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Ask a Theologian IV

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Plotinus, Jun 24, 2011.

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  1. _random_

    _random_ Jewel Runner

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    Go.
    Well if I ever get a degree in theology, maybe I'll write my thesis about that. Let me know if you find anything good in the meantime.
     
  2. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    What is that link above about?
     
  3. _random_

    _random_ Jewel Runner

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    A few largely tongue-in-cheek questions about theology. Not the most insightful thing I've seen out of that blog (that honor would probably go here), but kind of funny.
     
  4. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    So are they a Christian blog who are challenging certain "Common" Christian doctrines? Or are they non-Christians making fun of (possibly certain forms of) Christianity? Its hard to tell from those...
     
  5. _random_

    _random_ Jewel Runner

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    It's one guy, who is a Christian (a deacon I believe), posting pretty much whatever interests him, be it serious or silly or secular or whatever.
     
  6. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    Interesting note on this, Matthew seems to imply that divorce is acceptable (Not advised or commanded, but permissible) in adultery cases. Mark and Luke give no clear hint at such an exception.

    I recall to reading that there were two different schools of Jewish thought at the time, one that held that divorce could be done frivolously and for any reason at all, while another held that it was OK only in a case of adultery. Presumably, according to this (Assuming its accurate) this exception isn't recorded in Mark or Luke because it was unnecessary in the context of Jewish culture. Everyone pretty much agreed you could divorce in cases of adultery, and Jesus wasn't really addressing this. He was siding between two schools of Jewish thought. Both of which taught that divorce was OK in adultery cases, but only one of the two schools teaching it was OK in other circumstances. In other words, he wasn't addressing adultery at all but the difference between the two schools. He was siding with one school over the other. Matthew is more specific just to ensure that we do know that it is OK in that instance.

    What is your opinion on that whole thing?
     
  7. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    All it is is changing culture. The church can stay the same or watch it change around them. Marriage was instituted in the "garden", but not a law. The Law did address it, but the Law was for the Jews not the Church. Paul admonished that marriage was a good thing, but never stated that the Law had to be followed. Jesus never got married, but we are not commanded to follow Jesus in that regards, in fact Paul said that it was better to marry than to have sex outside of marriage. It was never stated directly in Paul's writings, but it is plausible that his thorn in the flesh was a wife that wanted a divorce, but Paul did not want one. Traveling as much as Paul did would be hard on a marriage, especially if your wife was not supportive of such endeavor. Or perhaps he was divorced and felt it wrong to re-marry. I doubt any one knows what really happened.
     
  8. KevinLancaster

    KevinLancaster Prince

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    Plotinus, earlier you talked about how Mark 7:31 was geographical gibberish; the thing is, I think it was just a patchy translation. I've seen that the "accurate" translation doesn't say that he went through Sidon to get to the Sea of Galilee; rather it says he departed from the borders of Tyre and Sidon to get to the Sea of Galilee. Also, I don't think Mark 11:1 really counts as getting the order of the two villages wrong, since the author just states that the two were simply at the bottom of the Mount of Olives.
     
  9. Maimonides

    Maimonides Emperor

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    If that's what it says, it's wrong & must have been written by someone who had never seen the place. The Mount of Olives is just a big hill that rises just to the east of the old city of Jerusalem. It's been a Jewish cemetery since ancient times. Even if the cemetery wasn't there, there isn't room for one village at it's base, much less two. The Wiki page has a photo it identifies with the Mount of Olives which is actually another hill. Here's a correct shot from Wiki taken from the Mount of Olives while roughly facing the old city of Jerusalem:

     
  10. KevinLancaster

    KevinLancaster Prince

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    Well, that seems to make sense. Apparently one of the two villages, Bethany, is east of the Mount of Olives and the other, Bethphage, doesn't exist anymore. I guess since I'd never seen it before, I made the same assumption as the author that it was a big mountain, when it really wasn't.

    EDIT: Actually, nevermind; according to this: http://apostolic.interlinearbible.org/mark/11.htm they went past the two villages and got to the Mount of Olives, but then it re-introduces the problem of the order of the villages.

    Also, Plotinus, what's the deal behind all the "millenialisms"?
     
  11. aussieboy

    aussieboy Fidei Defensor

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    Speaking as a Catholic, it seems to be a Protestant thing. Catholicism does not recognize divorce. Even if a civil divorce is obtained, as far as the Church is concerned, the parties are still married. The only way a putative marriage can be dissolved is through an annulment, which basically means defects or impediments existed that they weren't married at all. Such cases are usually considered only after a civil divorce is obtained, at least in countries where such is a possibility. For example, one impediment is where a Catholic contracts an entirely civil marriage without a church marriage, as we see with the case of the Princess of Asturias. Another is unlawful kinship, that is, incest.
     
  12. Soda7777777

    Soda7777777 Warlord

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    Are you a Mensa member, Plotinus?
     
