Thursday, September 29, 2016

Behavior, Private Languages, and Divine Omniscience (More Conversations with Dualists)

Assume we concur that God knows I'm now in pain apart from any external behaviors I might demonstrate like grimacing or shouting "ouch!" Does that automatically make the private language argument of Ludwig Wittgenstein wrong, and dualism true? That's a logically possible scenario; however, the inference from the given premises is not a necessary one. It might also be the case that God knows whether I'm experiencing pain without observing my behavior, and yet the private language argument might still be true. We first have to clarify what is meant by "private language" since the terminology is ambiguous. In this regard, Wittgenstein writes:

"But could we also imagine a language in which a person could write down or give expression to his inner experiences - his feelings, moods, and the rest - for his private use? - Well can't we do so in our ordinary language? - But that is not what I mean. The individual words of this language are to refer to what can only be known to the person speaking; to his immediate private sensations. So another person cannot understand the language."

If the private language argument as stated above is correct, then substance dualism is defeated, even if an omniscient God exists--and I believe he does exist. It's not possible to have one's own denotations for pain (a private way of expressing pain that only the individual understands) or to have a language that is inherently non-public. Language by its very nature is a public venture; even idiolects depend on sociolects.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

John 8:44-Truth Is Not in the Devil

Jesus professes that "truth is not in the Devil" (ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν αὐτῷ). It may be significant that the statement is introduced by ὅτι, which is also preceded by a dative of sphere (or reference)--καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ οὐκ ἔστηκεν. Jesus could therefore be saying that the reason for Satan's defection (ἀποστασία) is his inveterate propensity for lying. If that is the case, then it would seem that the exclamation--ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν αὐτῷ--is a dative of sphere that one can view as the complete antithesis of Eph. 4:21, where we are told that truth is in Jesus (καθὼς ἔστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ).

Here are observations from one commentary found at biblegateway:

John portrays the devil as exactly the opposite of Jesus. Here the devil is described with respect to a beginning (v. 44), as is Jesus also (1:1). But Jesus is life (14:6) and has life in himself and gives life (1:4; 5:26), whereas the devil is a murderer (v. 44). Furthermore, the devil was not holding to the truth (more literally, "did not stand in the truth," en te aletheia ouk esteken), because there is no truth in him (v. 44). In John's thought "truth" (aletheia) "means eternal reality as revealed to men—either the reality itself or the revelation of it" (Dodd 1953:177). These two aspects of truth are united in Jesus who both is the truth (14:6) and speaks the truth (8:40). Just as it is Jesus' very nature to be the truth, so it is the devil's very nature to lack the truth and speak lies, for he is a liar and the father of lies. So John depicts the devil as the personification of what is the exact opposite of Jesus.

The three main characteristics of the devil in this verse move from the exterior to the interior, as it were. The first description is of the devil's external activity as a murderer. This is followed by a general reference to his alienation from the truth. The description concludes with the assertion that this alienation from the truth is thorough; to his very core there is no truth in him, but rather lies. Thus, John is pointing to the inner core of the devil just as he points to the heart of the opponents.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dabar (Psalm 33:6)-Creation By Means of the "Deed"

Did God produce the cosmos by merely speaking or uttering commands? Genesis 1:1-31 possibly indicates no such thing. For while AMAR can mean "to say, speak, utter, tell, or declare," Ps. 33:6 proclaims that the DABAR and RUACH of YHWH brought forth the heavens and the earth. DABAR can refer to a word or deed: its semantic import is not confined to utterances. DABAR and RUACH are apparently employed as synonyms in Ps. 33:6. Furthermore, since Genesis implies that a divine force was moving to and fro over the primordial waters (1:2), I submit that it possibly was not God's spoken utterance that brought forth the universe, but his deed or act produced the cosmos by means of holy spirit (compare Jer. 5:28). As Goethe's Faust exclaims: "In the beginning was the deed."

Now I am not suggesting that one should construe John 1:1 in a Faustian fashion per se. What I am contending, however, is that the Johannine Prologue may lend support to the idea that God's deed (his work through holy spirit) brought forth the cosmos. More than utterances were potentially involved when God created the universe. This point has been recognized by ancient writers of sacred literature and modern physicists like Einstein.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What We Miss By Missing Metaphors (Brief Note Concerning Hyperliterality)

I once studied the Bible with a man, who was quite intelligent, but he would read the Bible hyperliterally. Admittedly, one can read Scripture hypermetaphorically too, but reading and understanding everything scriptural at face value (and hyperliterally) also has its pitfalls. To illustrate:

Gen. 1:3-God speaks light into existence.

