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KeithB
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Paul took a faith that was teetering between the "New" Gentiles and the "Old" Jews and put it firmly into the "New" camp. It is clear that Peter was much more comfortable with keeping the Jewish Laws which would have marginalized Christianity. Instead, Gentile Christians took Paul's "Freedom from the Law" and ran with it.
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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I am not a fan of the Paulian tradition the Christian church has taken, as opposed to more closely following the teachings of Peter, of which Christ said "the rock upon which I shall build my church."

Why, at Nicea, Paul was given precidence over Peter is beyond me. (To be honest, I think that council got a whole lot wrong, really).

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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
I am not a fan of the Paulian tradition the Christian church has taken, as opposed to more closely following the teachings of Peter, of which Christ said "the rock upon which I shall build my church."

Why, at Nicea, Paul was given precidence over Peter is beyond me. (To be honest, I think that council got a whole lot wrong, really).

The acceptance of Paul was taken on early in the Christian tradition. Eusebius, Tertullian, Clement of Rome, and the other pre-Nicene writers mention him without any disclaimers or qualms.

The First Council of Nicaea makes no mention of a preference for Paul.

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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Paul is not mentioned, but many of the canon follow teachings of Paul, which are at direct odds with those of Peter, and, thus, Christ.

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Jaime Vargas Sanchez
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
Why, at Nicea, Paul was given precidence over Peter is beyond me. (To be honest, I think that council got a whole lot wrong, really).

Maybe because Paul was the one who heralded the cause of allowing Gentiles into Christianity without making them convert to Judaism first? Peter and especially James weren't too kind to that idea.

Jaime

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First of Two
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Mark your calendars, folks. This is the only time I expect to ever agree with Anglrdr.


quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer: First of Two is well known for using a blunderbuss to swat flies.
It's not a blunderbuss. It's a Buick.

Perhaps it's not fair to call Paul a scam artist.. we really don't know why he mucked with Jesus's teachings the way he did, although I think "The Last Temptation of Christ" best guesses what I feel his underlying motives were, basically "If he did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent him."

I heard a saying once that went something like: "No sooner did Jesus strike down the dragon of belief, than Paul boldly sat it on its feet again, in the name of Jesus."

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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quote:
Originally posted by First of BOO:
I heard a saying once that went something like: "No sooner did Jesus strike down the dragon of belief, than Paul boldly sat it on its feet again, in the name of Jesus."

I have heard that saying, as well.

And, I haven't seen it, but I understand The Passion of the Christ depicts a scene in which Christ is being apprehended in Gethsemene, and Paul jumps to Christ's defense and cuts the ear off a Roman soldier. Christ, of course, has to both put the ear back on the guy and explain to Paul why we don't do those sorts of things.

I know Christ loved Paul, but I view him as one of those Christians who just didn't get it at a very fundamental level.

I know my views of Paul put me at odds with nearly every other professed Christian, but, whaddareyagonnado?

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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First of Two
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:

And, I haven't seen it, but I understand The Passion of the Christ depicts a scene in which Christ is being apprehended in Gethsemene, and Paul jumps to Christ's defense and cuts the ear off a Roman soldier. Christ, of course, has to both put the ear back on the guy and explain to Paul why we don't do those sorts of things.

Actually, that was Peter.
John.18.10: "Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus."

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"Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for western civilization as it commits suicide." - Jerry Pournelle

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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Damn.

Well, still...there are plenty of examples that show Paul didn't get it.

I'm reading the Gnostic Gospels now, and it is fascinating. As any book I am reading for a course can be. But, still.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Moosedog
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
Damn.

Well, still...there are plenty of examples that show Paul didn't get it.


Be specific, please.
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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by Moosedog:
quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
Damn.

Well, still...there are plenty of examples that show Paul didn't get it.


Be specific, please.
James 2:14. "...Faith apart from works is dead."

Beg pardon? I can love Jesus with all my heart...but unless I actually prove it to someone by going out and doing something, it isn't real? Who judges? Do I have to have my workbook stamped by a Pauline missionary?

("Oh, I see you've only put in nine hours of works this week. Your Faith isn't dead, but it is slowly dying...")

I thought it was up to Jesus to know, but apparently Paul thinks he has the right to interpose himself.

