Second Temple Judaism Resources?

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John Kight | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, May 28 2019 12:02 PM

For those interested in Second Temple Judaism, what are some of the resources available in Logos that you've found most helpful? I'm looking for recommendations on both primary and secondary literature. 

 

For book reviews and more visit sojotheo.com 

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 28 2019 12:25 PM

OTP, Sheffield guides to individual books, commentary introductions (AYBC, Herm), dictionary of Judaism, dictionary of NT background, Sanders books, Wright, intros to DSS collections of texts.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 28 2019 1:00 PM

Your question illustrates the problem.

Listing a series of writings may or may not be 'judaism' (vs great caves and Egyptian farmers, loved by the Christians, or survived by being thrown away).

Francis lists the key literature sources; I'd add Charles in addition to OTP and Herm.

My favorites in Logos for discussions of actual judaism(s):

Between Athens and Jerusalem by John Collins (general discussion, then writings)

A Search for the Origins of Judaism by Nodet

Ancient Judaism by Michael Stone  (discusses the assumptions, fallicies, etc)

And specific to NT-ish:

Beyond the Essene Hypothesis by Boccaccini  (Enochic Judaism)

Of course, much of the Mishah/Talmud is likely derived from 2nd Temple, but that's a guessing game.


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Andrew Gillett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 28 2019 7:15 PM

Certainly you’d need to read all the popular Jewish texts from that era, namely the Apocrypha and Pseudopigrapha texts.   They certainly give insight into much of the popular thought of Judaism during that period and how they interpreted the Holy Texts. And of course, the Jerualem and Babylonian Talmud, which carries the traditions of the Pharisees Jesus encountered, would be useful. 

All are available on Logos. 

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Mike Tourangeau | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 28 2019 10:19 PM

I read this last year and found it a good starting point.

https://www.logos.com/product/163391/judaism-practice-and-belief-63-bce-66-ce 

Posts 89
David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 1:50 AM

John Kight:

For those interested in Second Temple Judaism, what are some of the resources available in Logos that you've found most helpful? I'm looking for recommendations on both primary and secondary literature. 

 

As a "must" start with John Collin's The Invention of Judaism. This well-written book introduces you to all the important questions regarding the history and nature of Second Temple Judaism. It also introduces you to perhaps the single most important Old Testament research theories since the turn of the 20th Century - the Deuteronomistic History. This theory posits that Judaism wasn't invention until the return from exile in Babylon, and that the concept of Torah as "law" was a niche-theory, not supported by many important Jewish groups in the Second Temple period (i.e. Classic Wisdom Literature, and Original Apocalyptic). Whether or not you actual agree with the theory, is neither here nor there. The fact remains: it rasises a number of critical questions about the history and nature of Israel after the Restoration. Collins also introduces you to the writings of Qumran, and in that matter, there is no other better Master of the subject than him. I personally, am a big fan!

After that, study the Dead Sea Scrolls. The findings at Qumran revolutionised our understanding of Judaism in the Second Temple period because they are the only Jewish group to ever leave us material remains. No other group - not even the Pharisees - have left us anything. But here, for the first time, we have an inside, first-hand view, into the minds of a small group of Jews (no more than about 150 max) who give us first-hand information about what they believed, and how they lived their lives. Also, they have left us with what is without doubt, the single most important cache of Old Testament manuscripts ever discovered. Original Hebrew manuscripts for all of the biblical books, except the book of Esther. These manuscripts for 2 thousend years old. Before their discovery, the oldest manuscript of the Hebrew Bible was 11th Century C.E.. Now, we have  manuscripts from as old as 250 B.C.E. Also, we found Hebrew and Aramaic versions of most of the important books of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. Before that, all we had were recensions in other secondary languages like Greek, Syriac, Coptic, and Ethiopic. We have known (or, at least, theorised) since the 19th Century that the original languages were in fact Hebrew and Aramaic. Now, for the first time, we actual have them in their original languages. Who ever would have dreamed that such a thing would come true?

