At 07:51 PM 06/02/02 -0800, Adrian Teo wrote:
>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
That is always the case. I know only a little Greek and Hebrew. A friend
of mine, who became a medical doctor, told me: "Jan, you and I have brains.
We should read, check the bible in the original languages." I must admit
that he kept it up longer than I did, but a basic knowledge of Greek and
Hebrew is certainly possible for everyone that studies. It does not always
guarantee that you are coming to the same conclusions, but it is much more
interesting than to listen only to modern interpreters.
Yes, each individual believer is responsible for his own Scripture reading,
but together we can talk about it. Obviously one's teachers have a lot of
influence, and it will certainly be difficult to change once's opinions
fast. If that happens something is wrong.
As far as the early and medieval Christian biblical philosophers are
concerned, they were just as divided as the Greek philosophers were. In
the Middle Ages you have philosophers whose ideas can be traced back to
Plato, others whose ideas are more like Aristotle, others again to other
Greek philosophers. There was no unity of thinking in old Greece, and no
unity of thinking among the medieval theologian-philosophers, except that
all appear to go back to some Greek philosophies. So all theology of that
time was influenced by theology as well, just like it is now. Also,
knowledge in the Middle Ages in Western countries among our forefathers was
very, very limited. They depended on the priests for biblical knowledge,
which became more and more in Latin.
Seeking the counsel in history is good, but then you should not go to the
earliest Christian philosophers, but to early "theologians" like Paul,
Peter, John, etc. The earliest Christian philosophers were more going back
to Aristotle than to Plato. They certainly were not very unified in their
thinking. Also, Dogmatics only started in the second century, not in the
first century. Right from the start they had rather severe disagreements:
Origines contra Celsus. (I looked that up again.)
>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.
I don't say that you have to reject certain interpretations because they
are based on certain Greek philosophies, though I do warn that the Greek
philosophers before the Christian era are pagans, all of them. According
to some Plato's philosophy was closest to the Bible. I disagree. Others
said "closer to Aristotle". others take other philosophers again. For
that reason, Vollenhoven wrote in 1934 a booklet titling it (I translate)
"The necessity of a Christian Logic."
>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
You have not convinced me. "The soul is the form of the body" where do you
read that in the bible?
When Jesus died he was not in time any longer, just like when you die you
are not in time any longer. The moment you die. you arise again in
eternity. But Jesus was in "eternal death in hell." whatever that means,
we don't know. You will rise up.
As soon as you realize, that "time" is part of creation, you begin to
understand that the moment of your death, is the"moment" of your
resurrection in eternity. (or maybe ?? We don't know what eternity
is. But nowhere I read that "eternity" = "extended time."
Jan de K.
What did I start?
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