Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Philosocial Profundity and the Bible

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Toynbee,,,,,,...............................Gilson




Adren@line (poster on CARM)

You continue to cite Christian philosophers who ripped off the Greeks because they couldnt find anything of substance in the OT or NT to back up their ideas. That doesnt really prove your point. Aquinas was perhaps the greatest offender. Sure, the modern Christian philosophical idea exists, but it is not sourced to the OT or NT. That is my point. It is a concoction between OT, NT, and Greek philosophy.


What we have here is more ignorance in action. The intellectual heritage of the chruch is ancient and rich. Anyone who doesn't know this is just demonstrating their ignorance. To say that Aquinas "ripped off the Greeks" is just idiotic. Remember Whitehead's statement that all of Western Philosophy is a footnote to Plato and Aristotle? Everyone has ripped off the Greeks! That's why they are the foundation. What does this guy expect Gentile Christians fall back upon when they didn't know the Hebrew tradition?

Richard Krnoer


There are so many writers who demonstrate the profound philosophical implications in the Bible. I'll just talk about three of them but there are many more. virtually any passage contains some philosophical depth. Let's just look at the modern thinkers who bring this out. The First is Richard Kroner. Speculation in Pre-Christian Philosophy.(269 pp. Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1956)

showed how speculation developed as a protest against Greek polytheism. For want of a Biblical revelation, however, this protest could only be inspired by a half-mythological, half-intellectual intuition. Even though it prepared the way for the Christian outlook, it exposed the failure of speculation to cope with the deeper aspirations of men. The present volume deals with the rise of Christian philosophy in terms of a tension between ancient speculation and Christian revelation up to the dawn of modern times, the last section being devoted to "the learned ignorance" of Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464). Not only are ancient systems Christianized, but new insights allow thinkers to perform "a necessary reorganization of metaphysics that called attention to new speculative vistas opened by revelation" (p. 36). The recognition of an "age of Christian philosophy" is accordingly vindicated. Although we must wait for the third volume (which is not expected before 1961) to be carried through the age of the Reformation and subsequent developments, the author makes it clear that strictly speaking, "the age of Christian philosophy" ends with medieval times. The few hints found in the two volumes now in print suggest that the third one will present the modern era as "the Protestant age"-so-called because intellectually dominated by the Reformed tradition. While not appealing to Christian revelation, this age is unable to dissociate itself from its "predominating spirit." Its culmination is reached with Hegel, even as the total victory of speculation achieved in his "absolute science" spells ultimate frustration for a Christianity said to insist on the supremacy of inspired subjective insight over unaided reason.(book reveiw: Emile Cailliet Cape May, New Jersey)


Using Kroner's book one can connect Hebrew prophetic insight and theological speculation with Heidegger primordial thinking. I wrote a paper in the secular history of ideas program (in a class on phenomenology) where I argued this. It made "A" the professor liked it but he said Heidegger wouldn't accept it becuase it had to be Greek. But I think I demonstrated, with Kroner's help that the Hebrews had primordial thinking as well.

Étienne Henri Gilson
was born into a Roman Catholic family in Paris on 13 June 1884. He was educated at a number of Roman Catholic schools in Paris before attending lycée Henri IV in 1902, where he studied philosophy. Two years later he enrolled at the Sorbonne, graduating in 1907 after having studied under many fine scholars, including Lucien Lévy Bruhl, Henri Bergson and Emile Durkheim.

Gilson’s Gifford Lectures, delivered at Aberdeen in 1931 and 1932, titled ‘The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy’, were published in his native language (L’espirit de la philosophie medieval, 1932) before being translated into English in 1936. Gilson believed that a defining feature of medieval philosophy was that it operated within a framework endorsing a conviction to the existence of God, with a complete acceptance that Christian revelation enabled the refinement of meticulous reason. In this regard he described medieval philosophy as particularly ‘Christian’ philosophy.


Gilson was about the first philosopher I read after getting saved (my "born again" experience) and the first who was overtly discussing philosophy in Christian terms. In discussion of Aquinas' view he specifically uses Exodus 3:18 as his starting point. that's the passage translated "I am that I am." But in the LXX it's translated "I am being itself." That ties it in with Tillich, and I could have used Tillich for this but am resisting it for two reasons, one because I talk about him so much, anyone who reads my blog regularly knows this, secondly, because even though he was a philosopher he's really more of a theologian so might be less apt to demonstrate what I'm trying to show. Gilson is often called "lay theologian" but he was formally a philosopher. Being chosen to give the Gifford lecture is like getting the Nobel prize of philosophy.

He uses the passage to tie Aquinas into existentialism through the ontological principle raveled in the name "I am that I am." The self sustaining aspect revealed in that name is also an indication of the existential nature of God's being because it's apparent at hand in all existence. Aquinas believed God was the primary act of existence, which is similar to Tillich's concept of God as being itself All of this ties in with what i"ve said int he past about realizing God, and belief in God being a realization about one's own relationship with being.