But more importantly, no other Jewish group from the Second Temple period has so many important conceptual and theological precusor's to Christianity itself: the belief that this world is controlled, not by God, but by the Angel of Darkness (Qumran's favourite name for him is Belial (a name we find used by Paul in 2 Corinthians); the belief that God would one day break into human history with a dramatic act of Salvation, and execute his rescue plan through His chosen Messiah (one of the hallmark's of Apocalyptic; the Qumranites' believed in 2 Messiahs); the idea that the Hebrew scriptures have 2 levels of meaning: one, the "surface" meaning (peshat), and second, a secret meaning hidden from other people, locked up in a code which can only be deciphered through a special form of exegesis (pesher). This closely parallels how the New Testament writers find hidden messages in the Hebrew Scriptures, which point towards the Christ - not unlocked for man to know until the Messiah Himself had been born; they also parallel the New Testaments' concept of Mankind as totally depraved, fallen irrevocably into the clutches of human "flesh", and lost forever unless God Himself initiates a rescue plan for us through His act of Grace; and last but not least, they have an almost identical understanding of God's grace that we find, for example, in Paul's letters - so close a parallel in fact that some scholars have been seduced into thinking that such ideas must have only come from Christian's themselves, and not from Jews. Thus, such scholars have variously identified the Qumranites as: 1) James, the brother of Jesus; 2) John the Baptist; 3) even Jesus Himself; and 4), the writer of the Gospel of John, with so many clear parallels to ideas and language that we find in the DSS, he almost certainly had some sort of relationship with Qumran. Was he once a member of the community for a short while? Did he learn such things from John the Baptist perhaps? Or, did he simply frequent the Synagogues were Essenes themselves were fond of gathering, thus learning such ideas directly from them? Intriguing questions indeed.

Start in those 2 places. Everything else in the study of Second Temple Judaism will fall into pl;ace after that and make perfect sense. If you listen to the "received wisdom" and start buying untold amounts of Primary texts usually posited as the "starting point" for studying Second Temple Judaism, you'll spend forever wading your way through the drose of all those texts that you wont get to the heart and nitty-gritty of it all quickly enough. And the single most important thing to understand about Judaism at that time was it was fractures and splintered into gangs of rivals, each with their own understanding of what was the "truth", and how you should practice being Jewish.  Such was the melting pot of ideas and opinions which gave birth to the early Jesus movement. 

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 2:24 AM

John was asking about resources available in Logos. 

Posts 1566
John Kight | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 5:59 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! It's much appreciated.

I've been interested in the subject matter for a few years now. I've also acquired a number of resources along the way, including many of those mentioned and some not mentioned (Outside the Bible in print 18 months ago and more recently in Logos). I've found the exploration to be both fascinating and illuminating. 

That said, I haven't found the product page overly helpful for finding STJ related resources and I was curious what others interested in topic were using in Logos.

Keep em' coming!   

For book reviews and more visit sojotheo.com 

Posts 3690
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 6:42 AM

There is also an introductory Mobile Ed course

Posts 1566
John Kight | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 7:21 AM

Francis:

There is also an introductory Mobile Ed course

Yeah! I used that as one of my Connect courses and went through it in 3 days. It was a helpful overview. 

For book reviews and more visit sojotheo.com 

Posts 11
John W | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 8:39 AM

Thanks Dr. Staveley for your excellent, expert guidance on this subject!

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 9:29 AM

John Whitehouse:

Thanks Dr. Staveley for your excellent, expert guidance on this subject!

I concur 100%! This man knows his stuff, so any recommendations (Logos or non-Logos) are welcomed.  He doesn’t reply  because he has to say something but because he’s always got something to say; and it’s always good! Smart guy 👍😁👌

DAL

Posts 10242
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 10:08 AM

DAL:

John Whitehouse:

Thanks Dr. Staveley for your excellent, expert guidance on this subject!

I concur 100%! This man knows his stuff, so any recommendations (Logos or non-Logos) are welcomed.  He doesn’t reply  because he has to say something but because he’s always got something to say; and it’s always good! Smart guy 👍😁👌

DAL

Sorry but a one-off of unknown origins is poor evidence (though typical of Biblical scholarship).  The Persian period cave is another example. Then Elephantine. Early Judaism is an unknown.


