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Author Topic:   Using the Bible as fact...
Mister Pamboli
Member (Idle past 5832 days)
Posts: 634
From: Washington, USA
Joined: 12-10-2001


(1)
Message 20 of 113 (8120)
04-02-2002 8:48 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by TrueCreation
04-02-2002 5:46 PM


quote:
Originally posted by TrueCreation:
The problem with this notion, is that it implies that slavery is horrible. But why is it horrible, when you think of slavery you tend to think of the whips and the lashes and the different harsh treatments. This is condemned in the bible to 'all' people, and so, a 'slave', is more accuratly a 'servant' a more proper in-context biblical translation. Basically being a servant was like being a child with responsibilities in todays american culture.

From Exodus 21: When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be punished; for the slave is his money.

Now call me Mr Fussy if you must, but this doesn't seem to condemn harsh treatment at all.

What you must bear in mind is that "slavery" or servitude in the bible covered a wide range of situations: there are several contexts where it is clearly meant in an oppressive sense, and it is often referred to in contexts where the instution of slavery itself (not just the treatment of slaves) is seen as undesirable.

For example ...
Genesis 9:25 So he said, "Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers."
Leviticus 25:39 If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service.

The translation "servant" is not more proper - rather it requires careful reading to separate contexts where servant or slave may be better, and where other terms - bondsman, bondservant, etc - may be substituted. One thing we can be sure of: if the Hebrews of biblical times were remotely like the people of the modern world they would have taken all too many opportunities to abuse the institution of the law to their own advantage regardless of the suffering of others. I doubt being a slave in ancient Judea can be compared to being a modern american child - pity the children if it can.

quote:
--As for women, its a bit analogous to the above. Women are at a bit of a lower level than men, after all, who was it who picked the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil first?

I hope it's just that you are a day late with a bit of April foolery. If not - he's all yours Schraf! You go, girl!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by TrueCreation, posted 04-02-2002 5:46 PM TrueCreation has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by TrueCreation, posted 04-02-2002 9:19 PM Mister Pamboli has responded

  
Mister Pamboli
Member (Idle past 5832 days)
Posts: 634
From: Washington, USA
Joined: 12-10-2001


Message 23 of 113 (8131)
04-03-2002 12:59 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by TrueCreation
04-02-2002 9:19 PM


quote:
Originally posted by TrueCreation:
--I found this Q&A site a good reference: http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news0401/answers.html

O dear TC, I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry. This is one of the most famous parody sites on the web: you should check out this other page on their site: http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news0102/phoneoffer.html

I do hope you are linking to it as a joke. If not, and you thought it was serious, perhaps it will give you pause for reflection. It's a real shame to see your undoubted intelligence bent to perform excruciatingly doctrinaire logical manouvers, when you could open your mind to the glories of science and spirituality at one and the same time.

BTW, when I lived in Scotland I thought Landover Babtist to be just a very funny parody site, so over the top that no one could possibly fall for any of it. But since moving to the USA, I can now see how some might belive it to be genuine: the commercialisation of Christianity over here is actually quite shocking and the absurd posturing and hamming of the typical soi disant evangelist on television is way beyond what I had expected. Out ofinterest, what do you make of it?

[This message has been edited by Mister Pamboli, 04-03-2002]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by TrueCreation, posted 04-02-2002 9:19 PM TrueCreation has not yet responded

  
Mister Pamboli
Member (Idle past 5832 days)
Posts: 634
From: Washington, USA
Joined: 12-10-2001


Message 74 of 113 (13176)
07-09-2002 6:53 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by w_fortenberry
07-08-2002 2:24 PM


For the purposes of the following post, I am going to subdue, with some difficulty, my skepticism about the possibility of objective observation of external reality. It will be a struggle, but here goes ...

[QUOTE]Originally posted by w_fortenberry:
[b] Using your definition of a fact, allow me to pose a few conclusions about the Bible.

The actual words which make up the Bible are observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore the existence of those words is a fact.[/QUOTE]

Wrong.[/b]
I'm afraid you fall at the first hurdle. The inclusion of texts in the canon is still a matter of some controversy between the Christian churches. The resolving of contradictions between preserved early texts and what constitutes the true text, or if indeed it makes sense to talk of such a thing for a collection of documents with such diverse sources and from such diverse sources: these are still continuing matters of controversy amongst Biblical scholars. Identifying "The actual words which make up the Bible" requires considerable interpretation: they are not a fact in the sense you seem to adhering to.

quote:
That each of those words have known definitions is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore those definitions are facts.

