How Has Orthodoxy Been Perverted?
Recently a good Orthodox friend of mine and I got into a discussion via text about various things not related to our original topic (you don’t say?). And as we proceeded down our mobile oblivion of fruitless conversation, he stated, “orthodoxy has been perverted too. those in the orthobox choose not to see.”
I asked how Orthodoxy had been perverted but never got an answer, and we left it there, but it got me thinking. The other night, another friend of mine who is an atheist posted some straw man attack on Christianity on Instagram, and that got me thinking too…
I find it difficult living in 2019, people ask me something, I respond, and they’re upset or offended or both. It’s weird to me; I try to be Stoic, contemplative, and open to the possibility that I could be wrong. Especially over words, I believe in freedom of speech, so words, whether written or spoken, never offend me no matter what they convey. It interests me when people criticize the Church but offer no proof for their criticism; who will they call in their hour of need? Who will pray for them at the separation of the soul from the body? Who will bury them? A Rabbi? An Imam? An atheist will die alone like Donnie Darko informed us years ago. But Orthodox Christians—whether nominal, lapsed, lazy, or angry—like Israel in the Old Testament, will call upon the Lord after they see the rotten fruit their works have brought forth—they will call their Orthodox priest. They always do. Why is that?
Because those who criticize the Church (anti-Christian atheists included) for whatever petty reasons still believe what I believe: the Church is where Christ is, and Christ Himself said that the gates of hades will not prevail against Her. Those who criticize without being able to give a reason don’t need to be convinced: they already know. I don’t know much, but I know that there is no salvation outside the Church, and so I’ll stay in that so-called “orthobox.” One can know a tree by the fruit that it bears, and the fruit that Orthodoxy has given me speaks volumes for the mercy Christ has to offer those who accept it and in humility say “your will, Lord, and not mine.” Powerful words in a world that has accepted the Satanic dogma of self-will. If the Orthodox Church has been perverted, I’d love to know where, when, how, and by who, because I am more than willing to see it. Diagnosing a problem is the first step in healing the problem. I’d bet though this is more a pot calling the kettle black type of situation: it always is. But then again we know that hence the Eden story.
Textual Criticism: Byzantine Text Proponents
I started this list off of searching a bunch of last names that Dr. Robinson wrote in a response to a blog post. The point is people who “paved the way” for the Byzantine Text, as opposed to the Textus Receptus. Any help in expanding and clarifying this list is greatly appreciated.
1794-1852 – Johann Martin Augustin Scholz
1813-1891 – Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener
1886 – Edward Miller – A Guide to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament
1893 – Rev. S. W. Whitney – The Revisers’ Greek Text Volume 1 & Volume 2
2005-2018 – Dr. Maurice Robinson
The Ideal Weapon For Spiritual Combat
From September 12th’s Daily Stoic:
Michel Foucault has a fascinating essay on journaling entitled “Self-Writing.” In it, he describes journaling as a “weapon in spiritual combat,” which is a brilliant phrase. That might seem to be overstating it, after all, is it really such a big deal to write down some of your thoughts in a notebook?
Yes. It is a big deal. As he puts it, “writing constitutes a test and a kind of touchstone: by bringing to light impulses of thought, it dispels the darkness where the enemy’s plot are hatched.” He quotes Seneca and Epictetus as evidence of this, since both believed that simply reading or listening to philosophy wasn’t enough. Philosophy to the Stoics was not just “practical” but designed to be practiced. You had to write it down too, you had to show your work. You had to put the issues you were struggling with down on paper and go through the motion of articulating the solution that you’d heard from a master or a teacher.
Foucault explains that this process has two benefits. First, it takes the philosophy from “meditation to the activity of writing and from there to…training and trial in a real situation–a labor of thought, a labor through writing, a labor in reality.” The second part, he says, is this becomes an endless, productive cycle. “The meditation precedes the notes which enable the rereading which in turn reinitiates the meditation.”
It’s quite beautiful. You learn. You struggle. You journal about the struggle. You apply what you’ve journaled about to your struggle. You reread your journaling and it teaches you new lessons to journal about and use in future struggles. It’s a truly virtuous feedback loop.
But of course, this process can only happen if you do the work. If you make time for the journaling and the writing, if you submit to the cycle. Too often, we are unwilling to do that. We claim we don’t have time. We are too self-conscious. We don’t have the right materials.
Nonsense. Start. Today. Now.
How Are You Still Not Doing This?
From today’s Daily Stoic email:
Saint Athanasius of Alexandria wrote in Vita Antonii that the reason he did his journaling–his confessing, as the genre was called by the Christians–was that it was a safeguard against sinning. By observing and then writing about his own behavior, he was able to hold himself accountable and make himself better.
