Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Recommendation: Concerning Religious Epistemology

I heartily recommend the book by James Emery White entitled What Is Truth? (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 1994.) By the way, he's not the same J. White, who has launched multiple criticisms against Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, Mormons and others.

White's book deals with the religious epistemologies of Cornelius Van Til, Francis Schaeffer, Carl F.H. Henry, Donald Bloesch, and Millard Erickson. I have found the book extremely helpful in matters related to the theory of religious knowledge, and I especially connect with the epistemic system of Carl F.H. Henry as delineated in his magnum opus God, Revelation, and Authority. Concerning the law of non-contradiction, Henry writes: "Without noncontradiction and logical consistency, no knowledge whatever is possible" (Qt. in White 103). He adds: "whatever violates the law of contradiction cannot be considered revelation." But why? Because "the God of biblical revelation is the God of reason, not Ultimate Irrationality; all he does is rational" (103).

So contrary to what some may assert, the law of contradiction (or non-contradiction) is not a man-made law. Neither Zeno nor Parmenides nor Aristotle created this "law." Henry concludes that God Himself is behind the law of contradiction (non-contradiction), and Henry is not alone in this regard.

One twentieth thinker, J. Mortimer Adler, also has written that the law of contradiction is an observation about real life: it is not simply a formal rule of human logic that has no applicability to ontology. Or as Henry puts matters--without the law of noncontradiction and without logical consistency, "no knowledge whatever is possible."

Another observation worth noting is this one: "Christian theology denies that the human mind or human reasoning is a creative source of revelational content; its proper role is not to fashion revelation or truth, but rather to recognize and elucidate it" (Henry qt. in White 95). Cf. Henry's God, Revelation, and Authority 1:41ff.

Compare Romans 12:1.




Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hina in John 6:29; 17:3

Granting that ἵνα + the subjunctive is appositional in Jn 17:3, I still wonder whether John is providing a definition or description of everlasting life. In Jn 6:29, we read: ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ ἔργον τοῦ θεοῦ ἵνα πιστεύητε εἰς ὃν ἀπέστειλεν ἐκεῖνος.

This passage answers the question: "What shall we do, that we may perform the works of God?"

Is Jesus here defining the work of God in the appositional clause? Or is he delineating how one performs the work of God. The appositional clause could either identify (define) or explain the first nominal clause, and it seems to me that Jesus is giving a prescription in the latter part of 6:29, not a description. At least that is a possible reading of 6:29.

GRB Murray writes: "The hearers, as they were Jews, interpret 'the works which God demands' as works of the Law, which God will reward with eternal life. They learn, however, that the 'work' God wants is faith in the one God has sent" (John, 91).

Jn 6:29 seems to have some bearing on our understanding of Jn 17:3--and 6:29 appears to be prescriptive (i.e., it tells us what God expects or wills).

From the Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary:

The meaning is not,—that faith is wrought in us by God, is the work of God; but that the truest way of working the work of God is to believe on Him whom He hath sent.

ἔργον, not ἔργα, because there is but this one, properly speaking, and all the rest are wrapt up in it (see James 1:25).


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Acts 1:6-7, KAIROS and XRONOS (Questions)

Professor John B. Polhill writes that there is "probably no great distinction" between XRONOUS and KAIROUS in Acts 1:6, 7 (John B. Polhill, Acts. Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1992).

On the other hand, "XRONOUS refers to the time that must elapse before the establishment of the Kingdom; KAIROUS to the critical events accompanying its establishment" (F.F. Bruce).

At the present time, my view on the semantics of Acts 1:6, 7 vis-a'-vis KAIROS and XRONOS is a neutral one: Polhill indicates that there might be no semantic distinction between the two Greek terms in 1:6, 7. We can't simply base our conclusions on the particular senses of KAIROS and XRONOS in other Scriptures because those occurrences may fit into another semantic domain or context. Maybe if we apply the text-linguistic principles of considering the text (the linguistic unit), co-text (the words in the sentence or phrase being exegeted and, by extension, any texts that have an influence on the exegesis of the text in question) and the context (social and cultural factors), some light could possibly be shed on this problem.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

John Wycliffe and the First English Bible

The NRSV (The Oxford Edition) states: "Prior to the sixteenth century, translations of the Bible into English were made from the Latin Vulgate instead of from the Hebrew or Greek, and were recorded only in manuscript copies" (P. 400).