And that's just after twenty seconds of flipping through the NT...

Silas

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
James 2:14. "...Faith apart from works is dead."
Beg pardon? I can love Jesus with all my heart...but unless I actually prove it to someone by going out and doing something, it isn't real? Who judges? Do I have to have my workbook stamped by a Pauline missionary?

I thought it was up to Jesus to know, but apparently Paul thinks he has the right to interpose himself.
Silas

That was actually written by James, the brother of Jesus. Paul said, rather "It is by grace that you have been saved through faith, and this is not of your own doing, it is a gift of God, not as a result of works, lest any should brag" (Eph 2:8-9)

Anglrdr, pagels book is good and standard (though, if you ask me, she keeps recycling the same shtick over and over again just to sell more copies...), but it is only one-sided. For the other side of the debate, see "What Saint Paul Really Said" by N.T. Wright. It's a quick read, only 180 pages. From the cover:

quote:
Recently AN Wilson has claimed to show that it was Paul, not Jesus, who founded Christianity. But how does this thesis, which in various forms has been debated for centuries, stand up? In [this book] NT Wright... leads readers through the current scholarly discussion of Paul and gives a devastating critique of views like Wilsons, showing that they fail to take account of all the evidence. Paul was not the founder of CHristianity, but rather, the faithful witness and herald of Jesus Christ.


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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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[I am not avoiding this topic; I am searching for my study bible which has all this stuff in it. I will be with you as soon as I do. Sorry.]

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Hmmm... anglrdr, don't know if that was directed at me, but if so, just to save you hassle, don't do any extra research on my account, since I am actually avoiding this topic! I just broke in for a second to correct Silas and offer you a book cite that I thought you might enjoy, seeing as you are enjoying pagels. cheers,

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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It was really for moosedog, but, thanks, callee.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Moosedog
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by Moosedog:
quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
Damn.

Well, still...there are plenty of examples that show Paul didn't get it.


Be specific, please.
James 2:14. "...Faith apart from works is dead."

Beg pardon? I can love Jesus with all my heart...but unless I actually prove it to someone by going out and doing something, it isn't real? Who judges? Do I have to have my workbook stamped by a Pauline missionary?Silas

This isn't Paul, it is James. As a matter of fact, James was put into the NT to balance out Paul's assertion that 'works' were worthless and that all that mattered was one's inward face. What James is saying that one can profess to believe until you are blue in the face, but if it does not make you a better, kinder person, what good does it do? As he puts it, "Even the demons believe, and tremble."
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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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Oops! I always thought that was Paul's letter *to* James!

Never mind...

(I'll make a point of doing something good this weekend...)

Silas

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Ah, don't feel bad Silas; a bit ago a colleague of mine casually told his ecology class to read the first couple chapters of Genesis before next day (he has this theory about the human-dominance motif in the genesis creation account subconsciously fueling the western world's industrial disrespect for the environment; we are still trying to "subdue" it.) By the next day his office was deluged with angry freshmen demanding to know what this "Genesis" book was, why it wasn't on the reading list, who wrote it,why they couldn't find it on amazon, and how could they knock of 15 chapters of it in just a few days?!?!? They were a little embarassed when he took out a bible and showed them what genesis was, and how the first 15 chapters takes up only about 4 pages! And these were university students, the great future of tomorrow!

Serious question: (and I hope I can say this without sounding like a jackass; cut me slack svp). You are a man of many ideas and opinions, some of which concern religion, of which many have to do with the role of the biblical texts. Does discovering that this minor but long held assumption was wrong cause you to re-evaluate anything, or wonder what other assumptions might be misplaced?

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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KeithB
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by First of BOO:

I heard a saying once that went something like: "No sooner did Jesus strike down the dragon of belief, than Paul boldly sat it on its feet again, in the name of Jesus."

Can someone explain this to me? It seems to me that it is easily refuted by invoking John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should have eternal life." {emphasis mine] Not only that, but this is in the same passage as the infamous "Born Again" phrase.
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Minstrel gone caroling
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I hadn't heard that saying before, and I wouldn't presume to speak for First of Two (it's a dangerous thing to try [Wink] ), but I would interpret it thus.

In Jesus' day, the mainstream Jewish faith had basically become a series of laws and rituals which needed to be followed. "If you do this, this, this, this, and pay your taxes to the temple, you will be right with God and go to heaven when you die."

