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The Trombone ForumPractice BreakChit-ChatReligion(Moderator: bhcordova) TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible
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« Reply #3060 on: Yesterday at 08:58 AM »

Matthew 20 text

Highlights

 - Parable; foretelling; denial of the Trinity; healing

Summary

 - The vineyard labourers parable that was discussed above
 - The crucifixion explicitly and detailedly foretold
 - Zebedee's wife approaches Jesus and asks him to make her two disciple sons his left- and right-hand "in your kingdom"; Jesus says he cannot grant this request - it's a matter for Yahweh
 - Jesus heals the sight of two blind men

Questions and Observations

1) The vineyard labourers parable - we have been told what it is saying by comparison before - that those that devote their worldly lives to doing the good stuff while not caring about their worldly position will be rewarded with greater favour in heaven than those who didn't do these things - "the last shall be first", and vice versa. How far do we take the analogy? Some are rewarded as much for doing less - will heaven work this way? The inequity is visible to all - will heaven work this way? The master is defensive of the inequitable outcome he has just dished out, and criticises those pointing it out, calling them ungrateful, despite their having worked all day for him - will heaven work this way?
2) The sons of Zebedee were James and John (Matthew 4:21).
3) No sign of Zebedee himself - I wonder if he was the father that Jesus wouldn't grant a disciple compassionate leave for the funeral of?
4) Jesus's separation of his ability to grant things from Yahweh's in v23 seems to again deny their oneness via the Trinity. This seems clear to me - Jesus (as reported here) was not under the impression that he was an aspect of Yahweh; rather, he believed himself to be a separate being. How do theologians reconcile this apparent direct denial of it in Jesus's mouth with the concept of the Trinity?
5) Blindness is a favourite subject for miracle cures in this book. Is this symbolically chosen? 'Jesus will open your eyes to a new idea'.
6) Making a brief highlight for each chapter is not easy at the moment; each chapter has a series of short, unrelated episodes. It isn't reading much like a narrative - the idea of Matthew as annotated sayings fits this.
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Dave Taylor

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« Reply #3061 on: Yesterday at 09:09 AM »

Matthew 20 text

Highlights

 - Parable; foretelling; denial of the Trinity; healing

Summary

 - The vineyard labourers parable that was discussed above
 - The crucifixion explicitly and detailedly foretold
 - Zebedee's wife approaches Jesus and asks him to make her two disciple sons his left- and right-hand "in your kingdom"; Jesus says he cannot grant this request - it's a matter for Yahweh
 - Jesus heals the sight of two blind men

Questions and Observations

1) The vineyard labourers parable - we have been told what it is saying by comparison before - that those that devote their worldly lives to doing the good stuff while not caring about their worldly position will be rewarded with greater favour in heaven than those who didn't do these things - "the last shall be first", and vice versa. How far do we take the analogy? Some are rewarded as much for doing less - will heaven work this way? The inequity is visible to all - will heaven work this way? The master is defensive of the inequitable outcome he has just dished out, and criticises those pointing it out, calling them ungrateful, despite their having worked all day for him - will heaven work this way?
2) The sons of Zebedee were James and John (Matthew 4:21).
3) No sign of Zebedee himself - I wonder if he was the father that Jesus wouldn't grant a disciple compassionate leave for the funeral of?
4) Jesus's separation of his ability to grant things from Yahweh's in v23 seems to again deny their oneness via the Trinity. This seems clear to me - Jesus (as reported here) was not under the impression that he was an aspect of Yahweh; rather, he believed himself to be a separate being. How do theologians reconcile this apparent direct denial of it in Jesus's mouth with the concept of the Trinity?
5) Blindness is a favourite subject for miracle cures in this book. Is this symbolically chosen? 'Jesus will open your eyes to a new idea'.
6) Making a brief highlight for each chapter is not easy at the moment; each chapter has a series of short, unrelated episodes. It isn't reading much like a narrative - the idea of Matthew as annotated sayings fits this.

Theologians make a distinction between the ontological Trinity-- the complete equality of being-- and the economic Trinity-- i.e. the division of labor.  Also the reality of the incarnation and the submission to the will of the Father that this entails is a factor there.  This text has not been seen as problematic to Trinitarian theologians, but rather a good example of the voluntary submission which was part of his incarnate task which is theologically developed by Paul in Philippians 2. 

