Re: [asa] Interpretive Question for Polygenists

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Date: Wed Oct 24 2007 - 11:17:42 EDT

The Alexandrian text says "from one" without saying one what. So that doesn't help much.?

I never thought about this before, but in light of this interesting discussion I think the context does show us?that it means one "nation" rather than one "individual".?

It specifically says in the same sentence that God made all the _nations_ from one, not that he made all the _humans_ from one, so that implies that the "one" is speaking of nations.? It also says that God set the boundaries of these nations, so again it is dealing with the concerns of nations rather than individuals.?

Plus, the historical setting supports Paul's concern with nations rather than individuals:? Paul is dealing with a non-Jewish nation that was very proud of its uniqueness.??Paul is concerned lest these Greeks will?see the gospel message as merely the ideas of a foreign nation and?thus beneath them.? So Paul is pulling the proud Greek identity into a biblical worldview, stating that all of the nations are connected to one another in an original, single?people group (one "nation"), and that it was the biblical God who had ordained the Greeks and other nations to split out from this beginning to achieve their uniqueness, and that the Greeks' world-wide boundaries of cultural domination (achieved by Alexander the Great) was ordained by God.? It is all about the Greek nation's relationship to the Biblical God -- nations, not individuals.

Also, I think Paul's "one" couldn't have been a reference to "one individual" unless Paul was being insensitive to the Greek mind.? The Greeks would not understand this to be one individual because their mythology did not include such an idea.? We, by way of contrast, immediately jump to the assumption that Paul meant "one individual" because Adam is a famous part of our own cultural context.? But in the Greek mythology, the sea & sky gods emerged from the chaos and?then gave birth to the second generation of gods.??The chief of this second generation, Zeus,?killed his father Uranus the sky god and defeated the Titans that had been made by his mother the sea god. ?(Lots of similiarities to the Babylonian myths, here, but not to the Biblical worldview.)? The?class of?humans were made by these Titans, as I recall.? There was no individual in a garden of Eden.? Instead, Pandora gave the class of men a box that unleashed evil into their midst.? The Titan Prometheus later saved th
 e men from the gods' wrath through a single individual at the time of the Flood.? So there are analogies to the bilibical worldview in the Fall of man, in the rebellion among gods (Satan), and in the Flood with a single individual being the appointed savior, but there is?no analogy to a single individual at the origin of humanity.? So if Paul meant "individual" then he was introducing a foreign concept and didn't do a very good job of clarifying what he meant.? Given their cultural assumptions, the Greeks would have understood it to mean?"nation" despite what Paul meant.

Furthermore, if Paul had meant "individual", then not only would the Greeks fail to understand what he meant, but it?would have been an unnecessary concept for Paul to bring up, in the first place.? The weaker claim that humanity came from a single nation, which would resonate with the Greek mythology, would be sufficient for Paul's purpose.? No need to bring up a much stronger claim that we came from a single _individual_ when the much weaker claim would be more effective and was all that Paul needed.? So if Paul understood the Greek mind, then likely he actually meant "one nation" since that would be sufficient for his argument, would resonate with his audience, would be what his audience understood him to mean anyhow, and would not unnecessarily bring up foreign ideas that would be counter-productive.? We know that Paul was raised in a thoroughly Greek culture, was educated, and even quoted minor Greek poets in the Bible, and so surely he understood the Greek mind.

So all-in-all I think it is a good conclusion that Paul meant "one nation" in this context.? Even if "harma" was not in Paul's original wording, then whatever scribe may have inserted "harma" may have done so as clarification of what Paul meant.


-----Original Message-----
From: gordon brown <gbrown@Colorado.EDU>
Sent: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 11:01 pm
Subject: RE: [asa] Interpretive Question for Polygenists

On Tue, 23 Oct 2007, Jon Tandy wrote:?
> I think it's the result of a bad translation. Acts 17:26 says, "He made?
> from one blood (haima) all nations of men..." Haima means blood or kindred,?
> not necessarily one individual man. This could certainly be true for either?
> a recent or ancient development of mankind.?
> Jon Tandy?
The Alexandrian text says "from one" without saying one what. So that doesn't help much.?
Gordon Brown (ASA member)?
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Received on Wed Oct 24 11:18:47 2007

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