Well, Jesus came along, the son of God, and told those who would listen, "No, you don't have to follow all these absurd regulations. All you have to do is love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself, then act accordingly. See how I heal these lepers as an example, even though they're all nasty and no one really wants to be near them? In fact, I love you all so much that I am now offering myself as a sacrifice."

Then Paul came along, and said to those who would listen, "Yes indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ did die for you to wipe away your sins! All you have to do to take advantage of this incredible offer is love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself, then act accordingly. OH, and by the way, you also have to do this, this, this, and this...." as he proceeded to lay down new rules and commandments of which Jesus had never spoken.

Here's something that might be worth considering when reading Paul's writings. See, Paul was a deeply entrenched member of the Jewish establishment at the time he experienced his conversion, and the Christians were a radical new sect that most of mainstream Judaism considered an embarrassment. Paul followed the laws of Moses with a passion. Then he gets this revelation: "No, Paul, this isn't necessary." This was an earth-shattering change for someone who had devoted himself to Mosaic law. A lot of what comes across as arrogance in his writings actually stems from his wrestlings with his own conscience-- with Paul trying to reconcile his new beliefs, which he wanted to accept fully, with his background and upbringing. This may also have been the cause of him adding regulations to the teachings; he didn't feel it was entirely complete without them.

Another thing to think about is that Paul's letters should absolutely be taken in context. He was writing to specific churches at a specific time, addressing specific issues that those churches were facing. In fact, he says a few times something like, "Well, Jesus didn't address this, but this is how I think you should handle it." Within the context of these personal letters, I think it's fairly clear that both sides knew that they were getting more or less a personal opinion.

Besides that, I would think that if Paul had known he was writing for an world-spanning audience of 2000 years duration, he would have written things a lot more carefully.

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Kev
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by callee:
Ah, don't feel bad Silas; a bit ago a colleague of mine casually told his ecology class to read the first couple chapters of Genesis before next day (he has this theory about the human-dominance motif in the genesis creation account subconsciously fueling the western world's industrial disrespect for the environment; we are still trying to "subdue" it.) By the next day his office was deluged with angry freshmen demanding to know what this "Genesis" book was, why it wasn't on the reading list, who wrote it,why they couldn't find it on amazon, and how could they knock of 15 chapters of it in just a few days?!?!? They were a little embarassed when he took out a bible and showed them what genesis was, and how the first 15 chapters takes up only about 4 pages! And these were university students, the great future of tomorrow!

Was the Bible on the reading list or did he assume they all had one already? What exactly does someone not being familiar with the Bible or the book of Genesis have to do with their worthiness as part of the "great future of tomorrow?"

While I understand the book of Genesis is probably at least mildly familiar to non-Christians or even the most non-religious, I can see how mentioning Genesis out of context might spark some confusion, especially if the Bible was not on the reading list.

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Moosedog
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Only KEV and nothing more:[/qb]
Was the Bible on the reading list or did he assume they all had one already? What exactly does someone not being familiar with the Bible or the book of Genesis have to do with their worthiness as part of the "great future of tomorrow?" [/QB][/QUOTE]

Perhaps because, whether you are a believer or no, ours is (or was not that long ago) a Judeo-Christian civilization, and at least a nodding familiarity with the Bible could be considered a part of basic cultural literacy?

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Moosedog:
quote:
Originally posted by Only KEV and nothing more:Was the Bible on the reading list or did he assume they all had one already? What exactly does someone not being familiar with the Bible or the book of Genesis have to do with their worthiness as part of the "great future of tomorrow?"

Perhaps because, whether you are a believer or no, ours is (or was not that long ago) a Judeo-Christian civilization, and at least a nodding familiarity with the Bible could be considered a part of basic cultural literacy? [/QB]
Took the words right out of my mouth.

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Kev
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Moosedog:
Perhaps because, whether you are a believer or no, ours is (or was not that long ago) a Judeo-Christian civilization, and at least a nodding familiarity with the Bible could be considered a part of basic cultural literacy?

By saying this you are completely discounting the fact that some students might be from other cultures where Judeo-Christian beliefs are not so prominent.

