You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Discussions pertaining to the Church, including it's history.

You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:59 am

Greetings from China again ...

This is a clip from an interview ... sorry it was years ago .. and now I forgot who is TB in an interview with RF Capon

TB: One other question. You said that you cannot discover history by finding facts?

RC: Yes. History is not lying around out there on the ground waiting for us to discover it and pick it up. History is what we make of the facts that are lying around out there, how we interpret them.
History is story told by storytellers.

You can’t rummage around and find the real history. That’s the mistake of biblical literalism, and it’s also the mistake of scientific literalism, which is liberal literalism of the left—it’s the same mistake.

my comment: Data does not have cute little buttons on it saying:
Push here for meaning!

They think it’s something objective or fixed lying out there somewhere. It isn’t, it’s only in here—in the mind. You can have one version of history, and I can have another. And we can argue about it. That’s how we function. It’s the ecology of mixed minds, mixed motives, mixed ideas. And we work it out and we slug it out and then we have a drink. (Laughter)

Now ... before anyone wishes to jump on the proverbial bandwagon ..
I copy snips from these writers because of the intellectual stimulating influence on my thinking ...
I happen to research and have spent immense effort in serious reflective thinking concerning History
so later I will add more about my understanding of kairos and chronos ...

but the key point above is the literalism for the conservative folks .. and the evidentialism for some
evangelicals ... which has a tendency to become ossified or as a super defense for the Faith ...
( been there done that ) but after a jillion stalemates with Athesists, Evoluntionary biologists
and others ... Now I am finding that social living is more dynamic when I have spent more time
enjoying others friendship ... where I live ( small place compared to GZ -- 2 hour commute time )
I happen to enjoy eating at a Muslim restaurant ... hugging and making them feel really good
about their food and themselves... having a "foreigner as their friend" makes them feel really good...

History is important as a crucial reference point but I really enjoy Capon's insights...
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby corpselight » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:09 am

good points.
it's true we can't test history in a lab, so equating historical studies with the scientific method doesn't really work. obviously, we can use the scientific method to a point in evaluating data relating to certain events, and we can be reasonably sure they happened, but we can't empyrically prove them.
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Cindy Skillman » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:11 pm

It's nearly impossible to get the straight story on an event that happened last year, let alone thousands of years ago. C'mon -- which of you can tell me how things REALLY went down at the nuclear plants in Japan -- don't even ask about Chernobyl or even Three Mile Island!

These are important events in the recent past, fairly simple and straightforward, yet we don't know exactly what happened. And I'm no conspiracy geek, but I do know governments' propensity for shifting the blame from themselves and covering up blunders.

So when we find all that history lying around in the ground and stored in ceramic jars, do we dare even believe it, even if we understand what it is?

And even if it started out as objective and honest documentation of events as perceived by the writer, we want to take it all literally. It's as if we said a child was "in hot water" for a prank, and readers a hundred years from now surmise that boiling alive was acceptable corporal punishment in our time. Are you in the dog house? Really? Head over heels for a girl? No way! Is everything coming up roses? Is Black Friday the remembrance of a day that will live in infamy? :lol:

We can honestly be so very, very thick. We INSIST that Jesus would not lie and that therefore every word He said must be taken absolutely literally. What a bunch of children we are! (And I mean childish, not child-like.)

One of my hobby horses. :lol: Thanks for bringing it up, Bro.
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:01 am

Greetings !

Greetings is shorthand for what Paul writes in the beginning of Ephesians 1

Thanks for adding your comments to mine :D

You then might really enjoy reading RF Capon ... also I just finished reading a really good piece of imaginative
writing by Cheeseburger Brown ... Christmas Robots ... which I plan to snip some for the forum here...

all the best !
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:54 am

Hello folks (and greetings dear Cinders) – this is a nice subject. And I think all of you are on to something big! You know I’m the resident history bore. What I’d say about history is that – yes, it is all a matter of interpretation; but we don’t just make it up, and it’s not simply in our heads.

The past is a country we can never visits but it does leave evidence (sources) – buildings, documents, artefacts etc. Historians try to reconstruct what actually happened; and then try to interpret why things happened as they did. Our interpretation of the past is made in the light of the evidence; and there are rules for studying history on how to analyses sources. There are rules for authenticating sources and showing which ones are forgeries. However, sources do not always yield such easy answers. Sometimes they are just fragments – especially the further back you go in time; and sometimes they are overwhelming (as with sources for recent events). So when we talk about the past we have to make distinctions between things that we can be certain about, things that possibly happened, things that probably happened, and things that certainly didn’t happen.

A variety of interpretations are possible of any given topic. But this does not mean that any interpretation is acceptable. Obviously the authentic sources we have about the Second World War are extensive enough for us to be able to say for certain that Hitler invaded Poland, but Poland did not invade Germany, and enable us to debunk the views of people who wish to deny that the holocaust happened. So study of History has to be based on the real evidence of the sources.
As Christians we have four Gospels as our main sources of evidence, and the fact that these do not agree on every point of detail suggest something Incarnational to me – Christ did enter history with all its uncertainty. I find it telling that when the Roman Christian emperor Taitian wanted to edit the four Gospels into one document that tidied up and harmonised the uncertainties, the Church said ‘no’.

But we do rewrite the past when we study history too. History is a dialogue between present and past. For example today many people are interested in the history of women – because society today affords women equality. There were always plenty of sources out there for women’s history – but until the twentieth century not a lot of people were that interested in them. But today – thankfully – we can let voices of women in the past speak again. This is one reason why there is great fascination for the female mystics like Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Methchild of Magdeburg and other sisters in Christ. And good historians are always aware that they bring their present concerns to the past, while still making an effort to see the past in its own terms. Likewise when we read the Bible we try to be aware of the original meaning of the text, and the meaning of the text for us today (the two will overlap but will not always be entirely the same necessarily).

Just a couple of thoughts from the history bore :roll: :lol: .


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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:21 pm

Uh - my post, that was a bit boring :( :roll: . The discussion before me was far more exciting - including news from China :D . Just to say that fundamentalist uses of scripture and alternatives to this is a very interesting topic indeed - and that's the real issue here (at least i think it probably is). It's a topic which I know others here have been interested in discussing.
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Cindy Skillman » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:50 pm

So when we talk about the past we have to make distinctions between things that we can be certain about, things that possibly happened, things that probably happened, and things that certainly didn’t happen.

Not only that, Dick, but things in the past (at least very far back) are typically impossible to determine with absolute certainty. A "probably true" or "likely true" is high praise from most historians for anything as far back as Jesus' time. (As I'm sure I don't need to tell you -- but I like saying it. ;) )

Even the most widely believed historical events are far less set in cement than we tell the school kids. Brings a whole new light to things. Attestation to Jesus and to His resurrection are so much better documented than many other uncontested historical events that we might have to dismiss whole volumes of the past if we were to apply the same rigor to their documentation that we apply to Christ's life, death, and life again.

Of course, it's fair to apply a high standard of scrutiny to such a miraculous claim. And it is applied. And unless the historian has an a priori requirement that there is no god and miracles never happen, it passes as well as or better than many other more ordinary events.

Love, Cindy
. . . we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:38 pm

Yes Cinders I agree that the evidence for the resurrection - beyond it being an article of faith and a matter of personal experience - is very high indeed. That the eyewitness accounts don't completely tally is to be expected (and I really love the fact that women are taken as key witnesses - that is so subversive!!!). But the transofrmation of the disciples for example takes too much explaining. I'm really not a sceptic here at all. I believe in the ressurection - pure and simple. There are ways of readnig scripture that are not fundamentalist but does not seek to strip it of mystery and miracle - the Early Church managed that one very well I think. (I know that a lot of the classical liberal theologians like Bultmann were sceptical about the ressurection - but I'm not in their camp).


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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:09 pm

Hi again Cindy – I really wasn’t trying to be controversial here. My first suggestion is simply that we don’t just make history up – although our view of it is a matter of interpretation. Regarding the Bible as history - in a sense it is history– for example I think that if we understand honour shame culture and the rabbinical debates of the first century Jesus teachings come alive in a different way. But the gospels are also sacred history – they are about the divine breaking into history. As for the miracles and the resurrection – I really do believe they happened. But when people try and give rationalist explanations for them – which is what some types of fundamentalists do to uphold then and some types of liberals do to debunk them – I turn off and think they may be missing the point. A lot of the miracle narratives are communicated in symbolic language - they point to transcendence -and I receive them as sacraments without getting too tied up in rationalist explanations. Wonderful and mighty things really did happen, but they were of another order, outside of everyday experience – and they have a meaning which only gradually discloses itself. And that’s the best I can do.


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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:09 pm

Greetings !

History bore ???? hmmmmmmm while I am here then ... I might be able to give you a run for yer money ... :D

I was thinking ... hmmmmm when will he mention Harnack, Bultmann along with others in
the Historical Criticism camp ... Which is one good reason I have enjoyed having K. Barth around
to tangle with these "turkeys" :D

Let me put forth a teaser for now ... then later I will try to flesh it out more...

In Greek there are two fascinating words to delight one when musing over the issue of "time"
there is kairos and chronos ...
chronos has the significant meaning of chronicle of time keeping
while kairos has another signficant meaning ... which :mrgreen: I need to dig into my
previous memory banks for a more complete wording to use here...

I used to belong to the evangelical evidentalist camp ... where I would jump into the fray
with those who were either in the Historical critical camp... or Athesists or whatever ..
but I will share one interesting insight from my experiences...

Although during my beginning along this journey ... I was ceremoniously knock down
and flatten quite a bit ... I was actually tooo stubborn to stay down ...
Thus later on at least I was able to stand my ground and almost always came to a
stalemate with those on the other side...
JP Holding was another voice in these heated "flame wars" too...
However, although he has a large enough "fan-boy" base of followers... I was certainly not
one of them ... for several reasons -- #1 I can hold my own as far as Historical research goes...
#2 Holding has very little "respect" from the other side too ....
Being able to have a aggressive attitude with cocky behavior at times or trying to Pontificate
to others at other times ... does not increase the efficient effect of trying to
influence your so called "enemies"
The more intense the "flame wars" became ... the more tight and narrow one was trying
to squeeze the proverbial camel through the "eye of the needle"
reaching a very tight thread ...
both sides reaching a boiling point concerning the "evidence" to be presented ...

Did it change anyone 's opinion of what had happened back then around 2,000 years ago ?

Who knows? I certainly do not ... those within Holdings camp and those in the other camps
became something akin to the 3 Kingdom Wars in Chinese History ...

more in a short time ...

all the best !
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Cindy Skillman » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:44 pm

Hi, Dick

No worries. I was just chatting and sharing -- it never even occurred to me that you might not believe in the resurrection (as indeed you do believe in it.) No, I've heard of that sort of thing, but it wasn't in my mind as needing to defend the resurrection to Christians, let alone to you. I was thinking about a book I'm reading just now on that subject and very impressed with -- enjoying it and all, and learning many new things.

So anyway -- it was on my mind because of the book, and I wanted to share with you since what you said reminded me of it, that's all.

Love, Cindy
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:58 am

I'm punch drunk at the moment my dear - I really am - and should take a wee break :lol: .

Tell us more about the book?

love to you -

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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:16 am

P.S. Cindy – I’m turning into a noisy little gander :roll: :lol:

Dear Hothorsegz -

I think I agree with you quite a lot actually - and you can give me a run for my money! Hey - another historian on site. Most people when I start enthusing about history at parties, smile thinly for a time but their eyes soon glaze over and eventually they shuffle away nervously with a soggy paper plate and some croutons. :D

‘Evidentialist’ – am in right in thinking that these are the biblical literalists who seek to harmonise all discrepancies in the Bible through giving rationalist explanations of everything? I think it’s a bit like that. And then you have the other school of fundamentalist apologetics – the presupposition/worldview critics -who are very often Calvinists; they see the evidentialists as ceding common ground to the enemy. The only way to defend biblical inerrancy is to pull apart the inconsistencies in any position that claims to be rational while not being fundamentalist (because if we do not have a literal view of scripture we cannot be certain of anything). Well ... yes we do have the warring kingdoms of China scenario here, most certainly

Hmmmmm. I've never read Bultmann in any depth - but they I know he’s the one who seem to reduce all kairos into kronos (while the evidentialists elevate all chronos to kairos perhaps?). I’ve got some stuff on these two words from the wikipedia – and I think it will do -

Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time in between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens. What the special something is depends on who is using the word. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative nature
In the New Testament kairos means "the appointed time in the purpose of God", the time when God acts (e.g. Mark 1.15, the kairos is fulfilled). It differs from the more usual word for time which is chronos (kronos).

In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, before the Divine Liturgy begins, the Deacon exclaims to the Priest, "Kairos tou poiesai to Kyrio" ("It is time [kairos] for the Lord to act"); indicating that the time of the Liturgy is an intersection with Eternity.


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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:54 am

Even the most widely believed historical events are far less set in cement than we tell the school kids. Brings a whole new light to things. Attestation to Jesus and to His resurrection are so much better documented than many other uncontested historical events that we might have to dismiss whole volumes of the past if we were to apply the same rigor to their documentation that we apply to Christ's life, death, and life again.

Of course, it's fair to apply a high standard of scrutiny to such a miraculous claim. And it is applied. And unless the historian has an a priori requirement that there is no god and miracles never happen, it passes as well as or better than many other more ordinary events.

Just to say Cindy that I agree with you here completely. I dunno what comes over me. I hate disagreeing with you so much - because I like you so much - that I pre-empt disagreement by, well, going on the defensive when I actually agree with you!

Oh dear me - :roll: :lol: I am a hopeless case and a box of frogs!


Dick :)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:07 am

Hothorsegz - it would be really interesting to hear some examples of 'evidentialist' arguments/apologetics. You'll have a memory stuffed full of them I guess (whereas I'm more familiar with the pressupositionalist arguments - and the 'pre-' word is such a mouthful :lol: ).

If you're game,
jJust give us a couple of notable evidentialist ones to show us how this form of defence of the Bible works. That would be really useful and interesting to me - and to others here I'm sure.


Dick :)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:02 am

Hey you’ve all got me thinking deep. I must confess myself stumped by this one – just don’t know enough about apologetics – and hope that someone like Jason is looking in here!!!!!

My deeply inexpert two pence worth at the moment? – on second thoughts I reckon evidentialist apologetics can be perfectly valid in revealing the historically probable nature of the evidence for the life death and resurrection of Christ etc. This evidence is primarily the New Testament but also other bits and bobs like Josephus, archaeological evidence etc. I remember once reading a book by John Robinson – who had a reputation for radical scepticism about the reliability of the new Testament entitled ‘Can we trust the New Testament’ (in terms of authenticity)– his answer was a resounding ‘yes’, although he did not draw biblical inerrantist conclusions from this.

But more narrowly the evidentialist approach to apologetics is linked to fundamentalism. Fundamentalist evidentialist apologetics for the truth of the resurrection follow a similar pattern.

The Gospel are spoken of as if they are simply factual reportage of the event – like contemporary eye witness accounts – and along with the Gospel accounts of Easter Monday the vision of the risen Jesus by 500 people settles the matter. The resurrection proves the Jesus was God as a matter of fact. And the factual narration of the resurrection in the Bible proves that the Bible is the infallible Word of God.

As Robert M. Price has written (in ‘Three views of the Resurrection’)

In reading much conservative theological literature, one may be struck by the paucity of theological significance given the resurrection. This at first seems exceedingly strange, since conservatives are unflagging in their insistence that the resurrection of Christ be maintained as true in every nail¬ scarred particular. It is almost reminiscent of a museum curator who is eager to preserve an old cannon in perfect condition--no use can be made of the piece any more, but it is indispensable to the collection. Critic James Barr has sought to explain this kind of surprising gap. He believes that conservatives care very little about “theology,” i.e., a worked-out rationale for understanding faith. Instead, they are interested only in "doctrine,” a list of self-sufficient tenets whose only necessary relationship is their common membership in such a list of "Fundamentals."

(See ... indeed.htm if you are interested in this discussion)

I know that Barth’s response to this sort of evidentialist approach to the Resurrection was that although he was convinced of the truth of the resurrection (and the significance of the resurrection), and convinced that it did take place in historical/chronological time - it was still of a different order to other historical events and not reducible to these or open to investigation with the methods of ordinary historical research. He pointed out that not everyone saw the Risen Jesus – but only those who had faith (and even doubting Thomas had a doubting faith).

As well as Barth we have C.S. Lewis Christian apologetics that are also not dependent on evidentialism. Both Barth and Lewis in their different ways spoke of Christ as being ‘the Word as True Myth’ (‘True’ – being the operative word here, and ‘myth’ not meaning falsehood here). I wonder if anyone has some thoughts on this???
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:33 am

Greetings !

:D :D :D

You said that you are not an expert ... but you already have done quite well... (QQ has applause smiley )

Actually if you really wish to get into this arena ... ( hehehe)
Then dive into some forums where JP Holding and the Infidels hang out ...

That will give you more than enough information to last you for decades...

I also know about presuppositionalist arguments too ... ;) :mrgreen:

But after a long stint of getting into tons of heated discussions and flame wars ...
I finally realized ... so what ?

I used to believe in being super active in evangelizing others ( but on the Evangelical manner
not the Fundie way ( with all due respect to Fundamentalists )

Handing out Chick tracts and bopping people over the head with so called facts was not my style either...
trying to assert some "authoritative clout " over unbelievers ... well... * cough * * cough *
As I went down the trail and path of living ... I discovered more and more
that "stalemates" were not my cup of tea any longer ...

I will share with you this -- at times I was obnoxious enough to pretend I was a "sinner"
then get into apologetic conversations on the road side or where ever with whoever seemed
to be getting too aggressive in my thinking ....

I used to get into debates with University professors or evolutionary biologists too...
Then I gradually decided this was not my cup of tea too...

Personally if I had a chance to eat dinner with good ole JP Holding ...
I would much rather invite any of the Infidels or local Chinese in this small town
to dinner or for a social activity than him .
My friends here include those Muslims who work at a local restaurant
One of the guys who works in the Supermarket which is not big ...
I give him hugs ... smile and act very friendly to many local people ...
He gives me excellent watermelons too ...
Recently, even tho his salary must be meager he paid for my meal one day at the Muslim restaurant
My neighbor upstairs is a really great guy too...
Many of the people from Upper Middle Class to those who surely are way below
the common poverty level in the States are my friends ...
And yet .. these are all so-called "sinners" ( which by the way I gave up using this terminology
a really long time ago with Chinese --- really stupid and foolish Culturally to use this term
with Chinese ....especially since Asians do NOT come with the Western Introspective Conscience ) :mrgreen:

I also have my own insights concerning "harmatia" the greek word usually used for "sinner"

So .... jump on yer horse with yer Cowboy hat yelling "Giddyup"
just use Google search for JP Holding and Infidels ... :lol:

Now folks .. listen up ... No need to rant to me about my attitude towards good ole JP ....
Everyone does what they have enough Passion to do ... especially those who are
really enthusiastic or really "pumped up " to do it ....
My previous co-worker from the University I used to work at .. .
She is a really conservative conservative border line Fundamentalist - Evangelical....
and I receive her tidbits in my email box sometimes...
This year she is on "roll" with her enthusiastic hate Obama thingie ...
and yet Romney is most likely a Mormon ...
the point ? She used to raise a wild ruckus about how the Mormons were....
( no need to replay that now is there ? )

I will let JP be himself ..