It also affirms that "The first English versions of the entire Bible were the two associated with the work of John Wyclif, made by translation from the Latin Vulgate between 1380 and 1397" (NRSV 401).

Look as hard as you may, you will probably not find any earlier non-manuscript English versions in their entirety prior to Wycliffe.

Some versions that antedated his efforts were:

Whitby's version of the Psalms (670 CE)

The Venerable Bede's Gospel of John

King Alfred's renderings of portions of Exodus and the Acts of the Apostles, as well as some of the Psalms (849-901 CE)

Aelfric's translation of the Heptateuch (Genesis through Judges)

None of these versions were translated in their entirety, and you will not find any evidence of a work comparable to Wycliffe's before the Bible that was credited to him was produced:

"With the activities of Wyclif and the Lollards, as his disciples were called, is associated the vernacular English of the Bible that circulated in manuscript as the only translation of the Bible available in the English tongue till the time of Tyndale and Coverdale" (Geddes MacGregor 77).

As FF Bruce points out:

"The first translation of the whole Bible into English is associated with the name of John Wycliffe (c. 1330-1384), the most eminent Oxford theologian of his day" (The English Bible, p. 12).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Song of Songs and Rabbi Akiba

From Weston W. Fields:

It is further stated that Rabbi Akiba said: "God forbid!-no man in Israel ever disputed about the Song of Songs (that he should say) that it does not render the hands unclean, for all the ages are not worth the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel; for all the Writings are holy, but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies."30 This is to some an indication that Rabbi Akiba interpreted the Song allegorically. It is true that it is difficult to understand his hyperbolic language if he did not.

Field's entire article can be found here: http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hildebrandt/OTeSources/22-SongOfSongs/Text/Articles/Fields-SongOfSongs-GTJ.htm

See also http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16445/showrashi/true
http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16452/showrashi/true

Monday, December 21, 2015

LSJ on ERWS

http://nlp.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph.jsp?l=e%29%2Frws&la=greek&can=e%29%2Frws0&prior=o%28#lexicon

Initial Research on Judges 1:6-7

When Adoni-Bezek ran away, they chased him and captured him. Then they cut off his thumbs and big toes. Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings, with thumbs and big toes cut off, used to lick up food scraps under my table. God has repaid me for what I did to them.” They brought him to Jerusalem, where he died. (Judges 1:6-7 NET Bible)

καὶ εἶπεν Αδωνιβεζεκ ῾Εβδομήκοντα βασιλεῖς τὰ ἄκρα τῶν χειρῶν αὐτῶν καὶ τῶν ποδῶν αὐτῶν ἀποκεκομμένοι ἦσαν συλλέγοντες τὰ ὑποκάτω τῆς τραπέζης μου· καθὼς οὖν ἐποίησα, οὕτως ἀνταπέδωκέν μοι ὁ θεός. καὶ ἤγαγον αὐτὸν εἰς Ιερουσαλημ, καὶ ἀπέθανεν ἐκεῖ (Judges 1:7 LXX).

So, in this case, it seems that God did approve of the mutilated toes and thumbs. At least Adoni-Bezek didn't get all his fingers and toes severed. More seriously, we see the law of lex talionis in motion here: eye for eye and tooth for tooth. Ellicott's Commentary marshals other verses that make similar proclamations. For example:

And Samuel said, "As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women." And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the LORD in Gilgal. (1 Samuel 15:33 ESV)

Concerning Judges 1:7, Ellicott remarks:

The "seventy" kings may have been the rulers of the towns which Adoni-bezek had taken in extending the territory of Bezek. Josephus says seventy-two kings (Antt. v. 2, § 2), and this common variation is found in some MSS. of the LXX. The Persians treated their Greek captives in this way (Curtius, v. 5,6). Mutilation in the East was so common that it was hardly accounted cruel (Xen. Anab. i. 9-13).