Gen. 3:8-"And they hear the sound of Jehovah God walking up and down in the garden at the breeze of the day" (YLT)

"And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day" (ERV)

Deut. 23:14-"for Jehovah thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy, that he may not see an unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee" (ASV).

Should these verses be understood literally (even hyperliterally) or be construed metaphorically? Did God just speak light into existence? Did Jehovah or his voice walk about in Eden? Did Jehovah circumambulate in the Israelite camp, and need to avoid human excrement, if Israel did not obey Deut. 23:13?

All of these verses make more sense, it appears, when they're read as metaphors or understood to be figures of speech.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I think the words βασιλείαν ἀσάλευτον παραλαμβάνοντες ἔχωμεν are rightly translated "receiving an unshakeable kingdom" or "we are to receive [are receiving] an unshakeable kingdom."

(1) I take the participle παραλαμβάνοντες as a participle of grounds, because of Διὸ in Heb. 12:28, which can be rendered: "therefore," "seeing that" or "since." One could of course translate παραλαμβάνοντες as "receiving." But such a rendition is by no means necessary. In fact, Wallace encourages the Greek student "to translate the force of the participle with more than an -ing gloss." So either "receiving" or "to receive" is acceptable from a grammatical perspective.

(2) As far as the time frame delineated by the participle, it must be remembered that we should probably recall aspect morphology here. I.e., the writer's use of the present active participle is his way of subjectively focusing on the action delineated in the account.

William L. Lane, in his Word commentary on Hebrews, writes: "The participle 'we are receiving,' does not express possession . . . but acceptance of a gift or office that is being bestowed" (Lane 47b:484). Lane adds: "The present tense of the participle emphasizes that Christians are now only in the process of receiving this gift and that this process will continue into the future" (Lane 47b:484).

(3) Some have pointed to the eschatological character of Heb. 12:28ff, a point that we must also bear in mind.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Divine "Sealing" and "In Christ" Language

The Johannine "in me" formula is pretty much
synonymous with Paul's concept of a Christian disciple
being "in Christ." In his high-priestly prayer, Jesus
beseeched his Father in this way (according to the

"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those
also who believe in Me through their word; that they
may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I
in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world
may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have
given Me I have given to them, that they may be one,
just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they
may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know
that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have
loved Me" (Jn 17:20-23).

The language above reminds us of the EN verses that we
find in the Johannine epistles (1 Jn 3:5-6, 23; 4:4).
And we must not forget how Jesus expresses himself at
Jn 6:56, a very controversial passage. At any rate, I
see no need to radically differentiate these passages
from those that we find in Paul (see the BDAG entry for EN).
Jesus' statements about being "in" him were proleptic.
That is, they would come to fruition after his death and resurrection.
Jn 15:6 would primarily apply to Christ's disciples
subsequent to the death and Ascension of the Son.

While being "in Christ" chiefly entails
being sealed by God's spirit--a point I don't think John would have
denied--the Scriptures do not teach that the sealing is
necessarily permanent. To the contrary, the sealing mentioned in
the NT is called an ARRABWN, a down payment or earnest
money (Eph 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Cor 1:21-22; 5:1-5). A Christian must not
only be sealed initially; he or she must preserve the
divine seal until the day of redemption from the
sinful and fallen body (Rev 7:1-8).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

"Iridescence in Ezekiel" (Link for Journal Article)


Article deals with rainbow imagery in Ezekiel.

Review of "Church History, Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day" (Woodbridge and James III)

The book's full title is Church History, Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context (Hardcover) by John D. Woodbridge, and Frank A. James III. Published by Zondervan, 2013.

My specialty in church history is the ancient and medieval period. This book covers the 14th-21st centuries, so it allows me to fill in the gaps concerning other periods. It's a somewhat advanced account of numerous events that occurred in the middle ages, the Renaissance period and during modernity. Some of the highlights include a section on the Great Schism, chapters on the Protestant Reformation, information about seventeenth-century Christianity, historical periods that challenged the church, and chapters explaining how the Enlightenment period affected professed followers of Christ.

