Friday, April 19, 2024

Occurrences of διαθήκη in Hebrews

Hebrews 7:22-κατὰ τοσοῦτο καὶ κρείττονος διαθήκης γέγονεν ἔγγυος Ἰησοῦς.

Hebrews 8:6-νῦν δὲ διαφορωτέρας τέτυχεν λειτουργίας, ὅσῳ καὶ κρείττονός ἐστιν διαθήκης μεσίτης, ἥτις ἐπὶ κρείττοσιν ἐπαγγελίαις νενομοθέτηται.

Hebrews 8:8-μεμφόμενος γὰρ αὐτοὺς λέγει Ἰδοὺ ἡμέραι ἔρχονται, λέγει Κύριος, καὶ συντελέσω ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Ἰσραὴλ καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Ἰούδα διαθήκην καινήν,

Hebrews 8:9-οὐ κατὰ τὴν διαθήκην ἣν ἐποίησα τοῖς πατράσιν αὐτῶν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ἐπιλαβομένου μου τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῶν ἐξαγαγεῖν αὐτοὺς ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου, ὅτι αὐτοὶ οὐκ ἐνέμειναν ἐν τῇ διαθήκῃ μου, κἀγὼ ἠμέλησα αὐτῶν, λέγει Κύριος.

Hebrews 810-ὅτι αὕτη ἡ διαθήκη ἣν διαθήσομαι τῷ οἴκῳ Ἰσραήλ μετὰ τὰς ἡμέρας ἐκείνας, λέγει Κύριος, διδοὺς νόμους μου εἰς τὴν διάνοιαν αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίας αὐτῶν ἐπιγράψω αὐτούς, καὶ ἔσομαι αὐτοῖς εἰς θεόν καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔσονταί μοι εἰς λαόν.

Hebrews 9:4-χρυσοῦν ἔχουσα θυμιατήριον καὶ τὴν κιβωτὸν τῆς διαθήκης περικεκαλυμμένην πάντοθεν χρυσίῳ, ἐν ᾗ στάμνος χρυσῆ ἔχουσα τὸ μάννα καὶ ἡ ῥάβδος Ἀαρὼν ἡ βλαστήσασα καὶ αἱ πλάκες τῆς διαθήκης,

Hebrews 9:15-Καὶ διὰ τοῦτο διαθήκης καινῆς μεσίτης ἐστίν, ὅπως θανάτου γενομένου εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῶν ἐπὶ τῇ πρώτῃ διαθήκῃ παραβάσεων τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν λάβωσιν οἱ κεκλημένοι τῆς αἰωνίου κληρονομίας.

Hebrews 9:16-ὅπου γὰρ διαθήκη, θάνατον ἀνάγκη φέρεσθαι τοῦ διαθεμένου·

Hebrews 9:17- διαθήκη γὰρ ἐπὶ νεκροῖς βεβαία, ἐπεὶ μὴ τότε ἰσχύει ὅτε ζῇ ὁ διαθέμενος.

Hebrews 9:20-λέγων Τοῦτο τὸ αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης ἧς ἐνετείλατο πρὸς ὑμᾶς ὁ θεός·

Hebrews 10:16-Αὕτη ἡ διαθήκη ἣν διαθήσομαι πρὸς αὐτούς μετὰ τὰς ἡμέρας ἐκείνας, λέγει Κύριος, διδοὺς νόμους μου ἐπὶ καρδίας αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν διάνοιαν αὐτῶν ἐπιγράψω αὐτούς,

Hebrews 10:29-πόσῳ δοκεῖτε χείρονος ἀξιωθήσεται τιμωρίας ὁ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καταπατήσας, καὶ τὸ αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης κοινὸν ἡγησάμενος ἐν ᾧ ἡγιάσθη, καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς χάριτος ἐνυβρίσας.

Hebrews 12:24-καὶ διαθήκης νέας μεσίτῃ Ἰησοῦ, καὶ αἵματι ῥαντισμοῦ κρεῖττον λαλοῦντι παρὰ τὸν Ἅβελ.

Hebrews 13:20-Ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης, ὁ ἀναγαγὼν ἐκ νεκρῶν τὸν ποιμένα τῶν προβάτων τὸν μέγαν ἐν αἵματι διαθήκης αἰωνίου, τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν,

Over half of the thirty NT occurrences of διαθήκη appear in Hebrews. Furthermore, there are numerous books and journal articles dealing with covenant theology/semantics in Hebrews: I will list a couple.

https://www.academia.edu/44332163/_The_Concept_of_%CE%B4%CE%B9%CE%B1%CE%B8%CE%AE%CE%BA%CE%B7_in_Hebrews_9_16_17_

https://www.academia.edu/18498642/A_Comparison_of_17th_Century_and_Modern_Interpretations_of_the_Meaning_and_Significance_for_Covenant_Theology_of_Diatheke_%CE%94%CE%B9%CE%B1%CE%B8%CE%AE%CE%BA%CE%B7_in_Hebrews_9_16_17?rhid=27836246220&swp=rr-rw-wc-19918245


Thursday, April 18, 2024

Double Predestination and A Loving God? John (Jean) Calvin

About ten years ago, someone asked me about Jean Calvin. They were trying to wrap their heads around the fact that he believed in "double predestination" and simultaneously thought "God is love" (1 John 4:8).

Please let Calvin himself explain:

"I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God? Here the most loquacious tongues must be dumb. The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknow what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree. Should any one here inveigh against the prescience of God, he does it rashly and unadvisedly. For why, pray, should it be made a charge against the heavenly Judge, that he was not ignorant of what was to happen?"

"Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it. For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand."

See Institutes of the Christian Religion 3.23.7

Bildad in Job 25-The Distortion of Truth

In Job 25, Bildad speaks the truth in a sense, but he distorts matters when he speaks to Job or concerning him: Job 25:6 while true in the abstract must have felt like the pangs of a sword to Job. The rhetorical questions with presupposed negative answers in Job 25:4 are worth quoting: "How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?" (NIV)

Rebecca R. Clark writes:

Finally, Bildad asks, “How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?” (25:4).115 Ash proposes, “This is the answer of human religion. But it is also the satan’s answer.”116 Unbeknownst to Job’s friends, in aiming to proclaim the truth about God, they are spokesmen of the satan.117 Although the satan is not present in the remainder of the narrative, he continues to be voiced.

See  https://firescholars.seu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=mats

 
 

Monday, April 15, 2024

Psalm 51:5 (Guilt or Iniquity?)

Hebrew (Leningrad Codex): הֵן־בְּעָוֹ֥ון חֹולָ֑לְתִּי וּ֝בְחֵ֗טְא יֶֽחֱמַ֥תְנִי אִמִּֽי׃

NET: "Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me."

ESV: "
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."

The Hebrew word avon sometimes bears the meaning "guilt," but it may also denote iniquity or punishment for iniquity. 

Compare Jeremiah 2:22 (NET), but see the translation's notes. Cf. Romans 7:18-20. BDB makes the point that it's hard at times to distinguish the concept of guilt from iniquity when it comes to the Hebrew avon. NWT 2013 opts for the "guilty" aspect of the word.

https://www.academia.edu/99185796/_Indeed_I_was_born_guilty_Reading_Psalm_51_7_in_a_Canonical_Context?rhid=27729000667&swp=rr-rw-wc-37767435




Sunday, April 14, 2024

God Is A Necessary Being

A student once asked me the question that a lot of people wonder about: who made God? A few scriptures directly address this question, but I referenced Psalm 90:2 in my answer to the student and one might also consider 1 Timothy 1:17. Furthermore, I tried to reason with her concerning the difficulty of understanding how God could have always existed without being created by invoking concepts in physics that are hard to understand (i.e., they are comparable to understanding God's necessary existence). For example, most people do not comprehend the math for relativity theory. But two arguments for God's existence that seem compelling to me are (1) the argument from possibility and necessity or Aquinas' third way; (2) the need to avoid an infinite regress. 

Regarding number (1), it seems reasonable to suppose that "if all things possibly fail to exist at some time then possibly there is a time when nothing exists" (Robert E. Maydole).
If it's logically possible that nothing finite once existed, then it is logically possible that if non-existent things did come to have actual existence instead of just potential existence, then a necessary being (one who exists without any other entity sustaining the being's existence) brought once non-existent things into existence. Nevertheless, I think Aquinas' third way (proof) only works if one modalizes it like Maydole does.

But my student objects that we can't see God or empirically detect him like we are capable of measuring or detecting physical entities (e.g. the wind, atoms, and gravity). While I grant this point, it does not seem that the objection is fatal to belief in God. Many things in physics are less than certain (to understate the matter) and science has even predicted the existence of some things that were not detected at the time, for instance, in chemistry, cosmology and with string theory. There are still some things that science has never detected but these things are widely thought to exist. Besides, to suppose that we must see/hear something (etc.) to believe it exists is a metaphysical position or an article of faith: the proposition itself is not a fact.

Quite frankly, it takes more faith to believe this universe arose from absolute nothingness without God than it does to believe in God, the ens realissimum and ens necessarius. Peter van Inwagen has a great point about the odds of the universe coming into existence from absolutely nothing, including no God. Try 0% on for size.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

1 Corinthians 11:27 (A Brief Comment)

Greek: ὥστε ὃς ἂν ἐσθίῃ τὸν ἄρτον ἢ πίνῃ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦ κυρίου ἀναξίως, ἔνοχος ἔσται τοῦ σώματος καὶ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ κυρίου.