So if yer interested in getting into the thick of it ... jump on yer white horse with Tonto...

all the best !
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:57 am

Greetings !

since we are discussing History ... then I will post my not traditional comments about
Council of Chalcedon and share with you my insights as to the reasons for my view concerning it ...

Theological thoughts on the biblical text and the Trinity.

The biblical text functions as a "witness" to the 'reality' of Our Creator who made everything. In other words it does not desire to draw concentrated attention to itself but rather points towards the One who is indeed the 'real' source of 'Truth.' Apart from the 'inspiration' (God breathed ) that is inherent in the biblical text when the Spirit illuminates it within the mind, heart and soul of mankind it is basically dormant as any other book on a library shelf. Our Creator freely acts according to His freedom which has no constraints to hinder those acts. Thus the biblical text has been 'inspired' in a manner that is different from other texts that are read by us. For example, where else can I find the words and parables spoken by Jesus? Where else can I find the interactions between the 'chosen' people and their Creator recorded? I would even go so far as to suggest that reading other theological resources will also function as a 'witness' to the One who is indeed the 'real' source of "Truth.' Although the conductivity might be less than the biblical text. (to use the analogy of electric current)

Next -- The Spirit "witnesses" to the activity, life, death, resurrection and 'reality' of the Son (who belongs within the Trinity -- a distinctiveness beyond the "Unity" which --must-- be adamantly emphasized or else we begin to lean heavily towards Three individual Deities which then would form a committee (so to speak) or worst (a family). Anything that the Spirit does will "witness" -- point towards what the Son has accomplished. The Spirit will persistently bring to memory, cause one to reflect upon the acts of the Son in His Incarnation, Life, Death and Resurrection. In fact, the Spirit displays this in the grandest manner via the 'power' of the resurrection itself! The Incarnation was only possible via the activity of the Spirit. The Spirit does not desire to draw concentrated attention to itself but rather points towards the One who is indeed the 'real' source of 'Truth -- the explicit self-disclosure of God Himself
to emphasize the intense Unity

.' Thus, in this way the Spirit is also our Paraclete. The Spirit works for us, in us and with us to conform us to the image of the Son.
Once again, the Spirit always "witnesses" to the Son.

Next, The Son (God the Son, Son of God, Son of Man (it has been noted by some famous theologians that this is one of his favorite terms of self acknowledgment - the second member of the perichoretic koinonia intrinsically embedded in the Trinity)
"witnesses" to the Father's will

, character , and the 'reality' of His existence as the One "True" God that deserves all worship, praise and glory! I utilize the English word 'character' instead of the common term used in those traditional systematic tomes of propositional compartmentalized doctrines -- that being -- the so-called attributes of God. In my framework God happens to be a living being 'with' a personality instead of some abstract yokel whose existence is inescapably tied to and depends upon the "Holy Bible" laying on a conference table waiting for a group of inerrantists to decide which attribute is more significant than the others & how to interpret the anthropomorphisms in Holy Writ. According to the biblical text Jesus always acted out of conformity to the Father's will. At the same time it is intriguing that he noted -- If you have seen "Me" you have seen the "Father." Again, at the same time Jesus was a carpenter by trade and not a puppeteer who had mastered ventriloquism. (a cryptic ref. to Modalism -- ) Jesus consistently "witnessed" to the Father by declaring that the motivation behind his -acts- were to display his keen discernment for the direction the Father wanted to take. This also suggests to me that there might be a provocative hint at the meaning of "Jesus did not sin" in that there was no selfish ambition (a concentrated investment of energy focused into accomplishing something that in all likelihood is autonomous from start to end).

Even the "signs" that repeatedly show up in the Gospels are there as a 'witness' to the 'reality' of the presence of the Creator (of all knowable and unknowable worlds) walking in the midst of his 'chosen' people. (cf. the prologue to John & his usage of this term) These miracles are not a means of displaying the abilities of Jesus the wonder-maker so as to 'awe' his audience. Nor should they be primarily considered 'proof' of his Deity either. This will only allow those who have a Modernist Cartesian Certainty complex some inner satisfaction and glee. The Creator walks in the cool of the day once again with his beloved! But, Alas! there are vision-challenged... sound challenged religiously correct folks who really need outside help (the Spirit) to have a 'change of mind' metanoia -- {Greek which does not simply translate into the English word - repentance} to finally be able to recognize "Who" Jesus really was -- The Creator Incarnate!
Even the night in the garden of Gethesame I do not find Jesus engaged in a sort of committee meeting with Dad (who happens to be the Absconditus Deus in some traditional models) in order to sort out the details of this sordid affair of being crucified for a bunch of utterly selfish-autonomous & ungrateful folks. He is not displaying his filial piety in going the second mile so as to appease the fiery angst that God the Judge has towards mankind and also is require to keep the balance between the attributes of "Love" and "Justice" .
What do I find?

The Creator (of all) is actually intricately involved in this situation, can agonize over the profound depths to which He must traverse in order to "in the fullness of time" reconcile his beloved to Himself!

To contemplate the traditional and abstract image of God the Almighty Judge and His filial Son willing to make the sacrifice for "all" Mankind (whether understood in a Arminian or Calvinist way) has surely elicited tons of fodder in order to motivate us on our part to focus our minds towards the same aim -- that of 'sacrificial obedience.' Surely this is putting the cart before the horse [cf. Gal. 3] However, I continually met up with Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from a body doomed to a death such as this? Cassirer translation of Rom 7:24
I prefer to contemplate that Our Creator Himself persistently pursued me until I was reconciled to Him!
Once again The Son is a "witness" to the Father's "actuality"

, and the 'reality' of His existence as the One "True" God that deserves all worship, praise and glory!

The Father ( God the Father, Almighty God, One who belongs within the perichoretic koinonia which is inextractably bound and enmeshed in the Trinity) sent the Son.
These simple words have challenged theologians for millenia upon millenia. A myriad of devotional literature could not even begin to be collated into a series of volumes. These words are at the very heart of the "gospel." I have begun to contemplate these words from a different pericope than most probably have -- The Genesis narrative. I decided to begin at the beginning of the relationship between the Creator and his work of art (which was declared by Him as "good")

I will most likely need to edit this post ... since I do not have time at this moment to do so ...

all the best !
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:02 pm

Dear Hothorsegz -

I've enjoyed your posts :D :D I'm glad it is not only me who has been up against a brick wall with presuppositionalism too!

I think I'll give JP Holding a miss though - and his rationalist interlocutors too :roll: . Let me think about your post on the Trinity -but yeah, I think I like it.

All good wishes

Dick :)

P.S. As a non-expert I've really enjoyed Gary Dorrien's books on this topic - namley 'The Remaking of Evangelical theology' , and 'The Word as True Myth'. The article I've given the link to above is also pretty good - for starters - because it suggests that the best insights of both theologically liberal and theologically conservative Christian apologists can be fruitfully combined.
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:32 pm

Haven't got a lot of time tonight - but yep, it's very good IMHO :D
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:06 pm

Just a quick insight to chime with you here – concerning the resurrection. If it the resurrection is simply a piece of factual data like other facts yes it just goes to show that God is uncontrollably powerful and can do this sort of thing – and the God as conceived of by the most extreme Calvinists can do this too , so as to add ultimate authority to extreme Calvinism (I guess). But the resurrection as brute fact can completely miss or even wilfully ignore the significance of the resurrection; Christ as Victor over death, Christ as first fruits, Christ restoring humanity in the Incarnation and raising humanity to new life etc... The resurrection is a witness to God’s love and this love is relational as in the perichoretic koinonia of the Trinity ( I understand that this means something like the circling dance of the persons of the Trinity in eternity into which we will all become participants because of Christ’s redeeming Incarnation). Here we move into the mystery of divine love – and this is a fact, but it’s a living fact rather than a piece of ordinary lifeless data I guess.
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Paidion » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:01 pm

I think you can discover true history by finding facts.

The problem is that the relevant facts are often very hard to find.

History is the story of what happened in the past. History and the interpretation of facts are two distinct entities.

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:00 am

I think you can discover true history by finding facts.

The problem is that the relevant facts are often very hard to find.

History is the story of what happened in the past. History and the interpretation of facts are two distinct entities.

Hi Paidon –
Love you because you are the man who I once misheard as the voice of Charlton Heston booming at me – mainly because you have a Mosaic beard – but I missed the every warm twinkle in your eyes. I’m still chuckling at myself about this one!!!!)
Well this is one of those ‘it all depends what you mean by...’ discussions I reckon.
If we are talking about ordinary history here –

History is the human past (what happened in the past)

Using history in this first sense – yes we can keep this and the ’interpretation of facts’ separate. The past has gone for good – so it does not yield ‘facts’ of the same nature as those which we can observe and measure in the present and can verify through repetition (that’s a clumsy definition of the facts of science). But is does leave evidence.

History is the enterprise/need of all human societies to pass on an uncritical story/narrative of what happened in the past (because history is to society what memory is to the individual – without a story we have no compass)

Using history in this second sense – here the story what happened in the past and interpretation of what happened can and do merge together. The story will always depend on the story-tellers viewpoint. This type of storytelling can be harmless but obviously a story about the past can be told to inspire hatred and division in the present. I’m thinking of how this type of tribal history was sued by both sides in the troubles in Northern Ireland as a way of perpetuating the conflict; both sides emphasised the stories and evidence of conflict, but played down or even ignored counter-evidence of common sympathy and past collaboration between Protestants and Catholics.

History is the scholarly attempt to reconstruct and interpret the human past thought diligent research into all relevant evidence from primary and secondary sources.

Using history in this third sense; in the scholarly discipline of history as it has developed since the eighteenth century, diligent research into the evidence is the first step – and any historian who skimps on this is not worth their salt in my view. Research nito sources is a ‘distinct entity from interpretation. But in order to make sense of the evidence any historian is going to need to make connections between different pieces of evidence that testify to different events and phenomena from the past - this is interpretation; and they are also going to start asking questions about causes (when we’ve established what happened as far as we possibly can we still want to know ‘why did it happen as it did?’ to give us a real story) - this is also interpretation.

So I think that reconstructing the past and interpreting the past are different things – but they do overlap. OH my word – I guess the bog issue here is about subjectivity and objectivity in human knowledge. It’s what the philosophers call ‘epistemology’ , the discussion of that human beings can actually know about anything– and sends my head spinning horribly!!!! My two pence worth on this subject is some very broad and clumsy generalisations:

We have people who call themselves ‘non-realists’ concerning knowledge. For this lot all human knowledge is subjective – it’s something we make up in our minds for our own convenience.

We have people how call themselves ‘realists’ concerning knowledge. For this lot we can be absolutely certain of our knowledge in various spheres. There is a clear factual truth and we can apprehend it.

And we have people who call themselves ‘critical realists’ – and I’d call myself one of this lot. For a critical realist there is a real truth outside of our heads. We don’t just make up morality, history, science etc (just to keep things in the secular sphere for the moment). However, our knowledge will always be limited – because that’s part of the human condition. We aim for truth, there is a truth that we can try and approximate to. We can make solid and valid distinctions in history for example between good historical research and writing, and biased nonsense - but we are all going to get things wrong and need to be humble about this.


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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby corpselight » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:07 am

enjoyable thread so far! :D
--your friendly neighbourhood corpse--
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:27 am

Good :D

Another word that has different meanings is ‘Myth’ –

In terms of secular history a ‘myth’ is a distortion of the evidence. For example, there is an ‘historian’, David Irving , who is (or at least was)a holocaust denier. Part of the evidence he used was what Goebbels’s says in his diaries. Now Goebbels’s was the Nazi minister for propaganda – so this obviously raises grave questions about the veracity of anything Goebbels’s wrote about the extermination of the Jews )never mind the other overwhelming evidence that disproves the case of the holocaust deniers. SO ‘myth’ in terms of the discipline of history has a specific and negative meaning.

‘Myth’ as used by C.S. Lewis has a very different meaning. He used the word in its literary sense to mean a story that embodies in narrative and symbol our deepest human longings – pre-eminently the myth of the dying and rising God. Lewis found the same story in the Gospels – but told with an artlessness that was very different from how it is told it the sagas of the ancients (which Lewis came to see as one of the hallmarks of the historical authenticity of the Gospel narratives). For Lewis the story of Jesus was the same story as that of Baldur, Osiris, Dionysus, and Mithras – but with the crucial difference that in Christ the myth foreshadowed in the stories of the ancients entered history.

Rudolf Bultmann used myth to mean picture language rooted in am ancient worldview that modern Christians need to translate into modern terms in order to make the Gospel’s accessible. For example, when we talk of Jesus – ‘ascending into the heavens’ it would be foolish to think of him travelling upwards like a rocket. ‘The heavens’ is picture language not for a specific physical location, but for the transcendent realm of God. Bultmann’s ‘demythologising’ project can be taken too far into outright scepticism– but as a modest principle it make complete sense to me – with the proviso that we need to remember that the modern worldview like the ancient is only our best approximation to truth at the moment. I do believe that knowledge progresses but our picture language for transcendence today is not the final truth; it’s still picture language for a transcendent mystery.

For Rene Girard, 'Myth' has a negative meaning. Myths are stories that have grown up in hum so cities to disguise the violent scapegoating mechanism that is the basis for so much human and ‘civilised’ ‘peace’. So whereas the original event was actually a lynch mob tearing an innocent victim to bits, this event is disguised as a story of a dying and rising god. The Bible actually subverts this story by giving voice to the scapegoats who are the innocent victims of self righteous mob violence – and indeed Jesus in his life death and resurrection completely subverts/demythologises the scapegoat myth.
All of these meanings of ‘myth’ may seems to conflict – but I think that they are not necessarily contradictory. Any ideas?

P.S ‘Epistemology’ rhymes with ‘by golly gee’ :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:16 am

Greetings !

I plan on expressing my views concerning Time, History and what I will describe as "Relational Theology"
and how all of these fit within my conception of Church History ... ;)

In my past .. in order to give myself more than enough "security" I, with passionate zeal
insisted upon the literal - in time and space as we know it -- historical "real" actual ...
Death and Resurrection of Jesus ( and by the way ... to me Jesus = Jesus Christ =
Christ Jesus = the same ... I do not agree with some that wish to view Jesus as the man
e.g. human and Christ as the "Spiritual aspect of .... )

During those years I indeed had very high level of Confidence ( with a capital 'C')
for the actual historical "real" ( not the demythologizing of Bultmann & Co. -- which
includes all the rest of the other "Critical" methods of analyzing History for enough reasons )

Of course I still do have the same viewpoint ... but at this point in my Life
I do not need the "security" of having the evidentialist arguments ...
that I once spent endless hours or research ... so that I might have enough
'live' ammunition to engage in 'live fire' with others online ...

Frankly speaking -- there is no way in this green earth that anyone is going to
dismantle or disprove the Resurrection of Jesus... along with the same on the
Evangelistic side as well...

However, this does not mean that the Resurrection of Jesus becomes
built upon "faith" or "Faith" only or mostly ...

As I mentioned earlier -- facts or events in History certainly do not have nice
cute handy tags on them -- stating "Here is the meaning of this Historical event !"
Even with all of the current high tech TV shows ... CSI ... and other Detective, Police,
You be the Jury shows... where the forensic tools available and even those shows
with paranormal help ... or the likes of Mulder and Scully -- The Truth is way OUT there ... :D

Even with all those who are exceptionally talented in Historical Crictical tools ...

Has any TV show ever finally cleared up the query ... Who killed JFK? Pearl Harbor?
or even more recent shocking events ?

notice... the key point being -- finally produced enough conclusive results
to reach a high probability of consensus for resolving these events ...

sure... there are a multitude of books written almost yearly ...
even new books appear ...e.g. 1431 & 1434 .. in which Menzies has his
"Dan Brown " clone of a whopper .... for those with inquiring minds .... ;)

What does this have to do with the NT texts relating to Jesus Resurrection ?

I will assume many of the members here are familiar enough with the
"Jesus Seminar" * cough * * cough *
When historical criticism gets this fine tuned and then is able to split hairs
( making it more exciting to watch those Ads for Shampoo to mend split hairs
returning your hair to a 'golden' shine )
then I reach for another 'beer' & munchies
I certainly appreciate and admire keen scholarship but this seems to me
to be yet another 'rerun' of Mulder & Scully
while the Fundamentalists have more rebuttals
while blowing a fuse, blow one's top, blow up, boil over, bristle as a cat who might be in danger
of losing one of their "9 lives"

both are extremes... and a healthy dose of Scottish "common sense" is just the medicine
to cure the hiccups from observing such phenomena ...
----The central concern of the school is the defence of common sense against philosophical paradox and scepticism. Common-sense beliefs govern the lives and thought even of those who avow non-commonsensical beliefs, and matters of common sense are within "the reach of common understanding". This isn't to say that critical thought isn't sometimes necessary in order to establish whether or not a particular belief is a belief of common sense,.....

Therefore, what does "common sense" have do to with the Resurrection of Jesus ?
and for that matter -- with earliest Chrisitian living ?

certainly a lot ... :)

since this is a forum where there is a lot of healthy considerate behavior
I will breathe more easy ... than attempting to tangle with those on either extreme...

#1 even though I find lots of Christian bookstore Apologetical books being published
to its cheering applause of its targeted audience...

I will continue on ...
If we view MSS of all Historical documents during the period of the NT
then we can notice that there is a huge difference concerning the number of copies...
also the time interval between the extant copies we have and the actual time of those events
is also significant ....
There are more than 5,000 Greek MSS and enough Syriac and Latin ... making 13,000 copies
and the time interval is significantly ( understatement) than the other historical documents
available. The amount of textual variations is rather tiny .. and even the eensy meensy
spider would not have enough spider web material to make anything ...
or to put it another way .. if Spidey himself ran out of web fluid .. that is still much more
than the eensy meensy amount of textual variations for the Multi-Valent Text at hand...

When you put on the colored glasses ( that atheists, Infidels, evolutionary bio geeks
and my old co-worker with a BA in History constantly accused me of having ...
since I happen to have solid Scottish common sense for what I observe concerning
the Multi-Valent Greek text -- of which SBL at biblegateway surely has ... )

When you done 3D skeptical glasses of any variety ...
e.g. both extremes above
then you either ignore the situation, wave your hands, engage in various
historical critical methods along with their -- the "Truth is BACK there" ...
thus eliminating whatever remains in their path of historical pursuit ...
or on the other side ... use various devices like hammers, KJV bibles the
size of unabridged dictionaries that weigh a ton ... become a very annoyed
woodpecker pecking on someone's noggin .. pointing out as many small
details as possible .. where Jesus or Christians ( these words ) are mentioned
in secular documents, K-mart checkout receipts , Jewish historians
of that era , and eye witness testimonies
( which in today's Courtroom could very well give you the Monopoly 'card'
go to Jail do not pass Go and do not collect any money ... )
Yes, I recently noticed an article online that reports that eye-witness
testimony is becoming less and less reliable in order to be depended on ...
and CSI TV show high tech is sought after desperately ...

Thus in today's TV "Reality show" society I really wonder and feel very curious
as to the reasons for Crusading Evangelistic efforts with a very stubborn
Conservative bent ... who are still trying to "sell" eye witness testimony ... ;)

On the other hand, I, personally, have deep keen appreciation, admiration
for Luke presenting his Gospel ( Literary genre ) in his manner.
Luke surely knew that having Scottish common sense was full of adroit
skill including being Well done or executed: clean, deft, neat, skillful.
Showing art or skill in performing or doing:
artful, deft, dexterous, skillful. Exhibiting or possessing skill and ease in performance
as an Passionate Artist to express his Invaluable insights concerning the Birth, Life,
Death and Resurrection of Jesus .... which was for his intended Audience
at that time and place ... and Praise be to God ( Father, Son, Spirit )
for allowing me almost 2,000 years later to view, experience and contemplate
this "Witness" to Jesus ...