This work contains a general bibliography, a general index, maps, charts, pictures and helpful chapter summaries. One additional feature of this book is its propensity to supply plenty of historical context for each narrative it relates. How did Deism affect the church? What about the Scientific Revolution? This study answers such questions since it discusses Sir Isaac Newton, the French Philosophes along with Copernicus and Johannes Kepler. I've found this book to be a good pedagogical resource. It's a keeper in my opinion.

Christopher Seitz on the Tetragrammaton

Taken from the book edited by Alvin F. Kimel, Jr. entitled This Is My
Name Forever: The Trinity & Gender Language for God
(Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001), page 26:

"The notion that God has a proper name and can be differentiated from
other deities with proper names is absolutely clear in the Old
Testament. Other gods (ELOHIM) lay claims on humanity, but Israel is
to have no god (ELOHIM) before or beside YHWH (Ex 20:3). Moreover, the character of the name is itself a matter of reverence, since the name really coheres with the God it names (20:7). One cannot therefore malign the name or substitute for the name another name, and somehow leave untouched the deity with whom the name is attached . . . Not taking the name of YHWH in vain implies, at a minimum, understanding
that YHWH is not an 'accident' [non-essential property] detachable
from a deeper 'substance,' that is, 'God himself.'"

Contrast the early church fathers, who believed God the Father does not have a proper name or does not need to be distinguished from other entities since he is sui generis.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Ancient Church and War (Patristic Quotes)

It is interesting how the early church writers understood Matthew 26:52:

"But now inquiry is made about this point, whether a
believer may turn himself unto military service, and
whether the military may be admitted unto the faith,
even the rank and file, or each inferior grade, to
whom there is no necessity for taking part in
sacrifices or capital punishments. There is no
agreement between the divine and the human sacrament,
the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil,
the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul
cannot be due to two masters-God and Caesar. And yet
Moses carried a rod, and Aaron wore a buckle, and John
(Baptist) is girt with leather and Joshua the son of
Nun leads a line of march; and the People warred: if
it pleases you to sport with the subject. But how will
a Christian man war, nay, how will he serve even in
peace, without a sword, which the Lord has taken away?
For albeit soldiers had come unto John, and had
received the formula of their rule; albeit, likewise,
a centurion had believed; still the Lord afterward, in
disarming Peter, unbed every soldier. No dress is
lawful among us, if assigned to any unlawful action"
(Tertullian, De Idolatria XIX).

Justin Martyr writes:

"And when the Spirit of prophecy speaks as predicting
things that are to come to pass, He speaks in this
way: 'For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the
word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge
among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and
their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift
up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war
any more.' And that it did so come to pass, we can
convince you. For from Jerusalem there went out into
the world, men, twelve in number, and these
illiterate, of no ability in speaking: but by the
power of God they proclaimed to every race of men that
they were sent by Christ to teach to all the word of
God; and we who formerly used to murder one another do
not only now refrain from making war upon our enemies,
but also, that we may not lie nor deceive our
examiners, willingly die confessing Christ" (1
Apologia XXXIX).

"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" (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata IV.VIII).

"If an applicant or believer seeks to become a
soldier, he must be rejected, for he has despised God"
(Apostolic Tradition 16).

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

1 Corinthians 8:10 and Temples of Idols

I once heard a talk in which the speaker brought out a point that was new for me. He read 1 Cor. 8:10 ("For if anyone should see you, the one having knowledge, reclining at a meal in an idol temple, will not the conscience of that one who is weak be built up to the point of eating foods offered to idols.")

The speaker pointed out that this verse is quite difficult to understand. Are we to assume that first-century Christians reclined in idol temples, as they cleaned their dishes of meat sacrificed to idols?

The speaker explained the text somewhat like Marion Soards does in the New International Biblical Commentary. Hope you enjoy this point:

"The verse creates complications for interpretation, because Paul specifically mentions the possible presence of believers in the temple of pagan deities. Whether Paul is discussing a possibility, a probability, or a reality is impossible to determine; he may be overstating the case to make his point with indisputable clarity . . . Whatever kind of meat and wherever someone may eat it, Paul's point is this: if Christians give no thought to their actions when those actions are controversial, then although their actions are seemingly correct for them, others who do not share their convictions may misunderstand and be led astray" (1 Corinthians, page 178).