I've been wanting to address this verse because someone recently told me that they thought Jehovah would never forgive a person who ate the bread during the Memorial (Lord's evening supper) or who drank the cup, but who was not anointed. But I assured them that while it is a serious thing to partake of the bread and wine, there are at least two things to consider.

1) When Paul spoke of partaking "unworthily," whom was he referencing? At the time 1 Corinthians was written, all Christians shared the "one hope" (Ephesians 4:5) and they were anointed with God's holy spirit through the Lord Jesus. Hence, Paul likely was not telling them to make sure they were children of God: the spirit already imparted that knowledge to them. Rather, per the context, his point involved how they lived each day and their perspective towards the holy bread and the cup of wine.

2) While Jehovah promises to recompense inveterate sinners and those who utterly disrespect sacred things, if a person genuinely commits an error respecting the bread and the cup, would God not extend mercy to one who sinned unintentionally or who later realized his/her error? The Bible assures us that he would (Psalm 86:5).

Jehovah forgave David, Manasseh and Saul of Tarsus. Why would he not forgive a person who wrongly partook of the emblems, but maybe had extenuating circumstances that account for his/her actions.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Brief Notes from Donald Bloesch's "God the Almighty"

Donald G. Bloesch. God the Almighty: Power, Wisdom, Holiness, Love. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1995. 

Bloesch lived from 1928-2010. He was an evangelical theologian and prolific writer. 

"The God of the Bible cannot be described in univocal language, only by means of analogy, metaphor and simile." (page 32). 

"The God of philosophy is capable of being thought and thereby mastered. The God of theology remains hidden and inscrutable until he makes himself known" (p. 32).

God is "being-in-person" (32).

"How God accomplishes his purposes in conjunction with human effort and striving is a mystery that lies beyond human comprehension. Like creation and redemption, providence is a mystery open only to faith" (116).

Bloesch considers both determinism and indeterminism to be heresies (ibid.).

On pages 116-117, he poses some interesting questions about God's putative relationship to creatures and time.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

How to Say "battle ally" in Greek

The word σύμμαχος is technically an adjective of sorts (cf. LSJ Greek-English Lexicon) meaning "allied with" someone in battle. But at times, I have used it as a substantive with the meaning "battle ally," a usage that appears in ancient Greek literature (s.v. LSJ). The plural substantival nominative form is οἱ σύμμαχοι.
.

Monday, April 08, 2024

Psalm 1:2 and the Torah

Latin Vulgate: Sed in lege Domini voluntas eius et in lege eius meditabitur die ac nocte (Psalm 1:2).

Douay-Rheims Translation: "But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night."

Amplified Bible: "But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night."

ASV: "But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and night."


The Cambridge History of the Bible 
states that ancient Judaism emphasized 'a renewed study of the Torah' after the book of Deuteronomy was written. We then read: "It [the Torah] was to be the Book of Meditation for every pious Jew, great and humble. Believed in its time to offer the most complete and up-to-date version of the 'Mosaic' code, it was to be the daily vade mecum of the king" (1:200). This information was written by G. Vermes, Reader of Jewish Studies at Oxford University during the year 1970.

Vermes then cites Deut. 17:18-19 where 
the King rather than a Levite priest is exhorted to make a copy of the Law and "read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD [YHWH] his God, by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them."

Compare Joshua 1:7-8.

But the CHOB does not stop there. It shows that the 
previously mentioned hortatory dicta were "extended to all Israel" as shown by Ps. 1:2 and 1 QS VI, 6-7. It was only later that "this wide preoccupation with the Bible created a demand for authoritative interpreters, and a particular class of men emerged from the ranks of priests and Levites whose sole business was professional exegesis." See Ecclesiasticus 39:1-8 and Neh. 8:1-8. 

Consult Pirke Aboth and Jub. 23:26 as well (cf. Malachi 2:7). Jub. 23:26 foretold that "In those days, children shall begin to study the laws and to seek the commandments, and to return to the path of righteousness." This text and others like it show that the ancient rabbis thought everyone, yes even children, should zealously study the Torah.

John Chrysostom: "
I also always entreat you, and do not cease entreating you, not only to pay attention here to what I say, but also when you are at home, to persevere continually in reading the divine Scriptures."

https://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-09-08-saint-john-chrysostom-on-the-necessity-of-reading-scripture-daily.html

Friday, April 05, 2024

Asimov and the Marvelous Atom

"Because quantum theory deals with things so far removed from what we are used to in ordinary life, scientists speak of 'quantum weirdness.' There are aspects about it that seem so paradoxical that scientists have simply not managed to agree on what it all means. Perhaps someday, new discoveries, new concepts, new thoughts will clarify what seems now to be hopelessly mysterious" (Isaac Asimov).

Asimov wrote these words in the book Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos, published in 1991, page 121.

Has his desire come to fruition?

See Romans 1:20; Revelation 4:11

Are You Ready to Obey, Even When Directions Are Hard to Understand? (Modified Talk)

                                            Based on Ezra 5 and 6

From time to time, it's good to ask ourselves whether we are "ready to obey" (James 3:17) even when the direction given is hard for us to understand. In going over this material for the talk, it's a question that I pondered for myself and my household.

When we think back to Israel's situation in the 6th century BCE, we know they experienced the fall of Babylon in 539 BCE by the Medes and Persians. Then Cyrus gave the decree that allowed Jehovah's people to repatriate Judah and start building the second temple in Jerusalem. Of course, there was a delay in building the temple because some Israelites got diverted by material interests; moreover, the Persians imposed a ban on the work in the days of King Artaxerxes.

Nevertheless, please notice how Ezra 5:1-2 describes the action taken by faithful Israelites who returned to Judah.

(After reading)

Two men who took the lead in the trip back to Babylon and the rebuilding work were Governor Zerubbabel and High Priest Jeshua. Yet there was one problem even in 520 BCE.

Due to the crafty activity of some avid Persian opposers, a ban was still imposed on the building work in Jerusalem. Hence, what would the faithful Israelites do? Would they prove to be readily obedient despite the ban? After all, it must have been difficult for them to understand how they were supposed to keep working with a ban in place.

However, let's see what Ezra 5:3, 17 reveals.

So what happened? Instead of being deterred by the opposers, the Israelites reminded their opponents of Cyrus' decree. This was a manifestation of wisdom on their part since the wrong response could have hindered the temple-building work.

Nevertheless, it was no coincidence that the work continued. If we remember from the opening part of Ezra, Jehovah initially stirred the heart of King Cyrus to put this decree into effect and now we see Jehovah further directing the work in this part of Ezra.

What was the outcome of the Israelites acting with tactfulness and relying on Jehovah's direction? Please turn with me to Ezra 6:7-8.

We can see Jehovah's hand at work in the ancient temple-building process. Not only were God's people allowed to continue working but King Darius gave the order that "From the royal treasury, from the tax collected in the region Beyond the River, the temple-building expenses" were to be "promptly given" to the builders so that they could "continue without interruption." What a blessing Israel received since the nation readily obeyed Jehovah even when the command seemed hard to understand, and we know the temple was eventually completed in 515 BCE all to Jehovah's praise.

Picture and application:

Natural disasters (fire, hurricanes), pandemic, and the building of our local Kingdom Hall.

As we contemplate future events and the precious promises that Jehovah has given us, may all of us be ready to obey as we keep busy in theocratic work.







Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Colossians 2:9 and πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος

Here is something I wrote long ago, which may need to be amended in spots. In his capacity as a spirit creature, the πλήρωμα τῆς  θεότητος resides in Christ. The use of θεότητος, however, does not mean that Christ is ὁ παντοκράτωρ: he simply possesses "divinity" but not in the strict sense of the word like Almighty God does.

Trinitarians have doubted this understanding of θεότητος and have tried to draw a sharp line between θεότητος and "divinity" in the less strict sense. The fallacy of this argument is clearly demonstrated by a cursory perusal of Jerome's Latin Vulgate where the Vulgate at Col. 2:9 uses the Latin word dīvīnitātis (genitive singular of dīvīnitās) to render θεότητος. Dīvīnitās is the abstract Latin word for "divinity" as attested by the speeches and writings of Constantine (See Michael Grant's Constantine The Great).

Anointed Christians will one day possess the "divine nature"; they will see God and be like unto Him. (2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:2). Therefore, divinity is not per se synonymous with or equivalent to being God. I thereby conclude that Col. 2:9 does not teach that Christ possesses a fleshly body now, nor is he coequal with God.

See also Nash, H. S. “Θειότης: Θεότης, Rom. 1. 20; Col. 2. 9.” Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 18, no. 1/2, 1899, pp. 1–34. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/3268966. Accessed 3 Apr. 2024.

Monday, April 01, 2024

Words of the Month (April 2024)

1. Etymological origin of rigmarole:

"alteration of obsolete 'ragman roll' (long list, catalog)

First Known Use: circa 1736"

Thanks, M-W!


2. Anosognosia.

Neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran describes this phenomenon as a "curious disorder" that entails being unable to determine whether one's left arm or leg is paralyzed (Phantoms in the Brain, p. 128). The French neurologist Joseph Francois Babinski evidently coined this term after he observed it clinically in 1908.