Addendum: While Jehovah God could have decreed Adoni-Bezek's fate, it's also possible that God merely permitted him to undergo this fate.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Paul Johnson's Comments on the Availability of the Bible from 1080 CE Onwards

Catholic historian Paul Johnson relates the following account:

"Access to the Bible, whether in the original or in any other tongue,
had never been an issue in the East. In the West, the clergy had begun
to assert an exclusive interpretive, indeed custodial, right to the
Bible as early as the ninth century; and from about 1080 there had been
frequent instances of the Pope, councils and bishops forbidding not
only vernacular translations but any reading at all, by laymen, of the
Bible taken as a whole. In some ways this was the most scandalous
aspect of the Medieval Latin Church. From the Waldensians onwards,
attempts to scrutinize the Bible became proof presumptive of heresy--a
man or a woman might burn for it alone--and, conversely, the heterodox
were increasingly convinced that the Bible was incompatible with papal
and clerical claims" (A History of Christianity 273).

Erasmus also made the comment that "Nowadays they shout 'heresy!' at
you for almost anything. Anything that does not please them, or that
they do not understand, is heresy. To know Greek is heresy. To
pronounce it correctly is heresy" (276).

Friday, December 18, 2015

Violence in the Old Testament

I had a lot of bright students for fall semester 2015, many of whom posed a number of questions and/or objections to me concerning the "Old Testament" (Hebrew-Aramaic Bible).

Many people decry the "violence" in the Old Testament. They wonder how a holy book for Jews and Christians could sanction such violent acts. Then they go off, purchase tickets and popcorn (along with drinks), and they watch gory films produced by Hollywood iterum et iterum. I thus wonder how bothered moderns truly are.

I'm not trying to make a tu quoque defense for the Bible, since there are ways to explain the wars in the OT. But this question just arose in my mind as I heard numerous criticisms of the OT this semester. Why do so many violent films exist, violent TV shows (etc), if we enlightened moderns are so bothered by violence? Just thinking out loud.

The Law of Contradiction

When teaching logic or other courses that bear on the subject, some of my students have expressed their doubts regarding the law of contradiction (also known as the law of non-contradiction). But it is very difficult to outright
deny the truthfulness of the LNC once this law (or principle) is rightly understood. Even opponents of the famed "law" usually have not been able to reject it in toto: they too still hold to remnants of it in their formal logistic schemas. Nevertheless, those who normally oppose strict adherence to the LNC think that there are exceptions to the law(such as the liar's paradox or the famed "cat" of quantum mechanics). One writer refers to the law as a "principle" instead.

My interest in the law has been shaped by my studies on the Trinity doctrine: the Trinity appears to be contradictory. If the word "God" is an identity marker (A = A) and not a predicative signifier, then the Trinity seems to be incoherent and logically impossible. I submit that ELOHIM/QEOS (used within a given context of utterance) is a marker of identity and that the proposition, "The Father is God," is an identity statement and not a predicative one. Thus, if there is one person to whom the identity marker "God" applies and this word "God" speaks to His identity simpliciter et simpliciter--then there cannot be anyone else called God/god who has all properties in common with this singular person such that we could rightly apply the law of indiscernibility of identicals to this person and say that A = B or that X = Y (known as the law of Leibniz). Simply put, Ps. 90:2 states that from OLAM to OLAM, Jehovah is God. That one God of Israel is identified as Father in the Hebrew Bible. ELOHIM is therefore not something merely predicated of Jehovah the Father: it tells us Who He is. Cf. the Shema in Deut. 6:4, which certain scholars interpret as a monotheistic confession about one divine person.

