Author Topic: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity  (Read 9328 times)

Michael Slusser

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2015, 12:14:53 AM »
But if all one ever does is cling to whatever exegesis held sway for whatever time period one likes or from whichever exegete one feels buddy-buddy with, then our understanding and interpretation never becomes personal and never grows. That is dull, stale, flat and unpromising.
The NT writers themselves employed Scripture with great frequency and creativity, but taking their cue from earlier readings. They never give "up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time." When our reading of Scripture is similarly spurred by traditions of interpretation, we are emulating our greatest exemplars.

The echoes and correlations of texts we have heard over and over enrich  and make more personal our own reading and hearing of the biblical text. Without them, we would be likely to read in an impersonal, dull, flat, stale way and miss out on the promise.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #31 on: November 01, 2015, 01:03:55 AM »
But if all one ever does is cling to whatever exegesis held sway for whatever time period one likes or from whichever exegete one feels buddy-buddy with, then our understanding and interpretation never becomes personal and never grows. That is dull, stale, flat and unpromising.
The NT writers themselves employed Scripture with great frequency and creativity, but taking their cue from earlier readings. They never give "up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time." When our reading of Scripture is similarly spurred by traditions of interpretation, we are emulating our greatest exemplars.

The echoes and correlations of texts we have heard over and over enrich  and make more personal our own reading and hearing of the biblical text. Without them, we would be likely to read in an impersonal, dull, flat, stale way and miss out on the promise.

Peace,
Michael


Well, what do you know? this Lutheran is on the way to greater unity with this Catholic.....


Lou

Charles Austin

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2015, 02:21:08 AM »
Thread drift alert, prompted by the usual "If Brian says it, it must be wrong" or "gotta ring my favorite chime" phenomenon.
I draw attention to the title of the thread, and apologize for my own contribution to the thread drift.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2015, 09:31:27 AM »

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.

Tommyrot.


Spoken like a church historian.
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #34 on: November 01, 2015, 09:33:26 AM »

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.
Tommyrot.
My sentiment, too.


So why bother reading the Bible if we get the proper interpretation from our Confessions or the notes in a Lutheran study Bible. Many seminarians would love to see the Greek requirement dropped. (Maybe German should be required so we can read the Confessions in the original language.)
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #35 on: November 01, 2015, 10:15:38 AM »
But if all one ever does is cling to whatever exegesis held sway for whatever time period one likes or from whichever exegete one feels buddy-buddy with, then our understanding and interpretation never becomes personal and never grows. That is dull, stale, flat and unpromising.
The NT writers themselves employed Scripture with great frequency and creativity, but taking their cue from earlier readings. They never give "up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time." When our reading of Scripture is similarly spurred by traditions of interpretation, we are emulating our greatest exemplars.


They most certainly did. All of Matthew's OT quotes in ch. 1-2 are taken out of their OT context and given new meanings in Matthew's context. (I can't speak for all other OT quotes because I haven't studied them as I have those from the opening chapters of Matthew.) In studying NT texts, it's always important to look up the OT quotes - sometimes in both the MT and the LXX to compare them with the NT.


One example that has been discussed in Matthew 1:23. Matthew applies this Isaiah text to Jesus' unique conception. However, Isaiah 7:14 (in Hebrew) doesn't mention "a virgin," but "a young girl." The Hebrew suggests that the young woman is with child (assumed by natural means,) while Matthew changes it to future tense, "will be with child." Isaiah is clear that he is talking about a child who was born during the time that Ahaz was king of Judah and specifically when King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel marched against Jerusalem (Isaiah 7:1). Isaiah is speaking directly to King Ahaz about a sign that is given to him - even though he doesn't want it (Isaiah 7:0-12). Isaiah is clear that "before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted" (Isaiah 7:16). These are the two kings named in v. 1: King Rezin and King Pekah. Their lands were conquered long before Jesus was born.


Matthew certainly gave up this past, clear interpretation, of the text when he inserted it into his birth narrative of Jesus.


Quote
The echoes and correlations of texts we have heard over and over enrich  and make more personal our own reading and hearing of the biblical text. Without them, we would be likely to read in an impersonal, dull, flat, stale way and miss out on the promise.


I was not talking about "our own reading and hearing of the biblical text." For that I use a study Bible and make use of the notes that are provided. My statement was about "proper exegesis" of scriptures. Exegetes begin with the original text and lexicons without any study notes. They seek to put aside any biases (as much as they can) when reading the text like it was the first time they are encountering it.