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Tweaking an Old Argument Pertaining to Divine Foreknowledge (Editing Stage)

It is quite possible that God knows all that is knowable (possible to know) and only all that is knowable. This would mean that Jehovah knows the potential as potential, the indeterminate as indeterminate, that which is necessary as that which is necessary and that which is actual as that which is actual. He also would know the incongruent or false as either incongruent or false. Hence, we could express the situation in the following ways.

(1) If P, God knows that P.
(2) If ~P, God knows that ~P.
(3) If potentially P, God knows that potentially P.
(4) If necessarily P, God knows that necessarily P.

And so forth. If I had more time I would refine these statements. Nevertheless, you should get the basic point: God knows the potential as potential or God possibly knows what is knowable. So if Adam and Eve had the potential to sin and their apostasy was just possibly or contingent (not necessary)--then God knew about Adam and Eve's deviation as a potential or contingent event (not as an actuality).

My position is not that God was required to act before the Fall if He knew that Adam and Eve would sin. Rather, the problem I have with many accounts of the Edenic Fall is that if Jehovah knows an event will surely happen prior to its occurrence, then it seems that we live in a deterministic universe and libertarian free will is evidently illusory. But quantum mechanics indicates that ontological contingency (indeterminacy) is part of our ontological experience (the subatomic cosmos is likely contingent, even if we cannot prove that the macrocosmic cosmos is too). Now if the cosmos is contingent and if ontological contingency is not an illusion, then God evidently knows the contingent nature of the subatomic cosmos as contingent (i.e., Jehovah does not know the subatomic cosmos as necessary). I believe that the same principle applies to human existence, which is highly contingent.

Conversely, if God already knew that Adam and Eve would fall away spiritually before He issued the command at Genesis 2:16-17, then knowledge of the Fall was apparently possessed before that divine warning and God's knowledge would have preceded Adam and Eve's opportunity to make their own choice regarding the tree in the midst of Eden. But I might simply point out that if God knew Adam and Eve would sin before they disobeyed Him, then it appears that Adam and Eve had no other choice but to sin. For if Jehovah knows at T1 that I will have a math test on quadratic equations at T2, then I will have a test on quadratic equations at T2. If I did not have the test on quadratic equations at T2, but God knew that I would have the test (i.e., He knew it as a necessary event), I would thereby falsify what God knew at T1.

Applying this principle to Adam and Eve: If God knew that the Fall was an actuality before it happened, then how could it not happen? If G (an omniscient Being) knows that at T1, Jones will cut his grass at T2, then it seems that Jones must cut his grass at T2. If Jones changes His mind and decides to go fishing at T2 instead, he would thereby falsify the belief that G held at T1. But since G is an omniscient Being, beliefs that G holds cannot be falsified. So Jones (or Adam and Eve) has no choice but to cut his grass at T2 if an omniscient G holds that Jones will act thus.


[I also want to clean up the "Jones" part, which derives from a work by Nelson Pike]

Friday, September 09, 2016

Article Pertaining to Ancient Greek Pronunciation


Monday, September 05, 2016

The Marked Difference Between Substance Dualism and Theism

The "father of modern philosophy" Rene Descartes (1596-1650 CE) contends that animals do not have rational souls. He makes a distinction between an "extended thing (res extensa) and a "thinking thing" (res cogitans) with the former having reference to material entities like bodies and the latter referring to the immaterial soul (mind). Descartes' position is known as substance dualism. He famously defines a "thinking thing" in this way: "But what is a thinking thing? It is a thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses; that imagines also, and perceives" (Meditations on First Philosophy).

So substance dualism argues that mind is non-spatial and non-physical; that is not necessarily my view. Moreover, while Jehovah and the angels (spirit beings) are non-physical and inherently non-spatial, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that all spirit persons have spiritual bodies, whereas it's clear that a pure Cartesian soul/mind does not. Jehovah and the angels are spirits, but does that mean their relation to space is analogous to a Cartesian soul's relation to space? Not necessarily. Thomas Aquinas believes that angels are spatial though he argues they do not have bodies. That idea is not outside the realm of possibility, but a pure Cartesian soul (by definition) cannot exist or operate in space. Nor can a res cogitans have spatial location. Of course, I'm referring to the Cartesian soul in se.

