i would much rather debate the biblical position on the matter.
That's actually what I planned on doing -- a careful examination of the Scriptural texts in question in order to critically analyze what the Scriptures have to say in regards to God "creating" evil (and the various interpretations of what the writers meant when they made such statements).
so if we'd do this debate, we should stick firmly to biblical texts, and maybe early interpretative stuff. i'd argue that if we're accepting epistles, we should accept talmuds and midrashim too.
No problem. I was planing on refering to various Jewish sources in addition to the Christian Scriptures including the epistles - so I don't see any problem with highlighting talmudic and midrashic interpretations either.
Edit: spelling, clarified points concerning the inclusion of talmudic and midrashic interpretations in order to explain one's position more carefully.
This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-04-2005 08:56 PM
This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-04-2005 08:58 PM
i'm thinking also there is another important point that we should probably cover first:
should earlier texts be read in light of later texts (interpretations)?
They can be if you want to. At least I don't see a problem with it.
does the interpretation of the later texts have to be right?
I don't think they necessarilly have to be right -- especially since "rightness" is a hard thing to measure anyway -- which is kind of why we're contemplating a debate in the first place.
If, for example, you wish to appeal to talmudic or mishraic sources in order to demonstrate the validity of a certain strain of interpretative thought, then I have no problem with this.
and by implication, does one book in the bible neccessarily have to agree with another?
I think this is generally yes -- or, at the lest, that we are attempting to explain things in the light of later revelations.
Like Roman Catholicism, Judaism generally held their oral traditions about the Torah to be on the same level of authority as their own Scriptural records -- for both parties involved, you generally do not actually have validity in one area without the recourse to the other source.
I think a cut off point for later translational understandings should be marked at around the Age of Enlightenment, which seems to be the threshold for where terms such as the "orthodox" position seems to degrade into modernist thinking.
If, for example, you wish to appeal to Spinoza during the late Middle Ages, I would have no problem with this. I don't see how invoking Spinoza would benefit either of our positions, but if you wished to invoke his interpretive thinking, I would again have no problem with this.
Similarly, strong strains of Muslim thinking have also been added to the interpretative process of the Scriptural record, especially during the earliest parts of the Middle Ages. Since you've voiced a previous affinity with Muslim thinking, if you wished to invoke Islamic thought to contrast some of your ideas against mine, I would again have no problem with this.
I think, whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with a particular interpretation, that a logical sequence from A to B to C should be demonstrated -- such much so that others can clearly read and evaluate your ideas within the light if the Scriptures.
Where I will give a word of caution, however, is with the literalnessof the Scriptural record. For example, some would assume that the Scriptures indicate "literal 24 hour days" in the earliest chapters of Genesis. Today, however, even if the Scriptural record did indeed intend to convey literal 24 hour days, we now know that this is bascially not true -- and that the Scriptures were most likely speaking allegorically in these situations based on modern science.
I think the most recent and accepted scientific discoveries should carry at least some weight when measuring the meaning of some of the Scriptural texts. In other words, if the Scriptures do not clearly demonstrate that something is considered within the realm of the miraculous, then, at the very least, science should be allowed to demonstrate when a Scriptural text is most likely not speaking literally.
Edit: clarified time frame with Spinoza example at late middle ages -- defined cut off point for modernist thinking around 1700 and after, while making an exception for valid constructive methods allowed by recent scientific findings well into contemporary times.
This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-06-2005 07:52 PM