Posts 89
David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 11:14 AM

Denise:

DAL:

John Whitehouse:

Thanks Dr. Staveley for your excellent, expert guidance on this subject!

I concur 100%! This man knows his stuff, so any recommendations (Logos or non-Logos) are welcomed.  He doesn’t reply  because he has to say something but because he’s always got something to say; and it’s always good! Smart guy 👍😁👌

DAL

Sorry but a one-off of unknown origins is poor evidence (though typical of Biblical scholarship).  The Persian period cave is another example. Then Elephantine. Early Judaism is an unknown.

Thank you for your thoughts, Denise. Your careful reticence to jump prematurely to conclusions is always refreshing to see. You are right that biblical scholars do tend to jump needlessly to conclusions. I've even been known to do so myself Wink

As for your mention of Elephantine, it is that community of Jews at Elephantine in Egypt that evidences no knowledge of the concepts of Torah seen as a book of "law", or the Mosaic covenant with God, prior to the Restoration period. This is difficult, if not impossible, to explain if such things existed from antiquity, and is the single most important evidence supporting the Deuteronomistic History theory. Surely if such concepts as the covenant with Moses, and the Torah seen as a book of "law", are as old as the bible says they are, how could a community of Jews living in the Restoration period not know about such things? I'm not entirely convinced by the Deuteronomistic History theory myself, but I do find this fact difficult to come to terms with. Were they living under a rock or something?

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Posts 4
Andrew Gillett | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 11:27 AM

Everything  mentioned by Mr. Sweeney was debunked as the empty scholarship that it is during the latter part of the 20th century by many scholars such as Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, who is probably the most achieved academic of history carrying something like 7 graduate and post-graduate degrees in a wide variety of areas.  To my knowledge, his 100+ books are not available on Logos at this time.

While what Mr. Sweeney writes sounds like scholarship, those who study it and the responses know that it is nothing more than a conspiracy theory for atheists to explain away Holy Scripture and Christianity, nothing more.  The premise of the theory is that there is no Creator and that everything in Scripture was just made up.  Oddly, the basis is the regressive philosophy of Epicureanism, which we call Atheism, which is more regressive as an idea than Christianity itself.  

As an example, the entire idea that Christianity was based on something new as far as the Satanic powers controlling the world are concerned, one only needs to look to Genesis 3 and Job to see that such is not the case.  Also, you can see the "Patterns of Evidence" documentaries to see that there is a clear pattern of evidence that pagan/atheistic scholars refuse to acknowledge of the factual historical record of the Mosaic Exodus, which will make clear how atrocious and outdated the scholarship recommended by Mr. Sweeney is.

Certainly, if you are going to go down the road of reading the claims of the outdated and archaic theories pushed by Mr. Sweeney, it is best to make sure you read all the responses, so you understand just how backwards and regressive the scholarship recommended is.  It is actually quite shocking to me that anyone actually still even teaches this; it is like teaching the world is the center of the universe 50 years after Copernicus proved otherwise.

Posts 89
David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 11:34 AM

John Kight:

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! It's much appreciated.

I've been interested in the subject matter for a few years now. I've also acquired a number of resources along the way, including many of those mentioned and some not mentioned (Outside the Bible in print 18 months ago and more recently in Logos). I've found the exploration to be both fascinating and illuminating. 

That said, I haven't found the product page overly helpful for finding STJ related resources and I was curious what others interested in topic were using in Logos.

Keep em' coming!   

I find the product page at the Logos site, and its search feature somewhat wanting when trying to find a particular subject. It mindlessly finds every instance of a word or phrase that you enter into the search field, whether or not it is relevant to what you are searching for. As such, I have found that it is better to Google the subject first; get some author names; and then enter those names into the search box on the logos product site. Then wade through the lists of names and hope you find what you are looking for.

As for actual resources I myself have purchased from Logos, I think I must have by now bought just about every major resource they have on the DSS. My very first purchase from Logos was in fact a DSS resource. I had been working for nearly a year tracking 2 nouns and a verb through the 900 documents that make up the truly sectarian documents the old fashioned way for a book I was writing - by searching for them manually. I hadn't heard of Logos, until a friend told me about it, and suggested that getting it all in digital format would speed things up. So, I made the purchase, and within six months I had found all the data I wanted, because of the way everything is linked together in Logos. I found the nouns and verb in BDB, found the links to every instance of them in the DSS library, and then copy-pasted them into my Microsoft Office spread sheet. Such joy! And such a relief from all that drudgery!