"The term anosognosia now more broadly refers to a neurologically based denial of illness and unawareness of disability, not limited to patients with hemiplegia."

(Taken from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4140620/)

The etymology of anosognosia is ancient Greek, coming from nosos + gnosis.

Both of the next words are German terms:

3. Zeitschrift-"periodical, journal, magazine."

4. Wirkungsgeschichte-"historical consequences" or "reception history."

https://www.dict.cc/deutsch-englisch/Wirkungsgeschichte.html

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Zodhiates, Hasker, and the Question of God's Temporality

In Psalm 90:2, we read that God is “from eternity to eternity” (me olam ad olam); it could be said that Jehovah is “from hidden time to hidden time” (Gesenius). It thus appears that the Hebrew-Aramaic scriptures (Tanakh) depict YHWH as a dynamic being within time somehow. Concerning the God of the Hebrews, we read: “temporal categories are inadequate to describe the nature of God's existence” (Zodhiates 2348). Nevertheless, olam when used of the Creator in Ps. 90:2 expresses “the idea of a continued, measurable existence, rather than a state of being independent of time considerations” (2348).  

Moreover, the question regarding how a timeless deity possibly responds to prayer might lend support to the temporal view of God: “For in responding to another it is of the essence that one first acts, then waits for the other to react, then acts responsively, and so on. There seems to be no way this sequence could be collapsed, as it were, into a single timeless moment” (William Hasker in God, Time, and Knowledge, page 156).

See also https://fosterheologicalreflections.blogspot.com/2011/06/omniscience-god-and-time.html

https://fosterheologicalreflections.blogspot.com/2015/02/god-time-and-divine-immutability-duncan.html

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Recommendations for Books About "Spirit" (Roman)-In Process

Here are some books/publications I own. I'm not going to put them in alphabetical order due to time constraints, but some of these might be helpful for the study of pneumatology:

George Johnston, The Spirit-Paraclete in the Gospel of John. Cambridge UP, 1970.

Cornelis Bennema, The Power of Saving Wisdom: An Investigation of Spirit and Wisdom in Relation to the Soteriology of the Fourth Gospel. Mohr/Siebeck, 2002. 

Roberto Pereyra, "The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul," DavarLogos XIII, 2 (2014): 5-24.

John R. Levison, Filled With the Spirit. Eerdmans, 2009. 

Pieter De Vries, “The Relationship between the Glory of YHWH and the Spirit of YHWH in Ezekiel 33-48,” OTE 28/2 (2015): 326-350. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2015/v28n2a7

Gordon D. Fee, God's Empowering presence: the Holy Spirit in the letters of Paul. Hendrickson, 1994.

Gitte Buch-Hansen, »It is the Spirit that Gives Life«: A Stoic Understanding of Pneuma in John’s Gospel. De Gruyter, 2010.

James A. Davis, Wisdom and Spirit: An Investigation of 1 Corinthians 1.18-3.20 Against the Background of Jewish Sapiential Traditions in the Greco-Roman Period. UPA, 1984.

Frank Yin-Chao Lin, "The Significance of the Spirit of Adoption to Christian Life: An Exegetical Study of Romans 8:12-30." Ph.D. Diss., 2017.

Marie E. Isaacs, The Concept of Spirit: A Study of Pneuma in Hellenistic Judaism and its Bearing on the New Testament. H. Charlesworth and Co., 1976.

Anthony Briggman, Irenaeus of Lyons and the Theology of the Holy Spirit. Oxford UP, 2012.

JoAnn Davidson, "Power or Person: Nature of the Holy Spirit" (2016). Faculty Publications. 864. https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/pubs/864

John R. Levison, The Spirit in First-Century Judaism. Brill, 2002.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Comments From Augustine of Hippo on Romans 5:12

Augustine of Hippo has some interesting remarks pertaining to Romans 5:12:

"But if the apostle had wished to assert that sin entered into the world, not by natural descent, but by imitation, he would have mentioned as the first offender, not Adam indeed, but the devil, of whom it is written, that 'he sinneth from the beginning'; of whom also we read in the Book of Wisdom: 'Nevertheless through the devil's envy death entered into the world.' Now, forasmuch as this death came upon men from the devil, not because they were propagated by him, but because they imitated his example, it is immediately added: 'And they that do hold of his side do imitate him.' Accordingly, the apostle, when mentioning sin and death together, which had passed by natural descent from one upon all men, set him down as the introducer thereof from whom the propagation of the human race took its beginning" (On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins 1.9).

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Nisan 14, 2024

I'm taking a break from blogging today and will not be checking much for comments either. I want to express my desire that fellow Witnesses will have a nice memorial of Jesus' death tonight, and any readers who might be so inclined are welcome to attend the memorial.

Thanks to Jehovah through Jesus Christ for such a blessed and loving act whereby our Lord gave his body in our behalf.

Christian love,
Edgar

Saturday, March 23, 2024

I Statements in Logic and Their Contraposed Forms

Logic textbooks traditionally teach about four kinds of categorical statements (i.e., propositions) when discussing the Aristotelian square of opposition: they are A, E, I, and O propositions. The first two are universal statements whereas the last two are particular utterances. I will now explain briefly how I propositions work. These are particular affirmatives:

Example of an I proposition:

A) Some trees are oaks.

But what happens if we contrapose an I proposition? This would entail switching subject and predicate, then adding the complement (a term not belonging to the class) of the switched subject and predicate.

Here is the contraposition of an I proposition:

B) Some non-oaks are non-trees.

What?

Notice that B) is similar to the utterance:

C) Some non-Greeks are non-humans.

C)  is the contraposition of Some humans are Greek.

An interesting result of contraposing an I proposition is that the true value of the statement differs after one does the contraposition; it is not preserved with I propositions.

Whether one is doing logic, theology or some other discipline, reasoning correctly is important.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Impossibility and God

Among the things that seem impossible, I guess an angle cannot be trisected using only a straightedge and compass, 7 + 5 cannot be made to equal 13, nor can anyone create square circles, and I doubt that unmakeable hammers can be made. Also, it seems analytic that a Euclidean triangle cannot be four-sided: some things are impossible by their very nature just like uncreatable worlds are impossible to create.

Biblically, we are taught that God cannot sin, lie or be tempted (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; James 1:13); you can take what Jehovah proclaims to the bank (2 Corinthians 1:20-22 Revelation 21:3-5).

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Updated Version: On the Lord's Evening Meal and Communion Sacrifices

One Scriptural passage that helps me to appreciate tomorrow night's upcoming Memorial of Christ's death on Nisan 14 is 1 Corinthians 10:18:

"Behold Israel after the flesh: have not they that eat the sacrifices communion with the altar?" (ASV)

When posing this rhetorical query, Paul alludes to the OT practice of communion sacrifices. One encounters a lovely description of such offerings in Leviticus 7:1-38. I want to recount briefly what that biblical chapter recounts and apply it to the apostolic words in 1 Corinthians 10:18ff.

The communion sacrifices were peace offerings designed to restore the broken relationship that obtained between God and His ancient worshipers; they constituted a holy presentation to Almighty God (YHWH), and when offering a communion sacrifice, an Israelite was supposed to offer Jehovah his or her best.

Leviticus 7:28-30 mandates that one presenting a communion sacrifice to Jehovah should offer the "fat upon the breast" to God as a wave offering: Leviticus 7:30 briefly explains what a wave offering entailed. In addition to offering the fat and the blood to Jehovah (Leviticus 7:33), the one giving peace offerings to God also was commanded to present "the right leg" of his sacrifice as "a sacred portion" to the officiating priests. Furthermore, the High Priest and his sons were to have a share in this communion offering. What a privilege all those who offered communion presentations enjoyed! Paul rightly said that those who sacrificed upon the altar became (by their respective gifts to God) sharers in the altar. But how might this Levitical practice apply to Christians today?

As Paul intimates, the Lord's Evening Meal (1 Corinthians 11:20) or Lord's Supper is the antitype of the OT peace offerings. Just as ancient worshipers of God brought their sacrifices to Jehovah in order to repair the breach that obtained between themselves and God, so anointed Christians annually observe the Memorial of Jesus' death in order to remember how God repaired the figurative breach between him and sinful humanity, thereby fully reconciling humanity from sin and death.

Anointed Christians share in the antitypical communion meal by partaking of Christ's blood (the cup of wine) and his body (the bread). The emblems at the Memorial are symbols or signs of the spiritual reality effectuated by God and Christ. Those who partake of the cup and wine on Nisan 14 share with God's altar as they have a meal in effect with Jehovah, his High Priest Jesus and fellow anointed ones (underpriests). It is still an inestimable privilege to convene for a meal with God. Anointed Christians therefore esteem the undeserved kindness that Jehovah has shown to them through the Son of God's ransom sacrifice. However, they are not the only ones who benefit from being present at the yearly communion meal.

The great crowd of other sheep who possess a hope of living forever on earth while not partaking of the emblems and thus sharing in the altar still have their appreciation for Christ's sacrifice deepened as they listen to the discourse given about Jesus' death and watch the symbols of his death being passed around the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Therefore, I hope that everyone attending the Memorial this year reflects deeply on what Christ's death means for us, and may you continue to grow in love and appreciation for Jehovah God (YHWH) and his only-begotten Son.