But restricting this to just a discussion about people from Judeo-Christian society: Do you believe a nodding familiarity with the Bible is a basic part of cultural diversity really? Or do you believe people should have such familiarity because it is the most prominent religion? Knowing about a variety of cultures is cultural diversity and it works both ways. The first opportunity for many people to learn about a variety of cultures and religions is college. How can you fault college freshman for not already having this knowledge when they've just begun their journey of discovery?

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Moosedog
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Only KEV and nothing more:
How can you fault college freshman for not already having this knowledge when they've just begun their journey of discovery? [/QB]

"Just begun"? They've been locked in caves for the first 18 years of their lives?
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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by detroitminstrel only got a rock:

Well, Jesus came along, the son of God, and told those who would listen, "No, you don't have to follow all these absurd regulations. All you have to do is love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself, then act accordingly. See how I heal these lepers as an example, even though they're all nasty and no one really wants to be near them? In fact, I love you all so much that I am now offering myself as a sacrifice."

Then Paul came along, and said to those who would listen, "Yes indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ did die for you to wipe away your sins! All you have to do to take advantage of this incredible offer is love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself, then act accordingly. OH, and by the way, you also have to do this, this, this, and this...." as he proceeded to lay down new rules and commandments of which Jesus had never spoken.

Except that Jesus was never so anti-nomian, and Paul spent most of his time (and was eventually killed) for fighting the addition of regulations.

Note when Jesus said "do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass away fromt he law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever breaks ones of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do likewise, will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:17ff)

Also note when the rich young ruler comes to Jesus and asks "what must I do to be saved?" Jesus first response is "have you kept the law?" (Luke 18:18ff)

Paul, on the other hand, spends most of his time battling against the imposition of Jewish laws on the nascent Christian Church.
Note in Acts 15 the infamous "council of Jerusalem" begins when Paul faces off against Christians who thought the Jewish laws should be imposed, "but some believers...stood up and said 'it is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses." (15:5) and in the end the council declares to them "why are you putting God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? [i.e. the laws] On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, just as they will" (15:11)

Note the connection there b/w law-keeping and circumcision, which was a covenant sign of a relationship with God that centred on law-keeping. It was against that that Paul fights against in Galatians, even to the point of saying "Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no bennefit to you!! For I testify to you that every man who lets himself be circumcised is therefore obliged to obey the entire law! You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ!" (Gal 5:2ff) The entire letter of Galatians, in fact, is Paul fighting against those who would add regulations to the grace of Jesus CHrist. It was for statements like that that Paul was eventually arrested and executed (see ACts 18ff), and, as someone already posted here, it was largely because of this anti-nomian influence of Paul that the church added the epistle of James to the canon, which contains such phrases as the infamous "faith without works is dead."

In short, yes, there was a tension between Paul and Jesus, but a) if anything it was the opposite direction from what you have posted, b) it was a good tension that guided the theological growth of the new church.


quote:

Another thing to think about is that Paul's letters should absolutely be taken in context. He was writing to specific churches at a specific time, addressing specific issues that those churches were facing.

Absolutely. A well-put but too often forgotten point.

quote:

In fact, he says a few times something like, "Well, Jesus didn't address this, but this is how I think you should handle it." Within the context of these personal letters, I think it's fairly clear that both sides knew that they were getting more or less a personal opinion.

Your referring to the letter of I Corinthians.
In 7:25, for example, he says "now concerning unmarried people, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy..."

However, statements like that should not be generalised, as you appear to have, to apply to the entire letter and make all of Paul's writings mere "opinions" which the church can take or leave. For starters, while he does identify it as his "opinion" he also asserts that his opinion is "trustworthy" and hence should be taken into account. Second, at other times, in fact, in the same chapter as that, Paul asserts the opposite: 7:10 for example says "to the married I give this command, not I but the Lord..."

quote:

Besides that, I would think that if Paul had known he was writing for an world-spanning audience of 2000 years duration, he would have written things a lot more carefully.

[Big Grin] Yes, that is funny to think about, and I am sure you are correct. Actually, there is a whole field of study as to whether or not the biblical authors had any idea that they were composing "scripture" or not. In any case, I am kinda glad Paul was as sloppy as he was; it gives me a job!

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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Kev
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Moosedog:
quote:
Originally posted by Only KEV and nothing more:
How can you fault college freshman for not already having this knowledge when they've just begun their journey of discovery?

