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[apologetics and theology] Re: But the Problem Remains, follow up

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  • blackmane7979
    ... Well, I have not had time to say this before, but how is this for a subject? It behooves you to consider whether you need to learn not to insult people s
    Message 1 of 75 , Mar 2, 2005
      --- In apologetics@yahoogroups.com, Kwame <yusefii@y...> wrote:

      Well, I have not had time to say this before, but how is this for a
      subject? It behooves you to consider whether you need to learn not to
      insult people's intelligence, need to learn not to forget to give
      people the benefit of the
      doubt when you or anyone else should, need to work on your memory and
      hermeneutical skills (don't we all?), and need to lay off the
      psychoanalysis since you do in fact overestimate your abilities here,
      though you undoubtedly do not act of malice or ill will?

      JB
      I have no ill will towards you are anyone here. Furthermore, you
      have no reason for even suggesting it. I have impugned no one's
      *intelligence*. Bias has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with
      *intelligence*. I think you have been insulting, however, about the
      character of some others. I am not bothered by it.

      I simply wish to correct your assertions below, where needed.

      1. I referred to the researched historical state of Jews
      contemporaneous with Jesus. I cited the historical documents that
      describe the disparate but related expectations of a Messiah,
      including the Septuagint and its interpolations, along with most
      other extra-biblical sources. You, conversely, cited your
      assumptions as to what was Jewish expectations.I personally prefer
      the historical record over your assumptions, but you
      can believe what you will, of course.

      2. This verse would ordinarily be decided upon what is the semantic
      range of the term "god" and its qualitative synonyms in use here. I
      cited only one instance, among many, of how the term was used by Jews
      and Jesus alike to refer to something other than the God of the OT.
      Uses of THEOS/ELOHIM was commonly made for angels, judges and
      others for whom there was deemed an appropriate correspondence to
      certain qualitative aspects of what constitutes *a god*. Jesus
      himself reminded the Jews of this. It was just part of the jargon of
      the times.

      John 10:33 uses the accusative anarthrous form THEON which can
      very well refer to the qualitative aspect of belonging to a class of
      entities known as "gods" in the Jewish mind of the time. If the Jews
      had meant the God of the OT they could well have included the
      definite article to so specify a proper name of reference. They did
      not. You ignore this altogether and deal with it from an English
      translation with an interpretation of your own choosing.

      3. You seem to claim not to ignore Greek grammar, but when
      interpreting John 8:58 you provide two English translations which
      do precisely do just that, and then justify your *future perfect* by
      suggesting Jesus might be speaking with something like baby talk or
      English idiom (Me want juice, With this ring, I thee wed). But you
      provide no internal evidence for that, apart from your mere claim.
      There is no reason to think that Jesus was speaking baby-talk,
      idiomatic English, or something similar. If there was an idiom
      recorded it would have been a Greek idiom (irrespective of
      whatever form of Aramaic Jesus may actually have spoken,
      unless you presume that what Jesus said in Aramaic is different
      from the Greek record we do have), and the only Greek idiom
      that remotely fits is the PPA. But you haven't discussed the
      PPA at all here. You just assume something else.

      4. I cited only two of many examples of OT judges/prophets who
      were accused of blasphemy and threatened with death or killed just
      for the message they bore, and not for claiming to be the God of the
      OT. There was a long history of this. You just claim that the Jews
      of Jesus' day weren't like them and would only have stoned Jesus
      for claiming he was the God of the OT (your argument fails if Jesus
      and the Jews used "gods" to refer to other than the God of the OT
      since it would be implicit that the Jews had something other than
      that it mind). All charges against Jesus were characterized as his
      claiming to be the "Christ", the Messiah, the Son of God and Son
      of Man, none of which implied to the Jewish mind that he was
      claiming to be the God of the OT. If there was such an implication
      you could show it exactly. You just claim it. You call your
      assumptions "probablistic" although you do not refer to any of the
      contemporaneous Jewish historical sources I mentioned, Jesus
      own use of the term "gods" and the bible narrative itself in using
      "Christ" and Messiah, and not Jesus as the God of the OT.

