in their commentary on John) point out that Jesus' mention of the wilderness (John 6:49) is not accidental. It calls to mind verses like Numbers 14:35, which indicate that the wilderness was the place of disobedience and where obstinate men perished. Specifically, they write:

Ver. 49. Your fathers did eat the manna in the wilder ness, and died. No other bread has given life eternal. Even the manna, the bread given out of heaven, did not bestow life on their fathers, who (as the people themselves had said) ate the manna in the wilderness. It seems very probable that the addition 'in the wil derness' is more than a mere repetition of the words of ver. 31. It recalls Num. 14: 35; Ps. 95: 8-11, and other passages, in which 'the wilderness' is specially mentioned as the scene of disobedience and of death ; and thus the fathers, who (Deut. 1 : 32) ' did not believe the Lord ' and died, are contrasted with the believer who ' hath eternal life' (ver. 47). Ver. 50.

MY RESPONSE: It seems to me that Jesus' remarks in 6:31 actually follow the request in 6:28 which is premised upon the requisite works that please God. They asked for a sign because Jesus claimed to be the one God had sent (6:29). They may or may not have perceived a link between Jesus' utterance and Daniel 7:13-14. Either way, I don't see how death as punishment cannot be the issue. The "death in the wilderness" motif is cited in 1 Corinthians 10:3-5; Hebrews 3:17. Even Jude 5 refers to those males who died in the wilderness despite eating manna.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Notes on 2 Corinthians 3:18

Text: ἡμεῖς δὲ πάντες ἀνακεκαλυμμένῳ προσώπῳ τὴν δόξαν κυρίου κατοπτριζόμενοι τὴν αὐτὴν εἰκόνα μεταμορφούμεθα ἀπὸ δόξης εἰς δόξαν καθάπερ ἀπὸ κυρίου πνεύματος (2 Corinthians 3:18 W-H with Diacritics).

1. ἀνακεκαλυμμένῳ-Perfect participle passive voice. See 2 Corinthians 3:14. Dative of manner ("with unveiled face"). See Zerwick, Grammatical Analysis, page 540; Biblical Greek Illustrated by Examples (sec. 60).

2. κατοπτριζόμενοι-"Present middle participle of κατοπτρίζω, late verb from κάτοπτρον, mirror (κατά, οπτρον, a thing to see with). In Philo (Legis Alleg. iii. 33) the word means beholding as in a mirror and that idea suits also the figure in 1 Co 13:12. There is an inscription of third century B.C. with EGKATOPTRISASQAI EIS TO hUDWR, to look at one's reflection in the water. Plutarch uses the active for mirroring or reflecting and Chrysostom takes it so here. Either makes good sense" (Robertson's Word Pictures).

3. κατοπτριζόμενοι, "the present middle participle of κατοπτρίζω (only here in NT). In the middle it means 'to reflect as a mirror' (A-S, p. 242). Since they did not have glass mirrors (only bronze) in Paul's day, 'glass' [KJV] is incorrect" (Word Meanings in the NT, 251).

4. ἀπὸ δόξης εἰς δόξαν-"The idea in the phrase before us is; that there is a continual increase of moral purity and holiness under the gospel until it results in the perfect glory of heaven" (Barnes Notes on the Bible).

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Robertson and Vincent on 1 Corinthians 11:7

Taken from Robertson's Word Pictures

The image and glory of God (εικων και δοχα τεου — eikōn kai doxa theou). Anarthrous substantives, but definite. Reference to Genesis 1:27 whereby man is made directly in the image (εικων — eikōn) of God. It is the moral likeness of God, not any bodily resemblance. Ellicott notes that man is the glory (δοχα — doxa) of God as the crown of creation and as endowed with sovereignty like God himself.

The glory of the man (δοχα ανδρος — doxa andros). Anarthrous also, man‘s glory. In Genesis 2:26 the lxx has αντρωπος — anthrōpos (Greek word for both male and female), not ανηρ — anēr (male) as here. But the woman (γυνη — gunē) was formed from the man (ανηρ — anēr) and this priority of the male (1 Corinthians 11:8) gives a certain superiority to the male. On the other hand, it is equally logical to argue that woman is the crown and climax of all creation, being the last.


Next, we read in Vincent's Word Studies:

Image and glory (εἰκὼν καὶ δόξα)

For image, see on Revelation 13:14. Man represents God's authority by his position as the ruler of the woman. In the case of the woman, the word image is omitted, although she, like the man, is the image of God. Paul is expounding the relation of the woman, not to God, but to man.

John 6:49 Meaning of the Wilderness and Death

Greek: οἱ πατέρες ὑμῶν ἔφαγον ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τὸ μάννα καὶ ἀπέθανον (WH with Diacritics)

"Your forefathers ate the manna in the Desert, and they died" (Weymouth NT).

"Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died" (NIV).

Theodore of Mopsuestia's commentary on this passage:

" 'Your fathers who ate manna,' he says, 'were not only not delivered from the sentence of death, but every last one of them in fact died in the wilderness, and not one of them was found worthy of entering the promised land. But whoever eats this food is freed from death."

See Commentary on the Gospel of John (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2010), p. 68.

Thomas Aquinas remarks similarly in his Commentary on John:

"Secondly, he mentions for how short a time this was done, saying, in the desert: for they were not given manna for a long period of time; and they had it only while in the desert, and not when they entered the promised land (Jos 5). But the other bread [from the true heaven] preserves and nourishes one forever. Thirdly, he states an inadequacy in that bread, that is, it did not preserve life without end; so he says, and they are dead. For we read in Joshua (c 5) that all who grumbled, except Joshua and Caleb, died in the desert. This was the reason for the second circumcision, as we see here, because all who had left Egypt died in the desert."