And I have also purchased a few Lexicons from Logos. That's all. I'm very old school and can't quite get out of the love of hard copies of books for my book shelves (I must have nearly 2,000 books in my library and there is no doubt they take up a hell of a lot of room); and so I haven't quite been converted to going entirely digital. Not only is there this love of the feel of a hard copy of a book in your hand, there is always this niggling doubt that Faithlife aren't going to be around long enough to justify huge investments into eBooks. If Faithlife goes under, so does the program itself. And bang goes all that money! With books, they are there for life, guaranteed!

If you have any questions on what to get from Logos on STJ, ask away. I will be happy to research it for you, and post the results. 

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Posts 89
David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 12:16 PM

Andrew Gillett:

Everything  mentioned by Mr. Sweeney was debunked as the empty scholarship that it is during the latter part of the 20th century by many scholars such as Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, who is probably the most achieved academic of history carrying something like 7 graduate and post-graduate degrees in a wide variety of areas.  To my knowledge, his 100+ books are not available on Logos at this time.

While what Mr. Sweeney writes sounds like scholarship, those who study it and the responses know that it is nothing more than a conspiracy theory for atheists to explain away Holy Scripture and Christianity, nothing more.  The premise of the theory is that there is no Creator and that everything in Scripture was just made up.  Oddly, the basis is the regressive philosophy of Epicureanism, which we call Atheism, which is more regressive as an idea than Christianity itself.  

As an example, the entire idea that Christianity was based on something new as far as the Satanic powers controlling the world are concerned, one only needs to look to Genesis 3 and Job to see that such is not the case.  Also, you can see the "Patterns of Evidence" documentaries to see that there is a clear pattern of evidence that pagan/atheistic scholars refuse to acknowledge of the factual historical record of the Mosaic Exodus, which will make clear how atrocious and outdated the scholarship recommended by Mr. Sweeney is.

Certainly, if you are going to go down the road of reading the claims of the outdated and archaic theories pushed by Mr. Sweeney, it is best to make sure you read all the responses, so you understand just how backwards and regressive the scholarship recommended is.  It is actually quite shocking to me that anyone actually still even teaches this; it is like teaching the world is the center of the universe 50 years after Copernicus proved otherwise.

Whereas I'm not myself familiar with Dr Sweeny's thoughts, I will point out that the original form of the theory as posited by Martin Noth has indeed fallen out of favour with Old Testament scholarship, the theory has been revised in recent years, and in its newest form, is gaining traction within scholarship. Your objection that it is all a conspiracy theory in order to discredit the divine authorship of the Hebrew scriptures, does not take account of the fact that the theory has never doubted that the traditions we find in the scriptures are far older than the actual redaction into the present form of the books we know as the Tanakh. So, your objection isn't valid. Even Evangelical scholarship, holding as it does to the authenticity of the scriptures' divine authorship, acknowledges that the books we now presently have, in their present form, have gone through several recensions, before they have reached their present form. This is known as the Cannonical Authorship argument: that the issue isn't about how many different sources can be traced in the scriptures, but rather how and why they were gathered together in their present form; and how its present canonical form functions as scripture to the people who collected them together. So, it doesn't really matter if the books we now have were edited into their present form in the Restoration period, or far earlier. What matters is that the traditions they gathered together are far older than the date they were collected together. As such, the two things are entirely separate things, and should not be confused.

Please remember: the Christian concept of inspiration is that it worked through the authorship of genuine human beings, without God overriding their human weaknesses. As such, that included the likelihood that mistakes would be made, since that is the very nature of man: we make mistakes. It is the nature of the beast.