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Jehovah Is Unequivocally the Grand Creator

Nehemiah 9:6 (HCSB)-"You alone are Yahweh. You created the heavens, the highest heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them, and the heavenly host worships You."

Jehovah created the stars (Psalm 8:4-5; 19:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:39-41). Scientists estimate that the cosmic stars outnumber the multitudinous grains of sand on earth. For example, the Milky Way galaxy contains an estimated 100-400 billion stars, and it is but one of an estimated 2 billion to 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe.

Galaxies are arranged into clusters, which some have compared to grapes.

Clusters are organized into superclusters and certain scientists describe clusters this way:

"These usually consist of chains of about a dozen clusters which have a mass of about 10^16 solar masses (ten million billion suns). Our own Local Supercluster is centred on Virgo and is relatively poor having a size of 15Mpc. The largest superclusters, like that associated with Coma, are up to 100Mpc in extent. The system of superclusters forms a network permeating throughout space, on which about 90% of galaxies are located."

See https://www.icc.dur.ac.uk/~tt/Lectures/Galaxies/Clusters/Cambridge/gal_lss.html
Furthermore,, think of the many oceans, lakes, and rivers on earth: Scotland has the impressive Loch Lomond and we all know about the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

One academic website provides this data: "The total number of tree species on Earth is around 73,000, including roughly 9,000 not yet known to science."

See https://seas.umich.edu/globalchangebiology/publications/number-of-trees-on-earth

All of these things testify to the power and wisdom of Jehovah, our grand creator (Ecclesiastes 12:1 NWT 2013).

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Quick Response Concerning Quotations of Christopher Stead in My Thesis

I have been accused of mishandling the words of scholar Christopher Stead from his book, Divine Substance. This accusation caused me to look at my Th.M. work to see if this charge is true: IMO, it is not. I found six occurrences of Stead's name, checked them all, and I find no merit for the accusations. At no time did I say or imply that Stead agreed with my worldview or theology. Those interested can see for themselves: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/71906/1/10395258.pdf

For example, here is one citation/quote from my thesis (page 23):

"Adv Prax 8. George C. Stead, in his magisterial study concerning the notion of divine substance,
points out that Tertullian has no problem applying substantia to God. He notes that Tertullian uses
substantia in Adv Prax 9 to refer to uncreated spiritus, which is differentiated from created finite
spiritus by its inherent 'purity, subtlety and power, which was at first concentrated in the Father, then
distributed to the Son and Spirit,' see Divine Substance (Oxford; Clarendon Press, 1977), 161."

Please tell me how this cite gets Stead wrong.

Here is another example (page 70 of my thesis):

"Stead further discerns that Tertullian depicts God as a Mind (nous) containing Word in the sense of 'plan' or 'thought' within it. Moreover, he further states: 'This latter is sufficiently distinct to be addressed as a 'partner in dialogue .' Yet this Sermo does not become Son until God utters the words, 'Let there be light' (fiat lux) as recorded in Gen 1:3. Stead writes that it is only at this point that one can speak of Discourse (Sermo) as Son in the fullest sense. It might, therefore, be inaccurate
to argue that Tertullian thinks the Son is a timeless res et persona internal beside God."

Again, one has to be careful to distinguish my words and beliefs from those of Stead: I did not conflate the two. I likewise discuss Stead on page 74 of my thesis.

For the record, my training is in ecclesiastical history, so I am technically a church historian, which the YT video gets wrong.

What about the claim that Tertullian is a Trinitarian? Did I get Tertullian wrong? I've actually been over this point many times on this blog, but I can cite numerous scholars who fault Tertullian's doctrine for not being fully Trinitarian. Here are some examples:

Church historian Gerald Bray writes:

"In his counterblast to Praxeas, Tertullian came as near as he could to trinitarianism, without abandoning his fundamentally monotheistic and, to our minds, unitarian position. The Father always remained God in a way which did not apply to the other two persons, however much he might share his power and authority with them."

See Bray's The Doctrine of God, pages 130-131_ for the full details.

Concerning Tertullian's fuller statement of God's existence prior to the generation of His Son, A. Harnack perspicuously notes that although the ratio et sermo dei existed within God since "he thought and spoke inwardly," God the Father was still "the only person" subsisting prior to the temporal generation of the Son (Harnack, History of Dogma, 2:259). Edmund Fortman also concludes that the preeminent Son of God: "was generated, not from eternity but before and for creation, and then became
a second person." Antecedent to his generation, however, the Logos was not "clearly and fully
personalized" (Fortman 111). It therefore seems erroneous to think that the Son was eternally a res et
persona
internal beside God. Tertullian makes this point clearer in Adv Prax 5.

See https://fosterheologicalreflections.blogspot.com/2007/06/lonergan-on-tertullian.html

By the way, the video criticizes me for citing/quoting Harnack. Guess they've never read much church history where such "old guys" are quoted.

Here is what Mark Smith actually wrote about my thesis, which became a book: See https://books.google.com/books?id=yvWlC0kUlkYC&pg=PA297&dq=edgar+foster+angelomorphic&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Cs7FUu_KDobqkQfYtIHQAw&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=edgar%20foster%20angelomorphic&f=false

He does not put it down there.

Overall, the video doesn't "get" my thesis.

Do Writers of the Christian-Greek Scriptures (NT) Quote the Hebrew Bible Verbatim?

The answer is complicated.

See https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Quotations-NT

https://repository.westernsem.edu/pkp/index.php/rr/article/download/233/245

http://paulhelmsdeep.blogspot.com/2014/02/ecclesiastes-and-new-testament.html

https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1060&context=second_person

Interesting Quote From Thomas Aquinas (Summa Contra Gentiles I.4)

"owing to the infirmity of our judgement and the perturbing force of imagination, there is some admixture of error in most of the investigations of human reason" (Thomas Aquinas, SCG I.4).

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Ephesians 4:6 and the One God of "All"

Ephesians 4:6:

εἷς θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων, ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν.

πᾶς is not used absolutely or in an unqualified sense here: it is utilized relatively. The apostle has the Christian congregation in mind, for it is this ecclesia that the one God and Father of all (εἷς θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων) especially rules "over" (ἐπὶ πάντων), works "through" (διὰ πάντων), and is "in" (ἐν πᾶσιν) by means of his holy spirit (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 2:19-22). Nevertheless, Paul is not espousing pantheism or panentheism in this account--his inspired counsel for the Ephesians strictly applies to the first-century Christian assembly composed of anointed ones, not to the cosmos as a whole.

William Larkin (Ephesians: A Handbook on the Greek Text, page 71):
εἷς θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ. Nominative subject of an implied equative verb. The combination of titles occurs consistently in Ephesians in formal or liturgical contexts: salutation, 1:2; doxology, 1:3; prayer, 1:17; thanksgiving, 5:20; benediction, 6:23 (cf. 3:9, 14).

πάντων. Genitive of subordination. The fourfold πᾶς in this climactic statement probably all have the same gender, whether neuter or masculine (Best, 371). There is not enough in the context to distinguish the use of different genders with different items. Paul’s frequent cosmic focus in Ephesians, particularly with the use of πᾶς (1:10, 22, 23; 3:9, 15; 4:10), would be congruent with neuter gender. The term πατὴρ, however, denotes personal relationship, and the theme of church unity here (4:4) followed by a focus on individual church members (4:7) suggests that the gender is masculine and thus personal (contra Lincoln, 240; Best, 371).

Friday, March 15, 2024

"Nobody" and Matthew 24:36

Matthew 24:36 (YLT) is rendered: "And concerning that day and the hour no one hath known -- not even the messengers of the heavens -- except my Father only"; But the NWT translates this passage "Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father."

NWT's rendering "nobody" is a perfectly fine translation. The Greek word in question (an adjective) has the forms OUDEIS, OUDEMIA, and OUDEN (grammatically masculine, feminine, and neuter forms). Matthew 24:36 has the masculine OUDEIS whereas 2 Corinthians 12:11 has the neuter OUDEN. BDAG Greek-English notes that when these forms are used as substantives (i.e., they function as nouns), then one may translate OUDEIS as "no one, nobody" or render the neuter OUDEN as "nothing." See page 735 of this lexical resource.

The Hearer of Prayer (Jehovah) Deserves To Be Praised (Modified Talk)

Praise Jehovah, The Hearer of Prayer

We have many good reasons to praise Jehovah, the hearer of prayer (Psalm 65:2). Through prayer, we gain the needed power to serve Jehovah faithfully, and prayer helps us to develop a close relationship with God as we see divine promises fulfilled in our personal life and organizationally. Tonight, we’ll examine three comforting aspects regarding Jehovah, the hearer of prayer.

1) The inspired psalmist David shows there is an important connection between prayer and our personal relationship with Jehovah in Psalm 61:1, 8:

Hear, O God, my cry for help. Do pay attention to my prayer. (verse 1)

Then I will sing praises to your name forever, As I pay my vows day after day. (Verse 8)


There may be times when we make certain promises to Jehovah while praying. We may promise him that we’ll exert ourselves to overcome some weakness or we may vow to develop a Christian quality. We also might vow to increase some aspect of our theocratic service. How can we demonstrate seriousness regarding these vows? We can make them a regular matter of prayer, maybe even praying about these vows on a daily basis. Praying incessantly about promises that we have made to Jehovah will likewise help us to keep our vows.