Sunday, August 04, 2013

Irenaeus of Lyons Commenting on Exodus 33:19-22

‎"The prophets, therefore, did not openly behold the actual face of God, but [they saw] the dispensations and the mysteries through which man should afterwards see God" (Irenaeus, Against Heresies IV.20.10).

Then Irenaeus writes: "If, then, neither Moses, nor Elias, nor Ezekiel, who had all many celestial visions, did see God; but if what they did see were similitudes of the splendour of the Lord, and prophecies of things to come; it is manifest that the Father is indeed invisible, of whom also the Lord said, 'No man hath seen God at any time' " (Ibid. IV.20.11).

He's discussing Exodus 33:19-22. Interesting how he applies this text to the Father. Furthermore, when he quotes the Lord's words, evidently referring to John 1:18, he likewise applies these words to the Father.



Criticisms of C. F. Burney (Colossians 1:15 and the Midrashim)

C. F. Burney wrote an article that has garnered attention in some circles: "Christ as the APXH of Creation," JTS 27 (1926) 160–177.

This article submitted that Colossians 1:15 exposits the first word of Genesis 1:1 (doing so midrashically), but accomplishes this job indirectly by alluding to Proverbs 8:22.

[See also Jeffrey S. Lamp, "Wisdom in Col 1:15–20: Contribution and Significance," JETS 41/1 (March 1998) 45–53.]

While the scholarly community at large has spoken approvingly of Burney's thesis, as with other matters, not all concur with his overarching thesis:

"This thesis [of Burney's] would presuppose that the passage was an exegesis of the Hebrew text, but the insight that 1:15-20 is a citation of a Hellenistic Christian hymn does away with this assumption. Moreover, it cannot be carried through in particulars without the aid of artificial explanations, and it is not sufficient for comprehension of the whole context--for this would be necessary if ARXH (beginning) from the second strophe is to be included. For a critique, cf. Jervell, Imago Dei, p. 200, n. 107; Gabathuler, Jesus Christus, Haupt pt der Kirche, 26-29; Feuillet, Le Christ sagesse, 189-91" (Eduard Lohse, Colossians and Philemon, page 47).

What Lohse means with respect to the "hymn" of Colossians 1:15-20 is that if we do possibly have what amounts to a pre-Pauline hymn in these verses, then it would seem unlikely that Paul is explaining a Hebrew text (as Burney suggests) since the hymn would evidently have Hellenistic as opposed to Semitic textual roots. Moreover, other NT "hymns" like Philippians 2:5-11 or 1 Timothy 3:16 would also have Hellenistic origins. That's provided these passages are truly hymnic.

But another criticism I have of Burney's work is that I believe he committed what Carson would later call "exegetical fallacies." One such fallacy is known as illegitimate totality transfer (as James Barr labels it). Neither RESHITH nor ARXH probably have all the meanings in any one context of usage (USUS LOQUENDI) that Burney attributes to each term. It's usually fallacious to believe that language works that way.

I do not think that the Midrashim always or necessarily engage in positing several different meanings for one word in a determinate context. The Midrashim may offer commentary on different levels of meaning that a word or verse has, but they do not have to posit multiple senses for words used in concreto. What I am saying is that Burney suggests RESHITH/ARXH possibly mean (i.e. lexically denote) "in RESHITH" "by RESHITH" "into RESHITH" "beginning" "Sum-total" "head" and "firstfruits" all in one context. This approach seems to be an example of illegitimate totality transfer. Midrash as an explanatory approach does not commit the exegete to the so-called ILL. See Burney, p. 176-177 and

This post is urging that Burney is probably wrong in his analysis of RESHITH/ARXH because we now know that language generally does not operate in the way he contends. I do not even think that one who does Midrash is committed to the view that some Hebrew or Greek word in Scripture must bear multiple senses all at once within a given context.

I am not primarily trying to account for what the apostle Paul may or may not have done. My point is that it's usually fallacious to maintain that a word means S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, Sn in any given literary context where "S" represents a given "sense" for a particular sememe/morpheme/lexeme.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Philo of Alexandria's Relationship with Greek Philosophy

Here are some points on Philo and Greek philosophy.

J. N. D. Kelly ("Early Christian Doctrines," page 20)

"Guided by the Middle Platonists he so much admired, Philo taught that God is utterly transcedent; He transcends even virtue, knowledge and absolute goodness and beauty, the eternal Forms which his revered master, Plato, had postulated. God is pure being (TO ONTWS ON), absolutely simple and self-sufficing, and can be described as 'without quality' (APOIOS)--which probably means that, by his transcendence, He cannot be included in any of the logical categories in which we classify finite beings."

From the illustrious historian of philosophy, F. Copleston ("A History of Philosophy: Greece and Rome"
Vol II: 202:

"Filled with admiration for the Greek philosophers Philo maintained that the same truth is to be found in both the Greek philosophy and Jewish Scriptures and tradition. While believing that the philosophers had made use of the Sacred Scriptures, he at the same time did not hesitate to interpret the Scriptures allegorically when he deemed it necessary."

See Philo, De Opificio Mundi 24-25.

"What is important, from the point of view of his metaphysic, is that he identifies the Logos with the Platonic world of Forms or archetypes, of which the sensible world is a copy" (Kelly, 21).