Unlike the Islamic theory of inspiration, where it posits that Mohammed was taken over by Allah, where he become an automaton for Allah, and that his humanity played no part in the actual writing of the Koran, the Christian concept of inspiration and authorship takes its starting point from Luke's Gospel, where he clearly states that he acted somewhat as an editor of prior sources in putting together the Gospel. And as such, his human skills and failings were very much a necessary part of the actual authorship of the Gospel. According to this theory of inspiration, God uses human mistakes and errors just as much as He uses its successes, in the way the Holy Spirit reveals and inspires us as we read scripture. It is not only in the "true" bits of the bible that you hear God's message; you hear it just as much in the mistakes and errors, because in those instances, God reveals to us that humanity may be flawed, but He still encounters us in our flaws and errors because it reveals to us the truth of our human nature. He does not attempt to paper over those cracks; He has just as much to tell us about who and what we are in our moments of weakness, as He does when things are going right. To me, it matters not a Jot that the scriptures contain human errors. What matters to me is whether or not God has something to reveal to me through those errors. And I have never found Him to let me down. Not even when there are serious discrepancies in those traditions. Those discrepancies have spoken to me about the nature of man, and what God is doing with that nature, just as much as the "true" bits have. Perhaps even more so.

This may sound like I am dangerously suggesting that we can't trust God's Word in the scriptures. But nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that the truth of the Gospel is 100% genuine, and can be trusted implicitly. But this is because God chose the agents who would write about that Gospel. That the New Testament authors were chosen because of their receptivity to the truth of Christ's Lordship, and that through that penitent, worshipful attitude, the Lord the Holy Spirit infallibly revealed the truth of the Gospel message. As such, the preservation and protection of God's Word did not come about because He overrode human nature and stopped it spoiling that message, but rather because those authors had the right kind of faith that made them ideal candidates to write about the truth of God's Word. And through that faith, the certainty of the Gospels truth came through unblemished.

To me, the modern debates about inerrancy are as such wrong footed. Trying to pretend that the scriptures have been preserved from all forms of human error is a concern about the wrong thing. It asks the wrong question. Such a concern is a smoke screen to the true danger. Let's for argument's sake suppose that the scriptures were 100% preserved from human error. Does this allow us to rest assured that God's Word can be trusted when it speaks to us today? Of course not. Because it does not overcome the real villain, which is the supposed perspicacity of scripture. Inerrancy does not guarantee that everyone reads that infallible Word in the same way. Why is it that, despite the supposed inerrancy of God's Word, no two Christian groups read the scriptures in the same way? We do not agree on anything. Not big issues; not on small issues. The Church Worldwide is as fractured and splintered as it was in the first 300 years of its history. We don't even agree on how we should worship the Father. And this despite the fact that the Word is supposedly protected from error. Where does that leave the gross errors of disagreement in the present age about everything to do with Our Lord? Where is God's protection on that score? Answer - nowhere to be found. 

So, the issue of inerrancy is a smoke screen; a concept created by men who wanted an easy life and did not want to work hard at hearing God's Word through the scriptures, as we surely must when reading scripture. If it was all protected from error, then we have an easy life, right? We don't have to put in the years of training trying to get our history and exegesis right, so that we can recognise the bad parts of scripture from the good parts. If it is all 100% trustworthy, then we don't need such training. It's all there to be trusted.

What a delusion! Such a concept says nothing about the years of training involved in order to overcome 2,000 years of cultural and intellectual differences that separate us from the original authors. Times have changed and so have idioms and concepts. This is where the real work is, and the real question. How can we stop making errors in simple things like translation? How can we trust that what we read on the pages of the bible will infallibly reveal to us exactly and precisely that the author intended for us to hear? The answer is simply that we can't trust it in such an easy and flippant manner. Hard work is involved. Hard work overcoming 2,000 years of distance between us and how we perceive things, and how the original writers did. Scripture is not perspicuous. It takes hard work and lots of time trying to correctly hear what it is saying.

For further reading, I highly recommend reading Christian Smith's The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture. There you will find documented in full detail the real questions and the real dangers. Not the question of whether we can trust the scriptures because it has been preserved from errors, but rather whether or not we can trust ourselves when reading what those scriptures have to say to us. The authors may have been protected from error, but we most certainly have not.