Ahhhhhh Yes I did write "Witness"
which could very well have its own Topic entitled "Unintellible Witness " :lol:

There is a powerful energizing spiritual intuitive awareness that is held to emanate from or give animation to
from "Witness" to the Father...
from the Son ... in which the Spirit will "Witness" to the Son ....

What has this to do with "facts" ?

When I first arrived in Taiwan many years ago ... I was to teach a class about Church History ...
and suddenly memories of me attending Church History classes in undergraduate daze...
brought chuckles and semi-boring emotive feelings ... chuckles because although the male
students in the back row were supposed to have divine behavior ... in 'fact', these nitwits
would sit there and stick out their tongues repeatedly while the Prof was lecturing ...
and semi-boring due to the 'fact' ... endless names, endless dates, endless events were
flowing like a waterfall which after a short time produced a drowsy feeling which was
very difficult to overcome...

Thus, I decided not to cause these Chinese students to quickly doze off into the netherworld ..
I chose to teach from a biographical framework instead... Living people who were involved
within social events which consisted of a maze of interconnected phenomena surrounding
everything ....

Which by the way .. is exactly what happened during the Life and Times of Jesus
along with the Earliest Church as well....

more coming soon ... :mrgreen:
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:41 am

Thus, I decided not to cause these Chinese students to quickly doze off into the netherworld ..
I chose to teach from a biographical framework instead... Living people who were involved
within social events which consisted of a maze of interconnected phenomena surrounding
everything ....

Which by the way .. is exactly what happened during the Life and Times of Jesus
along with the Earliest Church as well....

more coming soon ...

That's very intereting old chap. I've just been reading a book which argues that the Gospels do fit into the genre of ancient biography.

As for your intention to draw on the best of all aprroaches without going to extremes of scepticism or literalism - a round of applause :D

As for Scottish Common Sense philosophy - hmmmm; isn't that one of the bases for Christian fundamentalism? Alhthough I applaud a pragmatic and level headed approach that isn't too theoretical, I think the Common Sense stuff has other implications (I think I've got something on it somehwere - and I really liked what you said about the authority of scripture in a previous post by the way).

Anyway keep posting - your views are very interesting; and your life sounds a saga of colour too. :D
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:23 am

Greetings !

I am delighted with sparkling eyes .. while reading your posts .. not glazed over as in boring ...

We have a lot in common already ....

All of these meanings of ‘myth’ may seems to conflict – but I think that they are not necessarily contradictory. Any ideas?

P.S ‘Epistemology’ rhymes with ‘by golly gee’
and by golly gee ... learning how to know how we know .. rhymes with snow too...
which by the way the Eskimos have enough variations on it ... ;)

I concur with your thoughts on "Myth" and Chesterton has some interesting comments about Fairy Tales too ...

For Barth and CS Lewis .. .Myth is much larger than the common ordinary variety ...
another thought --- Fairy Tales might have a 'kernel' of truth ... While a Myth will have much more Truth
for us to realize, consider and then believe ....

This is yet another reason I have such praise for the Gospel Writers ... especially Luke ...
I am thinking of my living experience here in Asia...

If a newbie from the States suddenly shows up in Taiwan or Guangzhou ...
then he or she will not suddenly be dis-oriented either ... because there is much common 'ground'
much common "connections" with the City he or she left and the City she or he enters into ...

However, sooner or later .. ( most likely sooner than either suppose or expect )
there will soon be enough lessons in Cultural awareness...
especially when crossing the street after the traffic signal turns to "green"

allow me to share with you ...
in Taiwan I will introduce the meaning of the colors found on a traffic signal...
as You are aware ... red means 'stop' yellow means 'caution' green means 'go'
whereas in a lot of places in Taiwan .. .green means 'go' yellow means ' go fast' and red means 'go very fast'
so if you believe in "facts" then you will be "factually" dead if you suddenly attempt
to cross the street immediately after it turns to green ...

there is a website .. need to google to find it later ...
along the lines of .. You know you have lived in Taiwan too long when.....

having the Cultural awareness which over time becomes internalized within your "living and breathing"
makes you much more comprehend, realize and understand many Cultural "signs"

this is where I completely disagree with the Jesus Seminar... along with Bultmann & Co.
and where I completely agree with Barth & Co.

The NT multi-valent text has little to do with Myth in this sense ...
The Genesis "narrative" (1-3 for me which I have reflected over & over for more than 10 years )
could fit this sense of Myth for me...

Source criticism like feng shui is interesting and beneficial to a certain degree for learning about
something out of my daily living routine ... but try to jump into the deeper end of its
swimming pool is of little Value to me .. due to the "luggage" I must carry in order to go along
with it and comprehend it more....
feng shui has a lot of concepts, ideas, Asian philosophical tenets that I definitely prefer not
to get deeply involved with ... due to the influence upon one's thinking and belief ...
which in turn has effects thus affecting my daily interactive behavior with others within society...

thanks for your Valuable insights !

all the best !
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:59 am

My eyes are sparkling too my friend. It’s a pleasure to do business with you - and thanks for your valuable insghts too! :D

Here are a couple of resources people may find useful.

(I didn’t write this and I’m not sure where it came from)

The Bible Says It.
I Believe It.
That Settles It.
Bumper Sticker

While most traditional Christians of the pre-modern period would not have used the phrase “inerrant,” certainly the bible was considered authoritative by them .

But fundamentalism went off the rails when it unconsciously employed the Scottish “Common Sense” philosophy. This school of thought was a rejection of the radical skepticism of philosophers like Kant and Hume, and stated that there was no reason to doubt such basic facts as the existence of the external world, cause and effect, and the continuity of the self. This philosophy had an anti-elitist tone and greatly influenced Americans — not surprising since both the nation and the philosophy took shape at the same time.

As American Christians absorbed this philosophy they began applying it to their religion, and in particular their bibles:
Common Sense philosophy affirmed their ability to know “the facts” directly. With the scriptures at hand as a compendium of facts, there was no need to go further. They needed only to classify the facts, and follow wherever they might lead. (George Marsden, Fundamentalism in American Culture, p. 56)


In attacking a group that was undermining traditional Christianity, fundamentalists became unmoored from the traditions of Christianity.

By asserting their ability to know the simple “facts” found in the bible, they were unconsciously throwing out millennia of traditional theology involving allegorical interpretations, historical traditions and complex Greek philosophy. While traditional Christians may have accepted the bible as without error, fundamentalists were creating a new concept under the guise of the old. Inerrancy was now essentially literalism, and the fundamentalists put it front and center in their faith.
In attacking a group that was undermining traditional Christianity, fundamentalists became unmoored from the traditions of Christianity. Further, by embracing the anti-elitist undertones in “Common Sense” philosophy, fundamentalists were making every man his own biblical critic. The results of this are odd new “traditions” like pre-millennial dispensationalism and literal six-day creation (neither of these ‘traditions’ have any place in pre-modern Christianity – for example the Fathers of the Early Church were happy to think of the six days of creation as being symbolic).

And here’s an interesting, and enjoyable article from the Mars Hill Review by Duncan Sprague on C.S. Lewis and myth. It seems very sympathetic to Lewis’ orthodox but non-fundamentalist treatment of scripture – although it does include a critique of Lewis by Garry Friesen's who does appear to be in the fundamentalist/inerrantist camp.

The Unfundamental C. S. Lewis

Key Components of Lewis's View of Scripture

Perhaps, never in the history of Christendom has one man bridged so many levels of understanding to the story of Christianity. As Garry Friesen, friend and former professor says, "C. S. Lewis became all things to all readers."{1} For the child at heart he created the land of Narnia and the untamed lion/saviour, Aslan. For science fiction readers he travelled to Perelandra with Ransom. For the philosopher and theologian he reasoned about pain and miracles, as well as debating doctrines of Christianity and the philosophy of men. For the lover of myth, he wrote an adaptation of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. For the pain stricken he observed grief and spoke of prayer. For those enchanted with rhythm and rhyme he wrote poetry. For those concerned with the afterlife he wrote about Heaven and Hell and exposed the mind of Satan. For the weak and questioning he wrote letters of personal encouragement and advice.

Unlike nearly all other influential thinkers and writers within Christian history, C. S. Lewis is not known for his reformation of or separation from the popular religious beliefs. Instead, he is known for defining, defending, and uniting the community of Christendom on what it "merely" (or in his own term "purely") is. This is evidenced by the overwhelming appeal and popularity he has to all sects and denominational backgrounds within Christendom. I am amazed the extreme positions within Christendom that claim Lewis as the champion and defender of their own denominational faith. These extremes are seen on a continuum between the liberals and the fundamentalists; the Roman Catholics and the evangelical Protestants. Even within Protestant Christianity there are the extremes of the most conservative Baptists to the most charismatic Pentecostals claiming Lewis as one of their own. For example, there are John Willis{2} and Christopher Derrick {3}, both Catholic Priests, who claim that if Lewis had lived long enough to see Vatican II, his true colours of Catholicism would have come through. You have a similar claim being made in a Pentecostal magazine in an article by Kathryn Linskoog,{4} who asserts that if Lewis had lived to see the formation and branching out of the Pentecostal movement, he would have jumped on board.

In making the preceding claims, I do not mean to say that Lewis did not separate himself from popular religious views about Christianity, because he did. Lewis, on many occasions, set himself apart from movements and schools of thought within modern and historical Christianity. My purpose then is to identify the areas of Lewis's scriptural view and define how he embraces a liberal view of Scripture and distances himself from a Fundamentalist view of the Bible (defined as the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture.). The evaluation of Lewis's view of Scripture begins with his hermeneutic, followed by his specific views of transposition, revelation, inspiration, and authority of scripture, ending with my evaluation of Lewis's view.

Lewis's Hermeneutic
It is necessary to begin an understanding of Lewis's hermeneutic with the realization that Lewis brought his rich legacy of literary criticism to all of his reading, including the Bible. As a foremost literary critic and expert in ancient and medieval-Renaissance literature, Lewis was well aware of the problems involved in the writing, translation and interpretation of literature. His hermeneutic, however, is not purely academic. The academic aspects are combined with some presuppositions of Christian faith (namely that there is a God and He has spoken and revealed himself and continues to speak and reveal), that somehow blend together to form a strange hybrid of biblical interpretation that satisfies hardly anybody. Richard Cunningham, in his book C.S. Lewis: Defender of the Faith, expands this point by saying that Lewis's, "...recognition of the absence of a theological system, of the mythological and metaphorical elements, and of error and inconsistency in the Bible causes uneasiness among fundamentalists and conservatives."{5} The marriage of biblical assumptions and literary criticism has created many critics of Lewis's hermeneutic view.

Before looking at some of the specific elements that make up Lewis's hermeneutic, it is important to see the power that Lewis attributed to the story of redemption throughout the scriptures. I can think of no better place to turn than Lewis's book, The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader,"{6} to understand the importance of story and myth for communicating Christian beliefs. In this example, it is possible to assume that the method Lewis uses, of embedding the truths of scripture in a story, is what he has assumed on God's "transposition" of truth in the scriptures. In other words, Lewis is following the example of Jesus by burying truth in story. In the case of this specific example, Lewis embeds his beliefs about the Bible under the auspices of a children's story.

The adventure within The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" which reveals Lewis's understanding of the Bible occurs when Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace arrive at the island of the Dufflepuds. On the island they encounter strange creatures who are invisible and not particularly intelligent (in fact, they are downright stupid). For them to become visible again, a young girl is needed to go into the magician's house, up to the second floor, to find the Magician's book. Within the book she would find spells, one of which would make the Dufflepuds visible again.

Since the alternative was to fight invisible creatures, Lucy consents to brave the frightening house. When she enters a room, apparently the library, she notices many books of all sizes and shapes, but is instantly drawn to the large one on the reading table. There she finds the Magician's book and begins reading the spells, page after page, in search of the visibility spell. As she reads, however, she eventually comes across a spell "for the refreshment of the spirit." She becomes engrossed in the spell, aware that the spell is "more like a story than a spell. It went on for three or four pages and before she had read to the bottom of the page she had forgotten that she was reading at all."{7} She began living in the story as if it were real, "and all the pictures were real too."{8} After reading that story, she believes it to be the most beautiful story she has ever read and attempts to go back and read it again. But the pages will not turn back and the story begins to fade in her memory. All she can remember is that, "it was about a cup and a sword and a tree and a green hill."{9}

What Lucy could remember as a cup, sword, tree, and green hill appear to be references to the closing scenes of Christ's life. The cup recalls Christ asking God the Father to "remove this cup from me" (Mark 14:36), in the garden of Gethsemane. The sword could refer to Peter's lopping off the ear of the high priest's slave with a sword or the men with swords who accompanied Judas to take Jesus away (Mark 14:43-48). The tree becomes the cross that Christ hung on and died. And the green hill appears to be a portrait of Christ as He appeared and ascended into Heaven.

Lewis clearly depicts the theme in this, as in all his fiction writing, as being a shadow of the great story. I believe one hears Lewis himself speaking through the character of Lucy when she says, "a good story is a story which reminds her of the forgotten story in the Magician's Book." {10}The forgotten story is what Lewis frequently refers to as the myth that became fact. Here are C. S. Lewis's own words as he is faced with the story of redemption in the gospels:

If ever a myth had become a fact, had been incarnated, it would be just like this. And nothing else in all literature was just like this. Myths were like it in one way. Histories were like it in another. But nothing was simply like it . . . Here and here only in all time the myth must have become fact; the Word, flesh; God, man. This is not "a religion," nor "a philosophy." It is the summing up and actuality of them all.{11}

This theme of myth becoming fact has been described by Lewis as the "romantic longing" in man. It is the longing for something transcendent, mythical and infinite to enter the finite bodily creature bound in space and time. We are, as Lewis says in The Weight of Glory, always longing and trying to capture something, trying "to get in."{13} Lewis spends much time contemplating this longing and frequently asks the question whether we can find any spell which offers genuine "refreshment of the spirit"--lasting refreshment unaffected by the corrosive and eroding powers of time. Lewis believes this refreshment is possible in myths and stories and believes that is the way they have been revealed to man . . . in the form of myth and story.

In Lewis's sermon "Transposition," he describes what some have called one of his "most important contributions to theological thinking."{14}The concept recurs repeatedly throughout Lewis's writing. It is the idea that the highest does not stand without the lowest. This idea points to his understanding, once again, that God's truth cannot be known without being immersed in both human imagination and human history (myth become fact). The belief of the Incarnation of God in the human form of Christ is an acknowledgment and acceptance of the possibility of the highest (God) and the lowest (human) being united. Transposition is also seen when an author, like Lewis, takes a timeless theme and exposes it in a temporal plot. It is, as Gilbert Meilaender says, "a temporal net to catch what is eternal."{15} It is Lewis's understanding of transposition that defines God as the greatest storyteller of all time, because He wrapped all of eternity's truth in the story of redemption through Christ. We will see how Lewis's view of transposition affects his understanding of inspiration in the section called "Inspiration," but suffice to say now that inspiration is the conversion of human words (the lowest) into the divine Word (the highest).

Lewis assumes that God is ultimately His own revelation of Himself, yet He has revealed Himself in various ways in different places. This explains why Aslan can appear as different animals throughout the Narnia stories. Some of these ways God is revealed can be deducted from Lewis's writings: conscience, dreams, myths, the moral law, the creation of romantic or immortal longings, history, nature, religions, experience, pagan literature, the incarnation of Christ, the Scriptures, and in other ways in which the "divine pressure" has been exerted on the human mind. This may sound like a broad sense of revelation, but Lewis seems to also restrict it by saying that God can only be known by "self-revelation on His part, not by speculation on ours. We, therefore, look for Him where it is claimed that He has revealed Himself by miracle, by inspired teachers, by enjoyed ritual." {16}

Garry Friesen writes about Lewis's view, that the process of revelation, "emphasizes strongly its progressive nature as well as its basic unity. So nature often anticipates the truth revealed in Scripture."{17} This idea of nature's anticipation and revelation of scriptural truth is seen in Lewis's writing when he records,

The corn itself is in its far-off way an imitation of supernatural reality; the thing dying, and coming to life again, descending, and re-ascending beyond all nature. The principle is there in nature because it was first there in God Himself.{18}
In the book The Problem of Pain, Lewis sees three main stages of revelation for all religions and a fourth for Christianity. The first of these stages is "Numinous"{19} (marked by the feeling of awe). The second stage is recognition that some kind of "Moral Law"{20}has been broken. Thirdly, subjects recognize that the source of the moral law is the numinous.{21} This third stage is evidenced by the Jewish understanding of God as the Law giver. The fourth and final stage of revelation is when a man is born and "claims to be the Numinous" and giver of the moral law. This is the picture of Christianity and the incarnation of Christ.

There is, as we will also see in Lewis's view of inspiration, a sense of progression of revelation that has gotten clearer and more specific through time. This progressive revelation is seen in the fact that the Jews were given more revelation than the pagans. The revelation of God to the Jews was also more directive in how to live and gave a clearer and more focused view of Himself to them over the understanding given to the pagans. The focus becomes even clearer when what was "vaguely seen in them [the Jews] all comes into focus in Christianity--just as God Himself comes into focus by becoming a Man."{22} We see in Lewis's theory of progressive revelation a finish line that has not yet been reached. The finish line is the final and complete revelation of God in a face to face communion.

It is important at this point to explore and define another of Lewis's big ideas which recurs throughout his writings, the idea of myth. As I mentioned earlier, Lewis concludes that myth had become fact in the story of redemption through Christ, but Lewis's definition of myth needs more clarification since he believes that much in the Old Testament is myth by nature. (It follows that we should pursue this now since Lewis seems to see myth as "one form of unfocused revelation which was given to the pagans and early Jews."{23}) Revelation comes into focus by a process of "crystallization"{24} in which revelation moves from myth to history. Lewis himself defines his view of Old Testament myth best when he talks about many Old Testament miracles as being mythical. He defines both, what myth is and is not.