2) Prayer to Jehovah gives us an opportunity to show that we trust him.

Trust in him at all times, O people. Pour out your hearts before him. God is a refuge for us. (Selah)-Psalm 62:8

All of God’s people know that we should manifest unwavering trust in him at all times. Should we not also pour out our hearts to him in prayer? However, there may be times when it becomes difficult to pray and leave matters in God’s hands. Why might that be the case? One reason is that Jehovah doesn’t always reply to our prayers overnight. It may take time for him to respond, and that will require trust on our part. The 4/15/2015 WT uses the example of a child to illustrate why we need to exercise patience when we pray to Jehovah:

“A child cannot rightly expect a parent to grant every request or to do so right away. Some of a child’s requests may be mere passing whims. Others must wait till the time is right.”

Some requests may not be in a child’s best interests. That may also be the case when we approach Jehovah in prayer. Yet the scriptures promise that Jehovah knows our limitations; he remembers that we are dust. God promises that along with trials, he will make a way out. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

3) We can be confident that Jehovah hears the prayers of all right-hearted ones.

Psalm 65:1-2: Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; We will pay our vows to you.

O Hearer of prayer, to you people of all sorts will come.

Before Jesus became human, he witnessed Jehovah being the Hearer of prayer. Later, when carrying out his earthly ministry, Jesus prayed all night to his heavenly Father (Luke 6:12). Prayer was not just a psychological crutch for Jesus, but he truly believed that God listened to his prayers. Jehovah was real to Jesus, and if we follow his example, Jehovah will be real for us too.

Psalm 65:2 says that all sorts of people will come to the hearer of prayer. Therefore, we also learn that Jehovah is not partial (Acts 10:34-35). Even in the days of King Solomon, foreigners could prayerfully approach Israel’s God at the temple in Jerusalem, and offer sacrifice (1 Kings 8:41-42). Jehovah listens to the prayers of all those who fear him and work righteousness. The important factor is our heart condition, and what our hearts motivate us to do.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Epaphroditus and Depression (Philippians 2:26)

If you compare Philippians 2:26, where it says Epaphroditus "is depressed because you heard he had fallen sick" with Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:33, you'll see that it's the same Greek verb in all three verses, translated as "was full of heaviness" or "very heavy" in the KJV.

Matthew and Mark use the infinitival form of the word, but Philippians 2:26 has the participial morphology with the point being that Epaphroditus and Jesus both had moments where they felt distressed or depressed.

The Greek grammarian Bill Mounce defines ἀδημονέω as "to be depressed, or dejected, full of anguish or sorrow." On the other hand, we equally learn that Paul and others were there for Epaphroditus, and Jehovah's angel comforted Jesus in his time of need. The same thing can happen for us when we feel depressed.

Saturday, March 09, 2024

Proverbs 4:23 (Modified Talk)

Proverbs 4:23: מִֽכָּל־מִ֭שְׁמָר נְצֹ֣ר לִבֶּ֑ךָ כִּֽי־מִ֝מֶּ֗נּוּ תֹּוצְאֹ֥ות חַיִּֽים׃

HCSB: "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life."

Why is it so important to safeguard our figurative heart? The Bible book of Proverbs mentions the heart almost 100 times, and in this context, the heart refers to the "inner person." As the January 2019 WT notes, the inner person refers to our private thoughts, feelings, motives, and desires; it's who we genuinely are--not who we appear to be (1 Peter 3:3-4).

When contemplating the history of ancient Israel, we find that most members of the nation did not safeguard their hearts (Hebrews 3:7-13); even King Solomon allowed his heart to be led astray by a harem of pagan wives (Nehemiah 13:26-27). Therefore, how can we safeguard our hearts today?

Play the video and ask the questions.

Some Ways that Satan Tries to Mislead Us Today:

A) False Religion
B) Greed and love for material things
C) Sexual Immorality
D) Discouragement
E) Discontent
F) Doubt


We can safeguard our heart by studying, meditating on, and applying the Bible. Prayer, the Christian ministry and meetings are essential too. Also, work hard to fight fleshly desires.

Friday, March 08, 2024

Limping Upon "Two Crutches"? (1 Kings)

1 Kings 18:21

Hebrew: וַיִּגַּ֨שׁ אֵלִיָּ֜הוּ אֶל־כָּל־הָעָ֗ם וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ עַד־מָתַ֞י אַתֶּ֣ם פֹּסְחִים֮ עַל־שְׁתֵּ֣י הַסְּעִפִּים֒ אִם־יְהוָ֤ה הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ לְכ֣וּ אַחֲרָ֔יו וְאִם־הַבַּ֖עַל לְכ֣וּ אַחֲרָ֑יו וְלֹֽא־עָנ֥וּ הָעָ֛ם אֹתֹ֖ו דָּבָֽר׃

The part that has long fascinated me about this verse is why Elijah spoke of Israel "limping" on two different opinions or being "paralyzed by indecision" (NET Bible).

NET Ftn: tn Heb “How long are you going to limp around on two crutches?” (see HALOT 762 s.v. סְעִפִּים). In context this idiomatic expression refers to indecision rather than physical disability.

William Barnes (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary): "How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? This is not a conscious reference back to Obadiah, but not entirely incidental to him either. The Hebrew idiom here is akin to our English expression 'sitting on the fence.' Obadiah had finally come down publicly on Elijah’s side in 18:16, but the people here would still remain publicly uncommitted until after the fire fell from heaven (18:39)."




Tuesday, March 05, 2024

1 Corinthians 13:1--"I have become"

The Greek verb γέγονα is a form of γίνομαι: γέγονα is the perfect indicative active first-person singular form of γίνομαι, which means it signifies completed action performed by an agent. Notice how 1 Corinthians 13:1 has "I have become" for γέγονα or "I am become" (KJV). So the action is completed, it really happens (hence, the indicative), and it's first person singular ("I). Compare 1 Corinthians 13:11.

HCSB: "If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

Paul Gardner (1 Corinthians, ZECNT): "Love, as Paul describes it here, is not an extra special grace-gift but is what marks all who are possessed by the Spirit. Gifts being exercised in a context where this is not present, where self is first and God and neighbor second or third, where status is sought rather than humility seen, make the person simply irrelevant spiritually. The person has become like random noise, which has no purpose or meaning. The verb meaning 'to become' or 'to be' (γέγονα) is in an intensive perfect. The present results are what matters to Paul. If this person spoke in this way, without love, then he or she has become or simply is a noisy gong. What Paul is saying is clear thus far."

Intensive Perfect Definition (Daniel Wallace, GGBB, page 574): "The perfect may be used to emphasize the results or present state pro-duced by a past action. The English present often is the best translation for such a perfect. This is a common use of the perfect tense."

Friday, March 01, 2024

Words of the Month (March 2024)

1. Naufragous has been defined as "causing shipwreck." See https://www.wordnik.com/words/naufragous

The word reminds me of 1 Timothy 1:19-ἔχων πίστιν καὶ ἀγαθὴν συνείδησιν, ἥν τινες ἀπωσάμενοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐναυάγησαν·

2. Prolegomenon-(Oxford Languages)-a critical or discursive introduction to a book. The plural form is prolegomena.

3. Catachresis-From the Oxford English Grammar, page 58:

(Plural catachreses.) The (perceived) erroneous use of a term applied to a concept.

1926 H. W. FOWLER Wrong application of a term, use of words in senses
that do not belong to them.

An old-fashioned term, originally rhetorical. Examples given by Fowler
were the ‘popular’ use of chronic = ‘severe’, asset = ‘advantage’, conservative
(as in conservative estimate) = ‘low’, annex = ‘win’, and mutual =
‘common’.

1589 G. PUTTENHAM Catachresis, or the Figure of abuse . . . if for lacke of
naturall and proper terme or worde we take another, neither naturall nor
proper and do vntruly applie it to the thing which we would seeme to expresse.
 catachrestic, catachrestically.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Summary and Expansion of Michael Molloy's Final Chapter for "Experiencing the World's Religions" (Notes)

I used to teach a world religion class and used a book written by Michael Molloy: these notes summarize and expand on the last chapter in that work. This is a skeleton version/outline of the lecture I would give for that section of the book.

Religion and the Advent of Contemporary Technology:

1) Advent of current technology that includes the Internet
2) Advent of telephones
3) Scientific Revolution with Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton
4) Advent of Multiculturalism
5) Women's Rights Movement
6) The Reassessment of Human Sexuality
7) Einstein developed special and general relativity in 1
905 and
1915-1916

8) The proliferation of secularism/globalism
9) Environmental Challenges
10) Religion and War
11) The cosmos evidently is finite in age but enormous. It could be approximately 13.7 billion years old, and there are some 100-400 billion stars in the Milky Way alone.
12) Speed of light is 300,000 km/sec or 9.5 trillion km/year
13) Milky Way-100,000 years to cross its 600 quadrillion miles in diameter
Why so enormous? We could ask the same about other celestial phenomena.
14) Billions and billions of galaxies
15) Clusters and Superclusters
16) Evolution and the Diversity of Life?
17) Four Basic Forces, proteins and amino acids
18) Quantum Physics/Mechanics/Particle Physics-Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac. Particle physicist Stephen Barr (professor emeritus, University of Delaware).



Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Proper Referent of 1 John 4:8 (Wash, Rinse, Repeat)

Our heavenly Father is the referent of ὁ Θεὸς in 1 John 4:8. Let's not forget that point. For example, 1 John 4:9 reads: "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him" (NIV). The "God" mentioned in that verse is the Father: not the Son or the Holy Spirit/holy spirit. So the old line of argumentation that tries to identify the Trinity with "God is love" (see Augustine of Hippo for one) is just mistaken. "God" in this verse clearly refers to the Father only. Thanks for your time.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Song of Solomon 5:11 and Canonicity

 

"His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven" (Song of Solomon 5:11 KJV).

It has been said that the Song of Solomon almost did not make the biblical canon because Jews and Christians both had trouble making sense of the work. This book was eventually given an allegorical interpretation by readers in Judaism and Christianity, so that we now have this great sacred work in the scriptural canon, which Jehovah inspired by means of his holy spirit.

Writing Out Arguments and Logical Forms Facillitates Understanding

 Thhe following could apply to learning a language too.

It seems that the logical memory device known as "Cesare" goes like this:

1) No P are M
2) All S are M
3) Ergo, no S are P

The argument's validity can be demonstrated by means of a reductio ad aburdum argument (also known as reductio per impossibile):

1a) No P are M
2a) Some S are P
3a) Ergo, some S are not M

3a) contradicts 2) and 2a) contradicts 3). Notice the false conclusion as well in the reductio example.
So, it helps to write these things out and clarifies what's happening in arguments and language. Consulting Aristotle's square of opposition might shed some additional light on what's happening in these arguments.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

The Bible​—A Book of Fact, Not Fiction (Modified Talk)

Play Introduction to 1 Chronicles (4:50)

The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles are mainly genealogies; that might make us wonder why this book was included in the Bible canon.

As our video noted, whenever the Israelites returned to Judah in 537 BCE, the lists in 1 Chronicles helped them to know who rightly belonged to the line of Davidic kings and it helped to establish the line of priestly descent, but are there other benefits we can derive from 1 Chronicles?

1 Chronicles 1:1 (read)-Adam was a real person whom Ezra counts as part of the ancestral line for restored Israel.

1 Chronicles 1:4-Noah was a real person.

Show and discuss the picture

Knowing that people in the Bible actually lived and went through experiences like ours can help to build our faith (James 5:17). It will make the Bible live for us as we study and work hard to apply the things we learn. As with other books of the Bible, 1 Chronicles gives us good reason to believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

When Was 2 Peter Written?: Some Scholars Speak

Michael Green (2 Peter and Jude, TNTC): "The external evidence is inconclusive. No book in the Canon is so poorly attested among the Fathers, yet 2 Peter has incomparably better support for its inclusion than the best attested of the excluded books. It is not cited by name until Origen, at the beginning of the third century, who six time quotes it as Scripture. In short ‘Peter blows on the twin trumpets of his own Epistles’.2 Yet it was used in Egypt long before this.3 Not only was it contained in the Sahidic and Bohairic versions of the New Testament, dating from (?) the late second and fourth centuries respectively, but we are told4 that Clement of Alexandria had it in his Bible and wrote a commentary on it. This takes us back at least to the middle of the second century. The Apocalypse of Peter, written somewhere between AD 110–140, makes much use of 2 Peter,5 which throws the date of our Epistle back further still. Furthermore, there are possible or probable traces of 2 Peter in 1 Clement (AD 95), 2 Clement (AD 150), Aristides (AD 130), Hermas (AD 120), Valentinus (AD 130) and Hippolytus (AD 180)."

Green thinks a date of 68 CE is possible for the epistle, but likewise thinks we cannot be sure yet.

Duane F. Watson and Terrance Callahan (First and Second Peter, pages 136-137, Paideia Series):

"It seems likely that 2 Peter was written sometime between 100 and 140, perhaps about 125 (so also Mayor 1907, cxxvii; Senior 1980, 99). Other commentators assign different dates. Richard J. Bauckham (1988, 3740–42) gives the most comprehensive survey. Dates proposed by the commentaries I have consulted include the following:

ca. 60 (Bigg 1901, 242–47)

63 (Wohlenberg 1915, xxxvii)

mid-60s (Mounce 1982, 99)

64–110 (Davids 2006, 130–31)

ca. 65 (Moo 1996, 24–25)

65–68 (Harvey and Towner 2009, 15)

ca. 70 or 80 (Chaine 1939, 34)

80–90 (Bauckham 1983, 157–58)

ca. 90 (Reicke 1964, 144–45; Spicq 1966, 195)

late first or early second century (Perkins 1995, 160; Harrington 2003, 237)

ca. 100 (Schelkle 1961, 178–79)

100–110 (Kelly 1969, 237; Knoch 1990, 213)

100–125 (James 1912, xxx; Paulsen 1992, 94; Vögtle 1994, 128–29)

110–50 (Grundmann 1974, 65)

130 (Sidebottom 1967, 99)"



Is Genesis 1:1 in The Construct State Or Is It Absolute?

Scholars differ on the answer to the question posed in this blog entry, but to take the position that it has to be construct, as some Youtubers/TikTokers claim, is just wrong. I will cite some informative websites to demonstrate my point:

See https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/hebrew-and-you-with-lee-m-fields-is-gen-11-a-subordinate-idea-or-a-main-clause for a discussion of the grammatical possibilities

https://winebrenner.edu/2019/04/15/examining-translations-of-genesis-11-in-relation-to-genesis-11-3-part-one/

https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=3126&context=auss

Good dissertation here: https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=3126&context=auss

Tip of the iceberg.


Friday, February 23, 2024

LSJ Entry for Hagios (Screenshot)

 


1 Peter 5:6-7: Qualities We Need and How God Deals with Us

Greek (WH): Ταπεινώθητε οὖν ὑπὸ τὴν κραταιὰν χεῖρα τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα ὑμᾶς ὑψώσῃ ἐν καιρῷ, πᾶσαν τὴν μέριμναν ὑμῶν ἐπιρίψαντες ἐπ' αὐτόν, ὅτι αὐτῷ μέλει περὶ ὑμῶν.

ESV: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

I heard a talk recently that pointed out three beautiful things about these verses. Peter (under inspiration) teaches that we as Christians need humility, patience, and trust in Jehovah. We must humble ourselves under Jehovah's mighty hand when under trial, we patiently wait until the proper or due time when he exalts us, and we cast/throw all of our anxieties on him, which shows we trust God. 

But notice that we can confidently throw our anxieties/burdens on Jehovah because we know he cares for us (Psalms 55:22; Proverbs 3:5-6). What a beautiful assurance the apostle gives. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

More Pertaining to Greek Gender (Morphology)

 

A friend once asked me about grammatical gender in Ancient Greek, so I'll make a few remarks here.

Cities in Greek are normally feminine gender if I remember correctly. Granted, some nouns in the language have masculine and feminine forms, but the differentiation of gender in these instances is normally marked by the article employed with the noun (e.g., ὁ λόγος is masculine, whereas ἡ νῆσος is feminine).

Louw-Nida Greek and English Lexicon points out that Βαβυλὼν is a feminine noun and so does BDAG. The article used in Revelation along with "Babylon" also points to the noun being feminine with respect to its grammatical gender: even when a nominal declines, unless the article indicates otherwise, we can conclude that its gender remains the same: λόγος is nom. sing. masc., but λόγοι is nom. pl. masc.

See
https://pressbooks.pub/ancientgreek/chapter/20/

1 Corinthians 10:18: A Brief Syntactical Discussion

βλέπετε τὸν Ἰσραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα· οὐχ οἱ ἐσθίοντες τὰς θυσίας κοινωνοὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου εἰσίν (1 Corinthians 10:18-Nestle 1904) It seems that κοινωνοὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου is a genitive of association (Compare Rom. 8:17). Furthermore, the substantival phrase οἱ ἐσθίοντες is the subject here rather than θυσιαστήριον. Additionally, the context suggests that the eater/one approaching the altar consumes the meat, not the altar per se (1 Cor. 10:16-17). For a similar use of altar terminology, see Heb. 13:10. Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner (The First Letter to the Corinthians, PNTC Series):

By “participating in the altar” Paul evidently means that those eating the meal from the food taken from the altar are counted as those who offered the worship through the sacrifice that was offered there (and expect to benefit from the efficacy of that offering). The implication for eating food offered to idols is clear. Paul implies that to knowingly eat food that has been clearly identified as such makes one a willing participant of the offering from which it was taken. Such is understood to be the case in Christian participation in the Lord’s Supper and in the offerings made at the temple in Jerusalem as well, and it would be only reasonable to assume that it applies to food offered to idols also. That very implication brings Paul back to the issue of the significance of idols and idol food, an issue that he touched on in 8:4, 7 and that he addresses again in the following verses.

Monday, February 19, 2024

More Physicalism/Reductionism: Against Ultrasensory Forms

The issue of reductionism is evidently not all that inconsequential. I'm not a chemist although I once assumed the role of chemistry teacher for three months in Caldwell County, NC (USA). Nevertheless, what I'm stating here is pretty much a given in modern scientific circles far as I can tell. A nomothetic analysis of clouds yields the conclusion that clouds (ontologically speaking?) are nothing but ensembles of water molecules; similarly, with water. It's ontologically nothing but H2O far as we know (= epistemic possibility). I checked my copy of Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos: he apparently explains water in these terms as well.