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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Andrew Gillett | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 1:27 PM

Have you studied and read the first hand accounts of the Early Church Fathers?  Clearly you have not read Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, and the rest.  You've not read the later fathers of Antiquity, such as Chrysostom, Cyril, or Augustine.  You clearly haven't read the Medieval Fathers such as Ambrose, or the Reformers like Luther and Calvin.  

ALL OF THEM REJECTED YOUR VIEW OF DIVINE INSPIRATION.

Thew view has always been understood that the human authors of Scripture were as tools being used by the Holy Spirit, and therefore their weaknesses were overcome, and the Holy Scriptures are inerrant.  It doesn't mean they do not lack the uniqueness of each writer, just like every tool leaves unique marks upon that on which it is used.

What you are saying about inspiration is not Christian, but pagan and secularist.  It's origins are not something that is found in the genuine pattern of faith that can be traced back to the beginning, but instead to the heretics who never had a place amongst the Apostolic Church, those that were combatted by those who knew the Faith.

Any view of the Old Testament, which was at the time of Christ (as the words of Christ and the Apostles reflect) that denies them being accurate is outside of historic Christianity, and is to cite all the Fathers of Antiquity right through the Reformation, heretical.  

I don't know what the latest attempt that you speak of to undermine and call the Holy Spirit a liar is, but there is no question it is not Christian and such that follow it won't have any place in Heaven, because they have sought to make themselves Lord of God's work rather than the servant of God's work, and so their coming punishment is just.

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David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 1:54 PM

Andrew Gillett:

Have you studied and read the first hand accounts of the Early Church Fathers?  Clearly you have not read Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, and the rest.  You've not read the later fathers of Antiquity, such as Chrysostom, Cyril, or Augustine.  You clearly haven't read the Medieval Fathers such as Ambrose, or the Reformers like Luther and Calvin.  

ALL OF THEM REJECTED YOUR VIEW OF DIVINE INSPIRATION.

Thew view has always been understood that the human authors of Scripture were as tools being used by the Holy Spirit, and therefore their weaknesses were overcome, and the Holy Scriptures are inerrant.  It doesn't mean they do not lack the uniqueness of each writer, just like every tool leaves unique marks upon that on which it is used.

What you are saying about inspiration is not Christian, but pagan and secularist.  It's origins are not something that is found in the genuine pattern of faith that can be traced back to the beginning, but instead to the heretics who never had a place amongst the Apostolic Church, those that were combatted by those who knew the Faith.

Any view of the Old Testament, which was at the time of Christ (as the words of Christ and the Apostles reflect) that denies them being accurate is outside of historic Christianity, and is to cite all the Fathers of Antiquity right through the Reformation, heretical.  

I don't know what the latest attempt that you speak of to undermine and call the Holy Spirit a liar is, but there is no question it is not Christian and such that follow it won't have any place in Heaven, because they have sought to make themselves Lord of God's work rather than the servant of God's work, and so their coming punishment is just.

You say my view of inspiration is pagan and secularist, but that couldn't be further from the truth. What I have said is official teaching in the Roman Catholic Church. If you don't believe me, go read Ratzinger's book Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. In that book he reveals that throughout the history of the Church, it has grappled with the question of inerrancy, but has never been able to satisfy everyone to the same extent at the same time. As such, we have to acknowledge that such will always be the case, and in fact, rather than try to reach universal agreement on that concept, to recognise that the Church has been in fact all along asking the wrong question. It isn't the right question. The real question is rather how does the Church protect itself from error? How do we guarantee that everyone in the Church will read the scriptures and hear the same message? And the answer to that question is even harder to answer that the one about inerrancy, because it is perhaps impossible.

And if it's the Catholic "official" doctrine on inspiration, it is in turn based on Church history/tradition. And that means the Church Fathers. I suggest you go read Origen, and how he understood, for example, the discrepancies between John's Gospel on the sequence of events leading up to Our Lord's death, and those presented in the Synoptic Gospels. Discrepancies which simply cannot be overcome with a childish trust that it's all just an illusion, and will go away if we have the right idea about what scripture is, and how it was authored. Origen says that double traditions like that have something to say to us about how different communities of Christian's heard the Gospel differently: One group which was catered to by the 3 synoptic Gospels; the other by the Johannine community. Different groups in different parts of the world, with different cultural and intellectual differences wanted and needed different ways of hearing about God's truth. As such different ways of presenting that truth to those very different communities were catered for by different Evangelists.