A consideration of the Old Testament miracles is beyond the scope of this book and would require many kinds of knowledge which I do not possess. My present view--which is tentative and liable to any amount of correction--would be that just as, on the factual side, a long preparation culminates in God's becoming incarnate as Man, so, on the documentary side, the truth first appears in mythical form and then by a long process of condensing or focusing finally becomes incarnate as History. This involves the belief that Myth in general is not merely misunderstood history ... nor diabolical illusion ... nor priestly lying ... but, at its best, a real though unfocused gleam of divine truth falling on human imagination. The Hebrews, like other people, had mythology: but as they were the chosen people so their mythology was the chosen mythology--the mythology chosen by God to be the vehicle of the earliest sacred truth, the first step in that process which ends in the New Testament where truth has become completely historical. Whether we can say with certainty where, in this process of crystallization, any particular Old Testament story falls, is another matter. I take it that the memoirs of David's court come at one end of the scale and are scarcely less historical than St. Mark or Acts; and that the Book of Jonah is at the opposite end.{25}

It is in Lewis's view of myth that we find the bridge from revelation to inspiration. If, in myth, there are extreme points on opposite ends of the continuum of focused and unfocused revelation, then it would follow that the quality and/or focus of inspiration may also be viewed as having extreme points beginning with the least inspired (unfocused truth) to the most inspired (meaning the most complete truth directly from God). But, before we leave the issue of myth in revelation I sense the need to simplify, as best I can, Lewis's definition of myth. I would say that he views myth as a story that could be and might be true, but does not need to be historically or scientifically true because it is meant to communicate something bigger than history or science. Therefore Old Testament stories like Jonah, Esther, Song of Solomon, Job, some of David's Psalms, and even the creation account and fall of man are not necessarily historical events. In fact, in addressing the last point, Lewis writes, "For all I can see, it [the fall] might have concerned the literal eating of a fruit, but it is of no consequence."{26}

It is important to note at the outset of this section that C. S. Lewis would have claimed that all scripture in the Bible is inspired. At the same time he would say that not only the writers were inspired, but that the Jews and the Christians who preserved and canonized the Scriptures were inspired; as well, the redactors and editors who modified them also had a "divine pressure" exerted on them. But the pivotal point of contention is what he does with the word inspiration. I think what Lewis would say in defense of his definition for inspiration is that "not all scripture is inspired for the same purpose or in the same way."{27} Because of his literary criticism background, he would claim that there are errors, contradictions, and even (in his words) "sub-Christian" ideas. Again we are faced with his beliefs that Job, Jonah, and Esther were non-historical and that the early stories of Genesis are mythical. But he would argue that their non-historical elements and mythology say nothing about their spiritual truth. Lewis would continue to argue that the writers were moved, guided, unctioned--whatever word you want--by the "divine pressure" of God.

For Lewis, there are degrees of inspiration outside of Scripture and intrinsic to Scripture. He argues that "all truth and edifying writing, whether in Scripture or not, must be in some sense inspired."{28} Lewis rejects the idea that

inspiration is a single thing in the sense that, if present at all it is always present in the same mode and the same degree; therefore, I think, rules out the view that any one passage taken in isolation can be assumed to be inerrant in exactly the same sense as any other.{29}
Lewis claims to find support for levels of inspiration in 1 Corinthians 7:10-12, Luke 1:1-4, and John 11:49-52.{30}

The idea of transposition returns to influence Lewis's view of inspiration. He believes that "the Scriptures proceed not by conversion of God's word [the highest] into a literature [the lower] but by taking up of a literature [the lower] to be the vehicle of God's word [into the highest]."{31}In other words, he is saying that inspiration is the conversion of human words (literature) into the divine Word. Or to say the opposite would be to say that divine words were not made into human words. Lewis expands this point by arguing for a greater meaning in Scripture by asserting:

If the Old Testament is a literature thus "taken up," made the vehicle of what is more than human, we can of course set no limits to the weight or multiplicity of meanings which may have been laid upon it. If any writer may say more than he knows and mean more than he meant, then these writers will be especially likely to do so. And not by accident.{32}
Lewis's theory of multiplicity of meanings allows him to say in criticism of systematic forms of theology that there is nowhere in scripture an "unrefracted light giving us ultimate truth in systematic form." He continues this argumentation by examples of Jesus and Paul in the New Testament. Even in Jesus' teaching there was nothing systematic to hang one's theological hat on.

In conclusion of Lewis's view of inspiration we can say that he believed in degrees of inspiration. The level of inspiration seems to be directly related to the writers' closeness or relation to God. An ascending order of inspiration can be deduced from the least inspired writings, those being pagan myths, to Jewish writings because "they were closer to God"{33} than their contemporaries. The writings of the apostles and prophets are next in clarity and focus of inspiration because they communicated with God either in dreams, visions or audible words (from either God or Christ). And ultimately, the most inspired words would be in the teachings of Christ himself where "there was no imperfection."{34} Obviously there are some gaps of other writings that would fit in the list, but I think the idea is adequately represented. Ultimately, Lewis defines and defends his position about inspiration best by writing,

The total result is not "the Word of God" in the sense that every passage, in itself, gives impeccable science or history. It carries the Word of God and we . . . receive that word from it not by using it as an encyclopedia or an encyclical but by steeping ourselves in its tone or temper and so learning its over-all message.{35}

It should not be surprising, after examining Lewis's levels of revelation and inspiration, to discover that in religious truth he finds different levels of authority among several authorities. Among these several authorities for the Christian, the highest authority is the Scriptures themselves.{36} In his evaluation of Lewis's view of the authority of Scripture, Clyde Kilby gives a personal perspective around which to frame our thoughts.

It would be a bad mistake to infer . . . that Lewis regarded the Bible as simply another good book. He repeatedly calls it "Holy Scripture," assures us that it bears the authority of God, sharply distinguishes even between the canon and the apocryhpha, presses the historical reliability of the New Testament in particular, and often assures us that we must "go back to our Bibles," even to the very words.{37}

Creeds of the faith are the next level of divine authority. We can see that Lewis assumes the "truth of the creeds,"{38} as an embodiment of the pure doctrines of the faith.{39} Below the Scriptures and the creeds would be the level of "tradition" which include the authority of "Church Fathers, ecclesiastical authorities, great theologians and all good writers."{40}Lewis maintains that he strongly belongs within the defense of the "traditional, dogmatic positions" of Christianity.{41}

By his own admission Lewis saw his view of inspiration as tentative. We can see this clearly in a letter he wrote in his later years to Clyde Kilby, when Lewis wrote explaining his view of inspiration: "Remember too that it is pretty tentative, much less an attempt to establish a view than a statement of the issue on which, rightly or wrongly, I have come to work."{42}

The following concerns with Lewis's view of Scripture are discussed more fully in Garry Friesen's evaluation.{43}I provide a brief discussion and expansion to the main aspects of his concerns.

When Lewis discusses his view of Scripture he does not address Scripture's own claims about itself, which are found in such important passages as 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21, and Matthew 5:17-18. I see this as one of the weakest points of Lewis's view of Scripture. Lewis has a famous argument concerning Christ's claims of being God, in which he concludes that Christ was either a liar, lunatic, legend or the truth. It appears that Lewis did not transfer this same line of reasoning to his understanding of Scripture. If he had, he would have made a similar argument about Scripture's claims about itself ... that they are either lies, ramblings of crazy religious men and women, myth (that did not become fact), or truly God-inspired words and thoughts through the instruments of people.

A second weakness in Lewis's view of Scripture centers around his idea that some Old Testament passages are myth. Though I understand his intention in definiting myth as being that the story may or may not be historically true, it appears that he uses this argument to avoid having to admit that the creation account and the fall of man were actual historical events. Instead he appears to be protecting his belief in biologic evolution, clearly seen in his own interpretive version of the Adam and Eve story.

For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself. He gave it hands whose thumb could be applied to each of the fingers, and jaws and teeth and throat capable of articulating, and a brain sufficiently complex to execute all the material motions whereby rational thought is incarnated. The creature may have existed for ages in this state before it became man: it may even have been clever enough to make things which a modern archaeologist would accept as proof of its humanity. But it was only an animal because all its physical and psychical processes were directed to purely material and natural ends. Then, in the fullness of time, God caused to descend upon this organism, both on its psychology and physiology, a new kind of consciousness which could say "I" and "me," which could look upon itself as an object, which knew God, which could make judgments of truth, beauty, and goodness, and which was so far above time that it could perceive time flowing past. This new consciousness ruled and illuminated the whole organism. . .

I do not doubt that if the Paradisal man could now appear among us, we should regard him as an utter savage, a creature to be exploited or, at best, patronized. Only one or two, and those the holiest among us, would glance a second time at the naked, shaggy-bearded, slow-spoken creature: but they, after a few minutes, would fall at his feet.

We do not know how many of these creatures God made, nor how long they continued in the Paradisal state. But sooner or later they fell. Someone or something whispered that they could become as gods. . .{44}

The difficulty I have with Lewis's position of Old Testament myth is that much of Scripture refers back to Adam and Eve, the fall of man, as well as Noah and the Flood as literal people and historical events (1 Chronicles 1:1; Matthew 19:4-5; 24:37-39; Luke 3:36-38; Hebrews 11:7;1 Timothy 2:13-15).

Myth was also seen by Lewis as unfocused revelation in the Old Testament. This view allowed Lewis to make some good contributions to the Christian's understanding of natural revelation. However, Lewis seems to discount and/or ignore the events of special revelation from God to his people throughout the Old Testament. These were moments of clearly focused and direct revelation in which God spoke directly to individuals such as Moses, Abraham, and the prophets. These moments of direct revelation hardly seem to fit into Lewis's idea of myth and unfocused revelation.

Stemming from Lewis's weakened view of revelation comes a weakened view of inspiration. We are left with an errant Bible in which we are to find absolute truth. Lewis may have tried to compensate for this weakened view of inspiration by introducing the idea of transposition and by heightening the importance of illumination. In his view of illumination, the reader is inspired to the point that human words (the lowest) are transformed into the divine word (the highest).{45}He argues that literature is only the vehicle for God's word, not the word itself. Lewis also argues that at times he reaches the Voice of God "through all the distortions of the human medium."{46} It appears that Lewis views the use of "the human medium" of communicating God's Word as a liability rather than an asset in the process of finding God.

Though variants can be seen in how Lewis differs from the fundamentalist view of scripture, I think it is ultimately important to frame our understanding of his view of Scripture around the context from which he was doing most of his speaking and writing . . . that being the context of the Church of England. Lewis's view of Scripture is, for the most part, in harmony with the Church of England. It was of little debate within his closest circle of friends that there were errors within the literature of the Scriptures. It was only as his popularity grew and influential writings stretched across the ocean to America that the challenges arose to what was important to the American Christian culture. At that point in history, the term "fighting fundies" was gaining popularity in describing the fundamentalist movement in America. Lewis was reluctant to leave his own church history and orthodoxy for an ultra-conservative and constricting movement. In the end, I am grateful for the liberal heritage that Lewis brought to his writings and Christian life. For in that heritage is found the richness of his wide and diverse impact as the writer of all things to all readers as he tells the story of Christian redemption.


{1} I am deeply indebted to Garry for spurring me on in our mutual admiration and respect for the life and writings of C.S. Lewis. Many of his thoughts bear their influential fingerprints in my thinking, research and writing.

{2} John Willis, Pleasure Forevermore: The Theology of C. S. Lewis, (1983) Chicago: Loyola Univ.

{3} Christopher Derrick, C. S. Lewis and the Church of Rome, (1981) San Francisco: Ignatius.

{4} Kathryn Lindskoog, "C. S. Lewis and the Holy Spirit," Charisma & Christian Life, Nov. (1988): pp. 91-93.

{5} Richard B. Cunning-ham, C.S. Lewis: Defender of the Faith, (1967) Philadelphia: Westminster ( p. 84).

{6} C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader," (1952) New York: Macmillian ( pp. 123-136).

{7} Ibid., p. 133.

{8} Ibid., p. 133.

{9} Ibid., p. 133.

{10} Ibid., p. 133.

{11} C. S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy, (1955) New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, (p. 88).

{12} Carol J. Hamilton, "Christian Myth and Modern Man," Encounter 29 Sum (1968): p. 251.

{13} C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, (1972) Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans (p. 12).

{14} Cunningham, p. 84.

{15} Gilbert Meilaender, "Theology in Story: C. S. Lewis and the Narrative Quality of Experience," Word & World 1 Sum (1981) p. 225.

{16} C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock, (1970) Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans (p. 144).

{17} Garry Friesen, "Scripture in the Writing of C. S. Lewis," Evangelical Journal 1 Spr (1983) p. 18.

{18} Lewis, (1970) p. 144.

{19} C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, (1962) New York: Macmillian (pp. 20-21).

{20} Ibid., p. 22.

{21} Ibid., p. 23.

{22} Lewis, (1970) p. 54.

{23} Friesen., p. 19.

{24} C. S. Lewis, Miracles, (1972) New York: Macmillian (footnotes p. 139).

{25} Ibid., footnotes p. 139.

{26} C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, (1958) New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, (p. 64).

{27} Cunningham, p. 88.

{28} Clyde S. Kilby, The Christian World of C. S. Lewis, (1968) Grand Rapids, Michigan: Grand Rapids Book Manufactures, Inc. (p. 153).

{29} Ibid., p. 153.

{30} Ibid., p. 153.

{31} Lewis, (1958) p. 116.

{32} Ibid., p. 117.

{33} Ibid., p. 32.

{34} Ibid., p. 112.

{35} Ibid., p. 112.

{36} C. S. Lewis, Beyond Personality, (1948) New York: Macmillian (pp. 20-21).

{37} Kilby, p.156.

{38} C. S. Lewis, Christian Reflections, (1967) Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B Eerdmans Publishing Company (p. 26).

{39} Lewis, (1970) p. 92.

{40} Friesen, p. 21.

{41} Lewis, (1970) p. 60.42

(42) Kilby, p.153.

{43} Friesen, pp. 22-23.

{44} Willis, p. 88.

{45} Lewis, (1958) p. 116.

{46} Lewis, (1970) p. 60.
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:20 pm

Greetings !

In QQ messenger or the Web-based QQ there are many different smileys ...
thus I will use english to indicate these smileys instead ... :bow: :bow: :applause :
and the one where the left hand is flat on top of the right hand which is a fist ...
indicating respect ( :) I will need to refresh this after I ask some Chinese ;)

Really delighted with your post ... lots of fascinating insights and information ...

quote ----
A second weakness in Lewis's view of Scripture centers around his idea that some Old Testament passages are myth. Though I understand his intention in definiting myth as being that the story may or may not be historically true, it appears that he uses this argument to avoid having to admit that the creation account and the fall of man were actual historical events. Instead he appears to be protecting his belief in biologic evolution, clearly seen in his own interpretive version of the Adam and Eve story.

clearly seen ? really? read CS Lewis really fine article ( which is one I remembered the title for it after
many years have gone by ... while the other titles for his articles are lost in the "fog" of past memory )
Fern Seeds and the Elephant ...

Many attempt to use their own interpretative understanding of other Authors contributing to the mass
of differing and divergent musings concerning what these Authors meant to communicate ...

So many reviews of Barth, Lewis, Balthasar, Moltmann and on and on and on ....

I do not need to "protect" my belief about *biologic evolution* ( evolutionary biology )
because I disagree completely with --- Macro Evolution --- but can accept Micro Evolution for
more than enough reasons ...

Thus I disagree with Friesen that this is the Case concerning Lewis or myself....
which -- clearly seen in his own interpretive version of the Adam and Eve story. which comes from
Friesen's own personal hermeneutical method regarding the OT text along with his critical analysis
of CS Lewis ... along with what I will call the Genesis "narrative"

So there is no "perceived" weakness in Lewis theological musings or reflections in my opinion ....

The Genesis "narrative" has no intention nor wish nor desire to express that view which includes
a strictly Chronological ( using chronos instead of kairos ) detailed map of what transpired
during this "narrative" ( Gen 1-3 )

ahhhhh Yes I am utilizing these Greek words instead of Hebrew to express my perspective ...
because I want to draw careful attention to the difference between a literalistic hermeneutic
which wants to "safeguard" some supposed "security" that will aid, support, enhance and
"protect" Belief, Faith and understanding --- That God indeed Created the Universe both
known and unknown ... :)

and a dynamic Egalitarian hermeneutic full of passionate innovative Artistic intuition
that will draw careful attention to the kairos of the events that occured during the
origin of Mankind along with the profound aspects of the interactive, interpersonal
relational events that transpired in it ... from my perspective of "Relational Theology "

Tally Ho ! Watson, the Case is Afoot !

all the best !

( Although I am most certainly a Trinitarian Theologian ( having confidence in my research
while not holding any Thd degrees ( plural ) I do not need to squeeze, hammer or forcibly
tuck into any text... a Case for the Trinity ... in the Traditional manner :D
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:20 pm


I wish to veer off my previous post to illustrate another concept of mine ...

Let me attempt to elucidate it via the Gospel of Luke and his writing which includes Acts
and the much lauded praised Church Council of Chalcedon .....

Tally Ho !

from Wikipedia -- to introduce this post ... and for the sake of convenience ...

An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice.[1] The word "ecumenical" derives from the Greek language "οἰκουμένη", which literally means "the inhabited world",[2] – a reference to the Roman Empire that later was extended to apply to the world in general. Due to schisms, only the two earliest councils can be considered to have included bishops of the entire Christian Church, as it existed before those schisms. Later councils included bishops of only parts of the Church as previously constituted, leading the Christians who do not belong to those parts to reject the actions of those councils.

The Church of the East (accused by others of adhering to Nestorianism) accepts as ecumenical only the first two councils. Oriental Orthodox Churches accept the first three.[3] Both the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church recognise as ecumenical the first seven councils, held from the 4th to the 9th century; but while the Eastern Orthodox Church accepts no later council or synod as ecumenical, the Roman Catholic Church continues to hold general councils of the bishops in full communion with the Pope, reckoning them as ecumenical, and counting in all, including the seven recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church, twenty-one to date. Anglicans and confessional Protestants, accept either the first seven or the first four as Ecumenical councils.

Of the seven councils recognized in whole or in part by both the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church as ecumenical, all were called by the Roman Emperor,[8][9][10] not by the Pope.

The first seven councils recognized in both East and West as ecumenical and several others to which such recognition is refused were called by the Byzantine emperors. In the first millennium, various theological and political differences such as Nestorianism or Dyophysitism caused parts of the Church to separate after councils such as those of Ephesus and Chalcedon, but councils recognized as ecumenical continued to be held

Council of Chalcedon (451) repudiated the Eutychian doctrine of monophysitism, adopted the Chalcedonian Creed, which described the hypostatic union of the two natures of Christ, human and divine. Reinstated those deposed in 449 and deposed Dioscorus of Alexandria. Elevation of the bishoprics of Constantinople and Jerusalem to the status of patriarchates. This is also the last council explicitly recognised by the Anglican Communion.
This and all the following councils in this list are rejected by the Oriental Orthodoxy.

ahhhhh... now we can notice that the following councils in the list in this Wikipedia article...
(21 more councils for the Roman Catholics )

more coming soon !

as a preview I hope to showcase that while the Church Council of Chalcedon is widely held with very
high esteem and praise ... in my estimation was most likely held with huge political overtones ...
along with aggressive enforcement of Leo the Great's Tome ....

While on the other hand... Luke in hands of many Higher Critical Scholars and their tools ...
proceed with prodigious effort for their objectives ... with such enthusiastic fervor ...
thus that we might be tempted to swim in the Lake of "de-Mythologizing " sulfur ...
( with all due polite and public display of general respect to those who agree with Bultmann & Co. )
--- yes the sulfur is tongue & cheek reference to that so called perspective of Hades or Hell in
John's Apocalypse or book of Revelation ... ;)

For Me, I prefer to view Luke as a Creative Passionate Artistic
(filled to the brim with the overflowing presence via the perichoretic koinonia
embedded within the active display of Grand Dance of the Trinitarian Particularity & Unity)
exceptional example of one of the Earliest Christian Theologians
along the lines of Capon, Barth, Moltmann, Wright, Volf, Lewis, Kreeft, Fee et al.....

all the best !
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:23 am

Tally ho - and applause all round my courteous friend :D :D :D thank you for your insights too.

I'd still like to look a little more at the issue of different views of scripture before hurtling on to the creeds. Is that OK? :oops: I just don't want to leave heads spinning here!!! :lol: :lol:

Anyway - I am busy for a couple fo days; but will get back to you as soon as I can. I may manage a brief post over the next day or so.