  13. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    Firstly, I would like to say in regards to my point you were referring too here, I was looking at Dommies question more along the lines of his disputation of transubstantiation than in regards to the context, which led certainly to a poor answer which failed to take that context into account. (I would still say I am right in opposing Dommies interpretation however) Looking at the context however, I would dispute your interpretation of the relationship in Irenaeus argument, of the Eucharist and the doctrine of the bodily ressurection.

    To sum up my understanding, I would say looking at it now, that in Irenaeus' text it is not the body and blood of Christ that he is proposing is offered but the bread and wine. In short he gives an image of the mass itself, where the Church offers bread and wine, material things, to the Lord, who in turn transforms our offering and becomes for us a living oblation, offering himself as a living sacrifice for the salvation of souls.

    The eucharist reflects therefore an eschatological fulfilment. For just as the earthly sacrifice we make to God is perfected and realised in its fulfilment in Christ's own self-oblation, the believer is transformed through participation in the "first fruits" of Christ, becoming perfected and glorified just as Christ was glorified in his ressurection. The new creation as such stands in continuity with the first creation, for just as creation is made through the Word, the new creation is realised in the very person of Christ our Lord. The Eucharist as such, where our offerings of bread and wine become changed into Christ himself, reveals the truth of that new creation, where we through participation in that sacrifice are raised up and glorified in Christ.

    -

    So yes, the Eucharist is an analogy in a way, that can be used to contest opposition to the doctrine of the bodily ressurection, but I would dispute your particular analogy and argue that Irenaeus counter to denial of the bodily ressurection rests more in eucharistic theology along the lines of my own inadequate justification (Im no theologian after all ;) ) than in say a metaphorical relationship where one belief reflects the other doctrine. Oh and as to my original discussion with Dommy, I would in light of the context perhaps oppose him more along the lines of Irenaeus referencing the fact we offer something earthly that then becomes something heavenly through Christ (heavenly and earthly) rather than arguing along the lines of the hypostatic union (Christ as true God and true man).
     
  14. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I take it that the people attacked in the passage are Jews, so it's not a criticism of idolatry. The point seems to me to be about people who pray ostentatiously, so as the others have said, it's not about private spiritual practices.

    The Gospels are generally quite dismissive of family ties, so it seems in place to me. However, the main meaning of the passage is eschatological. Strife between generations was taken to be a sign of the coming of God's kingdom. So I think that's the basic idea here: Jesus is talking about the coming kingdom and the chaos that will be associated with it. As far as I know there's no particular reason to see this passage as inauthentic.

    I simply don't know enough about this kind of thing to say. I do know that the two schools of thought you refer to are those of Shammai (the stricter one) and Hillel (the more liberal one). These two great teachers were both Pharisees, so the disagreement between them should be seen as internal to Pharisaism rather than in Judaism as a whole. It's also the case that, in the Gospels, Jesus is generally presented as not only sharing the general views of the Pharisees (e.g. on the resurrection) but as more sympathetic to Hillel than to Shammai (e.g. on Sabbath regulations). (He is of course also presented as extremely hostile to the Pharisees as people, but that's somewhat anachronistic.)

    It's also worth remembering that divorce, in antiquity, was something men did to women. Deuteronomy 24:1 says that a husband can divorce his wife if there's something about her that displeases him. The Jewish scholars were disagreeing over exactly what that meant. Shammai thought it referred only to the wife's adultery. Hillel thought it referred to pretty much anything that annoyed the husband. So Shammai was stricter, but it has to be said that in this case his views were rather more compassionate, I would say, since he allows the husband less dictatorial power over his wife. In fact, although the rabbis tended to side with Hillel, as the years passed various judgements were made that tended to increase the wife's power whilst still paying lip service to the notion that the husband had all the power. There's an interesting page on this here.

    In any case, the notion that divorce was absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances was by no means unknown among the rabbis. That page I just linked to cites some rabbis teaching this. It therefore seems entirely plausible to me to suppose that Jesus taught the same thing, as suggested by Mark, and that the adultery clause given by Matthew is a later addition, not an explanation of what Jesus' actually meant. If that's true then it would mean that Matthew is a softening of Jesus' real teaching, and in answer to the question why that happened, I'd say that that's just human nature. You can find other examples of this in Matthew, e.g. the softening of "blessed are the poor" to "blessed are the poor in spirit". The former is a difficult teaching for anyone who isn't poor, while the latter is a bit easier to imagine applies to oneself.

    You might be right there. Looking at the Greek, it does say what you said. So I'll grant that Mark 7:31 doesn't put Tyre and Sidon the wrong way round. However, it still goes on to locate the Sea of Galilee in the Decapolis, which doesn't make sense. The Decapolis was well beyond the Sea of Galilee if you were coming from the direction of Tyre and Sidon.

    Well, it doesn't say the bottom, just that they're near. Nevertheless, they're still on opposite sides of it. You'll notice that in Matthew 21:1, Matthew drops the reference to Bethany, suggesting that he also recognises the incongruity of Mark's geography and corrects it.