Eph. 4:4-6 also declares that there is one God and Father, who is over all and through all and in all. If God is an identity statement, and since there is only one God, no other entity or person can be identified as God without contradicting a major supposition of Trinitarianism, namely, the proposition that there is only one true God. But one question about this whole line of reasoning involves the very LNC itself.

From the Western standpoint, I can safely say that Aristotle was not the first person to employ the LNC, since both Zeno and Parmenides utilized the law during the Presocratic era. And even when Aristotle invokes, formulates and amplifies the law, he is simply abstracting from observations of the empirical world. For minstance, the Philosopher knew that p and ~p could be observed in everyday life. Aristotle evidently realized that a woman cannot be both pregnant and not pregnant simultaneously (at the same time and in the same sense or in the same circumstances); a house cannot be white and non-white simultaneously; no object can be red and green all over simultaneously, and as far as we can tell--no entity is able to subsist in two natures at one time (the stories about minotaurs and centaurs must be false). The LNC also makes me suspect the logical possibility of the Incarnation (Christ existing in two natures simultaneously).

Some Potential Objections to the LNC and My Replies:

Interlocutor:
"(1) "Transition states: when I leave the room, for an instant I am both in it and not in it."

This example is debatable. If you leave a room, the transition has been completed, so that you're not still in the room. There is no genuine refutation here. This objection is playing upon vague predication.

Interlocutor:
"(2) "Some of Zeno's paradoxes: the moving arrow is both where it is, and where it is not."

Read Aristotle for a sound refutation of Zeno's paradoxes. The latter's famed puzzles only work if one accepts the major presupposition of his argument, namely, that space is composed of discrete units. Furthermore, the results of Zeno's reasoning are not that desirable--according to that philosopher, motion is illusory and impossible. Do you
agree with Zeno in this regard? At any rate, Aristotle refuted the sophisms of Zeno.

Interlocutor:
"(3) "Borderline cases of vague predicates: an adolescent is both an adult and not an adult."

The term "adolescent" simply denotes an artifical distinction that is contrived by certain societies (not all societies). You cannot legitimately use an arbitrary or constructed distinction to overthrow what seems to be a necessary and immutable truth of the cosmos.

Interlocutor:
"(4) "Certain quantum mechanical states: a particle may go through two slits simultaneously, even though this is not possible."

The problems that attend QM may be more epistemological than ontological (Mortimer Adler). What is more, QM emphasizes ontological contingency (not ontological necessity): QM may allow for circumstances in which the LNC is circumvented, but using QM for this purpose seems like a stretch to me. As one physicist remarked: "I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics."

"If you think you can talk about quantum theory without feeling dizzy, you haven't understood the first thing about it" (Niels Bohr).

Thursday, December 17, 2015

ERWS and Song of Songs

It's interesting to me that ERWS appears twice (both times in Proverbs), but it's not used in the book that is all about godly and decent love between a man and a woman (i.e., the Song of Solomon). There's probably a reason why the translators chose agape to describe the love mentioned in the Song rather than erws.

See Proverbs 7:18; 30:16; Song of Solomon 8:6.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SWMATIKWS (Colossians 2:9)

"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9 NIV)

The expression "bodily form" (σωματικῶς) is interesting. Does it refer to Jesus of Nazareth qua human or is the verse referring to a heavenly spiritual body (not human) that Christ might now possess in the celestial sphere amongst the holy angels and God the Father?

Thayer seems to choose the second option and I'm inclined to agree with him. Even if one does not accept this understanding of the text, however, it is important to point out that Col. 2:9 does not (necessarily) refer to the incarnate "God-man." Of course, I don't believe that God became incarnate at all; nevertheless, I'm not trying to make an issue of the Incarnation here.

David M. Hay explains that σωματικῶς may denote "in reality" and he thinks that this meaning "seems to fit the present context" (Hay, Colossians, p. 89). See Philo, Heres 84.