"Just begun"? They've been locked in caves for the first 18 years of their lives? [/QB]
What I meant was that prior to college there is not much opportunity for a student to delve very deeply into a variety of philosophies and religions other than on their own. I'm sure there are plenty of high schools that do offfer such curriculum, but there are equally as many that do not.

I understand what you are getting at. It's hard to believe anyone could not know about the Bible or the creation story in Genesis because they are so ubiquitous in our society. All I'm saying, though, is that if one is going to expect someone not of their religion to be basically familiar with their religion than one should put the same expectations on themselves regarding familiarity with religions other than their own. I'm not implying that you or callee or whoever else is involved in this discussion doesn't do this.

To expect everyone to be familiar with Judeo-Christian beliefs simply because the majority of Americans happen to have those beliefs has nothing to do with cultural diversity.

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Austin Stars Drum & Bugle Corps | Kev's MySpace

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Elwood
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
I am not a fan of the Paulian tradition the Christian church has taken, as opposed to more closely following the teachings of Peter, of which Christ said "the rock upon which I shall build my church."
I think the teachings of Jesus, Paul, Peter, James and John(s), et al can be synthesized once the cultures of their audience is taken into account. Paul is a different person addressing Gentiles than Jews and speaks to various interprestations such as gnosticism as he encounters them.

I don't see a particular preference for Paul, he was just more prolific so his work is naturally quoted more by the fathers than James, who only wrote a few chapters or Peter, who wrote at most two books , his second epistle being among the most controversial additions to the canon.

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"If I didn't see it and didn't know it was a real news report, I wouldn't believe it. I mean, how nutty can you get?"-Pat Robertson Oct 26, 2006.

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Minstrel gone caroling
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Galatians 5:12 - As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
Gee, Paul, why don’t you tell us how you really feel about the people who said the Gentiles should be circumcised? [lol]

Callee, I’m clearly out of my league discussing this with you. *wanders off to look up “anti-nomian”* I’m only an amateur theologian—eager to learn, but not sure where to start.

I will submit, though, that I messed up rather badly in my original post. Everything from “In Jesus’ day, the mainstream Jewish faith....” through to “....proceeded to lay down new rules and commandments of which Jesus had never spoken” was supposed to be my possible interpretation of the quote about Jesus striking down the dragon of belief and Paul setting back up on its feet. Looking back, I see that I didn’t indicate that at all.

In the popular view (greatly simplified, I admit), the tendency seems to be to see all the “good parts” of Christianity to be from Jesus’ teachings and all the “bad parts” to be from Paul’s teachings. After all, Jesus was the guy who died to bring us all salvation, and who said nifty things like, “The most important one [commandment] is this: Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31.) Paul, on the other hand, was some guy who had been a persecutor of Christians, then changed sides, and said such things as, “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but should remain in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for women to speak in church.” (I Corinthians 14:34-35.) So much of Paul (and so much of Jesus, for that matter) has been quoted out of context over the years for people to justify their own agendas, and it has contributed to quite the mess between various denominations. Paul seems to get most of the blame for it. Anyway, to make a long story short (yeah right), that’s what I meant by my interpretation.

I still stand by my thoughts about Paul’s seeming arrogance stemming from the fact that he was struggling with his conversion from a respectable, law-abiding Pharisee (I think he was a Pharisee) into a member of a dangerous, radical sect. It would be like, say, a conservative archbishop in the Roman Catholic Church suddenly receiving a revelation that he should actually be a liberal non-denominational Christian. You can’t really blame the guy for sounding defensive—he was doing plenty of wrestling with himself.

Anyway, Callee, would you mind recommending a few books for an aspiring theologian to get a start on “what the scripture writers may have really meant,” given their historical and social context? Either in the thread or by PM is fine by me. Thanks.

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Last year's goat was burned down by vandals dressed up as Santa Claus and the Gingerbread Man. They were never caught.
My blog. The Adventures of the Fish O'Thwacking.
Countdown: 177 days (or less!)

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by detroitminstrel only got a rock:

Anyway, Callee, would you mind recommending a few books for an aspiring theologian to get a start on “what the scripture writers may have really meant,” given their historical and social context? Either in the thread or by PM is fine by me. Thanks.

detroit,
thanks for your kind words, I've thought about it and would offer the following book possibilities.

