I try to read one page from the Greek New Testament in the mornings, and the last bit of my reading stood out to me today. Mark 7:31-37:
Καὶ πάλιν ἐξελθὼν ἐκ τῶν ὁρίων Τύρου ἦλθεν διὰ Σιδῶνος εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν ὁρίων Δεκαπόλεως. 32 καὶ φέρουσιν αὐτῷ κωφὸν καὶ μογιλάλον καὶ παρακαλοῦσιν αὐτὸν ἵνα ἐπιθῇ αὐτῷ τὴν χεῖρα. 33 καὶ ἀπολαβόμενος αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου κατ̓ ἰδίαν ἔβαλεν τοὺς δακτύλους αὐτοῦ εἰς τὰ ὦτα αὐτοῦ, καὶ πτύσας ἥψατο τῆς γλώσσης αὐτοῦ, 34 καὶ ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἐστέναξεν καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· ἐφφαθά, ὅ ἐστιν διανοίχθητι. 35 καὶ ἠνοίγησαν αὐτοῦ αἱ ἀκοαί, καὶ ἐλύθη ὁ δεσμὸς τῆς γλώσσης αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐλάλει ὀρθῶς. 36 καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδενὶ λέγωσιν· ὅσον δὲ αὐτοῖς διεστέλλετο, αὐτοὶ μᾶλλον περισσότερον ἐκήρυσσον. 37 καὶ ὑπερπερισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες· καλῶς πάντα πεποίηκεν καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν καὶ ἀλάλους λαλεῖν.
Imagine how appalled most of us Christians would be if they saw Christ healing in such a manner in 2020? And before you interject to defend yourself, the situation is not different and I urge you to grab your New Testament and read how many of Christ’s healings came through physical touch and what kinds of ill people he was touching.
ὦ γενεὰ ἄπιστος…
It is often said that everytime you read Scripture you see something you didn’t see before. I have found this to be true, and for me, it would appear that this is even more true each time I hear Scripture during the Liturgy.
I recall the first time I consciously heard “. . . we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe” (Αἰκατερίνης Μεγαλομάρτυρος, 25 Νοεμβρίου, Γαλ. 3,23-4,5). I was like, what? as I looked around and no one seemed startled at the words. I still look around now. As far as I know all Greek Orthodox parishes in North America, unfortunately, use the RSV when reading the New Testament in English so the translation will differ; however, the Greek text(s) at that point all agree: “ὑπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου ἦμεν δεδουλωμένοι.”
For those of you able to attend Liturgy on secular New Year’s day as I was would have heard similarly, “. . . according to the elemental spirits of the universe” (Περιτομὴ τοῦ Κυρίου, Βασιλείου τοῦ Μεγάλου, 1 Ἰανουαρίου, Κολ. β′ 8-12). Again, the translations differ, but the Greek text(s) agree: “κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου.”
Biblical cosmology (especially the cosmology of Second Temple Judaism) I have come to find fascinating. With all the interest these days in secular society with Flat Earth Theory and in the Church with the τελώνια, a proper understanding of cosmology makes all the difference. The problem arises though when those who suffer from what Canadian Catholic philosopher Charles Taylor has termed disenchantment apply their disenchanted post-Enlightenment cosmology upon the past, completely unaware that one of the worldviews of the past was hierarchical. (This also would have saved the Mormon ψευδοπροφήτης Joseph Smith and the LDS et al. a lot of embarrassment vis-à-vis third heaven/seven heavens, q.v.). This one needs to keep in mind when approaching the issue of the τελώνια.
My point in writing about all this is because of an article that came my way this morning before Ὄρθρος by the brilliant Eastern Orthodox philosopher, scholar of religion, writer, and cultural commentator David Bentley Hart, Everything you know about the Gospel of Paul is likely wrong. It deals with a cosmological worldview lost by most (as I vaguely hinted at above, i.e., translation differences and the τελώνια) and is well worth reading.
Postmodernism is difficult to define, because to define it would violate the postmodernist’s premise that no definite terms, boundaries, or absolute truths exist. In this article, the term “postmodernism” will remain vague, since those who claim to be postmodernists have varying beliefs and opinions on issues.
28 November 2016 – JRE #877 – Jordan Peterson
3 May 2017 – Challenges, Dr. Dan Wallace, Biblical Greek Grammarian
9 May 2017 – JRE #958 – Jordan Peterson
What we need to be clear on is that the Postmodernists’ war on so-called “phallogocentrism” is actually a spiritual war against the Logos, and sadly in this end game people suffering from the mental illness of gender dysphoria (http://dsm.psychiatryonline.org/…/appi.books.9780890425596.…) are pawns in the manipulating of our thoughts through the controlling of our speech via government legislation.
“2+2=5” -George Orwell, 1984
Last night I came across a recently posted question in the Eastern Orthodox Biblical & Theological Discussion group on Facebook. For the most part, the question remained unanswered, devolving into those who hold a black-and-white understanding of Scripture and the Fathers’ hermeneutics of Scripture vs. those who face no fear in approaching higher levels of comprehension. Or, as St. Paul wrote in Κορινθίους ά 3·1-3 (GNT-EPT),
“ΚΑΙ ἐγώ, ἀδελφοί, οὐκ ἠδυνήθην ὑμῖν λαλῆσαι ὡς πνευματικοῖς, ἀλλ᾿ ὡς σαρκικοῖς, ὡς νηπίοις ἐν Χριστῷ.