Hay also writes:

"This is not simply a formula for incarnation since
the present tense of 'dwells' seems to rule out the
idea of limiting this to the time of Jesus' earthly
life" (ibid).

He then suggests that the Incarnation of Messiah might be in view but then Hay sallies forth the meaning "in reality" for σωματικῶς.

See Col. 2:17.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Nation Against Nation (Matthew 24:7)

καὶ πολεμήσει ἔθνος πρὸς ἔθνος καὶ πόλις πρὸς πόλιν, ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἐξέστησεν αὐτοὺς ἐν πάσῃ θλίψει. (2 Chronicles 15:6 LXX)

ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπὶ ἔθνος καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν καὶ ἔσονται λιμοὶ καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους (Mt. 24:7)

Not exactly alike, but there are possible resemblances here, it seems.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Dialogue on Time and the Present (Edited Discussion)

MY INTERLOCUTOR: "Where my main disagreement lies is with your statement that 'all that really exists or has duration is the present.' For, if only the present exists, then time does not exist. For this is the very definition of atemporality: being without succession in a constant undivided NOW. To be sure, neither the past nor the future have a duration greater than (or less than) zero in the present. But, neither does the present have a duration greater than (or less than zero) in the present. For, however long the duration is of the present, for that same length of time, time stands still. And when time stands still, time does not exist, for no temporal succession
occurs during that 'time'. So, in order for time to exist, the length of the duration of the present cannot be anything other than zero."

EDGAR: One could argue that a tense like "present" implies duration since we could and often do view "the present" as a temporal distinction. The argument set forth above only works if one accepts your definition of "atemporality." As one who believes in an A-series of time, I do not define "atemporality" as "being without succession in a constant undivided now." My view is that the present (i.e., now) necessarily shares in temporality insofar as it involves temporal succession. Richard Gale takes up this subject in a work entitled "Has the Present any Duration?," Noûs, Vol. 5, No. 1. (Feb., 1971): 39-47. He argues that certain problems arise when we talk about "the present" since it is possible to equivocate when employing this language. Gale makes a distinction between the durational present and the punctal present. An example of the former distinction is when we speak of the current year (2008) as the present; conversely, we can refer to the present or "now" in the sense of a particular moment of the current year (i.e., 4:15 on April 4, 2008). Unless we make a clear distinction between which "present" we're talking about, antinomies might result.

INTERLOCUTOR: "If the present is indivisible, how can it have a duration other than zero? For no number other than zero is indivisible."

EDGAR: The present is not necessarily indivisible. Besides, it depends on which "present" you have in mind. But even the present (in terms of this day, April 4) appears to have finite temporal parts or some type of extension. There is an informative article by C. W. K. Mundle "Augustine's Pervasive Error concerning Time," Philosophy, Vol. 41, No. 156. (Apr., 1966): 165-168. Mundle critiques the Augustinian assertion that "No one would deny that the present has no duration" (Confessions 11.28). Using some of his examples, I might ask, if the present has no genuine duration, then how is it possible for me to hear a series of sounds now that I recognize as my favorite song? Or what if I am now having the experience of visually perceiving my 2005 BMW? How can I make sense of this (current) visual perception in terms of a durationless present?

INTERLOCUTOR:
"Thus, I argue that the past, the present, and the future have an atemporal mode of existence in the present. And by an atemporal mode of existence, I mean a non-durational mode of existence. If you reject this concept, then how can it be consistent with your views for you to speak of the past as 'being' potentially infinite, or to say that the past 'is' potentially infinite? Wouldn't consistency require you to say that 'the past was potentially infinite', with the implication being that the past is now no longer potentially infinite?"

EDGAR:
Firstly, I do not buy into the notion of tenseless time. Maybe it is not your intent, but it seems that you have verbally abolished tense vis-a-vis time and you're now content to have a tenseless past, present and future "in the present," which still does not make sense to me unless what you're trying to affirm is a B-series of time in A-series language. If I speak of the past as "being" potentially infinite, I do not mean that the past is still in existence. I have made it clear that I affirm the A-series of time which claims that the past is no longer and the future is not yet. When I used the language you allude to above, I did not mean to imply that I believe God's potentially infinite past still exists. I was simply trying to predicate potential infinity of the past: it is only a suggestion that is being made here.