"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]

Richard Johnson

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #36 on: November 01, 2015, 10:52:51 AM »
The NT writers themselves employed Scripture with great frequency and creativity, but taking their cue from earlier readings. They never give "up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time." When our reading of Scripture is similarly spurred by traditions of interpretation, we are emulating our greatest exemplars.

The echoes and correlations of texts we have heard over and over enrich  and make more personal our own reading and hearing of the biblical text. Without them, we would be likely to read in an impersonal, dull, flat, stale way and miss out on the promise.

Peace,
Michael

A much more civil and reasonable answer than the one I was about to type. Thanks.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles Austin

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #37 on: November 01, 2015, 12:56:28 PM »
I neither dismiss nor devalue those interpretations and applications of the ancients, but neither do I so canonize and codify them that they can be used as ammo to shoot down every other interpretation.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist  Writer for many church publications.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #38 on: November 01, 2015, 02:35:51 PM »

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.
Tommyrot.
My sentiment, too.


So why bother reading the Bible if we get the proper interpretation from our Confessions or the notes in a Lutheran study Bible. Many seminarians would love to see the Greek requirement dropped. (Maybe German should be required so we can read the Confessions in the original language.)
So why bother reading the Confessions much less subscribe to them if the first step in reading and understanding Scripture is to set aside however anyone previously interpreted Scripture and approach the text as if you were the first to ever read it?

Quote
Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time. If what other exegetes have found to be true is in the text, we will find it, too. Certainly, after coming to conclusions about a text, exegetes then compare with what others have discovered to verify their work or to see if they might have missed something that others have seen. Reading a commentary or our confessions or even the notes in a study Bible is not studying the scriptures. One has to actually carefully read the words of the Bible - not words about what's in the Bible.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Charles Austin

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #39 on: November 01, 2015, 03:42:59 PM »
Pastor Fienen writes:
So why bother reading the Confessions much less subscribe to them if the first step in reading and understanding Scripture is to set aside however anyone previously interpreted Scripture and approach the text as if you were the first to ever read it?

I comment:
So that people like you can overreact to how some of us read the scriptures. The "first step" in reading is not "setting aside" as in rejecting. But we continue to digress.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist  Writer for many church publications.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #40 on: November 01, 2015, 08:12:53 PM »
So why bother reading the Confessions much less subscribe to them if the first step in reading and understanding Scripture is to set aside however anyone previously interpreted Scripture and approach the text as if you were the first to ever read it?



Note well, "the first step". Seeking to read and understand Scriptures in the original languages without biases is not the last step. One's exegesis must be compared with our Creeds and our Confessions and the scholarly work of other exegetes and commentators.


Studying scriptures in ecumenical or inter-faith groups can be quite eye-opening because they don't approach a text with the same biases as we do. They might see something in the text we've never noticed before.


A question a man raised when we were studying Mark 10:18: ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ θεός. "Could this verse be used to indicate that Jesus does not claim to be the one God?" He is expressing his bias, because he will not say that Jesus was God. It goes against what he sees as Orthodox Judaism and the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).


It's also been pointed out that the Greek of Mark 1:1 (υἱοῦ θεοῦ) and 15:39 (υἱος θεοῦ) contain no definite articles. The phrase can be translated "a son of a god." An exegete/translator needs to consider that possibility - that Mark might be presenting Jesus as one of many "sons of God" - and be able to argue why it should be "the Son of God" if that's how s/he interprets/translates it.


Perhaps a Confessional Lutheran (or church historian) wouldn't even think of raising such questions. I believe that a biblical exegete has to.
"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]

cssml

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #41 on: November 02, 2015, 11:15:33 AM »
So why bother reading the Confessions much less subscribe to them if the first step in reading and understanding Scripture is to set aside however anyone previously interpreted Scripture and approach the text as if you were the first to ever read it?



Note well, "the first step". Seeking to read and understand Scriptures in the original languages without biases is not the last step. One's exegesis must be compared with our Creeds and our Confessions and the scholarly work of other exegetes and commentators.


Studying scriptures in ecumenical or inter-faith groups can be quite eye-opening because they don't approach a text with the same biases as we do. They might see something in the text we've never noticed before.


A question a man raised when we were studying Mark 10:18: ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ θεός. "Could this verse be used to indicate that Jesus does not claim to be the one God?" He is expressing his bias, because he will not say that Jesus was God. It goes against what he sees as Orthodox Judaism and the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).