Origen was not interested in the question of how best to systematise such discrepancies; how best to reconcile them. What he wanted to know was what such discrepancies revealed to us about what the Lord the Holy Spirit was revealing to His church worldwide.

Inconsistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. The need to systematise everything into a neat theory where everything fits neatly into a neat scheme belies the very nature of truth. It is a fact of nature that antinomy's , the idea that two things are both true at the same time but which remain nonetheless irreconcilable to each other (I'm thinking about the nature of light being both waves and particles at the same time, and yet cannot both be true), as irritating as they are to the modern mind, tell us that the modern want to fit everything into a neat box simply flies in the face of the nature of truth. And to pursue such a course will only delude us. Not enlighten us. 

The simple fact of the matter is that the fundamentalist concept of inerrancy is simply untenable. It can be destroyed within seconds. There are literally thousands of examples where people got things wrong in writing the bible; where we have double, sometimes triple, traditions, all of which disagree with each other. Factual and historical mistakes, such as the mistake found in the bible, that camels were around in the time of Abraham, when we know for a fact that camels weren't to be found in the Levant until 900 B.C.E. I could go on, and regale you with instance after instance where scripture simply cannot be pushed into a neat little box, where everything agrees with each other. But the point is: such an idea is a modern invention, and panders to modern sensibilities. The original authors where not concerned with consistency. And the Church Fathers weren't either. Why should we?

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Posts 4
Andrew Gillett | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 29 2019 2:42 PM

Actually, the Roman Catholic view, which was made up at the time of the Reformation based on pagan secularism of the Medieval Humanists in the Universities to combat Luther, is not based on Church Tradition.  You are right, it is what the Papacy teaches, but not based on the testimony of antiquity, but because they allowed themselves to be seduced and infected by pagan philosophy during the late Middle Ages, which they then formulated a new theory of Scripture in order to justify their abandonment of both Scripture and Tradition in the early-mid 16th Century.

If you were not so ignorant, you'd know that and have read the refutation based on the Tradition of the Church from Antiquity by such as Martin Chemnitz in his Examination of the Council of Trent.  But of course, you've not even bothered to study the other side, because had you done so, you'd not write such blatant ignorance.

It  was, at the time of the Reformation, that the Roman Catholic Church went from having drifted away from Church Tradition to abandoning it altogether.  It was at Trent that The Roman Catholic Church formally made clear it had nothing to do with the fathers of antiquity even though they deceitfully claimed their aide, that they had nothing to do with tradition, because the fathers of antiquity all said quite clearly that every point had to be proven from Scripture and that any point made that was outside of Scripture o not from a clear statement of Scripture was the teaching of heretics, and that Holy Scripture was the Apostolic Tradition.  Here you can see names like Irenaeus, Cyprian, Cyril (both of Alexandria and Jerusalem, Athenasius, Chrysostom, and Augustine all stating this point with one voice.

The next thing you'll probably do is say that the canon of Scripture should include the Apocrypha, which the fathers of antiquity likely rejected as canonical.  But hey, who cares about Eusebius, Athenasius, Origen, and the rest?  But again, all this has been proven long ago, and is freely available for you to learn.  

So what is your argument?  That Roman Catholicism is not Christian?  That you base your abandonment of the Fathers of Antiquity on them?  That your ignorance and heresy is justified by the Papacy?  

All you have proven is that you are an ignorant fool claiming to have knowledge, because you have chosen the ignorance of unbelief of the modern age that began in the Middle Ages and that has progressed until now.  It is based on deliberate hatred and abandonment of Holy Scripture, and is no different than what the Jews had done with tier tradition at the time of Christ.  For they likewise favored their so-called tradition over Scripture in order to justify their unbelief, which the Gospels and Church Fathers clearly prove.

I am done here.  I simply wasn't going to allow you to play the scholar when your words are filled with obvious ignorance to those who have actual knowledge. so that you might lead people with you down the path to Hell because they were ignorant and did not know there was a lot more to the story.

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