If you're looking for a specific study then on Paul I would recommend a little book I have already mentioned to anglrdr,

N.T. Wright, What St. Paul Really Said,Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997.

For a similar study on Jesus, then by the same author:

N.T. Wright, Who Was Jesus?Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.

Both of those are basically boiled down versions of much larger multi-volume works he has released.

If, however, you are looking for insight into specific and various biblical texts, then what you need are some good commentaries. Good commentaries abound but run the gamit in level and accessibility. Since you are starting out, you say, I would recommend a one-volume commentary; a single, very fat book that has brief comments on every text, genesis through revelation. When picking one of these it is best to find one written by many authors and put together by an editor, rather than one entirely written by just one guy, because, really, rare is the person who is an expert on all of the biblical books! A good one I would recommend:

James D.G. Dunn & John Rogerson, Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.

Finally, if you are looking rather for a broad synthesis of the bible's message and story, what you want is a Theology. Theologies break down into two general categories: biblical and systematic. Systematic Theologies are just topical reference works that make biblical arguments for all the different areas of church doctrine one at a time. So, for example, you'll have a chapter on the trinity, and then one on attonement, and then one on original sin. These are not what I think you are looking for. The other kind of Theologies are Biblical Theologies, and this rather try to give a synthesis of the overall message of the biblical texts, both independently and as a whole. So for example you would have a chapter on the message of MAtthew, then a chapter on Mark, then Luke, then John, but then you would have a chapter on the unified message of all four gospels, and so on. Biblical Theologies usually come either for the Old Testament or for the New Testament. Rarely do you find one purporting to cover the whole Bible. Since I am a NT major, I cannot really recommend for the OT, but for the NT the most popular and enduring work would have to be:

George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (revised edition), Grand Rapids, Eerdmans: 1974.


All of these books should be available on amazon, but if you have trouble, try www.christianbook.com. They often have better prices anyway.

You'll notice that all of those books are published by Eerdmans. That is not because I love the Dutch, that is a fluke, although Eerdmans is a moderately conservative press and I am a moderately conservative person, I can assure you that all of those books fairly and respectfully incorporate oppossing points of view before giving their own arguments.

Hope that helps, and hope you enjoy yourself,
best,

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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One further book I just thought of which might be perfect for you,

Richard Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

This sets out to be a book about the ethics of the New Testament and how they speak to hot button issues of today, but to achieve this task Hays has to take an interesting journey.

To discover the ethical view of the NT he first has to synthesise the over-all theology of the NT, and so he goes through a thorough study and survey of the entire NT. Now, HAys is professor of New Testament at Duke, not a prof of theology, so his normal work is to give detailed analysis of specific NT texts. The result is that he also includes a chapter on methodology; how one should go about researching and interpreting NT texts. Thus, so far you have a thorough synthetic survey of the NT's theology along with a helpful lesson on how to research the NT yourself, and all of it is remarkably detailed and well-evidenced since Hays bases everything on the texts themselves. Finally he finishes the book by bringing the whole discussion to bear on select ethical issues, such as abortion, etc...

Overall, it is a well-evidenced presentation of the theology of the NT and how it speaks to everyday life. And it's not even published by Eerdmans...

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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rotten little boys
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Boy, this man certainly creates strong emotions.

Who is he?

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Minstrel gone caroling
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Wow, thanks Callee. That looks like it should keep me busy for quite a long time!

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Last year's goat was burned down by vandals dressed up as Santa Claus and the Gingerbread Man. They were never caught.
My blog. The Adventures of the Fish O'Thwacking.
Countdown: 177 days (or less!)

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by rotten little boys:
Boy, this man certainly creates strong emotions.

Who is he?

Noteworthy for a web site that is named for his slogan, "God Hates Fags." Also noteworthy for attending Matthew Shepard's funeral and condemning the murder victim (!) to hell.

i.e., just some twerp who has managed to ratchet the language of hatred to a new level. In out Heroding Herod, he also out Jack Chicks Jack Chick!

Silas

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rotten little boys
The Red and the Green Stamps


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HIM! Grrrr!

But I must say I did enjoy the site God hates FIGS.

http://www.godhatesfigs.com/

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