TIP of the day: Use Logos/Verbum with skepticism

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Jul 28 2015 8:52 PM

No, I am not disrespecting Logos - I merely stating that when they provide tagging, draw illustrations, or otherwise organize the Biblical data for us, they are taking linguistic, historical, cultural or theological positions for us. We need to be cautious and take options not provided by Logos into account without assuming that the Logos data is in error. Rather assume that Logos has taken one possible position or has consciously simplified the data to serve its purpose.

1. The first example is a personal major irritant - one which allows me to laugh at myself. Logos has simplified the data to the point of being imprecise and possibly misleading while still meeting the purpose for which Logos provided the data.

What is wrong in this picture?

  • Catholic and Lutheran list of the 10 Commandments are based on Deuteronomy 5:6-21
  • By "Jewish" the list is referring to the Talmud but not to Philo ... a tidbit of trivia not criticism of the Logos depiction.
  • The Septuagint/Orthodox division is not identical to the Reformed division - an oversimplification
  • The "Catholic" list is not that of Augustine but of the Catechism of the Catholic Church - very close but not identical which is another tidbit of trivia
  • The Catholic division is not identical to the Lutheran division - an oversimplification

In short, here you are better off using Wikipedia unless you are teaching pre-teens.

2. A second example comes from Genesis 1:2 where most of us are familiar with some translation using "spirit of God". However, Logos tagging goes further and tags it as "Holy Spirit".

Yet this is clearly not the only "traditional" interpretation:

Sefer Yezirah

Another and altogether different cosmogonic system is presented in the geonic work "Sefer Yezirah." Here letters and numbers, as in the New Pythagorean system, but scientifically arranged, are creative principles, and the three primal elements of the rabbis, fire, water, and light (אש מים אור) are, by the change of one vowel, transformed into fire, water, and air (אש מים אויר, אויר = the Greek ἀὴρ), the Spirit of God (Gen. 1:2) taking the place of the former "wisdom" as the creative power (see Sefer Yeẓirah). For the cosmogony of the cabalists, based chiefly upon the idea of a primal and endless light, and a primordial "point" expanding into the Ten Sefirot, and upon Abbahus view, quoted above, of worlds ever created and destroyed by the Creator, see Cabala; Emanation; Sefirot.

Isidore Singer, ed., The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, 12 Volumes (New York; London: Funk & Wagnalls, 19011906), 283.

and as a mist I covered () the earth. Earthhere and heaven, abyss, seaof 8, name all the departments of the visible universe. The mistto which wisdom is compared may be that of Gen 2:6 (meaning uncertain); but more probably wisdom is identified with the spirit of Godof Gen 1:2, hovering cloudlike over chaos.

() omission to be made in the Douay Version

C. J. Kearns,

"Ecclesiasticus," in A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, ed. Bernard Orchard and Edmund F. Sutcliffe (Toronto;New York;Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1953), 520.

Again, one can also find sources supporting the Logos coding. The point is that one needs to question the coding and run appropriate searches to verify or question the Logos coding. For example, this is how I found the two quotations above:

In short: remember Logos/Verbum is a tool not an answer book.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Deacon Steve | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 29 2015 8:19 AM

Very insightful ... as are all the TIPs.

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 29 2015 9:05 AM

This is certainly one of my favourite TIPs so far.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 29 2015 6:27 PM

This is a good reminder that we must not simply take anything we read at face value. We all have our own biases and perspectives and so we must apply the filter of critical thinking with a healthy dose of humility.

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 30 2015 1:19 AM

Bruce Dunning:

This is a good reminder that we must not simply take anything we read at face value. We all have our own biases and perspectives and so we must apply the filter of critical thinking with a healthy dose of humility.

Yes

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 30 2015 4:43 AM

Bruce Dunning:

This is a good reminder that we must not simply take anything we read at face value. We all have our own biases and perspectives and so we must apply the filter of critical thinking with a healthy dose of humility.

   YesYes

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Philip Larson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 30 2015 5:33 AM

I teach math and statistics, and often say to students, "In God we trust; all others must have data." Thanks, MJ, for highlighting why one must read with care.

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