Arnold J.Toynbee


Arnold Joseph Toynbee (April 14, 1889 - October 22, 1975), British historian whose twelve-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, A Study of History, 1934 - 1961, (also known as History of the World) was very popular in its time.

Toynbee, a prolific author, was the nephew of a great economic historian, Arnold Toynbee, with whom he is sometimes confused. Born in London, Arnold J was educated at Winchester College and Balliol College, Oxford. He worked for the Foreign Office during both World War I and World War II. He was Director of Studies at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (1925-1955) and Research Professor of International History at the University of London.


He is best known for this theory about cycles in history. He studies 23 civilizations and shows emerging patterns that demonstrate the rise and fall of each This approach has been discredited in the eyes of most historians today and is the "no no" of "history repeats itself" which no historian will take seriously (for good reason). Toynbee himself did not really say that he did not consider the patterns to be absolute. He is respected although his major task didn't make it. One thing I think of him positively for is his discussion of Christianity and progress in history. He said that Christianity made progress in history possible. This is because in the old ancient world civilizations everything was static, the eternal return was the pattern of life. This is the mythological themes that Champbell and Eliade talk about. The eternal return means the same things are always supposed to happen. The warrior's task is to re-create the worrier the tribe perpetuates itself and everything moves in a big cycle that mimics the cycle of the seasons. that's the basic structure of pagan society. But with Christianity, beginning with the Jews we have the possibility of disruption.

The Jews were wondering toward the promised land. As long they did that their goal was spacial. But when they got there the wondering is over then ti's time to create the paradise and everything is static again. So the wandering becomes temporal. We not traveling in space toward the promised land we are traveling in time toward the eschaton. Jesus parousia is makes that possible. The retrun of the savior-King will mean a disruption of status and that possibility means progress in history is possible.

This is just a hint of the profound nature of things we can dig out if we actually read the Bible with an inteiton other than bad mouthing it.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating as always, Metacrock.

Isn't it interesting how people can be so blinded by contempt that they will seek to turn something to be proud of (like the Church's active preservation of ancient manuscripts and the scholarship of Thomas Aquinas) into a point of disgrace?

Tragic.

Metacrock said...

That's a very good point. Really I have my doubt that that guy I quoted at the top would know profound if he saw it. I don't believe he's a Hindu either, he doesn't think like any Hindu I know. His knowledge of it is like someone getting answers on Wikipedia. But he does claim to be a Hindu. He probably doesn't have the background in philosophy to know what's profound in philosophy anyway.

Loren said...

Adren@line is right - there isn't much much philosophical depth in most of the Bible, though the opening of the Gospel of John does get a bit metaphysical.

Metacrock, your interpretation of Exodus 3:18 would make a fundie proud -- an inverted pyramid of inference from some translation-shopping.

I'm not familiar with Arnold Toynbee's theories of historical cycles, but I've seen him criticized for projecting his theories onto history.

In any case, Xianity did *not* invent the idea of progress. It's a modern idea, a result of progress becoming glaringly evident as it speeded up over the last few centuries. Metacrock, you seem so accustomed to the idea that truth is some sort of revelation that you don't really seem to accept that important truths can be derived empirically.

I recall from somewhere that most premodern histories fit a pattern of (1) gods and creation, (2) heroes, and (3) ordinary people, without any clear dividing line between them. The idea of lowly origins is a modern one, just like the idea of progress. One can find that in Chinese, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman traditional histories -- and in the Bible.

Finally, Metacrock, do you honestly think that you could have gotten away with denying Hell back in those supposed Good Old Days, Middle Ages? Or with disrespecting saints or with considering the Pope an impostor or ...

Metacrock said...

Adren@line is right - there isn't much much philosophical depth in most of the Bible, though the opening of the Gospel of John does get a bit metaphysical.

No, you are ignorant like he is. I just demonstrated three prfundies and that's just the tip of the ice berg. you don't know what profound is because you don't the history of ideas or philosohpy. You are not well read, like most atheists.

Metacrock, your interpretation of Exodus 3:18 would make a fundie proud -- an inverted pyramid of inference from some translation-shopping.


you are really quite dense. Translators are humans. We see their view point from their translations. That the interdepartmental guys translated that in that way means they understood it that way.

I did not say that's the original reading, although since the word for God is being it stands to reason the original authors did see it that way.


I'm not familiar with Arnold Toynbee's theories of historical cycles, but I've seen him criticized for projecting his theories onto history.

since you don't know anything about him you didn't know what they are referring to. To just bland out everything say merely some idiotic made a criticism that you don't even understand is sheer stupidity. I also covered that in my article didn't I? yea.