INTERLOCUTOR:
"I am curious as to where John of Damascus speaks of time as having existed in an unmeasurable state prior to the coming into being of the created order. Wouldn't 'unmeasurable' time have to be indivisible, and thus atemporal?"

I came across the references in Stephen T. Davis' Logic and the Nature of God. He culled the remarks of John of Damascus from a book written by Nelson Pike (God and Timelessness), which I have read and subsequently documented the references to John of Damascus for myself. You can find the Damascene's observations on time in An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith. His words appear on p. 181 of Nelson Pike's work. Keep in mind that Davis and Pike interpret John of Damascus as making the claim that God once existed in unmeasurable time or that unmeasurable time is somehow tied to God's nature.

Friday, December 11, 2015

NET Bible Note on Proverbs 2:22

Heb “the guilty.” The term רְשָׁעִים (rÿsha’im, “the wicked”) is from the root רָשַׁע (rasha’, “to be guilty”) and refers to those who are (1) guilty of sin: moral reprobates or (2) guilty of crime: criminals deserving punishment (BDB 957 s.v. רָשָׁע). This is the person who is probably not a covenant member and manifests that in the way he lives, either by sinning against God or committing criminal acts. The noun sometimes refers to guilty criminals who deserve to die (Num 16:26; 35:31; 2 Sam 4:11). Here they will be “cut off” and “torn away” from the land.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Girdlestone's Comments on RASHA


As these remarks demonstrate, it seems that the moral element should not be removed from the lexicality or semanticity of RASHA.

These are pages 134-135 of Girdlestone. Other sources that make similar claims could be produced.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Psalm 31:17--Sheol

Ps 31:17:

"Let the wicked be disgraced; let them lie silent in
the grave" (NLT).

"Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in
Sheol" (NASB).

The Hebrew term rendered "wicked" is RASHA (רָשָׁע).
The LXX has οἱ ἀσεβεῖς ("the ungodly") for RASHA.
In any event, we know that evil, bad or wicked
people (from God's standpoint) are under consideration
in Ps 31:17.

In view of the foregoing data, my question is this.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that anyone who dies and
finds his/her abiding place in Sheol or Hades
(really not a place, but more of a condition) will one
day be raised from the dead (Rev 20:12-13) by God. But
if, as David indicates, the "wicked" are "brought down
to Hades" when they die, then wouldn't the wicked in
Hades have to be raised from the dead when God
empties Sheol? Compare Rev 6:8.

Someone might point out that Ps 31:17 does not explicitly
say the wicked go to Sheol post mortem, but it only states
that David prayed for God to consign the wicked in Sheol.
Nevertheless, the belief that at least some wicked
ones could be denizens of Sheol appears to be an
ancient belief of Judaism. While it is conceivable
that David prayed for the wicked to be
brought down to Sheol without believing that they would actually rest there,
that possibility seems highly unlikely, in view of
what other texts dealing with Sheol declare.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Impassibility: What Is It?

I've studied the putative divine attribute called "impassibility" (APAQEIA) for a number of years and think it seems safe to claim that the "ancients" generally understood APAQEIA (as applied to God) to mean "not subject to the emotions, changes, conditioning or sufferings common to humanity." In other words, God is the Unconditioned One or actus purus.

Richard A. Creel (Divine Impassibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986) rigorously outlines and discusses eight possible senses of the term "impassibility," and it appears from his study that the ancients and a number of modern theologians thought/think divine APAQEIA rules out God having any emotions (i.e., passions) or at least emotions as we know of them. To be fair, Joseph M. Hallman (The Descent of God: Divine Suffering in History and Theology) shows that the ANF and PNF treatment of God's supposed impassiblity is by no means neat or tidy. For instance, some of the ancient Fathers seem to affirm God's impassibility on one hand while qualifying it on the other. As with any theological subject, there are opposing viewpoints.