    In Revelation 20:1-6, Satan is bound for a thousand years before being allowed out briefly to have some fun. This is the "millennium", during which Christ reigns on earth with his saints. Those who are inclined to take the book of Revelation literally disagree about whether Christ will return to earth before this millennium (premillennialism)or after it (postmillennialism). If the former, then Christ will be ruling over the earth in a quite literal, embodied way like a temporal ruler. If the latter, then the millennium is more like a reign of the church, with Christ as only a spiritual presence.

    Premillennialism, or something like it, was fairly widespread in the early church, but became more of a minority view after the fourth century. Augustine, for example, thought that the "millennium" should be understood non-literally as the age of the church.

    No.

    All that seems reasonable to me, but it doesn't explain what Irenaeus means when he says that the bread is "two realities" after it has been offered. To be consistent with your interpretation, he would have to mean that it is "two realities" only in the loose sense that it used to be bread and has now become Christ's body. I'd say that that is a possible interpretation, and someone who's committed to the notion that Irenaeus did not disagree with later Catholic doctrine could take it; but it's far from an obvious interpretation and there's nothing in Irenaeus' actual text to suggest that that's what he meant. So it seems to me, anyway.
     
  15. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    The difficulties of interpreting ancient literature I suppose, one can only make an educated guess as to the authors actual intent and can never with absolute clarity know for certain.

    Anyways, in line with what I said, I think the eucharist mention is a summation of the sacrifice, with the material/spiritual simply being a categorisation of the process of the sacrament itself. However I of course recognise that this is not necessarily a self-evident interpretation just as say a certain passage referring to god-breathed literature is not self-evidently a proof text of the Sola Scriptura doctrine.
     
  16. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Two questions:

    1. Have you studied Islam in depth? What are some major philosophical differences between it and Western religion?

    2. What do you think of Hegel and his ideas?
     
  17. Trev

    Trev Prince

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    I have known some people who have studied Jewish customs etc say that Jews went thru a 12 month engagement process which was expected to always lead to marriage and that the breaking of the engagement process required a divorce procedure. Therefore Matthews mention of divorce refers to the divorce of the engagemnent, the other gospels being written for non Jews with different marriage customs did not mention divorce because it was not required to break an engagement.
    As far as the marriage itself is concerned Jesus was not allowing divorce in any of the gospels according to this interpretation.
    I am not an expert in this, but this interpretation makes some sense, however I am not fully convinced by it
     
  18. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    No, I haven't at all. I don't know of any particular philosophical differences between Islam and Christianity - philosophically speaking they seem to me to be pretty similar, and have of course greatly influenced each other.

    I haven't studied him either. From what I have read, I'm not tremendously impressed by him, but this is probably just the natural prejudice felt by all analytic philosophers towards Hegelianism!

    That interpretation seems to me to have two basic problems. First, it assumes that Matthew's Gospel was written for Jews while the other Gospels were not. That is the traditional view, but I'm not sure it really holds up to scrutiny. Second, there is no basis in the text whatsoever for supposing that Matthew's version of the saying and Mark's version are talking about different institutions (engagement in one case, marriage in the other). It seems to me a classic case of trying to make two contradictory passages in the Bible not really contradict each other by claiming that they're talking about different things. Like all such theories, it's wishful thinking, because while it's possible that it's true, there's no evidence for it, and it's equally possible that it's false.
     
  19. Maimonides

    Maimonides Emperor

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    Nah. In Jewish tradition, a divorce is not needed to break an engagement. It's needed to end a marriage. There is no required engagement period. Twelve months is unusually long & would have been unheard of in ancient times.

    Keep in mind that ancient Jewish engagements/marriages were arranged by both families. It wasn't like today where people meet, get to know each other, fall in love & get married. Breaking an ancient Jewish engagement would have been scandalous, but there would have been no need for a divorce until a wedding happened & then divorces were only granted for certain reasons.

    The link that Plotinus posted above to a Jewish blog on evolving marriage customs was interesting. I didn't read anything there I didn't already know or that was incorrect, but it's definitely an opinion piece.

    It struck me as odd that the blogger identified herself as feminist & Orthodox. The Orthodox version of feminism is very different from how the mainstream would define the term. Most Orthodox women I know view Orthodox Judaism as being pro-female to the extent that they wouldn't mention the latter because they feel the former implies it. On the other hand, outsiders (modern, secular, non-Jewish, etc.) have a hard time seeing Orthodox Judaism as being feminist for various reasons. I suppose I'm rambling a bit, but I am puzzled by the way that blogger identified herself. Perhaps she was writing for the general public instead of Jewish readers in particular. The problem is that, if that's the case, her idea of feminism probably isn't the general public's idea of it. Aw hell. I'm tired & need to go to bed.

    Thanks again for keeping up the thread, Plotinus!:goodjob:
     
  20. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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