The exact mechanism used by angels to interact with space is important. Materialization is a special case of angelic interaction with space. And it's important to note that God and angels are embodied (spiritually) on the Witness view of matters, but the Cartesian soul is not. Yet even granting that interaction between the spirit realm and the material realm is possible, it's not clear how such interaction occurs.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Richard Bauckham Explicates Revelation 4:3

Robert Bowman and Matthew 10:28 (God's Ability to Destroy in Gehenna)

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna]" (Matthew 10:28 NET Bible).

It is also important to notice that Jesus said God "can"
(DUNAMENON) destroy both body and soul in Gehenna. The Messiah is not necessarily saying that God WILL destroy both the body and the soul, though this text obviously serves as a reminder that God is the One we should reverence and fear (not man). Other biblical passages also tell us that God will everlastingly destroy those who do not know God or obey the Gospel about the Christ (2 Thess 1:6-9).

I'm not clear as to the point of the above observations, though
I'm guessing they may in some way anticipate my question above. It is
true, technically, that Jesus said that God "can" and not
that God "will" destroy both body and soul in Gehenna. But the
warning to fear God in this verse (Matt. 10:28a) would have no "teeth"
if this were understood as an abstract possibility only and not as
something that was actually going to befall some people. The use of "can"
(DUNAMENON) in the second half of the saying is meant to be taken,
not in contrast to an unstated "will," but as part of the
deliberate contrasting parallel with "cannot" (MH DUNAMENWN) in the
first half of the saying:

IMHO, if we are going to deal with what this verse actually says, then we must pay attention to details like the foregoing. While Jesus admittedly contrasts the "can" of God with the "cannot" of man, he is clearly juxtaposing human incapability with divine omnipotentia. This passage plainly does not say what God "will" do; it simply warns Jesus' disciples what God "could" do in certain attendant circumstances. Other verses do, however, assure us that God will actualize His potential in this regard (contra Thomas Aquinas and others).

In view of this careful parallelism, the word "can" (DUNAMENON) in Matthew 10:28b ought to be understood as set in contrast to "cannot," and the notion that Jesus is saying that God "could" do something that he won't will have to be set aside as foreign to the context.

Note bene [sic]: I am not contending that Jesus declared God can do something "that he won't." But I am suggesting that one cannot necessarily infer on the basis of Mt 10:28 alone that God "will" destroy body and soul in Gehenna. The passage simply does not say that. If S says that he CAN chew O up and spit him/her out, it does not logically follow that S WILL chew O up and spit him/her out. A more down to earth example might also be that of a parent who "can" revoke a child's privileges or ground a son or daughter for misbehavior. Parents have even been known to make their ability to ground or revoke privileges known to their children. We cannot infer that a parent will punish his/her child just because he or she makes known his/her ability to do such. I do not think that a parent's warning has any less "teeth" because he or she never actualizes his or her respective potentia. But the main point I am trying to make is that Mt 10:28 only affirms God's capacity to destroy "soul and body." The text does not technically say that God WILL carry out the aforesaid action.

Friday, September 02, 2016

James McGrath Offers An Explanation of Monotheism

Interesting study although I don't fully endorse any link/article posted here. My blog posts also represent personal reflections, and I never intend to speak for Lenoir-Rhyne University, Catawba Valley Community College or any other official entity, religious or otherwise.

It's sometimes good to state this formal disclaimer.

Martin Hengel and Ancient Greek-Speaking Cities of Palestine

In view of discussions we've had on this blog recently
concerning the possible influence that Hellenism had on
ancient Christianity, I thought some here might
enjoy knowing about Louis H. Feldman's article in JBL 96/3
(1977): 371-382 entitled "Hengel's Judaism and
Hellenism in Retrospect."

The Hengel that Feldman has in mind is, of course, the
author of Judentum und Hellenismus, Studien zu ihrer
Begegnung unter besonderer Berucksichtigung Palastinas
bis zur Mitte des 2 Jh.s v. Chr. otherwise known as
Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in Their Encounter in
Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period

(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974).