Jaroslav Pelikan (The Christian Tradition, 1:53)
observes:

"Some [ancient] Christian theologians went so far as
simply to identify the Christian doctrine of God with
the philosophical rejection of anthropomorphism;
Arnobius [of Sicca] argued that God (the gods) had to
be 'immune to every disturbance and every
perturbation,' with no 'agitation of spirit' or wrath.
Others did not go to this extreme, but maintained that
the philosophical doctrine of impassiblity was not
incompatible with the biblical language about the
wrath of God; Justin referred to God as impassible,
but also spoke 'again and again of God in the most
personal language.'"

However, it seems that Justin's thought was inchoate and less than complete.

The Fathers admittedly spoke of God being impassible and simultaneously attributed emotions (in a way) to Him. But as the writings of Tertullian suggests, they tended to think that God certainly does not experience emotions in a human
manner and possibly He does not have emotions (on the "meta" level) at all.

John Thompson (Modern Trinitarian Perspectives. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Page 55) writes:

"In line, therefore, with most modern theologians [Karl] Barth rejects the idea of APAQEIA, of God as an unmoved, unfeeling being beyond the reach of suffering."

"In most places in his work, Gregory [of Nyssa] tends
to use APAQEIA in reference to all feelings and to
exalt the Christian attempt to attain it. APAQEIA in
its usual meaning is the absence of all the passions
[i.e. emotions], and Gregory inherits this usage. At
times, however, he does give a positive valuation of
some human emotions" (Hallman, op. cit. 89).

And while he is not an "ancient," I believe that Anselm of Canterbury sums up the thought of the ANF and PNF well:

"How, then, art though compassionate and not
compassionate, O Lord, unless because thou art
compassionate in terms of our experience, and not
compassionate in terms of thy being" (Proslogium 8).

Friday, December 04, 2015

2 Kings 4:37 (προσεκύνησεν)

καὶ εἰσῆλθεν ἡ γυνὴ καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ καὶ προσεκύνησεν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ ἔλαβεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς καὶ ἐξῆλθεν (2 Kings 4:37, LXX).

Brenton LXX (4 Kings 4:37): "And the woman went in, and fell at his feet, and did obeisance bowing to the ground; and she took her son, and went out."

NETS: "And the woman came in and fell at his feet and did obeisance on the ground, and she took her son and went out."

Thursday, December 03, 2015

F.E. Peters Discusses Philo's Logos Theory

From the pen of F.E. Peters (Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon, page 112):

"Philo knew the distinction between interior and
exterior LOGOS and could apply it in an orthodox Stoic
fashion (De vita Mos. II, 137), and it was perhaps
this distinction, together with the Jewish scriptural
tradition about the 'Word of God' that led to his new
treatment of LOGOS. In the first instance LOGOS is the
Divine Reason that embraces the archetypal complex of
EIDE that will serve as the models of creation (De
opif. 5, 20)."

Later Philo says that the Logos finds expression when God creates the cosmos (see De Fuga 2, 12). But the LOGOS is not a person in Philo, and it is not identical with Almighty God.

Leonard Hodgson on Divine Unity

Hodgson's comments from his The Doctrine of the Trinity:

"The notion that in the Trinity one Person may be the fount or source
of being or Godhead for another lingered on to be a cause of friction
and controversy between the East and the West, and still persists
today. The main thesis of these lectures, I have said, is that
the act of faith required for acceptance of the doctrine
of the Trinity is faith that the Divine unity is a dynamic unity
actively unifying in the one divine life the lives of the three divine
persons. I now wish to add that in this unity there is no
room for any trace of subordinationism, and that the thought of the
Father as the source or fount of God-head is a relic of pre-Christian
theology which has not fully assimilated the Christian revelation"
(102).