If, as you claim, the issue is really one of interpretation, then whose
should I trust? I am not a bible scholar and don't know Greek nor Hebrew.
Should I trust the scholars you cited, or should I trust other translators?
And even if I were a scholar, I have no assurance that I am correct in my
interpretation without seeking the counsel of the Christian consensus in
history, especially those who lived closer in time to the original writers
and may have had access to resources that are now lost. If I understand your
view correctly, then each individual become the final arbiter of truth for
The criticism of dualism is directed toward a Platonic understanding of the
material and the spiritual world. This is certainly NOT the only Greek
philosophy around. To simply say that one must reject a certain
interpretation becasue of Greek influence does not make much sense, since
there is such a diversity of Greek philosophies.
Furthermore, the Thomistic understanding of dualism is significantly, but
perhaps, subtly different from that of Aristotle, even though both agreed
that the soul is the form of the body. The soul is distinct from the body,
but the human person is neither just soul nor just body, but a marriage of
Let me end with a couple of questions for you. What happened when Jesus
died? Did He cease to be a human person for the period until the day of His
From: Jan de Koning
Sent: 2/6/2002 7:00 AM
Subject: RE: Do animals ever "sin" (was something else)
Yes, you are completely right in what you say above, except, of course,
when you start doubting the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I still say,
the dualistic view is unbiblical, and was based on pagan Greek
philosophy. And as far as the "virtual consensus of Christendom" is
concerned, I have heard that argument more often, but it does not
me. When my prof. in 1942 started talking about in his lectures, he
through the bible quoting all texts, in the original, and showed how
translators often used different words for the same original word in
in their translations. The same goes for the translations from the
The holy Spirit guides the church, yes, but through sinful people,
that what we say, or translate, is not always right. That goes for me,
you, and for translators.
Gordon Spykman writes in "Reformational Theology" about it: pages
chapter II-9, which I am not going to copy here. He starts with
that this issue has "plagued" the Christian community for 2000 years,
continuing:"Nowhere have the deforming influences of Greek philosophy on
the Christian religion and its theology taken their toll more heavily
in the area of anthropology."
He says that the Greco-Christian synthesis started in the second
Then on page 238: "A dichotomist view of man is accordingly at odds with
our life experience set in the light of Scripture. "Body" is not some
"animal baggage" carried over from a primitive past. We are not merely
"embodied souls" nor "animated corpses."
He goes on to quote Gilkey, "Maker of Heaven and Earth.", and Bavinck
"Gereformeerde Dogmatiek" (the latter is written originally in Dutch,
apparently available in English as well, unless Spykman translated
Note that Bavinck was living in the 19th century. Two of my
great-grandfathers studied under him. So, what I wrote is not something
the last century.
>I argue that in spite of the shortcomings of some major characters in
>early/mid medieval church, it was nevertheless the church as the Body
>Christ; the same church that adopted some Greek ideas and rejected
>the same church that grew out of the early church, and grew into what
>as Christianity today. If the medieval church was wrong in foundational
>philosophical assumptions, then I believe the credibility of the
>is at stake.
The credibility of Scriptures is not at stake at all, at most the
credibility of the translators. Greek ideas were adopted in the second
century, when some scholars became Christians. When I had to study
of Philosophy in the forties, my teacher showed the lines of thought in
philosophic thinking. All, or almost all thinking in the West goes back
Jan de K..
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