It's also been pointed out that the Greek of Mark 1:1 (υἱοῦ θεοῦ) and 15:39 (υἱος θεοῦ) contain no definite articles. The phrase can be translated "a son of a god." An exegete/translator needs to consider that possibility - that Mark might be presenting Jesus as one of many "sons of God" - and be able to argue why it should be "the Son of God" if that's how s/he interprets/translates it.


Perhaps a Confessional Lutheran (or church historian) wouldn't even think of raising such questions. I believe that a biblical exegete has to.

Yes, we must listen to all ideas and views with charity, but as disciples, who do we say that he is?  Although you and I understand the following with some difference, we both are grounded in this confession of Peter, that Christ is indeed the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

Matthew 16 (my emphasis): http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/16

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi* he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14i They replied, “Some say John the Baptist,* others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16* j Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood* has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. 18k And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 19l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.* Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20* m Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #42 on: November 02, 2015, 11:58:06 AM »
Yes, we must listen to all ideas and views with charity, but as disciples, who do we say that he is?  Although you and I understand the following with some difference, we both are grounded in this confession of Peter, that Christ is indeed the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

Matthew 16 (my emphasis): http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/16

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi* he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14i They replied, “Some say John the Baptist,* others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16* j Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood* has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. 18k And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 19l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.* Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20* m Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.


Certainly, as Christians we confess that Jesus is the Son of God. As biblical exegetes we lay that aside (for a time) to see what the Bible really says about Jesus as "Son of God."

For instance, Matthew 16:16 has Peter declare, as you note: σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος. ("You are the Christ the son of the living God.")

However, Mark 8:29 Peter's confession is the shorter: σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστός. ("You are the Christ.")

Luke 9:20 has Peter say: τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ. ("The Christ of God.")

John 6:69 has Peter say: ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ. ("The holy one of God.")

In Thomas 13 Peter confesses: "You are like a righteous angel."

We can wonder if "The Son of God" was a confession of Matthew's community at that time rather than one held by the whole church.

Tracing the development of "Son of God" language for Jesus can lead to conclusions that it appears are in this following book (and description) I found on Amazon: How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church.

The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.

A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.

Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.


I also came across this title: How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine Nature---A Response to Bart D. Ehrman.

In his recent book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee historian Bart Ehrman explores a claim that resides at the heart of the Christian faith― that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. According to Ehrman, though, this is not what the earliest disciples believed, nor what Jesus claimed about himself.

The first response book to this latest challenge to Christianity from Ehrman, How God Became Jesus features the work of five internationally recognized biblical scholars. While subjecting his claims to critical scrutiny, they offer a better, historically informed account of why the Galilean preacher from Nazareth came to be hailed as “the Lord Jesus Christ.” Namely, they contend, the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is clearly evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later.


I suggested in a recently church newsletter article that asking, "Is Jesus God?" is the wrong question. How could a human being become something greater than a human being? Rather, a better question, and one that I believe the early church confessed was, "Is God Jesus?" Could the almighty God lower himself to become a human being? When we read "The Word became flesh" and the hymn in Philippians 2, they are about God becoming human.

In addition, there is a question of what does it mean to say that someone is "a/the son(s) of"? "sons of God" is a phrase used in Matthew 5:19; Luke 20:36; Romans 8:14, 19; Galatians 3:26. We, the believers, are called "Sons of God." Does Scriptures use that phrase to make us the same as Jesus as "Son of God," or does "son" take on a different meaning depending on the context?
« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 12:09:01 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"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: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #43 on: November 02, 2015, 12:22:10 PM »

Certainly, as Christians we confess that Jesus is the Son of God. As biblical exegetes we lay that aside (for a time) to see what the Bible really says about Jesus as "Son of God."


Balderdash. (Luther and Gregory of Nazianus would agree.... They both said, in so many words, that believers have no such requirement in reading scripture.)


Lou

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #44 on: November 02, 2015, 01:01:56 PM »

Certainly, as Christians we confess that Jesus is the Son of God. As biblical exegetes we lay that aside (for a time) to see what the Bible really says about Jesus as "Son of God."


Balderdash. (Luther and Gregory of Nazianus would agree.... They both said, in so many words, that believers have no such requirement in reading scripture.)


You're right, not necessarily in reading scripture. One doesn't need to know Greek or Hebrew to read scriptures. One can even use The Message for devotions.


However, our the way to greater unity will probably require Lutherans to try and read and understand scriptures from a Roman Catholic point of view; and they will need to try and read and understand scriptures from a Lutheran point of view. If they are unable to temporarily lay aside their own biases, it won't happen.
"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]