In any case, Xianity did *not* invent the idea of progress. It's a modern idea, a result of progress becoming glaringly evident as it speeded up over the last few centuries. Metacrock, you seem so accustomed to the idea that truth is some sort of revelation that you don't really seem to accept that important truths can be derived empirically.


did I say Christianity invented progress? what did I say? I said it makes it possible didn't I? who did invent it sweetie an you tell me that? when did they invent it? where did they get the idea?

I recall from somewhere that most premodern histories fit a pattern of (1) gods and creation, (2) heroes, and (3) ordinary people, without any clear dividing line between them. The idea of lowly origins is a modern one, just like the idea of progress. One can find that in Chinese, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman traditional histories -- and in the Bible.


now what did I say Christian eschatology frees us from? ;God's and heros and the same things happening all the time, remember something like that?

Finally, Metacrock, do you honestly think that you could have gotten away with denying Hell back in those supposed Good Old Days, Middle Ages?


can you ever try to argue fairly? what possible difference could that make to the facts of the text actually tells us? hmmm? why do atheists always think argument from popularity is true when it contraindicates a christain to be a fundie?

Or with disrespecting saints or with considering the Pope an impostor or ...


why don't you prove your ignorant prattle for a change. document to me how many people were actually killed for not believing the bible, how me the docs?

Loren said...

Metacrock, waving around the Septuagint without analyzing the original Hebrew is translation-shopping.

Furthermore, the most straightforward translation of the Septuagint's Greek (ho ôn) is "the being", definite article and all. Meaning that God is a discrete entity, like everything else.

Furthermore, Metacrock, what gives you the idea that all non-Christians had believed in eternal recurrence of everything?

The Zoroastrians had imagined an end of the world long before Jesus Christ was born: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frashokereti

Metacrock said...

i seem to have lost someone's comment. I appreved it but it's not here. so I don't know. He was named bossmanham.

well he doesn't know Greek. He was saying the the definite article should make it "the being" but if he knew Greek better he would know that the definite article often conveys the idea of a quality. so "the being" would be awkward interlinear way but "being itself" or "being" would be the elegant sophisticated way.

the term "translation shopping" is used by ignorant people who have not studied history or languages. I said it's indication of the ideas of the translators. that's exactly hat it is.

I also said the original Hebrew word for God convnyes the idea of being that's an argument that's based upon any particular translation.

Metacrock said...

Metacrock, waving around the Septuagint without analyzing the original Hebrew is translation-shopping.


that's crazy. you don't know how shit about histoircal critical methods do you? do you? do yOU? the Hebverw I said is the wrod for God = beign. did not you figure that out?

stop your unscholarly pathetic little undergraduate slang terms for ignorance and face the fact that I know more than you do. I know more than you!

you don't know this, I do!

The Hebrwe translates I am that I am and that obviously has to do with being. I' am and to be are the same concept.


Furthermore, the most straightforward translation of the Septuagint's Greek (ho ôn) is "the being", definite article and all. Meaning that God is a discrete entity, like everything else.

Obviously you do not know Greek. you do not know that. I studied Greek three and a half years with a prof form yale. you dnl't know this I do.

even so the way you read it fits my argument fine I could argue it that way. you know nothing. you are not even thinking about what the words mean are you?




Furthermore, Metacrock, what gives you the idea that all non-Christians had believed in eternal recurrence of everything?


that is just plain fucking stupidity. if you don't know that. that's just common knowledge Obviously you have never read Nietzsche. You have never Champbell or Eliade have you?

anyone with a decent amount of liberal arts past the sophomore level should know this.



The Zoroastrians had imagined an end of the world long before Jesus Christ was born: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frashokereti

they weren't in the West where they? Toybee was talking about Western civlization right?

besides you are wrong about it. the did have an eternal return. they had end of the world but it was not eschatology. It was part of the return.

Loren said...

From that Wikipedia article,

Frashokereti (frašō.kərəti) is the Avestan language term for the Zoroastrian doctrine of a final renovation of the universe, when evil will be destroyed, and everything else will be then in perfect unity with Ahura Mazda. The term probably means "making wonderful, excellent".

Not exactly eternal recurrence, it must be said.

Furthermore, your yelling "Common knowledge!" about dubious propositions suggests intellectual laziness.

One could equally well argue that the Bible supports eternal recurrence. Eccl 1:9 states

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

One can then interpret the Bible's creation stories and eschatology as parts of the great cycle.

Metacrock said...

you really need to pump up your knowledge base Loren. If you can't accept hat I know what I'm talking about go talk some courses and come up to speed. I know what I'm talking about it, it common knowledge.

learn something.

As for the Zoroastrian thing, what influenced did Zoroastrianism have on Western Civilization? Did you not read the word "Western" whichI corrected you on twice.

the WEst
in he West
western understand? we don't live Persia.

Toynbee is a an authority do look him up.