Wrong.
There are actually quite a few words in the Bible whose definition is extremely unclear and there are considerable variations in opinion as to their meaning. Leviticus 16, for example, has a number of very obscure terms indeed whose definitions are germane to the understanding of the passage - Kapporeth, Mitsnepheth, `aza'zel, etc.

quote:
The formation of those words into sentences, paragraphs, and books is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that structure is a fact.

Wrong - and then some!
Again, not only is the text of the Bible contested at the level of words, but in several source texts there are considerable transpositions. What is generally known as 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is an excellent example of a text which appears in different locations in different sources and appears to do so because its meaning is subtly altered by such transpositions.

quote:
The correlation of those sentences, paragraphs, and books to certain known grammatical structures is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that correlation is a fact.

Wrong!
The Hebrew texts in particular are notoriously difficult to parse to grammatical structures.

quote:
That those certain grammatical structures limit the definitions of those words is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that limitation is a fact.

Way way way wrong!
Let's take for example, parataxis. Parataxis chains short sentences or clauses using "and" or "but" or somesuch device as a comma or semicolon. This is frequently used to construct a list of actions or descriptions, but the semantic relationship between the members of the list is always a matter for the reader to interpret. As the parataxic bumper sticker says: "You toucha my car. I breaka your face." This can be contrasted with a hypotaxic sentence such as "First he got a hammer, then a nail, then the string, so he could hang the picture." In the hypotaxic sentence the temporal, causal and intentional order are explicit.

Parataxis is found in frequently in Genesis and in the Gospel of Mark. And does it affect meaning? You bet it does. The parataxis at the end of Romans 13:1 is particularly controversial. "For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." The intepretation of the parataxis, linked here by the colon, is pretty crucial to a number of sects, including Mennonites and Friends.

quote:
That the context of each word further limits the possible definitions of those words is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that limitation is also a fact.

Correct! :-) The limitation is a fact.
What that limitation is and which definitions are constrained by the context remains a question for interpretation - or opinion as you put.

quote:
That those words, when viewed in context, taking into consideration the grammatical structures of the sentences, paragraphs, and books thus formed, do not contradict each other in any way is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that lack of contradiction is a fact.

Well, given you have been wrong in all but one of your premises, guess what - your conclusion, too, is hopelessly wrong.

quote:
That historians and scientists do not always agree with the statements of the Bible is observable without the involvement of opinion; therefore that disagreement is a fact.

Correct.Then again, it's not exactly an earth-shattering observation.

The following excellent paper describes some of these difficulties as they relate to translation in particular ...
http://accurapid.com/journal/18bible.htm

Sorry folks for going into so much detail - but there was more crap in this post than most people manage to put up on the board in a week.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by w_fortenberry, posted 07-08-2002 2:24 PM w_fortenberry has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by w_fortenberry, posted 07-12-2002 2:32 PM Mister Pamboli has responded

  
Mister Pamboli
Member (Idle past 5832 days)
Posts: 634
From: Washington, USA
Joined: 12-10-2001


Message 78 of 113 (13475)
07-13-2002 4:20 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by w_fortenberry
07-12-2002 2:32 PM


Thanks for taking the time to reply in detail. Rather than going at this point by point again let's try to summarize what I feel is the position.

You appear to be saying that

Firstly: a reference text that represents the "true Bible" can be readily arrived at;

Secondly: a non-contradictory reading of that reference text can be readily arrived at;

Thirdly: there is some significance to be attached to these two observations

I deny all three points.

Firstly, I note you intend to use the "King James" translation of the Bible as your reference text. This is, of course, based on source texts and in some places it is not clear what source texts, or what readings of certain source texts, were used to compile this version. It is certainly based on a resolution of a number of source texts. Whether this resolution was readily arrived at, or is a reasonable one, or is the best one, is a matter for much dispute. However, you have decided, for your own unstated reasons, to accept this as a reference text. I deny it is the most suitable such text, but it is your choice.