Stephen Hawking once analyzed the structure of matter by probing the role that atoms and quarks play in the constitution of matter. He then asked in effect whether it's possible to reduce matter to a level of existence below subatomic particles; his tentative answer was that energy (simpliciter) possibly subsists beneath subatomic particles. Regardless of the answer to Hawking's query, it seems that a thing is what it is because of its atomic/molecular structure. A cloud is nothing above and beyond "a collection of water molecules"; water itself is nothing above and beyond H20. Waterness is therefore nothing but the common properties of water that we find in singular instances of the wet stuff: it's not some intelligible "thingy" (universal/abstract form) that the soul abstracts from matter. No one has ever proved by means of empiricism or rationalism that Forms of any kind exist. 

Causal reductionism seems tough to explain when clouds or trees are the objects of inquiry. Does not Aristotle give a natural account of teloi since his deity is not an efficient universal cause but just a final cause? Hence, from the venerable Stagirite's perspective, it would appear that utterances regarding deific teloi might be out of bounds when it comes to delineating the nature of final causes. But maybe we could invoke causal reductionism within the sweeping compass of final causality to provide justification for the natural ends of acorns or agricultural seeds and other biological organisms. That is, one might take this approach when exploring these issues from an Aristotelian or Thomistic vantage-point.

John R. Searle makes a distinction between ontological, causal and eliminative reductionism. He defines the former this way: "Phenomena of type A are ontologically reducible to phenomena of type B if and only if A's are nothing but B's" (Mind: A Brief Introduction, page 83). Some examples include material objects which are "nothing but collections of molecules" and sunsets which are nothing but "appearances generated by the rotation of the earth on its axis relative to the sun" (ibid.). Phenomena of type A are causally reducible (Searle would argue) to phenomena of type B "if and only if the behavior of A's is causally explained by the behavior of B's, and A's have no causal powers in addition to the powers of B's" (ibid). E.g., solidity is causally reducible to the behavior of molecules; consciousness might be causally reducible to neuronal behavior without being ontologically reducible to neuronal activity.

When I referred to Hawking earlier I had this quote from A Brief History of Time in mind found in chapter five:

"We now know that neither the atoms nor the protons and neutrons within them are indivisible. So the question is: what are the truly elementary particles, the basic building blocks from which everything is made? Since the wavelength of light is much larger than the size of an atom, we cannot hope to 'look' at the parts of an atom in the ordinary way. We need to use something with a much smaller wave-length. As we saw in the last chapter, quantum mechanics tells us that all particles are in fact waves, and that the higher the energy of a particle, the smaller the wavelength of the corresponding wave. So the best answer we can give to our question depends on how high a particle energy we have at our disposal,
because this determines on how small a length scale we can look. These particle energies are usually measured in units called electron volts. (In Thomson’s experiments with electrons, we saw that he used an electric field to accelerate the electrons. The energy that an electron gains from an electric field of one volt is what is known as an electron volt.) In the nineteenth century, when the only particle energies that people knew how to use were the low energies of a few electron volts generated by chemical reactions such as burning, it was thought that atoms were the smallest unit. In Rutherford’s experiment, the alpha-particles had energies of millions of electron volts. More recently, we have learned how to use
electromagnetic fields to give particles energies of at first millions and then thousands of millions of electron volts. And so we know that particles that were thought to be 'elementary' thirty years ago are, in fact, made up of smaller particles. May these, as we go to still higher energies, in turn be found to be made from still smaller particles? This is certainly possible, but we do have some theoretical reasons for believing that we have, or are very near to, a knowledge of the ultimate building blocks of nature."

Compare https://www.sciencefocus.com/science/is-there-anything-smaller-than-a-quark

The Greater and Lesser Lights? (Genesis 1:16)

Scholars often wonder why Genesis 1:16 refers to the greater and lesser lights without calling them "sun" and "moon." One suggestion has been that the Genesis account wants to emphasize the sun and moon are not gods (deities) but rather creations of YHWH Elohim (Gen 1:1). Maybe Genesis is militating against then-contemporary mythology: so the narrative goes.

Whatever the reason for Moses' choice of words besides divine inspiration, we know that he could have written "sun" and "moon" since the Hebrew word שֶׁ֫מֶשׁ (shemesh) does appear elsewhere in Genesis (Genesis 15:12, 17; 19:23). Hence, the language, "greater" and "lesser" lights seems intentional:

The author’s polemical concerns continue in these verses as indicated, first of all, by his choice of terminology. He uses the unusual expression the greater luminary instead of the normal word for sun—šemeš—of which he undoubtedly was aware. In the same way he opts for the lesser luminary instead of the familiar yārēaḥ, “moon.” The reason for this choice of terms may be due to the fact that these words—which are very similar in other Semitic languages—are the names of divinities.206 Thus this text is a deliberate attempt to reject out of hand any apotheosizing of the luminaries, by ignoring the concrete terms and using a word that speaks of their function.

Hamilton, Victor P. The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17 (New International Commentary on the Old Testament) (Kindle Locations 2404-2409). Eerdmans Publishing Co - A. Kindle Edition. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

To Which Mountain Was Jesus Taken?

A student once asked me from which mountain Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory (Matthew 4:8-11). We discussed how the mountain is not given a name in the account and it might even have been visionary, but also the word for "mountain" (ὄρος) appears numerous times in Matthew's Gospel (5:1; 5:14). However, these mountains are left nameless most of the time, I believe. For example, in the Sermon on the Mount (chaps. 5-7), we are not told what the mountain is and the same thing can be said for Matt. 17 with the transfiguration. In Matt. 28:16-20, Jesus gives the so-called Great Commission to his disciples from a mountain: Οἱ δὲ ἕνδεκα μαθηταὶ ἐπορεύθησαν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν εἰς τὸ ὄρος οὗ ἐτάξατο αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς.

There is also the question of how was he taken, and from which mountain one could possibly see all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor?




An Old Dialogue Concerning Atomism/Hylomorphism

I've omitted the name of my interlocutor for the sake of his privacy:

Interlocutor:
Atomism is incoherent for a number of reasons, not least of which is the inability to know what an atom is, or even that it is, if it is truly formless.  Moreover, a multitude of atoms are simply a nondescript collection without informative content unless multiple properties (a type of form) of atoms and combinations of atoms produce ever more complex structures (again a type of form) such that the whole becomes greater than simply the sum of its parts.

Reply: Does it go too far to say that atomism is "incoherent"? Even if it's wrongheaded or mistaken, that does not mean atomism is incoherent. A statement might be incoherent by virtue of its inherent non-intelligibility or through its contradictory structuring. However, atomism has none of those features. Furthermore, you say we cannot know what an atom is or even that it exist, "if it is truly formless." That depends on what one means by form. Recently, I have begun to wonder why, if one accepts forms, we must accept Aristotelian forms. In any event, atoms have content and the concept of an atom is intelligible enough. However, I do not see it as problematic that atoms might not instantiate Aristotelian forms. Finally, I don't know anyone who denies that atoms have properties and combine to make more complex structures. The question is whether properties and complex structures = Aristotelian forms.      

Interlocutor: Radical dualism creates an even more obvious epistemological dead-end since it is easily rejected as bald intellectual fabrication as it lacks deference to the objective world as its primary source of knowledge.  None of these alternatives to hylomorphism can explain the reality of change which troubled the pre-Socratics or provide a coherent epistemology that is grounded in a nonsubjective philosophy which confounded Plato.  Thus it is no surprise that neither alternative worldview can solve the mind-body problem.

Reply: If by "radical dualism," you mean Cartesian substance dualism, then I agree that radical dualism is not a suitable alternative for hylomorphism. Cartesian dualism particularly has a problem dealing with the mind-body problem. If anything Descartes unwittingly exacerbated the problem.

Interlocutor: Only hylomorphism, whereby a potentially knowable form is united to individuating matter, can bring immaterial (spiritual) and physical reality into a coherent relationship such that the immaterial knowing soul is understood as the form of an individual material human body.  It is true that abstract concepts or ideas known by an immaterial soul require the mediation of physical senses and a physical brain in such manner that the brain’s mediating physical images become ‘that by which we know’ rather than ‘that which we know’, i.e. the actual form potentially abstractable from the existing material substance itself.  Nonetheless, such ‘coding and decoding’ of physically accessible information should pose no difficulty for an immaterial intellect capable of abstract symbolic thinking through the use of analogy.

Reply: There are lots of presuppositions in Aristotle's theory that I question. However, please allow me to say for now that this whole question of a soul is one that should be explored further. But even if we accept Aristotle's theory of hylomorphism, Anthony Kenny and Joel Green have argued that his notion of the soul is amenable to physicalism or Aristotle's soul can be the appropriate subject of biological inquiry since he defines the soul as the principle of life. In other words, I would seriously question whether the soul that Aristotle posits is an immaterial soul. Maybe it is, but I am not sure about that point. In any event, I question the existence of an immaterial soul. So each thing you say about the soul interacting with the brain seems problematic to me. My sympathies rest with writers like Joseph LeDoux (The Synaptic Self) and Francis Crick (The Astonishing Hypothesis) or Antonio Damasio (Descartes' Error). I believe that neuroscience (generally speaking) provides a more satisfactory account of how our minds work: this approach, I would humbly submit, is superior to Platonism or Aristotelianism.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Barnes' Notes for Ecclesiastes 11:5

"As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind [ruach], nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the work of God who doeth all" (Ecclesiastes 11:5 ASV).