In other words, Jesus voluntarily submitted to his Father's will to fulfill a task, he task of becoming fully human as well as divine and living a life as a fully obedient divine-human being, because he was living as the 2nd Adam-- this theme is developed implicitly in the gospels and explicitly in the epistles of Paul and John.  Full obedience was necessary for our salvation because disobedience to the divine will was our serious problem.

This needs much more fleshing out, of course, but the text here in Matthew is actually a good example of how the NT explains the issue, not a problem for the doctrine.

In other words the Trinity is a doctrine with very practical implications, and not just a piece of theoretical speculation.
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« Reply #3062 on: Yesterday at 10:45 AM »

I'm visualising it like a computer simulation running in parallel - the parent process buds off a second version of itself ("child process"), running on a different machine, the results of which are to be collected back to the parent version when the code has run its course. The two versions are able to communicate if needed, but do not do so from moment to moment, for reasons of computational efficiency. Matters of central control could as well be undertaken by either, but for ease of bookkeeping, the parent process is the one directing interactions overall. In the end, the child process completes its task and reports its results back to the parent process.

I'm hopeful that you might quite like that as an analogy?
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Dave Taylor

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« Reply #3063 on: Yesterday at 10:59 AM »

I'm visualising it like a computer simulation running in parallel - the parent process buds off a second version of itself ("child process"), running on a different machine, the results of which are to be collected back to the parent version when the code has run its course. The two versions are able to communicate if needed, but do not do so from moment to moment, for reasons of computational efficiency. Matters of central control could as well be undertaken by either, but for ease of bookkeeping, the parent process is the one directing interactions overall. In the end, the child process completes its task and reports its results back to the parent process.

I'm hopeful that you might quite like that as an analogy?

I'm not quite sure if I get your analogy.  Maybe someone else can put it into non-computer terms.  I've tried to be relatively simple in theological terms, but I know that I slip into theologese at times. :)
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« Reply #3064 on: Yesterday at 12:58 PM »

I'm visualising it like a computer simulation running in parallel - the parent process buds off a second version of itself ("child process"),

Wow!  That's almost a quine! 

Weird, because I just learned that word this week, even though I've read GEB and should have seen it there.
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« Reply #3065 on: Yesterday at 02:23 PM »

To me it reads differently, as does this passage in other versions of the bible.  First, I'll point out that the claim was by Simon not Jesus.  So here is how this reads to me:

15 Jesus asks "Who do you think I am?"   16 Simon answers "I think you are the Christ, the son of God."  17 Then Jesus says, "Whoa!  Hold on now, that's real nice of you to say Simon, but you never heard that from me.  It must have come from your strong faith in God."  18 "I call you Petros because of your rock solid faith, and through you I will build my church, and it will be built, come hell or high water.  19 I will pass on the reigns of my ministry to you, and all those to whom you can teach the way to God will benefit in spirit.  20 Then Jesus warned all the disciples not to go bandying around anything about him being Christ.

Bill, you see the verse in a completely different light than I do! I'm thinking that you have to add quite a bit of extra words in there to make it look like you want it.  I can't see how you get 'whoa, hold on now' from 'Blessed are you' that seems too much of a twist, could you explain that for me?
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« Reply #3066 on: Yesterday at 02:37 PM »

To me it reads differently, as does this passage in other versions of the bible.  First, I'll point out that the claim was by Simon not Jesus.  So here is how this reads to me:
 
15 Jesus asks "Who do you think I am?"   16 Simon answers "I think you are the Christ, the son of God."  17 Then Jesus says, "Whoa!  Hold on now, that's real nice of you to say Simon, but you never heard that from me.  It must have come from your strong faith in God."  18 "I call you Petros because of your rock solid faith, and through you I will build my church, and it will be built, come hell or high water.  19 I will pass on the reigns of my ministry to you, and all those to whom you can teach the way to God will benefit in spirit.  20 Then Jesus warned all the disciples not to go bandying around anything about him being Christ.

Just curious ... which translation(s) are you using?
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« Reply #3067 on: Yesterday at 02:38 PM »


Just curious ... which translation(s) are you using?