Martin Hengel has essayed an influential historical
account of how ancient Judaism (more specifically,
Judaism from 330 BCE onward) was cross-fertilized
conceptually by the "inroads of Hellenism."
Hengel thus argues that we should not make a sharp
differentiation between Hellenistic and Palestinian
Judaism. Secondly, he maintains that Greek
influence on Judaism was much more pervasive (much
earlier) than has been previously thought. The upshot
of Hengel's suggestions are that "the background of
the NT in Palestine was a Judaism that had been
hellenized for the preceding 360 years." Feldman,
however, attempts to refute 22 points
put forward by Hengel; his retorts are definitely worthy of
consideration. Some may conclude that he has indeed
successfully confuted the arguments posited by Hengel.

In any event, Feldman rightfully points out:

"There is actually very little in Hengel that has not
been said before. It is, however, the sheer
accumulation and evaluation of evidence that is
impressive" (Feldman, page 371).

Here are some brief observations from Hengel's book
Judentum und Hellenismus concerning ancient
Greek-speaking communities in Palestine.

1. After the sixth century, Greek merchandise and
coins came to Palestine. See Ezek. 27:11-25a, which
Hengel thinks may apply to the 4th century BCE. Hengel
writes (1:32): "Both Isaeus and his pupil Demosthenes
mention a colony of Greek merchants some decades later
[[than 460 BCE] in Ake (Acco)."

2. In Gaza and Sidon, two long Greek verse
inscriptions (the epitaph of two Ptolemaic officers
and their families as well as the victory inscription
of Diotimus) dating from the period circa 200 BCE have
been discovered (1:83).

3. A graffito from tomb I of Marisa "with an erotic
poem" that basically contains the song of "a hETAIRA"
exulting over her lover, whose coat she has kept as a
pledge, also points to Greek speakers living in
Palestine around the pertinent time.

For detailed proofs of the foregoing, see Hengel, vol.

Here is a link for the single-volume edition of Hengel's work:

XARA (Galatians 5:22)

XARA [χαρά] is normally glossed as "joy." BDAG remarks that one
sense of XARA is "the experience of gladness." This
word is employed metonymically for "a state of
joyfulness" (whether its referent is divine or human)
and XARA may refer to a person, thing or event that
causes joy.

Additionally, Moulton-Milligan offer evidence from the
Greek papyri to demonstrate that XARA not only denoted
"joy" in antiquity but also functioned as a proper
name at times. Lastly, MM points out: "In MGr the word
is used for a 'festival,' 'wedding'" (page 683).

XARA occurs once in Galatians (according to my Gk.
concordance) and five times in Phillipians, where
rejoicing is a prominent theme.

Jesus is also said to have endured a STAUROS because
Significantly, Luke (Acts 13:52) records that the early
Christians "continued to be filled with joy and holy
hAGIOU) implying that joy is a product of God's

It seems that Paul proclaims there is one KARPOS
PNEUMATOS, strictly speaking, and that the other
so-called qualities mentioned in Gal 5:22-23 are
in reality expressions of the one fruit, which is AGAPH.
The apostle indicates that XARA is an expression of
AGAPH in 1 Cor 13:6, writing:

There are various ways that Paul's letter to the
Corinthians implies XARA and the other qualities listed
in Gal 5:22-23 are possibly manifestations of AGAPH, but godly XARA
is "not a selfish emotion, but a sun whose rays warm and gladden
all within the sphere of its influence" (Cambridge Bible).

Thursday, September 01, 2016

1 John 5:7 Qua Scribal Gloss?

Some writers want to identify 1 John 5:7 as a "scribal gloss," but the spurious text is more than a scribal expansion to me. It has been added to the Bible, plain and simple, as more than an explanatory remark. Describing the religious situation in the nineteenth century, Jaroslav Pelikan wrote: "One group of reasons for the jeopardy into which the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity had come was basically literary and textual. The most pertinacious and conservative in various communions were still holding out for the authenticity of the Johannine comma in 1 John 5:7, despite all the textual and patristic evidence against it, but there was an all but unanimous consensus among textual critics that it represented a later interpolation" (Christian Tradition 5:193).

The New American Heritage Dictionary reports that glosses are usually notes inserted within the margins or between the lines of texts or manuscripts. I would consider 1 John 5:7 more than just a gloss in that sense. It was an addition that totally misconstrued the original intent of the first-century writer, and the passage contributed to deceiving people throughout the centuries in order that they might believe the Trinity doctrine has some merit. The historian Paul Johnson also tried to impute good motives to the scribe who added the Comma Johanneum. See his work A History of Christianity.