"Spirit - The same Hebrew word (like πνεῦμα pneuma in Greek and 'Spirit' in English) signifies both the wind-Ecclesiastes 11:4 and the Spirit (compare marginal reference). The Old Testament in many places recognizes the special operation of God Job 10:8-12; Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5, and distinctly of the Spirit of God Job 31:15 in the origination of every child. Compare Genesis 2:7" (Barnes' Notes on the Bible).

Disclaimer: I don't necessarily endorse Barnes' whole commentary on this verse.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Proverbs 19:11 and Sekel

HCSB: "A person’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense."

NRSV: "Those with good sense are slow to anger, and it is their glory to overlook an offense."

I'm going to focus on the word translated "insight" or "good sense."

The Hebrew word rendered "insight" or "prudence" (Bruce Waltke) is sekel (שֵׂ֣כֶל): it occurs elsewhere in 1 Chronicles 22:12; 26:14, etc. Compare Daniel 8:25.

Concerning the passage above from Daniel,  Zdravko Stefanovic writes (Daniel, page 317): 

" 'Through his cunning.' The key term in this expression is sekel, 'wisdom,' which in its general usage is positive but in this context has a negative meaning. Some translate it here as 'crafty scheming.' "

However, 1 Chronicles 22:12 (Legacy Standard Bible) states: "Only Yahweh give you insight and understanding, and give you command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of Yahweh your God."

This is a positive use of sekel. TDOT likewise makes these remarks, and I encourage you to read the whole entry found in Vol. XIV: 125-126:


Friday, February 09, 2024

John 1:12 and GENESQAI

Here is an old discussion I had with someone about John 1:12 which my partner in dialogue transliterated: OSOI DE ELABON AUTON EDWKEN AUTOIS EXOUSIAN TEKNA QEOU GENESQAI.

My Take:

First off, would you say that GENESQAI is "present tense/aspect"? I would parse it as aorist infinitive middle. Furthermore, it seems to be a constative aorist which expresses action as a whole without regard to the length of time. Therefore, I do not see any idea of continuity in GENESQAI: it is aspectually perfective. Conversely, I would agree that the phrase "TOIS PISTEUOUSIN EIS TON ONOMA AUTOU" expresses continuity. This can be discerned, not only from the aspect of the participial PISTEUOUSIN, but also from the context of 1:12. Hence, I would construe John 1:12 as a statement about those who are deemed "children of God" in this AIWN.

Writing from a post-resurrection perspective, John reports: "as many as did receive him, he gave authority to become children of God." The emphasis is on what Jesus has done as the SHALIACH of the Father, not on the process of humans becoming God's TEKNA. In other words, this Scripture does not nullify my previous observation that even now, Jesus has made it possible for anointed Christians to enjoy the status as adopted children of God.

The primary basis for this statement is 1 John 3:2--AGAPHTOI NUN TEKNA QEOU ESMEN: this passage indicates that sonship is a present reality for those who have "received" Christ and who have been anointed with the spirit of God (2 Cor. 1:21, 22).

Latin Deponent Verbs (Buck and Hale)

Latin Deponent Verbs (from Buck and Hale, pages 93-4):

Conjugation I example: miror, mirari, miratus sum ("admire")

Conjugation II example: vereor, vereri, veritus sum ("fear")

Conjugation III example: sequor, sequi, secutus sum ("follow")

Conjugation IV example: partior, partiri, partitus sum ("share")

Important to know when reading Latin literature, including the Vulgate.

Monday, February 05, 2024

Nancey Murphy's Theological Anthropology Stated Briefly

Reading the works by Nancey Murphy and Kevin Corcoran helped me to categorize my view of human nature. I had longed believed that humans do not have immortal souls and that they cannot live disembodied lives postmortem, but Murphy and Corcoran helped me to put a label on this kind of system. It's called Christian materialism/physicalism.

Maybe this explanation for Nancey Murphy's view of anthropology is a simple way of wording things. You tell me. The one particularly controversial aspect of Murphy's thought is what she writes about non-reductive physicalism or top-down causation. She argues that we need to consider the potential effects that one's environment possibly has on lower-level brain processes. For example, consider the role that the environment seems to have on the formation of "neural nets" or cell assemblies. One could evidently say that it is not only the random growth of dendrites or synaptic connections that lead to the formation of neural nets, but a "co-presentation of stimuli" to neurons might also explain these nets/assemblies.

What top-down causation suggests is that self-direction or freedom may result from an initially deterministic system. Another example that Murphy gives to illustrate this point is the gradual emergence of self-direction in prokaryotes like bacteria. Her account of what makes us human ultimately can be stated in natural terms. However, she does not exclude the work of God or the holy spirit nor does she deny the resurrection of the body. We are who we are, not only by virtue of synaptic connections or neural activity, but our relationship with God and others likewise shapes us qua our humanity.

I believe that Christian materialism is consonant with Bible verses such as Genesis 2:7; Ezekiel 18:4; 1 Peter 3:20. 

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Words of the Month (February 2024)



1) Anastrophe (English)-"Anastrophe is a rhetorical term for the inversion of conventional word order. It is often used to emphasize one or more of the reversed words." See https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-anastrophe-rhetoric-1689094 Some sources call anastrophe a form of hyperbaton. Examples: Magna cum laude, Summa cum laude; "This love feel I, that feel no love in this" (Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare). One other example from the Roman poet Virgil is Ītaliam contrā, which = contrā Ītaliam. See https://hands-up-education.org/aen1notes2/index.html

Other examples might include Latin constructions, stimulo parentali and emendatione observata

2) Anadiplosis (English)-"repetition of the last word or words of one clause or line of verse, at the beginning of the next (Ex.: 'He gave his life; his life was all he could give.')"
See https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/anadiplosis

3) Epistemic (English)-"Wherever it is used, epistemic traces back to the knowledge of the Greeks. It comes from epistēmē, Greek for 'knowledge.' That Greek word is from the verb epistanai, meaning 'to know or understand,' a word formed from the prefix epi- (meaning 'upon"'or 'attached to') and histanai (meaning 'to cause to stand')." See https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epistemic

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Peter Nagel and the Deity of Christ

https://peternagel.co.za/publications/articles/

Peter Nagel has written some interesting articles about Christ's "deity." I'm not sure what his religious background is, but I think he teaches at the Stellenbosch University in South Africa. If you read nothing else by Nagel, see "Problematising the Divinity of Jesus: Why Jesus Is Not θεός." Peter Nagel. Neotestamentica, Volume 53, Number 3, 2019, pp. 557-584 (Article).

Monday, January 29, 2024

Open Access Book About Ancient Greek

I have not read this entire book yet, but thought some might find this useful. It's open access: https://www.openbookpublishers.com/books/10.11647/obp.0264

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Brief Notes from John Lyons, "Language, Meaning and Context" (Pages 172-174)

Background to This Book: The linguist Sir John Lyons lived between 23 May 1932 – 12 March 2020 and he was a Fellow of the British Academy. His concentration was semantics: his peers considered him to be a "major semanticist" (Clark and Kempson). Out of the major work he did, one important study was Language, Meaning and Context, published in 1981. This book was written to outline and critique the status quo of semantics at the time. Since the field of linguistics has a significant impact on theology and speech act theory plays a role in contemporary theology, I want to comment briefly on this subject with help from the book by Lyons. 

On page 172, Lyons makes it clear that he does not truly like the terminology, "speech acts," so when he analyzes John Austin's inchoate theory of performative utterances, Lyons introduces personally-crafted distinctions while adhering somewhat closely to Austin's terminology the best that he can. Austin's famed work was How to Do Things With Words published in 1962. He lectured at Oxford and set forth thought-provoking ideas, but Austin did not leave an organized manuscript that his peers could publish. The lack of a suitable manuscript led to the imprecise articulation of his speech act theory, which John Searle later studied, propagated, and then offered his own ideas. 

On page 174, Lyons relates that Austin's theory was born in the midst of verificationist controversies: that is, some philosophers and linguists suggested that theological, metaphysical, moral, and aesthetic statements are emotive rather than communicators of truth or falsity. This would include statements like "Murder is wrong" and "Joe is a better singer than Barry." Austin criticized the verificationists and came up with his own counterexamples like "I promise to pay you five pounds on Tuesday." This statement is neither true nor false, but evidently obligates the one uttering the words to keep his/her promise or to act in a certain way. Hence, the terminology, "speech acts" (performative utterances). Linguists commonly articulate this theory in terms of the categories, locution, illocution, and perlocution. Kevin Vanhoozer has utilized speech act theory to explicate his theological thought. I also recommend Lyons' book if one wants to learn more about speech act theory, deixis/indexicality, semantics in general, Gricean implicature theory and much more. 

Sources: Lyons, John (1981). Language, Meaning and Context. Fontana.

https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/documents/2738/19-Memoirs-19-Lyons.pdf