Maybe it's the RBV-- the Revised Bill Version.  Evil
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« Reply #3068 on: Yesterday at 03:11 PM »

To me it reads differently, as does this passage in other versions of the bible.  First, I'll point out that the claim was by Simon not Jesus.  So here is how this reads to me:

15 Jesus asks "Who do you think I am?"   16 Simon answers "I think you are the Christ, the son of God."  17 Then Jesus says, "Whoa!  Hold on now, that's real nice of you to say Simon, but you never heard that from me.  It must have come from your strong faith in God."  18 "I call you Petros because of your rock solid faith, and through you I will build my church, and it will be built, come hell or high water.  19 I will pass on the reigns of my ministry to you, and all those to whom you can teach the way to God will benefit in spirit.  20 Then Jesus warned all the disciples not to go bandying around anything about him being Christ.

The most obvious problem with your reading is that it is ahistorical-- i.e. it overlooks the way the Roman government treated messianic claimants-- they usually executed them-- there was a history of such executions.

Jesus would make his messianic claims public-- that's what the triumphal entry is all about in chapter 21 and he predicted the response in chapter 16.  He makes clear that there is a timing issue involved here.  That timing is at Passover which has a lot of implications which we'll need to explore later.

Granted we'll see that Pilate tries to get out of it because his questioning of Jesus unearthed that Jesus was a different sort of Messiah his claims, but the die was cast and he couldn't without losing face.  That makes great historical sense in context, while yours really doesn't.
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« Reply #3069 on: Yesterday at 05:15 PM »

Matthew 20 text

Highlights

 - Parable; foretelling; denial of the Trinity; healing

Summary

 - The vineyard labourers parable that was discussed above
 - The crucifixion explicitly and detailedly foretold
 - Zebedee's wife approaches Jesus and asks him to make her two disciple sons his left- and right-hand "in your kingdom"; Jesus says he cannot grant this request - it's a matter for Yahweh
 - Jesus heals the sight of two blind men

Questions and Observations

1) The vineyard labourers parable - we have been told what it is saying by comparison before - that those that devote their worldly lives to doing the good stuff while not caring about their worldly position will be rewarded with greater favour in heaven than those who didn't do these things - "the last shall be first", and vice versa. How far do we take the analogy? Some are rewarded as much for doing less - will heaven work this way? The inequity is visible to all - will heaven work this way? The master is defensive of the inequitable outcome he has just dished out, and criticises those pointing it out, calling them ungrateful, despite their having worked all day for him - will heaven work this way?

Some things that inform my ideas about understanding this passage and how heaven will work:
- ISTM that the way the text is written, the master is not focusing on criticising their attitude but on explaining/defgending his right to give what he owns as he wants.
- Each worker is actually paid what they agreed to and that is the same amount.  So the greater favour is to give them the same reward for different amounts of work.
- I don't know how this fits with the first will be last statement.  Any suggestions John?  But given the clear statement that God can do what he wants I don't think it is meant to be some sort of strict algorithm that constrains him from doing what he wants with what he owns.
- Jesus seems to be teaching a lot about humility and contentedness.
- In the bible fairness is most often broken by mercy: we don't get the just desserts of our behaviour.
- We are saved the same whether we are saved early or late in our lives.
- We are saved by faith through grace not as a reward for our work: Jesus says this in other words too.
- Paul says we will be rewarded very generously for the suffering we experience in this life.
- There will be no sorrow or sin in heaven.
- The bible does not say a lot about heaven.

So I think in heaven everyone will be happy and think that they are much better off than they were on earth and will not resent others.

Quote
2) The sons of Zebedee were James and John (Matthew 4:21).
3) No sign of Zebedee himself - I wonder if he was the father that Jesus wouldn't grant a disciple compassionate leave for the funeral of?
I always thought he was still up in Galilee running the family fishing business.  But we aren't told one way or the other.

Quote
4) Jesus's separation of his ability to grant things from Yahweh's in v23 seems to again deny their oneness via the Trinity. This seems clear to me - Jesus (as reported here) was not under the impression that he was an aspect of Yahweh; rather, he believed himself to be a separate being. How do theologians reconcile this apparent direct denial of it in Jesus's mouth with the concept of the Trinity?

As John has said the distinctness of the persons in the trinity is part of how we understand it.  This passage is one that went into working that out.

