Author Topic: Giving Polygamy a Chance  (Read 29430 times)

hillwilliam

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #195 on: January 26, 2010, 03:09:25 PM »

If a knowledge of Greek wasn't so important, why do our seminaries require it?

My suggestion to folks who don't know the original languages is to study the text in at least two literal translations and perhaps one or two less literal -- noting similarities and differences in the way scholars have translated the text -- including reading the footnotes. Every translation has biases. Every translation has strengths and weaknesses. On the shelves next to my desk, I have 11 different English translations -- as well as Greek and Hebrew texts and tools.


A knowledge of Greek is important but mastery of Greek is the minimum requirement for those who work on the major translations of Scripture from Greek into English. You may have a leg up on me translating Greek texts but you have no standing among the scholars doing the translations for the NRSV, ESV, NIV, NKJV, Jerusalem Bible, etc. These translations are consistent with each other even though the groups producing them may be biased. The best way to minimize the bias is to not read the footnotes.

Based on your demand for special gnosis to have any true basis for understanding the Scriptures one would have to master Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Coptic, Latin, with possibly a smattering of Hindi and Chinese to really understand the Scriptures. Having said that, I find it odd that Jesus came to the great unwashed masses rather than the powerful and educated Hellenist elite.

For what it's worth, I have at least 7 different translations of the Scriptures in multiple editions, 2 editions of the B of C, The Koran, Book of Mormon, and New World Translation (Jehovah Witnesses). I also have books on theology from the Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Reformed and Evangelist viewpoint. None of that convinces me that the orthodox Christian teachings are wrong.


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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #196 on: January 26, 2010, 03:47:18 PM »
We were debating the relative reliability of words and language (the plain meaning of the text) in understanding another person over against various modern tools of psychology, systems theory, etc...[/quote]

Huh? I saw us discussing the relative meaning of words and language. The meaning(s) one takes from words and languages is somewhat dependent upon their own experiences -- which includes things like the psychology, personality type, place within a social system.

Quote
The special gnosis you were championing was not learning biblical languages, it was the power to understand another person's inner thought and motivations by the use of family systems theory.
My use of family systems theory is that when someone acts in a defensive way, when their responses are either to fight back or to flee in an almost irrational way, we can conclude that their "reptilian brain" has been hooked and supplanted the "thinking brain" as the one controlling the responses. Or, to phrase it in a different, when someone is unable to be a non-anxious (or non-reactive) presence, something other than the rational, thinking part of their brain has taken control.

Quote
As I stated earlier, you are a skeptic when it comes to words and language.
Yes, in regards to the words and language that interpreters use. I look up the Greek words for myself. I study the grammar for myself. I do not question the words and language of the Greek text (except when there are variant reading). I do question translations and interpretations. Don't you?

Quote
However, when it comes to family systems theory, you feel quite confident that you can uncover the motives of another. That's what we were discussing.  Remember?  Please, no red herrings.

I'm also trained in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and I can uncover (or at least come to a hypothesis of) someone's personality type based on watching their behaviors. So what? We all do that. We interpret people's actions and behaviors. We make assumptions about their motivations. Over time we come to recognize what is typical and atypical for someone's behaviors. If you hadn't noticed yet, it is typical of some people to naturally jump off on tangents.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #197 on: January 26, 2010, 03:53:08 PM »
And when it's all done, you throw up your hand and announce, "No one really knows what this means.  It's all a matter or interpretation.  Some believe it means one thing, other believe it means the exact opposite."  It's not the tools you use, but your skeptical and relativist presuppostions that do you in.

When I have I said, "No one really knows what this means?" (except for Paul's made up word)? Much more often I will give different possible, valid ways of translating, and interpreting texts -- and may state which one I believe has the greater support. While it is possible to take Paul's words and argue that they mean obese (soft) couch potato (and I heard someone suggest that,) I think it's unlikely that's what Paul meant. I also think it's unlikely that his use of the terms he uses refers to every and all same-gender sexual relationship. I know that others disagree with that interpretation; but that is not saying, "No one really knows," it's indicating that there are different meanings that folks glean from the same words and grammar.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Pilgrim

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #198 on: January 26, 2010, 03:53:20 PM »
Pilgrim wonders: Isn't this one of those occasions when you could have simply said, "See previous posts"?
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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #199 on: January 26, 2010, 06:09:57 PM »
Quote
We were debating the relative reliability of words and language (the plain meaning of the text) in understanding another person over against various modern tools of psychology, systems theory, etc...

Huh? I saw us discussing the relative meaning of words and language. The meaning(s) one takes from words and languages is somewhat dependent upon their own experiences -- which includes things like the psychology, personality type, place within a social system.

Quote
The special gnosis you were championing was not learning biblical languages, it was the power to understand another person's inner thought and motivations by the use of family systems theory.
My use of family systems theory is that when someone acts in a defensive way, when their responses are either to fight back or to flee in an almost irrational way, we can conclude that their "reptilian brain" has been hooked and supplanted the "thinking brain" as the one controlling the responses. Or, to phrase it in a different, when someone is unable to be a non-anxious (or non-reactive) presence, something other than the rational, thinking part of their brain has taken control.

Quote
As I stated earlier, you are a skeptic when it comes to words and language.
Yes, in regards to the words and language that interpreters use. I look up the Greek words for myself. I study the grammar for myself. I do not question the words and language of the Greek text (except when there are variant reading). I do question translations and interpretations. Don't you?