All very good wishes

(and 'Tally Ho' :) )

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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby redhotmagma » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:51 am

I've not read Lewis much, besides Narnia. What this guy describes as his philosophical framework of understanding revelation is so close to what I see. And described in such greater clarity.

"Lewis clearly depicts the theme in this, as in all his fiction writing, as being a shadow of the great story. I believe one hears Lewis himself speaking through the character of Lucy when she says, "a good story is a story which reminds her of the forgotten story in the Magician's Book." {10}The forgotten story is what Lewis frequently refers to as the myth that became fact. Here are C. S. Lewis's own words as he is faced with the story of redemption in the gospels:

If ever a myth had become a fact, had been incarnated, it would be just like this. And nothing else in all literature was just like this. Myths were like it in one way. Histories were like it in another. But nothing was simply like it . . . Here and here only in all time the myth must have become fact; the Word, flesh; God, man. This is not "a religion," nor "a philosophy." It is the summing up and actuality of them all.{11}"

When he goes on to speak of crystallization, my heart kind of jumped because thats the best description of the process that I've been able to see. He said their are 4 levels of understanding, I'd add a fifth; man realizes that the numinous becomes incarnated in all men.

I really found myself agreeing with Lewis' view, though there were a few things I don't. Like traditions holding weight, that high up the list. I'd put them at the level of pagan myth. They are mans decrystallization of the truth. Not that there isn't truth in there, but usually it becomes so distorted through the years.

He mentioned Jonah being the furthest to the one end of the myth spectrum. Stephen Jones wrote of an occurrence of a whaler being swallowed by a whale then found alive a few days later. It happened in the 1800's I think. They said the mans complexion was turned white, bright white because of the gastric juices in the whales stomach. Jones said that that would have likely happened to Jonah and been a sign to the people of Ninevah, because their god was dagon the fish god. Now whether that happened or was myth I don't know. I agree that the storyline is what matters. I see this life as the grand narrative.

As for adam and eve, I also don't really know (or care too much) if it was literal, because the spiritual application of what took place is written all over, and IMO is whats really important. With that said, I'm going to throw out a few thoughts about that way back time.

There are a few issues that come up with the traditional (and by that I mean the semi-fundie american background I've come from) interpretation of adam and eve. One is where did Cain get his wife, and move to? It seems that there were other people around. This ties in to Lewis' holding to biological evolution. Just as Christ was a representative for all men, so is Adam a representative. He was the light bearer(heylel), the morning star. The son of God. He was put into the garden as an icon for mankind. As he went so went the rest. He was brought out of the dust region, where he was created, and placed into the garden. Him receiving the breath of life was God giving him the rudimentary understanding as mentioned in the above article. So consciousness came through Adam to all these early humans, or maybe it was supposed to. As the light bearer he was supposed to bring the light of life to men. Instead he brought death. I don't believe they were elevated to the level of understanding of Adam and his family. So humanity was given consciousness, but not the full revelation. These were the sons of men. Adams family were the sons of God, who came down to the daughters of men. They would have been looked at as gods not only from their extremely advanced intellect, but their closer revelation to God. The primitive peoples were still in the awe phase. The giants, the men of renown were just like our giants now, our celebrities, our professional athletes, our politicians, our CEO's. And they enslaved the human race. These men were deified like pharaohs, and were placed into the story that they had been told, that story that we forgot from the magicians book. Each time another "branch" came along, some of his story would be added, and so we see these compounded gods. These mighty men I'm sure played a hand in letting the people recognize who they purported to be (I'm sure their doting mothers played a role, B.C. stage moms? :lol: ).

Now if the above is the case at all, (which this may all be just from my imagination anyway, my myth) and the role of the lightbearer is to bring greater light to the people, a greater height of awareness, and knowledge of God. Then possibly the flood is symbolic of that elevation to a greater height. Noah and his sons were the only people left that even had a glimmer of the light coming out of them. And so they were saved, raised up on the water. The rain of the HS came down and destroyed all the wisdom of men, which is earthy demonic. They were elevated to a new understanding, and revelation of God. It definitely foreshadows Israel coming out of Egypt, which is where the next great revelation came. And I would dare say that Jesus as the Israel of God, came out of Egypt also called Sodom (earthly Jerusalem), he brought light into the land of the shadow of death (the shadow of the law), Judaism had become an open grave, the decayed corpse of religion, and demonic wisdom, the traditions of men, they even had their own gods, their father abraham, and moses. Then that light that Jesus brought faded as the church became Babylon, and turned into the very thing Jesus came to undo. The traditions of men overtook the light. And He still calls come out of her my people. Each time this revolution takes place we have an elevation of knowledge and understanding in all aspects (science, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, morality, technology)because the light is made clearer. And I think the whole is raised (eventually) by the remnant. Look at slavery. For the most part most of the world looks at it as an absolutely horrid thing. But a few hundred years ago that wasn't the case, it was just part of the way things are. I think this is a useful way to look at the questionable things that took place in the OT, or even the need for the law. When the people were more savage (for lack of a better term), they would need a very strict law to keep people in line, because their is no collective understanding that eating uncooked food is bad for you, or touching a dead body can bring disease. Take using computers. They are so integrated into our lives that kids can use them without any trouble whatsoever. There is a collective understanding of how operating systems work. The icon is universally used, double clicking, etc. But look back 20 years and you see a very different thing, where computers were still very limited and useless (compared to now). People may have had a hard time using Ipads back then because the groundwork had to be laid. Now that peoples consciousness has expanded into the realm of everyday computer usage, that old DOS system is completely foreign to us, and doesn't work for our time. Just like the law that was given for Adam's time didn't work after Noah's upgrade. And Noah's laws didn't work for Abraham's upgrade, and then Moses', then to Jesus the single man, then to Jesus the corporate man. Which is how I tie all this together :D . The next upgrade is the corporate man. That info was given at the upgrade 2000 years ago. Paul was probably given the clearest understanding of it, the revelation of the mystery. The early church was founded on it. But we needed the 2000+ years to be ready for the full upgrade. We were only given the limited test program, the in-part, the downpayment, Revelation Beta? What informs most of my speculation in this long paragraph is not so much looking into the past, but into the future. That all men will be drawn up to Christ eventually, all of those events that foreshadow the reconciliation of all, had that as their seed, or framework around which their stories were told. As in Adam, So also in Christ. As in Christ, so also Noah. Whats that saying? A rising tide raises all ships

Thats my framework for understanding myth, both pagan and jewish/christian. At least thats how I see it for now.
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby corpselight » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:00 am

liquid hot mag-maaaah,
thanks for that post, that was very cool and very interesting. methinks it's time to revisit the old Bible with some of the perspectives i've heard lately. it might come to make sense to me again.
you argue quite well for progressive revelation, a concept i think is vital. the import of which is often totally missed!
--your friendly neighbourhood corpse--
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:47 am

Greetings !

Thank you redhotmagma for your really intriquing post which showcases your Creative passion
for understanding the OT text ...

I will be spending some time .. to write about my understanding of Gen 1-3 ...
but in the mean time .. here is a really interesting article about Erhman .. ;)

I concur with the comments concerning Erhman -- meaning there is really no need to continue
to perpetuate Bultmann & Co. proposals... for those who are in Academics...
it is known as publish or perish ...

all the best !
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:23 am

Hi Hothorsegz -

Have read the articel about Ehrman - and I think i agree wiht the scope of it (will have a ponder)

I reckon that it would be good to pick up on Jeremy's fascinating post along with bits and bobs that you and I have contributed to look deeper at non fundamentalist ways - but still faithful ways - of reading scripture. However, just for a brief interlude... I reckon that many people reading these posts don't know much about the Quest for the Historical Jesus stuff (and I'm no expert either). So here is an article I've found that summarises The Quest - old ad new - in a way I think site members will find congenial. (So this is just to clarify matters :oops: :D )

A Survey of Historical Jesus Studies:
From Reimarus to Wright
Michael H. Burer


The study of the life, ministry, and person of Jesus Christ has been at the center of the Church’s thinking since its inception, but the last two hundred years have seen a marked change in how those within the Church and those without have examined Jesus and the Church’s conceptions about him. The Enlightenment brought sweeping change to the world, and religious studies were no exception. Everything, even Jesus himself, fell prey to critical method and examination, and the current state of Jesus studies and Christology can be traced back to this fundamental change in the world’s way of thinking. The period of time covered in this study dates from the Enlightenment to the present day, with two respective scholars being used as bookends. Of course nothing is as simple as it seems. Hermann Samuel Reimarus did not think in a vacuum; recent study has pointed to trends and periods earlier than the Enlightenment which influenced his thinking. He was the first to give voice, however, to anything substantially different from the tradition and teaching received in the church throughout the seventeen and a half centuries before his writings were published, so he is seen as the starting point for modern critical study of Jesus. Using Reimarus as a starting point is now generally accepted as heuristically viable and useful. N. T. Wright is the ending point because he more than many other scholars is doing things in a positive way. He has a respect for history, a thirst for theology, and a sound method. So between these two men comes a period which is important to understand for those who wish to study Jesus and proclaim him in the next century.

Two caveats are in order before beginning. First, this study seeks to give an overview, not detailed analysis. I will show major trends evident in this period, I will identify major players, and I will offer tentative evaluations for the future direction of Jesus studies. It is a definitely a bird’s eye view. Second, terms must be defined. Technically “Historical Jesus studies” and “Christology” are not identical areas of study even though they focus upon the same person. Studies of the historical Jesus seek to explain and disseminate a reconstruction of his human life and work which is critically accurate and defensible; it is the practice of history. Christology, on the other hand, generally studies the meaning and significance of his death and divine life, both pre-existence and resurrection life, as they are expounded by the Church beyond Historical categories to spiritual and religious meaning and truth; it is the practice of theology. The quandary which this period leaves us and which anyone who serious delves into this area must address is the current divorce in religious studies between the historical Jesus and the Christological Jesus, between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. Historical Jesus studies and Christology should go hand in hand; it is only in an attempt to be focused and concise that I have only looked at one side of the equation.

Overview of Historical Jesus Studies: Reimarus to Wright

The history of Historical Jesus studies during this period has generally been divided into recognizable periods. Although there is danger in defining anything into rigid periods of time, these classifications have proven themselves useful in tracking the major trends of study and patterns of thought in Jesus studies in the last two hundred years. Despite slight differences in naming, these distinct periods are generally recognized and used in almost every work concerning this time. My method will be to explain general trends and direction for each period of time as well as major players who helped to define that period. The major periods are the Old Quest, from 1778 to 1906; an interim period or “No Quest,” from 1906 to 1953; the New Quest, from 1953 to the present day; and the Third Quest, from the early 1980’s until the present day.

The Old Quest (1778-1906)

The first Quest for the historical Jesus, now defined generally as the Old Quest, received its name from the title given to the English translation of Albert Schweitzer’s book, Von Reimarus zu Wrede: eine Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung, published in 1906. The English translation was given the title The Quest of the Historical Jesus which came to be used for the pattern of study as a whole. There perhaps is one basic, broad attitude which operated during this period: a true, critical understanding of the history of Jesus’ life leads one away from the faith that had been received by the contemporary church. This time was the time of the Enlightenment. Dogma and revelation no longer were accepted as accurate sources of information. Critical history, devoted to sources and “objectivity,” held primacy of place in the determination of truth. Scholars working during this time felt that only critical historical work could truly discover who Jesus was. They believed it could strip away inaccurate layers of interpretation placed upon him by later followers which were not historical in any sense. This method of investigation had been used in other fields, and it was now time to apply it to the Bible. The application of this method of history upon the Gospel materials and their central character yielded something far different than what was normally understood to be true. The essential conclusion was that the Jesus of history was in no way equal to or coextensive with the Christ of faith. In fact, the Jesus of history had been transformed into the Christ of faith by naïve people at best, deceivers at worst. Along with this recovery of the true Jesus of history, the Old Quest carried with it the implicit assumption that the theology of the church should change to correct itself in light of this new historical revelation. The belief in Christ passed down throughout the ages in the church had been built on an improper historical understanding. In light of that, the belief should now change.

The starting point for this historical quest was Hermann Samuel Reimarus. Born in 1694, he was a professor of Oriental languages in Hamburg until his death in 1768. Interestingly enough, he never made his views about Christianity publicly known during his lifetime. It was not until Reimarus’ works were published posthumously by Gotthold Ephraïm Lessing in fragments from 1774 to 1778 that his private views were made public. The most important fragment was the seventh one, published in 1778, entitled “Von dem Zwecke Jesu und seiner Jünger,” variously translated as “On the Intention of Jesus and His Disciples” or “The Goal of Jesus and His Disciples.” This truly was the fragment which started the quest for the historical Jesus.

In “Von dem Zwecke Jesu und seiner Jünger” Reimarus postulated an intense difference between who Jesus actually was and what his disciples proclaimed him to be. Wright’s assessment of Reimarus is useful as a summary:
Jesus was a Jewish reformer who became increasingly fanatical and politicized; and he failed. His cry of dereliction on the cross signalled the end of his expectation that his god would act to support him. The disciples fell back on a different model of Messiahship, announced that he had been ‘raised’, and waited for their god to bring the end of the world. They too were disappointed, but instead of crying out in despair they founded the early Catholic church, which to Reimarus may have looked like much the same thing.

Jesus was a revolutionary who tried and failed; the disciples were deceivers who propagated a view of Jesus they knew to be false. Reimarus in his mind had unearthed a historical Jesus antithetical to the Christ of faith, and he hoped it would be the demise of Christianity as he knew it.

Once begun, the quest of the historical Jesus continued in earnest. David Friedrich Strauss is perhaps the best known scholar from this period. Born in 1808, he held various teaching posts in his early life. He was called to Zürich as a Professor of Theology in 1839, but because of opposition to him by conservative Christians he was never allowed to take up his post. He lived as a freelance writer after that until his death in 1874. Strauss wrote his monumental work Das Leben Jesu, kritisch bearbeitet when he was 28 years old. In this work he patently rejected supernaturalism and rationalism and described the church’s handling of the historical information about Christ as myth. Strauss accepted a bare historical framework of Jesus’ life—including events such as his baptism by John the Baptist, his teaching and making of disciples, as well as his death due to the hostility of the Pharisees—but the early church elaborated upon this and turned the historical Jesus into something he was not by a twofold process. First, the church interpreted the events of Jesus’ life as fulfillment of prophecy and Old Testament belief and expectation, thus establishing him as Messiah. Second, in accordance with his reputation as Messiah, the church created myths and legends about him through the vehicle of community belief. “The historical Jesus was thus turned into the divine Messiah by the pious, but erroneous devotion of the church.” Thus according to Strauss the historical Jesus was buried underneath deep layers of myth, so much so that a biography of his life was nearly impossible to write.

Following Strauss was a true giant of the Christian faith and scholarly insight who marks both the end of the Old Quest and a new direction for Historical Jesus studies. Albert Schweitzer was truly a genius in his own right. He published his magnum opus, Von Reimarus zu Wrede: Eine Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung, in 1906 at the age of 31. Not only did he prove himself to be an influential biblical scholar, he also distinguished himself in the field of music and medicine. It is well known that the last fifty years of his life were spent as a missionary doctor in Africa. His work contributed to the study of the historical Jesus in two ways. First, he declared the original quest to be void of results. In his estimation, the liberal lives of the nineteenth century were simply reflections of those who sought the historical Jesus. Second, he took issue with them for minimizing or neglecting the eschatological dimension of Jesus’ words and actions in an attempt to make him more universal. Schweitzer felt that the key to understanding Jesus was his eschatology. Jesus could not be divorced from the eschatological context which he shared with the Judaism of his day and be understood in any reasonable fashion. The problem with Schweitzer’s view is the extreme form of apocalypticism which he believed Jesus held. Wright’s assessment is useful at this point:

He [i.e., Jesus] believed himself to be the Messiah while the onlookers thought he might be Elijah; he confidently expected that his god would step in and bring the world to an end during the course of his ministry. He dreamed the impossible dream of the kingdom, bringing about the end of world history. When this did not happen, and the great wheel of history refused to turn, he threw himself upon it, was crushed in the process, but succeeded in turning it none the less. He thus took upon himself the Great Affliction which was to break upon Israel and the world. The bridge between his historical life and Christianity is formed by his personality: he towers over history, and calls people to follow him in changing the world. The very failure of his hopes set them free from Jewish shackles, to become, in their new guise, the hope of the world.
Schweitzer thus halted the Old Quest so severely that it would not continue for another 50 years, yet he also set the stage for the Third Quest which would not start until 75 years after his writing and fifteen years after his death in 1965.

An Interim Period (1906-1953)

The period immediately following the publication of Schweitzer’s decisive work was a hiatus from the study of the historical Jesus. It has even been called the period of “No Quest.” Schweitzer had so effectively critiqued the Old Quest concerning its universalizing tendencies and lack of apocalyptic vision that scholarly pursuit into the historical Jesus was halted. Historical skepticism was the major feature of this period and its epitome is found in Rudolf Bultmann. A description of him and his views is sufficient for understanding this period.

Bultmann lived from 1884 until 1976. Throughout his life he held various teaching positions at different schools in Germany. He is most famous for his contributions to form criticism detailed in his work Die Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition. Bultmann contributed to this interim period between the quests by focusing the attention of history upon the early church, not the life of Jesus. The material in the Gospels does not illuminate the life of Jesus but the Sitz im Leben of the church. Jesus’ words were in fact those of Christian preachers speaking in his name, and the Christ which was preached was the Christ of faith, not the Jesus of history. Because of these characteristics of the New Testament documents, little could be said about the life of Jesus; material to gather that information simply did not exist in the New Testament. Despite this historical problem, Bultmann saw no need for the theology of the church to change in the slightest due to any historical study or knowledge. The theology of the church was in place because of a response to Jesus, not because of historical verity, and could stand as it was with no challenge to change from historical judgments. Jesus places an existential call to decision upon the lives of all whom he touches, and indeed the historical disjunction between his life and faith makes this existentialism all the stronger in Bultmann’s thought.

The New Quest (1953 to the present)

The force of Bultmann’s thinking and theology was difficult to overcome, but not impossible. The next stage of serious investigation of the historical Jesus softened the skepticism of Bultmann somewhat, but it did not alter at any fundamental level the wide reaching disdain for the historical record contained in the New Testament materials. This renewal of the Old Quest shares many characteristics of its predecessor and carries many of its assertions much further.

The New Quest began on October 23, 1953 when Ernst Käsemann presented his lecture on “The Problem of the Historical Jesus” to a reunion of Bultmann’s students. The ideals and methods adopted by the New Quest did differ somewhat from Bultmann’s thought. Käsemann criticized Bultmann’s total disconnection of history and faith, emphasizing that Jesus must be rooted in history to some degree to avoid docetism which would allow Christ to be formed however the scholar wills. This was a valid criticism which the New Quest was right to take up. However, the New Quest remained in the same vein as its predecessors in many ways. As Bultmann did, those within the New Quest relied heavily upon the sayings of Jesus as primary material, generally ignoring the events surrounding his life as worthy material for discerning the historical Jesus. The New Quest makes full use of critical tools such as source and form criticism which Wright asserts “have caused considerable difficulty when it comes to serious historical reconstruction.” The New Quest generally holds to an extreme view of apocalyptic and rejects it in contrast to Schweitzer who accepted it. The New Quest generally views scripture in a manner similar to Wilhelm Wrede’s in that the majority of the framework and content can be traced to the early church and is useless in establishing any type of historical truth.