“Let us each note and write down our actions and impulses of the soul,” he wrote, “as though we were to report them to each other; and you may rest assured that from utter shame of becoming known we shall stop sinning and entertaining sinful thoughts altogether…Just as we would not give ourselves to lust within sight of each other so if we were to write down our thoughts as if telling them to each other, we shall so much the more guard ourselves against foul thoughts for shame of being known. Now, then, let the written account stand for the eyes of our fellow ascetics, so that blushing at writing the same as if we were actually seen, we may never ponder evil.”
The Stoics journaled for much the same reason. Seneca said the key was to put the day up for review so that one could see their faults and find a way to mend them. Epictetus said that by writing, reading and speaking our philosophical journal, we keep the teachings top of mind and are better able to follow them. Marcus, of course,said less on the subject of journaling, but left us the greatest lesson of all: his example.
When you pick up Meditations, what you see is a man confessing, debating, considering, and struggling with all of what it means to be human. Marcus said in one of his notes that he should “fight to be the person philosophy made you.” His journal is the play by play of that fight–it’s his battles with his temper, with his urges, with his fears, even with his mortality. It took a lot of work, but from what we know, he won most of those battles. Through his writing and his philosophy, light prevailed over darkness.
It’s a grand tradition and an inspiring example that each of us is called to follow. The Daily Stoic Journal is one way to do that. It prompts you to prepare for the day ahead and review the day just past. It gives you big questions to consider and standards to guide yourself towards. A blank notebook can work too. So can a letter or an email to a friend. So can a silent conversation with yourself on a long walk.
The point is, you have to do the work. You have to put up the safeguards. You have to actively fight to be the person philosophy wants you to be…in the pages of your journal.
Book Announcement – Septuaginta: A Reader’s Edition
A few weeks ago I accidentally came across this on christianbook.com then shared in on the Nerdy Language Majors FB group, asking Ross if it was what I thought it was… for days my phone was getting updates on the thread I started! Looks like I’m not the only one excited about this. Well, here is the article William Ross said he was working on about the project. Great way to start the day.
I have been keeping a secret. Now it’s out.
For the last several years, I have been working alongside Gregory R. Lanier (RTS Orlando) to produce a “reader’s edition” of the entire Septuagint. And finally, it’s (almost) finished.
It’s been listed on ChristianBook and will be available in November.
You are probably familiar with the idea of a reader’s edition, which over the past ten years or so has grown in popularity. Although there are others on the market, I think the reader’s edition of the Hebrew Bible and of the New Testament by Hendrickson Publishers are the best out there in terms of quality and readability. That is a big reason that we went with Hendrickson ourselves (although there are others) and I dare say they are doing a great job.
The basic idea behind a reader’s edition is to provide an edition of the ancient text – in…
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Coming Soon(ish): Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint
Abrak K-J with some great news.
From publisher Mohr Siebeck:
Edited by Eberhard Bons and Jan Joosten (Université de Strasbourg)
This large-scale collective and interdisciplinary project aims to produce a new research tool: a multi-volume dictionary providing an article of between two and ten pages (around 600 articles in all) for each important word or word group of the Septuagint. Filling an important gap in the fields of ancient philology and religious studies, the dictionary will be based on original research of the highest scientific level.
This project has benefitted from funding from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (French Research National Agency), the Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Homme – Alsace (Strasbourg), the Melanchthon-Stiftung (Tübingen), and the Armin Schmitt Stiftung (Regensburg).
The first volume is projected to be published in 2018.
You can check out a lengthy PDF sample here, with a “Wordlist of the First Volume,” as well as some sample articles.
Greek New Testaments: Spoiled for Choice!
Those who want to read the New Testament writings in Greek are now spoiled for choice, with several recent editions published. Most recently, there is the edition just published mentioned earlier this week here, a project based in Tyndale House (Cambridge), edited by Dirk Jongkind. A few years back now, there appeared the edition prepared under the auspices of the Society of Biblical Literature (edited by Michael Holmes, my posting on that edition here). And, of course, there is also the most recent (28th) edition of what has become the standard hand-edition, the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (my posting here, and the edition’s home page here).
As indicated briefly in my earlier postings, each edition has its own character, layout, editorial policies, and intended uses. The SBL edition and the brand-new Tyndale House edition both offer free digital forms. The Nestle-Aland 28th edition can be read…
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Assessing NT students on translations of NT texts is a waste of time
Asking New Testament students to provide a translation of a known (chapter/verse) NT text in an exam or exegetical paper is a waste of time. It tests nothing and it discriminates nothing.
Every student ought to be getting 90-100% on this part of an assessment anyway, because either:
- they are smart enough to check any translation they do with several English versions and realise their errors beforehand
- they are smart and a little unscrupulous and are just going to vary an existing English version anyway.
- if it’s an exam situation, and it’s a set text, then all we are testing is their preparation, not their ability to read Greek.
Why are we even asking them to do translations anyway? They are unlikely to create a translation that is genuinely better or meaningfully different from the hyper-abundance of English versions already in existence. And, assuming that this is a paper and…
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