The wikipedia page on it is pretty long and includes a lot of church and historical stuff as well as an explanation:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity

The TL;DR version is:

In Trinitarian doctrine, God exists as three persons or hypostases, but is one being, having a single divine nature.[62] The members of the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will. As stated in the Athanasian Creed, the Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated, and all three are eternal without beginning.[63] "The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" are not names for different parts of God, but one name for God[64] because three persons exist in God as one entity.[65] They cannot be separate from one another. Each person is understood as having the identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures.[66]

its fairly technical and precise.  I think that's because it was originally in latin or greek and because it took a lot of careful thought and politics (all guided by God of course) to define the model.

Quote
5) Blindness is a favourite subject for miracle cures in this book. Is this symbolically chosen? 'Jesus will open your eyes to a new idea'.

I'm confident that it is symbolic and also that I nearly agree with your decode.

I would say that he can open your eyes to the truth.

Quote
6) Making a brief highlight for each chapter is not easy at the moment; each chapter has a series of short, unrelated episodes. It isn't reading much like a narrative - the idea of Matthew as annotated sayings fits this.

I think you're doing well. But I should get in and do one or two myself.
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« Reply #3070 on: Yesterday at 08:06 PM »

Matthew 21 text

Highlights

 - Jesus arrives Jerusalem to mixed response

Summary

 - Jesus group arrive in Jerusalem: procure a donkey so that Jesus can ride in to popular acclaim "Hosanna to the Son of David" and "This is the prophet Jesus from nazareth"
 - Jesus goes and clears out the rip-off merchants from the temple and heals the blind and lame
 - The chief priests and scribes saw all this and were indignant.  Jesus leaves and goes to stay at Bethany for the night

 - The next day he returns to Jerusalem and curses a fruitless fig tree on the way
 - The disciples marvel at this and Jesus tells them if they have faith they they will receive anything they pray for.

 - He enters the temple and is again challenged by the chief priests and elders: "Who gave you authority?" 
 - Jesus says he will answer if they tell him where John's baptism was from.
 - They decide that the answer they can give will reflect poorly on them so the decline to answer.  Jesus declines too.
 - Jesus tells them a parable that leads to the conclusion that sinners who believed would get into heaven while the self-righteous wouldn't

 - Jesus tells them another parable about a man who planted a vineyard and left it for tennants to look after for him, who then stole the produce and killed his sone.
 - Jesus explained that the parable told how the kingdom of God would be taken away from them and given to a people who would produce fruit.

 - The chief priests and Pharisees didn't like his parables and wanted to arrent him, but they didn't want to antagonise the crowds, who thought he was a prophet.

Questions and Observations

1) The common and sinful people* (the lower classes) welcome Jesus
2) The religious (self-righteous) people who should have recognised him rejected him.
3) Those of us who see Jesus as Yahweh can see Jesus arriving with a big entrance and getting his palace (the temple) ready for his coronation.
4) Jesus makes a point of antagonising the religious elites by telling parables that put them in a poor light and threatening their celebrity status.  It seems like he's deliberately escalating their conflict.

I give the wrong impression by calling the lower classes sinful people:  they are no more sinful as a class than the upper or religious class.  They are commended because they recognise this.
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« Reply #3071 on: Today at 03:57 AM »

Wow!  That's almost a quine! 

Weird, because I just learned that word this week, even though I've read GEB and should have seen it there.

Great book! You know... It would make an excellent reading exercise for us here in this group if we fancy something philosophically and logically stimulating on the nature of consciousness that's a bit less contentious than sacred books...

I read it some years ago, feeling that I got a great deal of improving brain-poking out of it. Haven't yet reread it - it's a big task. Maybe we could mutually all do each other that favour in a subsequent thread? It doesn't sit naturally in the religion area - rather it is an attempt to connect how consciousness emerges from the mechanisms of the brain via the use of self-reference. But it deals with themes often dear to those who like to talk about religion.
Attempting to do so reminds me that it's a very hard book to briefly precis! A category-defying work laced with sly humour and games of structure, many based around the works of J.S. Bach. Extremely highly recommended.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del,_Escher,_Bach
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« Reply #3072 on: Today at 04:56 AM »

Great book! You know... It would make an excellent reading exercise for us here in this group if we fancy something philosophically and logically stimulating on the nature of consciousness that's a bit less contentious than sacred books...