The best known permutation of the New Quest is the Jesus Seminar. Headed by Robert Funk, the Jesus Seminar purports to undertake a serious, scholarly analysis of the material in the New Testament with the goal of determining who Jesus really was and freeing the Church from the improper interpretation handed down through the centuries. Serious analysis of the Jesus Seminar has been undertaken by many scholars, so only two major points need to be stated here. One, the Jesus Seminar falls right in line behind both Bultmann’s and Wrede’s skepticism. One need not read very far into the writings of the Seminar to find statements arguing against the historicity of the New Testament documents. This general attitude has shifted the burden of proof to those who claim historicity. This skepticism is obvious in their results: the Seminar does not rate many sayings or deeds at all as being exactly what Jesus said or did, so they are left with very little information upon which to base their historical reconstruction. Second, it can be charged that the Seminar is simply working to prove forgone conclusions about who Jesus really was. In the Introduction to The Five Gospels, the authors present many “Rules” which on the surface are intended to be understood as objective facts which guide their investigation. Many of these “Rules,” however, are far from settled in modern scholarship and simply represent the bias of the Seminar. As a matter of comparison, one such rule concerns Jesus’ teaching: “Jesus’ images are concrete and vivid, his sayings and parables customarily metaphorical and without explicit application.” Few would argue the accuracy of this statement. However, on the very same page is another statement of very doubtful worth: “Jesus makes no claim to be the Anointed, the messiah.” To make this claim as a “Rule” intended to guide the investigation is an a priori assumption which can only be seen as a conclusion reached before the investigation even starts. A cursory investigation of recent scholarship on Jesus’ statements and view of himself will show that this question is in no way settled, and there is no scholarly consensus. Assuming their conclusions is a serious flaw in the Seminar’s investigation, and it casts doubt upon the value of their work. Given these brief assessments, it is not difficult to see how the Seminar arrived at their conclusions: Jesus was a wise man, a sage who was distinct but not in any miraculous, apocalyptic, Christological way.

The Third Quest (Early 1980’s to the Present Day)

The Third Quest is distinguished from the other quests not so much in time as in thought and method. This stage is not as easily defined because it does not have a definite starting point, and scholars which fall under this rubric often diverge widely on other matters. Despite this diversity there are certain trends which can be identified. In one vein, the scholars within the Third Quest attempt to do history seriously by placing Jesus squarely and credibly within his Jewish eschatological context. This quest rejects the historical skepticism of the New Quest and embraces Schweitzer’s central theme to Jesus’ life while at the same time refining it and making it more accurate and representative of the Judaism of Jesus’ day. In another vein, parallel to historical work centering upon eschatology is a new field of study usually called early Christology. Early Christology casts its net wider than Historical Jesus studies because it also looks at the theological development which takes place within the New Testament writings as well. It is similar, though, in that it seeks to trace the roots of Christian conception about the Christ of faith through the New Testament writings as far back as historically possible, even into the life and understanding of Jesus himself. It is perhaps simplistic to state it this way, but the Third Quest contains two broad trends, one which does history which is theologically accurate, and another which does theology which is historically accurate. There is much overlap, but there is much complementary work as well.

N. T. Wright is a major player within the Third Quest worthy of note. He has written many popular works, and his major contribution to scholarly writing is a multi-volumed work currently in progress entitled Christian Origins and the Question of God. Two volumes have already been published, The New Testament and the People of God and Jesus and the Victory of God. Wright is making a positive contribution in Jesus studies because he has clearly thought through the historical questions which must be answered in order to get an accurate picture of who Jesus was and what he did. In his view, the scholar’s main goal should be to determine how history progressed “from the pluriform Judaism that existed within the Greco-Roman world of 10 BC to the pluriform Judaism and Christianity of AD 110.” To do so, Wright proposes five questions which must be answered: One, how does Jesus fit into the Judaism of his day? Two, what were his aims? Three, why did he die? Four, how did the early church come into being, and why did it take the shape it did? Five, why are the gospels what they are? Wright should be allowed to speak for himself in summarizing his views. The context of this excerpt is the validity of Jesus’ resurrection:

The relevance of Jesus, then, becomes radically different depending on whether one accepts or rejects the witness of the early church to his resurrection. Furthermore, even if one does accept that witness, it means radically different things depending on one’s view of Jesus prior to the resurrection. If he was a docetic figure, the divine being of so much would-be orthodox theology, his resurrection would simply validate the salvation he had revealed and offered. It would prove that he was, after all, ‘god’ . . . . If he was a teacher of timeless truths, the announcer of the timeless call to decision, or the pioneer of a new way of being-in-the-world, his resurrection would presumably endorse the programme he had articulated; though, interestingly, those who have constructed Jesus-figures like that tend not to include the resurrection in their schemes, except as a metaphor for the rise of Christian faith. But if he was an eschatological prophet/Messiah, announcing the kingdom and dying in order to bring it about, the resurrection would declare that he had in principle succeeded in his task, and that his earlier redefinitions of the coming kingdom had pointed to a further task awaiting his followers, that of implementing what he had achieved. Jesus, after all, as a good first-century Jew, believed that Israel functioned to the rest of the world as a hinge to the door; what he had done for Israel, he had done in principle for the whole world. It makes sense, within his aims as we have studied them, to suppose that he envisaged his followers becoming in their turn Isaianic heralds, lights to the world.

Major Areas of Need at this Juncture

After surveying the landscape, it is perfectly reasonable to chart our direction. Where are Jesus studies to go? What are the key ideas and thoughts to refute, ponder, or accept? Here I offer three areas of need and two cautions.

Much modern critical study of the historical Jesus uses extra-canonical works for historical information. For example, the Jesus Seminar believes the Gospel of Thomas to be an independent source for information about Jesus, and they date it older even than Mark. It becomes a crucial linchpin in their historical reconstruction and perhaps sets the standard by which other works, even the canonical ones, are judged. But is their assessment correct? Evangelical scholarship must seriously address the dating of extra-canonical books like the Gospel of Thomas and their relationship to the canonical materials. Just as J. B. Lightfoot accurately dated the seven Ignatian letters as within the early period of Christianity and Constantin von Tischendorf found early textual evidence for the text of the New Testament and thus F. C. Baur’s Hegelian reconstruction of the formation of Christianity fell, perhaps scholars need to take time to work on these materials to date them in relationship to the canonical materials and assess their textual origins; the results might prove to be just as dramatic.

The primary historical method in use since the 1950’s has utilized the criteria of authenticity. These are various rules used to determine whether or not something is more or less likely to be historical. They include the criterion of dissimilarity, coherence, multiple attestation, and embarrassment. The issue concerns the use of these criteria in light of the historical work proposed by the Third Quest. For example, the criterion of dissimilarity states that traditions different from the Judaism of Jesus’ day and the Christian church he founded are more likely to be original. This is in direct conflict with the trend to see Jesus as firmly within the Judaism of his day and directly connected to the church he founded. Criteria of authenticity must be constantly evaluated and reevaluated, refined and revised. We must learn how these criteria are affected by true historical work. This does not mean that we should reject them out of hand. Instead scholars should make them more useful as a better historical method is developed.

The alarming trend in a survey of historical Jesus studies in this period is the demands placed upon the church to change in light of the historical reconstructions advanced. This was a definite agenda of the Old Quest and still is of the New. But these demands assume that the historical Jesus found is the definitive portrait of Jesus above all others. But is the historical Jesus equivalent to Jesus in his fullness? We must carefully answer no. This gap between the historical Jesus and the real Jesus requires that we do two things. First, as scholars who are using history as our primary tool we must understand history’s limitations and restrictions. Christianity is based upon history but understanding it never has been and never will be solely a historical endeavor. We need to properly assess and if need be reassess history’s place in the study of Jesus. Second, we must learn how to properly place the historical Jesus within Christian life, thought, and theology as a whole. The historical Jesus as a modern reconstruction should not displace centuries of Christian thought and practice. Is it a useful endeavor? Yes, by all means; anything which delves into the person and work of Christ is worth pursuing, but it should be pursued with the proper method and perspective.


The cautions I would offer are interrelated. The study of Jesus in any form or fashion demands humility. We are finite creatures, separated from his life on earth by great geographical, chronological, and cultural distance. We do not have exhaustive knowledge about Jesus. We also come upon the scene at the tail end of two thousand years of study, reflection, and investigation into Jesus. The greatest minds in the history of the world have sought him, and we follow in their path. As scholars who usually strive for honesty and integrity in our work, we should also strive for humility. Unfortunately this is sorely lacking in many scholars who study Historical Jesus and Christology. They presume to wipe away the Christ of faith with modern critical methods, a few articles, and some well-placed press conferences. The hubris of such scholarship is staggering. Let us not duplicate the errors of those currently in the fray. We should not be afraid to ask the hard questions and challenge currently held assumptions, but we must always be humble in our investigations and assertions and never assume that we have painted the definitive portrait of Jesus.

Not only must we embody humility, we must also embody the proper kind of skepticism. The trend in Jesus studies has been skepticism about the historical integrity of the text which we have. We must instead be skeptical about our own objectivity. Two hundred years of investigation into the historical Jesus have produced a bewildering array of differing pictures. Many were made in the image of the investigator, and many responded to the cultural questions of the time. The passage of time has shown us that those who investigate the historical Jesus have not been objective but have responded to and answered many of their own questions. We are not free from this trap either. We should carefully investigate our own biases and examine our results to weed out improper conclusions.


The tendency in evangelical scholarship has been to limit or even eliminate the pursuit of the historical Jesus from our scholarly work. I grew up hearing many sermons against “liberal theologians” who were attacking Christ, and that attitude is pervasive. Unfortunately, we have not balanced that with positive contributions in these areas; instead we have abandoned the playing field. As evangelicals who love the Lord we should strive to work positively in this area. Of course we will not accept every method or assumption, but we can make a positive contribution and change the tide. In a recent article in Christianity Today, Wright relates an incident which changed his attitude towards scholarly study and impacted the direction his life was to take. John Wenham was addressing the Christian Union at Oxford, and Wright says:
In one of those seminars, he said of course you realize what we desperately need are people who love the Lord and love scripture, and have got the academic background to do the biblical research. He said it’s no good waiting for people who don’t have that love in their hearts to write silly things about the Bible, and then put Christian scholars to work refuting them. What we need are people out there making contributions and feeding the stuff into the stream higher up.
In closing, as Wenham suggested to Wright, let us commit to being proactive in our study of Jesus. Let us not be afraid to blaze new trails and know Jesus in new and different ways. Our pursuits are not our own; let us do them for him and God’s greater glory.

Michael Burer graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1998 with the Th.M. and is currently studying for the Ph.D. He is the Assistant Editor for the NET Bible translation which the Foundation is sponsoring.
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:34 pm

Greetings again ...

These days the weather has been thunderstorms during the days or nights with spectacular displays
of Lightning flashes and Lighning strikes ... although I have been a "wet duck" because I need to
walk along the over ankle deep puddles along the roads.. or riding an electric overgrown mix of
bicycle and motorcycle... these e-bikes are illegal in Central Guangzhou as well as regular
gasoline motorcycles or even scooters ( which is what many people call them but not me ... ;)

I will try to find a convenient way to let others view where and what I have seen too...

by the way -- My tongue in cheek comments about Publish or Perish should not be taken
as derogatory towards Erhman too ... there is such a huge myriad of interpretative views
concerning the Biblical text whether it is about the OT text or the NT text ...


Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I really appreciate it.

Here are my thoughts in response to yours.

Regarding the shift in v. 24. You write

Martin acknowledges that Jesus repeats ‘in those days’ (en ekeinais tais hēmerais) from verse 19, but does not explain how this obvious temporal connection is somehow overruled by the change of register. ................

Gustavo replies to Andrew ...

The obvious temporal connection? I am surprised by your style here. The meaning and referent of this phrase is hardly obvious, as evidenced by the many interpretations in the literature over the last 100 years+ Here as in the Septuagint, this rather formulaic phrase can refer to a number of things, and need not necessarily refer to the same events as before

both of these writers and researchers are really keen in their perspective fields ... ( from what I can
gather from reading their articles )

Further, I am surprised you mix, in your quote above, material from Matthew 24. Matthew has reshaped the Markan account substantially in light of his own needs. I believe my analysis and comparison with Matthew 24 shows that for Matthew, the fall of Jerusalem is no longer of interest, since he writes years after 70 A.D. He has chosen, therefore, to highlight the parousia (his term not Mark´s), which he inserts in the disciples´question, and to eliminate much of Mark´s procedural language in Mark 13:5b-23. We must keep the two passages separate, however. We are looking at Mark and trying to understand his shaping of the speech in light of his audience´s /readership´s needs.

As you can notice from Gustavo's response ... There is a lot of research dealing with the Markan priority
and a lot of linguistic analysis + literary analysis and so on ....

Thus, people have a tendency to go either more deep into the "Forest" of this kind of analysis ...
Others, will have a tendency to reject, ignore, or move in the direction of Allegorizing or Devotional style
or their own personal style ..
Then there are those who engage in a Literalistic interpretative method which most likely ends up
being .. the bible says what it means and means what it says .. although this probably is more connected
with how it means within 20th Century English ...
Then there is the Emerging Emergent portion that might include all of the above ..
Or outside the mainstream of the Traditional pattern as in Open Source Theology or others ...
the list could continue on ...

Which brings me to my point .. -- It is very refreshing to find a Forum such as this one ...
Where there is plenty of thoughtful Considerate behavior towards each person's perspective ...
( the applause smiley ) ( the applause smiley ) ( the applause smiley )

So again I wish to share my appreciation for those who are, have, and most likely will continue
to keep this Community as it is ...

all the best !
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:07 pm

------------ Let us not be afraid to blaze new trails and know Jesus in new and different ways. Our pursuits are not our own; let us do them for him and God’s greater glory. ----------

Sorbornost --- Really enthusiastic for your ongoing insights and contributions !

here is an article I am reading now ...

all the best !

before I forget .. I will make a brief note here ...
because I used to have all of my notes, research articles, and papers handy ....
Now during these years living in Asia ... I no longer have any of my previous Theological reference works
or books or articles... so my daily living was swallowed up and engulfed with the issues
of earning income, finding really good medical care, and getting along with those surrounding me ...
The "earning income" was really good during a peak years ago .... then slowly declined until
I said to myself --- I could remain in Taiwan for several more years but then what ?
So I moved to Guangzhou ... the 2008 -2010 troublesome economic "times" did not really have
much of an impact on my daily living although for others it did ...
finding "good medical care" was relatively easy since I lived in Northern Taiwan area ...
medical care is also relatively cheap there too ... in a similar vein as Canada there is
National Health Insurance .. so making payments yearly to receive and use the NHI card ...
doctor visits were only 100 NT dollars per visit then raised to 150 NT dollars per visit....
usually the prescriptive medicine was included ... Dental visits were the same price too ...
which made me feel super happy ... once when I had visited Anchorage I sought out a Dentist
to only "look" at my mouth but after visiting 5 Dental Clinics I finally found one ...
The Dentist had a relative living in Taiwan so was friendly enough to help me ... whereas
the others would have charged me 3,500 NT dollars only for a "look-see" wow....

my notes ---
The Oriental Orthodox Churches, consisting of the Armenian, Coptic,
Ethiopian, Eritrean, Indian and Syrian Churches, did not accept the Council
of Chalcedon but upheld the original three Ecumenical Councils. They were
in turn falsely accused of following the heresy of Monophysitism.
Monophysites taught that Christ is solely Divine and that His humanity was
"swallowed up" by His Divinity. Oriental Orthodox are instead Miaphysites
following St. Cyril of Alexandria (and before him, St. Athanasius the Great)
who taught the "one nature (mia physis) of God the Word incarnate." While
the prefix "mono" connotes numerical oneness, "mia" more accurately
conveys our doctrine of Christ's composite oneness.

My concept and perspective of Christ's life is the same as above .. miaphysite
but then again ... much more later ...

all the best !
because daily living presents all of us with lots and lots of challenging dilemnas ...
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:12 am

HI Hothorsegz -

Really interesting posts! :D :D :D So you are actually a teacher of/lecturer in theology - by the sound of things - and your knowledge is certainly deep. Hmmmmm... Well I'm a general humanities teacher so my knowledge is broad but not deep - which is why I posted the article about the Quest for the Historical Jesus - for the benefit of others and for the benefit of reminding myself :lol: :lol:

I'd actually still like to slow down a bit and think back over stuff that you and Jeremey (Redhot) have said about myth and literalism. I think middle age makes me slower than I once was :lol:

Blessings (and Tally ho :) )


So are you originally from mainland China?
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:25 am

:D :D :D

Actually I am not a Lecturer in Theology ... although that was supposed to be my 'dream' job years ago ...

My original plan A was to be a Bible Teacher / Professor in some not famous Bible College somewhere
in the World...

But .. well.. that did not happen ... and so I went along with what happened at that time ...
I became a teacher but not of Theology ... ;) I have been teaching English in a dynamic way
to Taiwanese and now in Mainland China -- before I had my own illegal classroom which the police
knew was there ... but unlike others who wish to have an illegal classroom I did not put up a sign
outside to try to attract more students ... nor did I print out brochures or pamplets and so on
to distribute to the teeming masses surrounding the area and within the City itself or there a bouts...
I got involved in DIY making of my own computers and setting up of edutainment courseware as well...
edu = education and the tainment you already got ... :P
I also taught in the local university as well as teaching from all ages too .. including k-12 undergrad
graduate ... doctoral students n professors along with businessmen to...
at one job interview -- the american interviewer was deeply impressed with me ... told me i was
certainly a "shoe-in " but the President had just changed ... and this new nitwit attempting to
exert his new found power :roll: told me that I was over qualified and under qualified .. :roll:

Although living here within a Chinese cultural environment I am neither a ABC (american born chinese )
nor a reverse banana either ... as a joke a banana is someone who looks Chinese ( or maybe Asian )
on the outside and whose behavior is "white" on the inside ... :mrgreen:

However, my degrees are Theological degrees .... :lol: :lol:
thus at times in the past this situation did present some challenges during a typical interview...
because many schools -- whether small or big ... or at the High School level or University level
especially Universities ... because Universities want to attract new students from the degrees
that the New Teacher / Professors have...
And although I have extensive teaching experience for too many years ..
A Theological degree has very little honey to attract bees... :mrgreen:

Up until now we have had Myth ... Literalism .. and I sneaked in an article from Open Source Theology
and have been reading through articles by another Theologian Andrew Perriman who deals with
the The narrative premise of a post-Christendom theology

I think that his article here above .. illustrates what is hermeneutics as per most usages... ... onclusions ... about-hell ... tive-jesus ... e-sentence

Andrew as those who make comments call him .. has more than enough dynamic Passion for his
Theological views ... to say the least ... :P

there is a link to the 25 messages on that webpage ... and no I am not enthralled or enthusiastic
with Andrew's own sentence either ... :P but then again why would I ? :lol:
I continually find intuitive insights by reading others ... which then flash like lightning strikes in the
darkened sky above me .. where by I am stimulated to have my own "flash bulb" intuitive
experiences which then propel me onwards to building up and developing my own personal Theological
concepts, proposals and paradigm ...