γάλα ὑμᾶς ἐπότισα καὶ οὐ βρῶμα. οὔπω γὰρ ἠδύνασθε. ἀλλ᾿ οὔτε ἔτι νῦν δύνασθε· ἔτι γὰρ σαρκικοί ἐστε. ὅπου γὰρ ἐν ὑμῖν ζῆλος καὶ ἔρις καὶ διχοστασίαι, οὐχὶ σαρκικοί ἐστε καὶ κατὰ ἄνθρωπον περιπατεῖτε;”
Or as he wrote in Ἑβραίους 5·12-14 (GNT-EPT)
“καὶ γὰρ ὀφείλοντες εἶναι διδάσκαλοι διὰ τὸν χρόνον, πάλιν χρείαν ἔχετε τοῦ διδάσκειν ὑμᾶς τίνα τὰ στοιχεῖα τῆς ἀρχῆς τῶν λογίων τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ γεγόνατε χρείαν ἔχοντες γάλακτος καὶ οὐ στερεᾶς τροφῆς. πᾶς γὰρ ὁ μετέχων γάλακτος ἄπειρος λόγου δικαιοσύνης· νήπιος γάρ ἐστι· τελείων δέ ἐστιν ἡ στερεὰ τροφή, τῶν διὰ τὴν ἕξιν τὰ αἰσθητήρια γεγυμνασμένα ἐχόντων πρὸς διάκρισιν καλοῦ τε καὶ κακοῦ.”
I encourage those who might object to my position to read the Patristic comments on the above and to keep in mind regarding the topic of this post that science and our Faith were not mutually exclusive.
The question was, “I have a question for this group, does the Eastern Orthodox teaching on evil and ancestral sin require the belief in or the existence of an historical Adam and Eve as the parents of all people alive today?” It brought to mind a picture I saw on Instagram last year:
To actually answer the Facebook question, no; furthermore, there is a flaw in the arguments presented above with the quote and Instagram post. I believe the argument(s) contain a formal fallacy of affirming the disjunct; the crux of the argument—and the heart of the question—is that it was necessary for Christ to incarnate, which is to place on God our fallen human view of the situation, i.e., action/reaction. But we know that God does nothing out of necessity, and from this premise, you will find among some Orthodox theologians and Church Fathers the belief that the incarnation was to happen all along and that it wasn’t necessitated by the Fall.
Stuff I have actually read:
6 May 2014 – Is Orthodoxy Compatible with Modern, Biblical Criticism?
June 2017 – Figure It In by Michael C. Legaspi
10 July 2017 – The Corruption of Biblical Studies
Stuff I have yet to actually read:
1871 – The last twelve verses of the gospel according to S. Mark : vindicated against recent critical objectors and established by John William Burgon
1896 – The traditional text of the Holy Gospels vindicated and established by John William Burgon
1896 – The causes of the corruption of the traditional text of the Holy Gospels : being the sequel to The traditional text of the Holy Gospels by John William Burgon
1883 – A Companion to the Greek Testament and the English Version by Philip Schaff – The second section of the first chapter is entitled “Three Elect Languages,” referring of course to Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. “While some of the Augustinian approach has been eroded by contemporary biblical criticism, its most fundamentalist ingredient has ironically survived as the foundation of that criticism. The fixation with scriptural words has been transformed into a fixation with the original languages of scripture, demonstrated especially through the preference for the Hebrew over the Greek Old Testament. In many respects, this preoccupation with the critical study of scripture in the original languages has reminded Romanides of the “three languages” heresy of the western middle ages which proclaimed that the true languages of theology could only be those of the cross’s superscription. But because the language of God is uncreated, the interpretation of scripture cannot reside with linguists but only with those who have experienced glorification.” – Andrew J. Sopko, Prophet of Roman Orthodoxy: The Theology of John Romanides
1908 – The Value of Byzantine and Modern Greek in Hellenic Studies
The Text Of New Testament 4th Edit
25 March 1995 – Evangelium Vitae, Roman Catholic Pope John Paul II – “In fact, while the climate of widespread moral uncertainty can in some way be explained by the multiplicity and gravity of today’s social problems, and these can sometimes mitigate the subjective responsibility of individuals, it is no less true that we are confronted by an even larger reality, which can be described as a veritable structure of sin. This reality is characterized by the emergence of a culture which denies solidarity and in many cases takes the form of a veritable “culture of death.””
29 April 2017 – Wiktionary, culture of death
24 May 2017 – St. Louis Roman Catholic Archbishop Resists Law Requiring Catholics to Hire Abortion Activists: ‘We will not comply’ – “The passage of this bill is not a milestone of our city’s success. It is, rather, a marker of our city’s embrace of the culture of death.”
30 June 2017 – The Vatican’s Statement on UK Baby Condemned to Die is Frightening –
“So we must watch as a little boy, not old enough yet to be a toddler, dies “with dignity,” at the hands of a court system with no business making such a decision, and with the meek and tacit approval of a church that, once upon a time, fully understood the stakes of precious human life but now speaks only of “complexity.”
This issue is not complex. Nor is the culture of death that underlines it. We should be afraid of what is to come next.”
July 2 update to the above: Pope Francis backs parents in UK’s Charlie Gard drama
2 July 2017 – Human Exceptionalism: Life and Dignity with Wesley J. Smith, Three Culture of Death Tipping Points