I read it some years ago, feeling that I got a great deal of improving brain-poking out of it. Haven't yet reread it - it's a big task. Maybe we could mutually all do each other that favour in a subsequent thread? It doesn't sit naturally in the religion area - rather it is an attempt to connect how consciousness emerges from the mechanisms of the brain via the use of self-reference. But it deals with themes often dear to those who like to talk about religion.
Attempting to do so reminds me that it's a very hard book to briefly precis! A category-defying work laced with sly humour and games of structure, many based around the works of J.S. Bach. Extremely highly recommended.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del,_Escher,_Bach

It is both an amazing book and a work of art.

It is not, however, an easy read.  It requires not only time but focused attention; it can't be treated like a beach read. 

It has been years since I read it, probably time to revisit.

There are nonfiction books I recommend to coworkers and peers, on my informal list of books every educated person should have seen.  This is not one, it will appeal to a smaller segment.   
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« Reply #3073 on: Today at 04:59 AM »


Granted we'll see that Pilate tries to get out of it because his questioning of Jesus unearthed that Jesus was a different sort of Messiah his claims, but the die was cast and he couldn't without losing face.  That makes great historical sense in context, while yours really doesn't.

That's not the only way it makes historical sense. 

This is war literature, written at a time of an increasingly brutal Roman occupation - you don't think there's any chance this was worded in such a way as to make the Romans the good guys, and the Jews the bad? 

Your interpretation relies on a literal and inerrant scripture. 
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« Reply #3074 on: Today at 05:27 AM »

That's not the only way it makes historical sense. 

This is war literature, written at a time of an increasingly brutal Roman occupation - you don't think there's any chance this was worded in such a way as to make the Romans the good guys, and the Jews the bad? 

Your interpretation relies on a literal and inerrant scripture. 

The "Jews" are really a divided responsibility as far as "bad guys."  The NT portrays the Jewish leadership of the time as "bad guys," but clearly not all of the Jewish people are seen as "bad guys."  Many are sympathetic to the message of Jesus.  This actually fits quite well with the later Rabbinic rejecion of Jesus-- the Talmud calls him a sorcerer, etc-- and the presence of Jewish followers of Jesus in early Christian history.

Yes, it is compatible with a view of the Bible as literal and inerrant, but it is also compatible with some other reconstructions of the history.  What it is difficult to fit with is Bill's reconstruction and similar POV's unless you do quite a bit of messing with the text in a very speculative sort of way.  Such speculations can be interesting, but seem to me to be solely the product of inventive minds who simply dislike what the text says and are willing to accept any speculation rather than see the text as having any sort of historical veracity.

Again, I think it's a matter of assumptions-- I've decided to use a new word. :)
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« Reply #3075 on: Today at 05:48 AM »


Yes, it is compatible with a view of the Bible as literal and inerrant, but it is also compatible with some other reconstructions of the history. 

Your view of the Bible as literal and inerrant (not the whole thing, of course, but the pieces you build theology on) makes it impossible for you to consider the most obvious and logical interpretation.

That is, that the story is told in such a way as to whitewash Pilate a bit and avoid incurring the wrath of the Roman occupation. 

If you considered that possibility, you might develop arguments for or against. But your assumptions prevent that, without you realizing it.   
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« Reply #3076 on: Today at 06:46 AM »

Your view of the Bible as literal and inerrant (not the whole thing, of course, but the pieces you build theology on) makes it impossible for you to consider the most obvious and logical interpretation.

That is, that the story is told in such a way as to whitewash Pilate a bit and avoid incurring the wrath of the Roman occupation. 

If you considered that possibility, you might develop arguments for or against. But your assumptions prevent that, without you realizing it.   

I don't think that the NT "whitewashes" Pilate.  It displays him as a rather self-interested guy who only wants to save his own skin.  It actually fits very well with an Augustinian view of human nature, which I believe that the Bible teaches.

I'm quite aware that my presuppositions limit me from some ways of understanding the text.  However, they also force me to look more carefully at what the text is actually saying, since I believe it comes from God and can't just be dismissed in relevancy by fanciful historical reinterpretations.
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