Now there is a reason that I continue to move onward or from a Literalistic intrepretation of the
Biblical Text ... a literal -- e.g. taking the NT text for example and attempting to elucidate
one static interpretation in defense of say ... Anabaptists separation from most of Society ..
or the stance of many Calvinist Reformed teachings ... or the Pentecostal experience of
spiritual "gifts" or the Wesleyean camp of "Holiness" or say of Fundamentalist Churches
with their own rigid dogmatic doctrines ... to me creates a huge headache...

meaning which "camp" is correct ? which "group" supposedly owns the deeds to so called "Truth"?
with such diversity present in too many different Church denominations or groups that belong
to the Literalistic interpretative of NT texts then there is a continual struggle for "authoritative clout"
over others ... constant bickering and constant enforcement of very aggressive stubborn
Hierarchical Trinitarian relations which then are followed by advocating this Hierarchical relationship
within the Church structure and between members of these Churches ...

There are simply too many within and without the Church as a whole ...
that very often complain at the diverse aggressive turmoils between so called "Christians"
who are supposed to be the ambassadors for a so called "Loving God" who also happens to
follow the "In the hands of an Angry God" type of sermon (Jonathan Edwards I think )
thus the relevance of any Hope of Reconciliation between those within and without the Church
seems very dim indeed....

I can easily demonstrate ( demonstration as in marching thru a city on a street )
in Central Guangzhou ... or even travel to Beijing or Shanghai or even Chongqing for that matter...
and I also can become a very fast Martyr too...
in the sense of --- One who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce religious principles. One who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle.
Most likely the second one would happen rather than the first unless I wished to be such a
aggressive evangelist for those tenets expressed by Literalistic interpretative readings of the NT text.
Which also very strangely enough have more than enough "ethnocentric baggage" from their
clutching too tightly of Fundamentalist Conservative views of American cultural living ...

But what benefit for the Church at large within this World would that have ?

probably barely a footnote in some newspapers or News...
probably a lot of acrimonious writings in Conservative News...
more acrimonious dealings in the Political realm as well...

notice the attitude and behavior ... acrimonious
I will give a list of fascinating sentences with one of my own concepts ... soon ...

Thus for me ... the Bultmann & Co. ( my nickname for a lot of Historical, Literary Criticism ... )
I cannot accept their "Demythologizing" of the NT texts .. because of their basic premise to begin with ...

I also continue to move onward ( not meaning "more correct or accurate in terms of attempting
to "win" at the Chess game or obtaining more "authoritative clout " over others )
and in a direction leaving behind a Literalistic hermeneutic ( even though I seldom used it anyway)

What I feel delight and enthusiastic excitement is finding that Miroslav Volf
stimulates my intuitive thinking about Life ...
and this article at wikipedia about him ... has made my intuitive insights sparkle like the
the experience of feeling awe at a clear night sky with radiant light from the myriad of stars
and the reflective sunlight off the moon ... creating an ebullient, effervescent, exuberant
reflection of the moonlight & stars upon a lake while sitting on the grass ...

The systematic contours of Volf’s theology are most clearly visible in Free of Charge. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, commissioned the book as his 2006 Lent Book.[9] Its immediate themes are giving and forgiving as two chief modes of grace, but the book is an accessible introduction and invitation to the Christian faith. In this work, the central themes of Volf’s work that receive more in depth treatment in other texts—God as unconditional love, the Trinitarian nature of God, creation as gift, Christ’s death on he cross for the ungodly, justification by faith and communal nature of Christian life, love of enemy and care for the downtrodden, reconciliation and forgiveness, and hope for a world of love—come together into a unity. Because it contains frequent reflections on concrete experiences, the book makes visible that Volf’s theology both grows out of and leads to a life of faith.

The dissertation was published as Trinität und Gemeinschaft: Eine Ökumenische Ekklesiologie (1996; translated into English as After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Triune God, 1998). Volf seeks to both show that a Free church ecclesiology is a theologically legitimate form of ecclesiology (a proposition denied by both Roman Catholic and Orthodox official teaching) and to give that typically individualistic ecclesiology focused on the Lordship of Christ a more robustly communal character by tying it to the communal nature of God. Volf takes Joseph Ratzinger (Catholic, current Pope Benedict XVI) and John Zizioulas (Orthodox, and a bishop) as his dialogue partners, and critiques their anchoring of the communal and hierarchical nature of the church in hierarchical Trinitarian relations (both thinkers gives primacy to the “One,” though each does this in a different way).[11] As an alternative, Volf proposes a non-hierarchical account of church as a community rooted in an egalitarian understanding of the Trinity (since hierarchy is, in his judgment, unthinkable with regard to three equally divine persons).[12] Each member of the church has “charisms” for the common good of all in the church, without the strict need of the “one” to symbolize and guarantee unity (though the “one” might be needed for pragmatic rather than dogmatic reasons). Volf’s position is not, however, that hierarchical forms of ecclesiology are illegitimate. Though not ultimately ideal, in certain cultural settings hierarchical forms of the church may even be the best possible and therefore preferable ways of reflecting in the church the Trinitarian communion of the one God.

In my thinking I followed a similar perspective with Particularity within Unity ...

The whole article should be read ... with enthusiastic viewing .. ;)

Theology of Embrace --- this area is profound as well...

as well as involved in the Artistic way ...
Some of these texts were on issues at the intersection between faith and culture (as, for instance, those dealing with the religious dimensions of the poetry of the Serbian poet Aleksa Šantić, which were the seed for his first book, done in collaboration with the Croatian painter Marko Živković and titled I znam da sunce ne boji se tame [“The Sun Doesn’t Fear Darkness”].

:D :D :D I will be careful not to quote too much from the Wikipedia article....

If I followed the Literalistic Hermeneutic then I dare to say that I would probably not appreciate
the depth, breadth and length that Volf has achieved by integrating many areas into his Theology....

Also If I followed the Bultmann & Co. with its Demythologizing scheme .. then I would approach
Volf from Liberation theology viewpoint or from politics ... which in my mind greatly reduces
the awe inspiring aspect of developing a profound Theology based on a Trinitarian perspective ...

To follow a Literalistic viewpoint with Fundamentalist Conservative ( and at times full of
"ethnocentric " behavior ) then I could never appreciate the people I am surrounded by...
I could never give a Muslim a bear hug .. or smile frequently to .. or wink with .. or laugh with ..
or share my friendly heart with .... and I would probably feel quite annoyed with Chinese
socio-cultural living ... along with continued aggressive stubborn evangelizing
these people who need more of the so called american dream ... ;) ;) ;) ;)

am I pro Chinese ...anti American ? :lol: :lol:
I am neither ... and while living in Taiwan I deftly side stepped the political badgering
between the two main political parties and their zealous adherents ...

all the best!
hoping that your daily living is well and satisfying within your current sitz im leben
and thankful to the Father, the Son and the Spirit for blessings ...
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:55 am

Now this one if for everyone -

Just a quickie here about C.S. Lewis – as his fundamentalist critic says in the article I posted above, Jack Lewis once famously stated that Jesus was either mad, bad or God – and since the first two alternatives are highly improbable the only reasonable conclusion we can make is that he was/is God. Many have commented that, OK, Jack Lewis was communicating in the vernacular here rather than speaking the technical language of theologians – or the language of imaginative symbol and story in which he excelled most; but this argument is too simplistic in my view. To say that Jesus is simply ‘God’ is not orthodox teaching. Jesus is the second person of the Trinity united with human nature – true God and true Man. So sometimes Jack did oversimplify, as he did when he compared God’s self emptying in the Incarnation to being a bit like if you and I were to voluntarily to become slugs in order to redeem the slugs. Obviously Jack Lewis found slugs revolting – which not everyone does. But even if we buy into his view of slugs, and especially if we do so, this is not an adequate image of the Incarnation. Orthodox teaching is that human beings are made in the image of God – and Christ in becoming man took on human nature in its un-fallen magnificence; and through his life, death and resurrection restored the image of God in all humanity. Well it’s something like this anyway.

The fundamentalist critic wonders why – if Jack Lewis could make the mad, bad or God argument about Jesus’ claims, why not make a similar argument to support the Bible’s claims about itself as being without error. Well, we all know the two passages that fundamentalists cite in order to press this argument – but neither claims the Bible is without errors of detail; they simply claim scripture is inspired by God and authoritative. And both passages are not speaking of the Christian Bible we have today – which did not exist at the time. They are actually speaking about the Jewish Testament. So I always find this food for thought.


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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:55 pm

And here's something a friend of mine (a very close friend) wrote about the Bible and progressive revelation ;)

When people say ‘But the Bible says’ it usually means that they have chosen particular sets of texts that confirm their own prejudices and ignored other texts. The answer to moral questions is different in different books and in different parts of the Bible. For example, ‘love your neighbour’ in Leviticus is bound up with treating your own ethnic cultural group with justice – but not outsiders; for they are abomination. However, in the latter prophets the vision of neighbour is becoming universalized (Amos, for example, attacks this exclusivist stance head on) and Jesus completely universalizes it. So the Bible actually corrects itself.

The Bible is not consistent – it is a text in travail in which the Truth revealed in Jesus of God’s inclusive love only comes slowly into focus. It is on this Truth that we need to base our ethics – ethics that will be rooted in justice, compassion, and recognition of human frailty. Each generation has to rethink ethics for changing times and circumstances. The Bible is an important resource for this – in its general principles – but for specifics we also need the help of tradition (what we can learn from the experience of the history of the Church – both in terms of what we can discard and what we should hold fast to), reason (critical reflection - a good thing since we must love God also with our minds) and reflection on experience (both our direct personal experience and our experience as people of a certain time in history). It is only if we balance the witness of the Bible with these other factors that we can be open to the spirit that gives life against the letter that kills.
Nowhere does the Bible say that it is inerrant or ‘the answer’ – rather it bears witness to Gods’ enduring love for humanity and creation A couple of books in the New Testament say the Bible is inspired by God and that scripture cannot be broken, but these passages refer to the Old Testament – not the Bible that we have today (and for at least one New Testament writer – Jude – the Jewish Scriptures were slightly different to the ones in the Christina Bible because he cites the Book of Enoch as authoritative).The New Testament radically reframes much of the Hebrew Testament, and so I take it that these passages already refer to the spirit rather than the letter of scripture.

I’d say that the Bible was never meant to be the answer to life’s questions. The Bible bears witness to the Truth as experienced in the sacred history of the people of Israel that, for Christians, is fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, to the Truth as it is in Jesus, and to the impact of the Truth of Jesus on the early Church. It bears witness to the Truth – but the Truth is an incarnate Truth; and it is a Truth that needs to be incarnated in our own time.
I find consistency in the gradual revelation of the God of Love in the Bible – but this is a process rather than a set of answers/propositions/logical deductions. We have to live the Truth rather than‘have it’ as a possession in a book.
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby redhotmagma » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:58 pm

I just wanted to throw in a few more bits on my take on myth. If I'm derailing the conversation at hand let me know and we can redirect this to another thread. I'll admit something to you. I have the attention span of a gnat. So if there are long posts I can rarely read the whole thing, and reading the other posts most recently I really have no clue how the bit on Lewis, that prompted me to write my first post, and now what I'm talking about really have to do with the topic at hand. :oops:

But I will continue on with my ramblings. :?

I think that myth is used because it is really about every person. Not that those events way back didn't actually happen, but that the story that God tells, (the magicians story etc, which from henceforth I will call The Framework) is so written in the fabric of our lives (and this is likely because it is written in the Spirit, which has no time) that we place people into the story. Now this is all divinely inspired because its true in Spirit, and the Lord directs our steps. And those events occurred, the question is did they occur as exactly as we understand them? We are all in the grand story. We are all the thing the myths are about. Thats why people love myth and romance and adventure, because thats what they want for their lives, because they know The Framework exists, they just may not know it. The phrase "their's a God shaped hole in all of us", would maybe be another way to word The Framework.

Where the author writing about Lewis said that things like the gospels and epistles are more like history, I would agree with that. Probably because the culture had developed to a more "civilized" one. If those people way back were more like children, having not reached yet the rising tide to bring them to that awareness, then you would understand that kids like to watch fairy tales more than the history channel. Its not that Jonah didn't happen, but what the writer saw as "the story" in the events that did occur. Take Noah. Every culture has a flood story that is remarkably similar. Something did occur IMO. I don't care in this regard if the entire world was flooded, or a river valley, or a region there was likely something that happened. The pagan versions are much more carnal, and base. That would make sense because they are at a lower level of revelation than Moses. Its not necessarily that they were like teenagers in their mentality, but in their level of revelation of God, the world, science.
[digression] Interestingly Moses would have been brought up in the top scientific household in the world. The priests of Egypt, and all the other pagan nations were the doctors, scholars, scientists etc, and Egypt was said to have the sum of all knowledge that had been passed down from the time of Noah. He was raised in the household of the priesthood. He was well indoctrinated into the Egyptian/Pagan understanding of sacrifice and burnt offerings. This lends weight to what I've been sharing on another thread that Charlie Slagle started on the god of the OT, vs Jesus. My view is that God did not tell Israel to literally kill babies. That He never was the God of vengeance. Jesus is the exact imprint of the Father. The entire "law of Moses" is just that, the law of Moses. His mind understood the necessity for sacrifice and burnt offerings and a temple. But later we hear "sacrifice and burnt offerings I did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me", and "God does not dwell in temples built with human hands". God told Moses something. He did say make everything according to the pattern shown to you on the mountain. Every other place we see God interfacing with people its in symbols. Abraham was to look at the stars, probably at the zodiac, which is The Framework written in the sky. Our minds cannot comprehend the infinite, so we are given icons of those spiritual truths, to lead us away from our earthly understanding. Unfortunately, we still have that filter called the carnal mind. And those truths have to be translated through that filter. So Moses is looking at something that is hard to put into words, but does anyway. He "knows" that God means they need to literally go kill those women and children, because he has been raised in Egypt and thats what civilized people do. Moses may have been highly "evolved" but was still heavily veiled. And the carnal mind is death. The law is called the law of sin and death. Its called the shadow, which is the same word used in this:
Mat 4:16 KJV - The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow[4639] of death light is sprung up .
(That word shadow is related to the word skene, which is the word for tabernacle!)

What did the light come to do? Set men free from sin and death, what is the power of sin? The law. What is the true law? LOVE. But Moses couldn't understand it fully, even though he was the representative for the next level of elevation, he still wasn't crystallized enough to get the full meaning, if he was his name would have been Yeshua. This is what we see with him having to wear a veil to cover the glory. There was a filter that the truth had to go through. Now it is said that a veil lies over their minds when they read Moses to this day. To me that says that the problem in understanding comes not from Moses but from the people reading Moses. But I think Moses is a type of the carnal mind, and his mind filtered the truth of The Framework that Moses saw on the mountain.

One of the things that led me to this conclusion is that Moses died on Mt. Nebo. Nebo is the Babylonian scribe god. Nebo held the books of the law, and was the mediator between the gods and men. He died there right before Israel entered the promised land. He went up on that mountain to view the promised land. Is this coincidence that Moses dies on the mountain of the pagan version of himself? He is even called an elohim. And we know that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Carnal=Flesh (its the word sarx). Moses could not inherit the kingdom, the promised land. The veiled man cannot enter. Yeshua(Joshua) had to take them in.

Now the greek version of Nebo is Hermes. And there is good evidence that Yeshua was transfigured on Mt. Hermon, which happens to be named for Hermes. So Moses dies on the same mountain in type that Christ first is made alive on (as in
adam-moses all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive). He was pre-resurrected. Shown what the true promised land is. Now this is sort of what seals it for me, that Jesus walked right into, or was placed right in the middle of the pagan framework, and the jewish framework, which btw they were quite similar in imagery, like the cherubim, and temple design, rituals etc. He fulfilled the Jewish and Pagan. Mt. Hermon was known as the mountain of the gods. It was where the gods came down to men. Or where the sons of God came down to men. Its is also called Sion in the Bible. Jesus is the Son of God, and Adam's family were the sons of God. All of the pagan myth was intertwined and derived from the same truths that the Bible shares. Its just different levels of revelation. For instance Cronus is very likely in part Abraham. He sacrificed his son, but he was saved by a ram. He was circumcised, and that was his "sign". His other name is Saturn. Which happens to be the name of the day that corresponds to the Sabbath. When the pharisees say we have Abraham for our father, I think its quite ironic that they who were the holy ones separated from all that pagan filth, were basically deifying their patriarch by claiming him over Christ, the exact image of the Father. Abraham was their father. They were so proud of their outward rituals like circumcision, which was never the true form anyway, but a shadow, they were no better than the pagans, for their god was Saturn/Abraham. They had created god in their image, just as Moses had created the law in his own image. Thats what the flesh does. Thats what the religious mind does (remember Moses was raised in the priestly house). It takes the true form, and processes it, and spits it back out in its own image. The Framework is eternal, those symbols like the cherubim, fire, the lamb, the branch, light, Father, Son, Bride; they are always there. The same story is told to all, God sends rain on the just and the unjust. Those who attempt to peer into that invisible world, will always see the same thing, there is One Lord, One God and Father of all. The issue is not the message, but the messenger,

1Cr 13:9 for in part we know, and in part we prophecy;
1Cr 13:10 and when that which is perfect may come, then that which [is] in part shall become useless. (just like the law had become useless, why? They had reached the next level of clarity of the message, they could grasp more clearly what The Framework meant)
1Cr 13:11 When I was a babe, as a babe I was speaking, as a babe I was thinking, as a babe I was reasoning, and when I have become a man, I have made useless the things of the babe;
1Cr 13:12 for we see now through a mirror obscurely, and then face to face; now I know in part, and then I shall fully know, as also I was known;

That word obscurely, in the KJV translated darkly, is the word enigma. Now that is a very loaded word in the culture of that day. Just like Logos is. It carries a weight with it, because of all the attachment, and history associated with it. The enigma of the sphinx.

So when Paul writes of us trying to peer into that invisible world how do we look? Through a mirror. And when we do we see an enigma (a riddle, who are we? Are we the sphinx, are we the cherubim woven on the veil, are we the person living in the matrix?). That word mirror is esoptron, which is eis(into)+optanomai(to behold something remarkable, which that word is almost exclusively used of seeing the risen Lord!). There is one other use of esoptron in the NT, and its in James, where he says, they peer at their natural face in a mirror and forget what their origin is. The only other use of the word mirror is a derivative word of esoptron and its used when Paul says "and we all with unveiled faces are reflecting the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, we are being transfigured from glory to glory". Where did the transfiguration take place? Mt. Hermon. The unveiling of our faces (our minds) is what brings us into the full glory, and we reflect the glory of the Lord. We can only reflect the true glory as far as we’ve been crystalized. Jesus was the exact imprint. He was the pure crystal clear mirror, with no veil. The unveiling of Christ in You the hope of glory is what the story was always about. It took place on the mountain of the gods, it is written ye are all gods.

That’s why I say it is we are all part of the grand story. We are all the word made flesh. Just as Christ is so are you in the world. He was the end of the law, the fulfillment of it, the true form of it, the crystal, and we are all being transformed into that glory. I believe He is the fulfillment of the pagan hopes too, which is why he was transformed on Mt. Hermon. Also possibly why the NT is in Greek, just the weight behind words like: Enigma, Logos, Ouranos (heaven), Aster(star). He was also called the morning star which was the name for Venus.

“Gilgamesh passes near Mount Hermon in the Epic of Gilgamesh, where it was called Saria by Sumerians, "Saria and Lebanon tremble at the felling of the cedars".[5][6] In the Book of Enoch, Mount Hermon is the place where the Grigori ("Watcher") class of fallen angels descended to Earth. They swore upon the mountain that they would take wives among the daughters of men and take mutual imprecation for their sin (Enoch 6). The mountain or summit is referred to as Saphon in Ugaritic texts where the palace of Baal is located in a myth about Attar.[7][8]
(Attar, also known as Athtar, Astar, and Ashtar is the god of the morning star in western Semitic mythology. In Canaanite legend he attempts to usurp the throne of the dead god Baal but proves inadequate. In semi-arid regions of western Asia he was sometimes worshipped as a rain god. His female counterpart is the Phoenician Astarte. In more southerly regions he is probably known as Dhu-Samani.)”