Quote
However, when it comes to family systems theory, you feel quite confident that you can uncover the motives of another. That's what we were discussing.  Remember?  Please, no red herrings.

I'm also trained in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and I can uncover (or at least come to a hypothesis of) someone's personality type based on watching their behaviors. So what? We all do that. We interpret people's actions and behaviors. We make assumptions about their motivations. Over time we come to recognize what is typical and atypical for someone's behaviors. If you hadn't noticed yet, it is typical of some people to naturally jump off on tangents.

Let me try to simplify.  You seem to take a critical approach to the biblical text, but a rather uncritical attitude towards things like the MBTI and family systems theory.  Based on my own diagnostic abilities  ::)  I would say that represents a condition sometims known as "chronological snobbery".   :o

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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #200 on: January 26, 2010, 06:46:57 PM »

Except that American English is not the language of scripture.

Well, my point in bringing it up is that it is the language native to both you and I and just about everyone else here.  And yet, when appearing to argue against those with whom you disagree, you first re-write their (our) points to say something other than what they (we) actually say.  Given your inability to deal with your native language, on what basis can we trust that you accurately deal with an ancient language that is not native to you?

As for your point in continuing to riff on my theme, I couldn't begin to guess.  Partly because I've learned that when I do guess, I'm wrong even when I use your own words.

Now, how did we get from polygamy to this (whatever "this" is)?

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #201 on: January 26, 2010, 08:53:13 PM »
Let me try to simplify.  You seem to take a critical approach to the biblical text, but a rather uncritical attitude towards things like the MBTI and family systems theory.  Based on my own diagnostic abilities  ::)  I would say that represents a condition sometims known as "chronological snobbery".   :o

I have no idea what you are talking about. What do you mean by critical? To me, that means "asking questions," like, "What does this mean?" Or "Does this help?" when I've used MBTI or family systems theory with folks.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #202 on: January 26, 2010, 08:55:22 PM »

Except that American English is not the language of scripture.

Well, my point in bringing it up is that it is the language native to both you and I and just about everyone else here.  And yet, when appearing to argue against those with whom you disagree, you first re-write their (our) points to say something other than what they (we) actually say.  Given your inability to deal with your native language, on what basis can we trust that you accurately deal with an ancient language that is not native to you?

See my response about reader-response criticism. Even though American English is our native language, our life-experiences condition us to read and understand it differently.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

G.Edward

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #203 on: January 26, 2010, 11:16:04 PM »
OK.  Polygamy has a basis in the Old Testament, which is part of the canonical scriptures Lutherans acknowledge.  So, what will keep polygamy from be acknowledged as a legitimate relationship mode under the HSG&T rubric?

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #204 on: January 27, 2010, 12:33:32 PM »
So, what will keep polygamy from be acknowledged as a legitimate relationship mode under the HSG&T rubric?

The HS:G&T rubric "monogamy."

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #205 on: January 27, 2010, 12:34:37 PM »

Even though American English is our native language, our life-experiences condition us to read and understand it differently.

Whereas our life-experiences enable us to better understand the Evangelists and Apostles?

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #206 on: January 27, 2010, 02:23:19 PM »

Even though American English is our native language, our life-experiences condition us to read and understand it differently.

Whereas our life-experiences enable us to better understand the Evangelists and Apostles?

Not necessarily "better,"  but different (at least in emphases or nuances) -- as cross-cultural comparisons of responses to biblical texts have shown.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

DCharlton

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #207 on: January 27, 2010, 06:08:59 PM »
How about cross cultural reading of scripture as it pertains to homosexuality?  Do you really want to go there?

When the Bible is read cross culturally, it often leads to problems for liberal Christians.  My guess is that outside of North America and Europe most Christians have little problem believing in miracles, the demonic, the power of the Spirit, the existence of God, and a discernable difference between good and evil.  Most of that is way too fundamentalist for liberal Christianity.   In some way you might say they have more in common with Luther than we do. (Think for instance of Oberman's Luther: Man Between God and the DDevil.)
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 06:14:59 PM by DCharlton »
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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #208 on: January 27, 2010, 07:30:33 PM »
How about cross cultural reading of scripture as it pertains to homosexuality?  Do you really want to go there?

When the Bible is read cross culturally, it often leads to problems for liberal Christians.  My guess is that outside of North America and Europe most Christians have little problem believing in miracles, the demonic, the power of the Spirit, the existence of God, and a discernable difference between good and evil.  Most of that is way too fundamentalist for liberal Christianity.   In some way you might say they have more in common with Luther than we do. (Think for instance of Oberman's Luther: Man Between God and the DDevil.)

There are those in other cultures who expect their Christian minister to exorcize demons. (We had missionaries who'd been in Africa at seminary who had participated in such services.) How do you think that'd go over in our American congregations -- and not just the liberal ones?
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Giving Polygamy a Chance
« Reply #209 on: January 28, 2010, 09:54:18 AM »
If we were as committed to tolerance, diversity and muti-culturalism as we claim, we would affirm it.  Diversity sounds great when it means relaxing doctrinal standards or overturning centuries of tradition, but when it means accomadating those with more traditional views, it's a problem. Or so it seems.     
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