Secondly, your statement that "the existence of a consistent, non-contradictory interpretation is a fact" seems to be based on the assumption that the King James translation is such an interpretation. I would deny it, as there are numerous inconsistencies in its translation, but, as you shall see, it is of no signifance whether or not it is self-consistent.

Thirdly, should any significance be attached to the self-consistency of your translated text? The canon of the Bible has been selected from among many texts through great and heated debate which has led to schism and separation - those books which were rejected from the western canon were rejected in great part because they contradicted other texts, or because their interpretation contradicted other interpretations. In other words, the canon has been selected to have as few contradictions as possible. Moreover, your preferred translation was also compiled by scholars commited in principle to a Biblical text free of contradiction.

That a version of texts selected for consistency, translated by those committed to consistency, results in a consistent translation is hardly a matter for wonder, unless your awe is particularly easily inspired.

Now to a few details:[b] [QUOTE]Yet those words still have known definitions.[/b][/QUOTE]

My point was, and remains, that they do not.[b] [QUOTE]Though there is discussion over which of those definitions is correct, the correct definition still exists. To claim otherwise is to claim that the word is in actuality just a random assortment of letters with no intended meaning.[/b][/QUOTE]

I simply claim that the orginal intention of the author in many cases can no longer be readily arrived at. That the author had an intention, I do not doubt, but it is lost to us.[b] [QUOTE]Again the presence of debate does not negate the facts. Though there is a difference of opinion regarding which arrangement is correct, the arrangement itself still exists.[/b][/QUOTE]

Your argument here is not meaningless, but simply pointless, as one cannot readily identify any one arrangement as the authors original intention, the existence of any one arrangement is as significant or insignificant as any other. If I translate "en arche en ho logos" - in the beginning was the word, as "A long time ago there was a logo" it is surely a fact, by your lights, that my arrangement of words, use of definitions, and my intepretation exists. So what?[b] [QUOTE]The difficulty to discover which grammatical structure is used does not negate the fact that such a structure is indeed utilized.[/b][/QUOTE]

I really don't the point you are trying to make - it is not a fact that the text in some places uses any one grammatical structure. The most you can mean is that "a given structure is possibly utilized" which is very different.[b] [QUOTE]Parataxis simply refers to “the coordination of grammatical elements such as phrases or clauses without the use of coordinating elements such as conjunctions.” (Webster’s II New Riverside University Dictionary)[/b][/QUOTE]

Thank you - I think I know what parataxis is without referring to Webster's, which in this case, to my mind, gives a fairly poor definition anyway. The imporant point is that the semantic significance of the coordination is entirely a matter for interpretation.

Take my example "You toucha my car. I smasha your face." These sentences, coordinated by parataxis, have a wide range of possible semantic resolutions, among which are ...

If you toucha my car, as a result of that action, I will smasha your face.

You habitually toucha my car. I habitually smasha your face. These things are not connected except that they are both things we habitually do.

You toucha my car. Then I smasha your face. That is the order in which these events will happen - I am not smashaing your face because you touchad my car, it is just the temporal order in which the events will occur.

The Bible is full of such parataxic constructions.[b] [QUOTE]In the case of Romans 13:1, the verse does not display true parataxis. The two phrases are divided by a coordinating element, the colon.[/b][/QUOTE]

It does indeed show true parataxis - the colon is merely in the translation.[b] [QUOTE]However, even if this verse did show true parataxis, there is more to grammar than just parataxis and hypotaxis. For instance, formality, genre, and punctuation must always be taken into consideration.[/b][/QUOTE]

Of course, though be careful when attempting to read anything into these things in translation - especially 17th century English punctuation!
Let me give you an example of the difficulty in translation. Given the KJV English translation could you readily stylistically identify the writer of the Gospel of John from the writer of Peter's letters or Paul's letters. Yet their styles in Greek are extremely personal and individual in their mannerisms, tone and diction.
Further, one must wonder how different Western theology would have been if we had, since the early church, dropped the formality and addressed god as "Daddy" as Our Lord instructed us?
[b] [QUOTE]I am not the one arguing that the mere presence of debate necessitates the inexistence of fact.[/b][/QUOTE]

Nor am I - simply that the presence and nature of the debate negates any significance your purported facts may have.

[This message has been edited by Mister Pamboli, 07-13-2002]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by w_fortenberry, posted 07-12-2002 2:32 PM w_fortenberry has not yet responded

  
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