Isa 14
You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon;

Zaphon=Saphon=Mt. Hermes=the mountain of YHWH=the mountain of the gods

The man in Isa 14 many times called Lucifer is none other than a man, trying to set himself up as the high god. Creating god in his image. This is the image of the beast being installed in the temple, worshipping the graven image of the ark, the physical/shadow, instead of the true reality. In Ezekiel we see the guardian cherub who was cast down from the garden of God. IF the sons of God came down from Mt. Hermon, then Mt. Hermon is probably the location of the garden of God! Where do we see the cherubim? Stationed outside the garden. In Ezekiel, carrying the glory of the Lord. Stationed outside the garden in the temple, on the veil separating the Holy of Holies/aka the garden/aka the promised land. On the ark, which also carries the glory of the Lord. And in Revelation surrounding the throne. They are always seen right in the center of the action. We know that the tribes were set around the camp of Israel with the standards of the heads of the cherubim. Those correspond to the 4 poles of the zodiac, aka The Framework written in the sky. They are also likely the heiroglyph from which the main pagan gods are derived. What is a sphinx? Is it not a cherub? What was the answer to the riddle of the sphinx? (what has 4 legs, 2 legs, and 3 legs) A man is the answer.

When we peer into the mirror to try and see that invisible land, we see an enigma. We are not who we think we are. We see the image of who we are and not past that because we haven’t entered through that final veil(the cherubim woven on it), which is flesh. If we would go further we would see that we were one with Him since the foundation of the world. This is the final level of elevation that we know about now at least, the mystery that was hidden from ages past, the 2 shall become 1. Christ in you, the one new man.

Wow that was a whirlwind. When I said my attention span limited me from reading long posts, it also limits me from keeping to the point. I forgot what I was going to write about at first, and have no idea how I got to this point. :)

I’d go back and try and clarify but this took me all day, having to start and stop. I’m sure I’ll remember what I was originally writing about later, then I’ll start to write another post, and take you on a wild goose chase.
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:16 pm

Don't apologise Jeremey - that's really interesting. Give me a chance to absorb it... we are talking mythopoeia here. That's a fascinating post... There's a lot oging on in this thread - history, tholeogy, myth, biography - well it could act as a sorting house for more focussed threads. Let's have a brainstorm! :D
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby redhotmagma » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:03 pm

Well Dick, myth is my favorite subject. I've always been fascinated by it. I remember being probably around 12 and reading in my bible about the temple design, and the ark. I was reading some of the study material in my bible about it. There were comparisons between the law of moses and the hammurabi code, the imagery used in the temple, like the cherubim, the bulls, the altar etc. I'd wonder why God would tell them to build things that were pretty much the same as those "bad pagans". And those cherubim really always got my imagination going, which I think is the point. This is obviously a creature of myth, and thats why myth because it takes you out of this shadow reality into the true reality. And again I don't mean myth as in false stories, but those that are bigger than just a story, carrying The Framework.

I remembered a couple of the points I was going to make originally in the last post :)

The gospel of John is a somewhat mythological account of Jesus' life. Not that it was untrue, but that it was idealized to do what its purpose was, which was to show that Christ was the fullfillment of the Jewish Myth, and the Pagan Myth. It starts with the logos. Which like I said was a very loaded word. It was already in use in Greek philosophy, and carried very deep meaning with it. Then its the light. Of course this is the overriding theme of all myth, which is light vs. dark, Anakin vs. Vader. Just that alone puts Christ within the realm of pagan myth. But then He's the lamb. Then He's the serpent in the wilderness: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

The timing given of His crucifixion differs between John and the synoptics. The reason being is that He needed time to die on the cross, but that time 6:00 would be too close to sundown and everyone would have to go back to their families. 6:00 was the time that the lambs were slaughtered (for the most part, I mean they didn't have clocks, but you get the point). So Jesus likely was put on the cross at the time in the synoptics 3:00 in literal time. But to fit The Framework, John put it at the ideal time. I believe the order of events was idealized also. Ernest Martin has a great article on this subject. This isn't wrong from the mind of the beloved disciple, he was closest to Jesus, he was given Love as his subject, which is the ultimate structure of The Framework, he had his ear on Jesus' heart. He I believe understood greater than the others what the true reality is. He is also the writer of Revelation, the unveiling of Jesus the Christ. The book of Revelation is all symbols, it is the key IMO to understanding the rest of the bible. It is the cypher. It is the legend for navigating The Framework. So for John to move some minor details around its no big whoop because the point wasn't to stick to the letter, but to reveal who Jesus really was. He placed Him into the myth. Not that Jesus didn't really fulfill all those things, I think He did, but that the bigger picture mattered more than some tiny details. AND I think that the contemporary readers would understand this when he starts his letter with the Logos, and the Light. Their ears would perk up, and they would be expecting to read something that wasn't on the literal level.

I'm going to nerd out on Mt. Hermon just a little bit more mmm kay? So its named for Hermes the messenger god. Hermes had the Caduceus. Which was a pole with serpents wrapped around it. Isn't it a coincidence that bronze serpent was made in the wilderness, and Jesus likened himself to it? I think not. There was a common symbol that they were derived from, or one was a copy of the other. Obviously I think that they were derived from The Framework.

The cross itself is the symbol of Baal, and of all the sungods. Jesus is likened to the sun. He's not just another sungod, He is the SonGod. He is the true source of light. Those men that were called gods may have had traits of the Messiah, but they could never be the true Form. They were a shadow, just like the Jewish understanding of the messiah was wrong (and God for that matter), and was a shadow. They saw in The Framework that the messiah would come and kill their enemies. But they didn't understand He came to kill only one man...adam. And they didn't realize that their enemy is their ego. They tried to place men into the form, like Barabbas, or other men that were deemed the messiah. These warring men that would save them. But their mind saw death, when He came to give life and that abundantly.

This is one of the foundational reasons I am anti-church hierarchy. People are yearning to be saved from something. They will deify their pastor, their priest, their church leadership etc, unknowingly because thats what people do they mythologize their lives and the lives of others. JFK's regime is called camelot. Actors are called stars. We have american idols. Doctors. Teachers. Athletes are Hercules, and Mars, and Demeter. Any position of power, or elevation above another man can easily head towards corruption, not always from the leader, but from the "awe" given to that person on that pedestal. We are told to call no man father. I think it has to do with the power that is given to that "father" can cause pride, and the next thing you know that man can become Lucifer, exalting himself above the heights of God. If you keep getting told you are infallible, you may start to believe it. I can tell you this from personal experience. I'm a chiropractor in a small town. I'm kind of like a minor celebrity, on par with a city council member or something like that. I also get to facilitate miraculous changes in peoples health in mere minutes. I literally get called a miracle worker daily. And I have people telling their friends and family about me, most people know me, or have at least heard of me. This can go to your head quickly. I'd like to say that I've fulfilled the role thats placed on me by my patients and community all the time, but that is far from the truth. I am so fallible its stupid. I could probably punch some of my patients kids in the face for no reason right in front of them, and they would yell at their kids for hurting my hand :lol: I don't deserve that kind of respect. I am just a guy, who is a vessel, who makes too many mistakes. Thankfully God has been working on me and has done a good job of keeping my ego in check. But that beast is still there, thanks be to God through Christ that we have victory though. I've really even stopped calling myself doctor to most people, because I don't want to elevate myself above them, and facilitate that unhealthy relationship. Unfortunately many people really want their doctor to be a god, because of the need for security, which comes from their feeling of fear.

Ok thats enough, I really meant to just write a couple bits, but this whole topic has really allowed me to put pen to paper The Framework I've been seeing. And all of this informs my recent decision to dramatically change my lifestyle, as I am trying to walk in the steps of the True Form (not that I think everyone is called to sell everything they own, and go about literally healing the sick and feeding the poor). And be refined and crystalized so that my life reflects His. I think I'm placing myself in the myth. I am trying to answer the call of who I am called to be. BTW I don't think I am The Savior, but a savior. Just as Christ is so are you in the world.

One final word, seriously this time ;) with what I've said in the past few posts, I want to state that I still hold to the entire Bible (or most of it besides minor additions) being reliable, and useful for correction, reproof, and teaching. I believe God uses our understanding of The Framework for good. Even though I don't think He really wanted all 613 literal laws,(sacrifice and burnt offering I did not desire) He told something to Moses and what we have written is a shadow of the reality. But it still points to the reality. The true form is the point, and God can work with Moses' limited understanding.
--the letter kills, but the spirit gives life--

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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:11 pm

Greetings !

Since it would take much more time, effort and trying to learn how to put applause smileys here...

I will take a more convenient way <applause> <many people applause>
Jeremy and Dick ... Your posts make this topic a marvelous adventure while climbing up
the side of the mountain ( in this case ... Mount Ali or in pinyin Ali Shan )
really early in the morning before even the crack of dawn to view the Sunrise in all
of its splendor and awe inspiring radiant brilliant light from the Sun
While I was living in Taiwan ... this was one of the tourist attractions that attracted lots of people...
Drive to Ali Shan which was located in middle of the island but on the southern side instead of
in the middle on the northern side ... :P
Stay in a really cold cold Hotel room without any central heating at all...
-- that is IF the tourist did this during the Winter season or during the Chinese New Year time..
which usually falls at the end of January or the beginning of February ...

Most places in Taiwan do not have any central heating at all ... neither the k-12 schools
nor the Universities either --- especially the classrooms including kindergartens as well..
even McDonalds will have their darn A/C blowing during the Winter season ... :!:
so once I put on a Parka and went and sat inside ... with it on .. just to look foolish and strange
so that the Manager or Asst Manager would come over to me and ask ...
Are you cold ? ( actually they would most likely ask what the puck are ya doing wearin that in here?)
but my American sarcasm was never understood ... ;) ;)

So during University class time ... The students and teachers needed to wear enough to keep
from shivering -- and during the break times .. the Foreigners (us English teachers ) would
try to prohibit the students from opening all of the windows ... but these students stubbornly
insisted on "letting "fresh air" inside so that they would not perish due to the "stale air" within the room
of course we ( the English teachers ) could never fathom how the 'polluted' air outside was 'fresh' :lol:

Thus traveling to Ali Shan and arriving at late evening ... then checking into the Hotel rooms
which had all of the windows open ... letting in the "freezing cold air " which was supposed to be
"fresh" -- if you look at the World Map and find Taiwan it will not seem like a place to have
such cold air .. Shanghai or Beijing certainly has much more cold temperature than Taipei ...
but due to the humidity and the cold Wind ... it definitely feels damn Cold ! :lol:

Then at 3.30 am people get up ...get dressed ( never could understand how they did it too ...
since I just slept with mine on ... sheeeeesh )
next, the entire mass of people would congregate in the large mess hall like place...
to eat ... of course... Taiwanese style breakfast ... which I never got used to after 22 years of it ..
-- I will need to find a good way to share photos some day .. --
Then people would mosey along to get on a small train like something from a large amusement park ...
then chug chug chug up the mountain to reach a sunrise viewpoint ...
everyone trying to budge their way around to get a better vantage point for viewing the sunrise...

Should it be partly cloudy that morning ...well.. tough luck in having a spectacular sunrise experience ..
on the breathtaking cloudless mornings that the Ads presented for the Marketing guys ...
it is definitely awesome !

What does this have to do with Jeremy and Dick's posts?
To share my appreciation and admiration for their Passion in expressing their Framework and
ideas, paradigms and thoughts concerning this topic concerning History ...

Eagerly looking forward to more gems, emeralds, rubies, sapphires coming from you guys
and awaiting any other posts ...

all the best !
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby Sobornost » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:14 am

This is such a charming thread – a lovely holiday of a thread. What splendid posts! :D :D :D
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:46 am

Greetings :D

Here is another fascinating and illuminating quote ..
from ...

Furthermore, everyone has a canon within a canon–including Justin. Everyone has what Richard Beck calls a regulating text–a Scripture passage or a theological concept that becomes the lens through which they view the rest of Scripture. Over time, this text or concept often becomes a non-negotiable, the foundation on which we (wittingly or not) build the rest of our theology. Justin attempts to frame this as a debate between those who have regulating texts (his opponents) and those who don’t (people like him). But that can’t possibly be true. Otherwise he wouldn’t be in the Reformed camp, which prioritizes a certain group of texts in the same way Arminians prioritize another group of texts. Justin even quotes one of his regulating texts, “‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:14). What he doesn’t happen to mention is that Paul quotes this verse (Exodus 33:19) in the midst of a broader discussion about the wideness of God’s mercy. In other words, Paul is arguing against the very sort of exclusive theology Justin promotes. Ironically, Paul’s argument culminates in what has become a regulating text for many Universalists: “For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all” (Romans 11:32). This leaves one to wonder who is actually ignoring the details of Scripture… ... -response/

then Tally Ho!

To take the concept of a “canon within a canon” a step further, I would add that for Justin’s opponents, this isn’t simply a matter of playing off one set of texts against another. For them, the ultimate canon within the canon isn’t a text at all. It’s a person–Jesus. In John 14:9, Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” I think even Justin will agree that the Bible portrays Jesus as the perfect revelation of God. Therefore, he becomes the “Rosetta Stone” that allows us to decode the rest of Scripture. So if we see horrific acts attributed to God in the Old Testament, rather than say, “Well, I can’t see how dashing infants’ heads upon rocks is consistent with enemy love, but if the Bible says it, I believe it,” we should test such assertions against the character and teachings of Christ. Are they consistent? If not, rather than shrug and say, “Well, I guess God’s ways are higher than our ways, his thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9)” (which is also, BTW, stated in the mist of an argument for inclusion rather than exclusion), we should stop and consider that perhaps some of the actions attributed to God in the Bible may themselves be the sort of human projection that Justin detests so much. Of course, this opens up a much broader discussion on competing theories of inspiration. I think Justin and I have a pretty significant disagreement on this level, but that’s an argument for another day. (I do have a few things to say about that subject here.)

This is another intriguing example of how "proof texting" or using a huge Roller ( you know those
machines that have very very heavy circular wheel on the front mashing the newly poured asphalt
on roads and highways / freeways .. ) flattening all of the Biblical text onto one large cookie pan ..
regardless of literary genre or authorship or time or the original sitz im leben or situational setting ...

the comments directly above belong to the highlighted text ... not the very interesting paragraphs...

Finally, I take it from Justin’s comments that he has little or no regard for experience as a means of revelation. He downplays so-called “horizontal reasoning” in favor of top-down approach. As I’ve described in a previous post, our theology is the product of four main sources: Scripture, reason, tradition and experience. Depending where you live on the theological spectrum, you will tend to prioritize one or more of these sources over the others, but taken together, they function as a form of checks and balances. Going back to experience as a means revelation, if humans truly are created in the image of God, then our direct experience of something like parent-child relationships has a lot to tell us about our relationship with God. Granted, we “see through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12), but rather than discourage us from projecting that experience onto God, we should instead take it as an encouragement to believe that God’s love for his children far overwhelms our own puny feelings. In fact, Jesus encourages us to do just that:

the link ---- is here ....

Now I am not copying this portion of his article to agree or concur wholeheartedly with it ... ;) ;) ;)

but it certainly gives more insightful reasoning into hermeneutics and how differing perspectives
express their viewpoints ...

all the best !
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby ZhuGeLiang » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:23 am


Wow... If you continue reading into the lengthy comment section of the link ... response to Justin

then you will surely observe and notice what I did ... lots of cantankerous words towards each other ...
this is one of the main reasons I finally got toooooo tired of being involved in discussions of this sort online...
The proverbial straw that broke the elephant's back ( i know it is camel but using elephant is more poignant)
was when the Moderators and Owners of several Christian Yahoo discussion groups
decided it was their turn to emulate "The Shoot Out at the OK Corral " sheeeeeeeeeeesh.....

In one Yahoo group discussion all of these Mods and Owners were jumping in and well... never mind...

Calvinists are not Evil .. nor Monsters .. and neither are the others too...
how do I know ? Well if researching Church History for decades is not enough .. well.. then I will laugh ...

If anyone wishes to pick the meat from the bone .. I can do this also .... ;)
When we get to the Creeds.. 8-) 8-) 8-) Then we can open the closet and see how many skeletons are inside...

So I will repeat one of my previous perspectives ...
The NT Writers along with those modern Theologians I have mentioned ...
are writing with the same Passion about their Theological, Spiritual, Life Experience ....

Since I find it very difficult to accept "Myth" in the manner of Bultmann & Co. ( my nickname for all of it )
and find it rather challenging to deal with ... at this time in my Life ... those super detailed
supposedly exhaustive Narrative or Literary interpretative perspectives ...

I then decided to opt for this perspective instead... To me it is extremely challenging to really
understand "exactly" what Paul was trying to communicate to the Churches in Modern Day Turkey ..
and from memory only .. someone fell out of the window while listening to Paul ... ;) ;)

Even though Paul and his Damascus road experience or the visions he hints about in Corinthian correspondence
still James, Luke, Peter and others also surely had their special Spiritual experience with God ...

I prefer to give warm affectionate bear hugs now instead of engaging in "Zealous Fencing " with another ..

Thus I really enjoy this forum for the Active Considerate behavior within the midst of divergent ideas...

all the best!
愿主耶稣的恩惠与所有的圣徒同在!阿们!(Rev 22:21)
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Re: You cannot discover history by finding facts ...

Postby redhotmagma » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:06 am

Btw we get the word hermeneutics from Hermes. ;)

Mysteries. The mystery religions all had the same setup, and what so many don't realize is that the setup is the same as Judaism/Christianity. There were levels of revelation. Like the Masons. They are definitely patterned after the mysteries. Outer court, inner court, holy of holies. This same progressive revelation was present.

Sanchonthian said that the answer or final revelation to the pagan mysteries was that the gods were men. And here is what I consider to be one of the big dividing lines between pagan and Christian, (not withstanding, actually having a relationship with Christ), is that they have the same story but they are mirror images of each other. You know those pictures of buildings or a mountain where there is a perfect reflection in the water. You see the same image, but they go in opposite directions. Up is down for the mirror reflection. Well I see that principle in a lot of stories. For instance, in the movie The Matrix. The higher world, the real world is the post-apocalyptic nightmare world. The matrix is the veil, or as Morpheus says the wool pulled over their eyes. Which I could go into much just about that statement but will try and stay on topic. But the opposite is true. The real matrix is this natural world we live in. The higher reality is the invisible world. When you peer behind the curtains in this story you see the beautiful world, not the nightmare. The nightmare is the world we live in.

Ok back to the mysteries. The pagan secret is that the gods are men. The biblical secret is that God dwells in men, or better worded, Christ in you is the hope of glory. The two shall become one flesh, this is a great mystery concerning Christ and the church. The kingdom of heaven is inside. Don't you know you are the temple of the living God?

When I just wrote look behind the curtain it made me think of the wizard of oz. Wow that movie is a great representation of what I'm saying. The god, was actually just a man behind the curtain pulling levers. But on another level Oz is like The Framework, and it being the invisible world, puts it more on a correct understanding of the two worlds than the matrix. The kingdom (of Oz) is inside you (Dorothy). Oh man I have a feeling I'm going to be watching a lot of movies in the near future.
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