      5. There were many claiming Messiahs among the Jews then.
      Some claimed "Messianic" political authority in the name of God
      and were killed, sometimes after seizure attempts. There was just
      more than one reason for stoning or killing "false" messiahs at
      that time. If you were genuinely interested you could check the
      sources I referred, or various books written about them. I just
      did a google search for something on the net and found this;

      http://www.christian-thinktank.com/messiah.html

      6. I did NOT say the Jews stoned Jesus for claiming to be 2000 years
      old. I said this was `part' of his stupendous claim to be the Messiah
      which the Jews disbelieved. You write to me as though I had not
      even said this, after repeating myself several times. Jesus claimed
      to be the Christ, the Messiah, to have pre-existed Abraham as *that*
      person, and not to have been The God of the OT in the Jewish mind.
      I am tired of repeating myself here while you seem to wish to ignore
      what I did say.

      7. You used the word "divine". You used the word as referencing
      the Jewish mindset toward Jesus. You claimed the Jewish mindset
      toward Jesus was that he was claiming to be "GOD" as formally
      equivalent to the expression "Son of God". If you did not
      intend for "divine" to refer to "God" or the God of the OT
      then your argument does not lead there. Your argument leads
      to the conclusions you yourself presented. You argue that
      Jesus is claiming to have and will exist always and eternally
      as an intensional orientation of what is a "divine" thing. If
      it is NOT this you failed to say what it DOES refer then, nor
      do you argue for something else either, of course.

      8. Your claim that you are interpreting John 8:58 on the basis
      of what you hold to be what the rest of the gospels and other
      relevant books say about Jesus is mere INTERPRETATION,
      your claims otherwise notwithstanding. Alternative believers
      are just as familiar with the REST of scripture as are you, and
      they use the very same argument -- that the rest of the bible
      supports their own exegesis of this verse -- that you are now
      using. You just think you are right; they just think they are
      right. Each instance must be decided upon its own internal
      merits. Your position actually entails that a person must
      already know who and what Jesus is before he can understand
      what any particular verse means, so a reader is not misled by
      any ungrammatical and tortured use of language Jesus may
      have been reported to have used. You hermeneutical principle
      is an assumed a priori rather than a genuine textual critical
      consideration of a text as it is actually written. This so-called
      principle of yours amounts in practice to theological importation
      of your own presups as the a priori tool for exegeting the bible.
      This is not scholarly, and is the evidence itself of internal bias
      influencing how the bible is to be "read". Now I am not saying
      whether bias is a good or a bad thing, but that it is clearly
      present here in your interpretations of the bible, disguised as
      even a hermeneutic capable of uncovering tortured use of language
      expressing ideas. As long as you allow this for anyone who
      uses it himself you may at least be consistent. I quite doubt that
      you do however, allow the JWs, certain modalists and others the
      same "hermeneutic" tool, unless you also think that scripture can
      itself be innately self-contradictory without penalty.

      What happens in "dialogues" like this is that one side will start
      referring to other bible texts that "show" his theological overlay
      of John 8:58 is "correctly" exegeted. But that text is also objected
      by the other side that it properly states what it is held to assert
      for this reason or that reason. Then they go off to additional texts
      which act to "explain" the "proper" exegesis of the prior verse and
      we are then met with the same sort of objection, back and forth.
      And so on. At some point, one finally begins to allow the bible to
      read according to its own grammatical, syntactic and semantic
      structure PRIOR to overlaying it with other "exegeted" theological
      views, or at least admitting that such overlays are made. Whether
      or not some overlay is considered justified obtains from
      whether one accepts the overlayed theology or not.

      9. JWs believe that Christ is "divine" but not The God of the OT,
      so simply calling some entity "divine" does not differentiate the
      argument here nor the common semantic range of the term "god"
      of which you make no attempt.

      10. You said, "(What, do you think that
      it is my theological view that Christ is God that causes me not to
      use some of other people's arguments for Christ's divinity since I
      doubt the soundness of those arguments? Ah, you didn't know about
      that, did you?) I don't know what you believe, but it is not
      relevant to your *argument*, since the theological overlay works the
      same according to your *argument* whether you happen to believe it or
      not. You seem to enjoy "cryptic-speak" here. Other than to parody
      your efforts I do not.

      11. You asked, ": Even if Christ Semitically spoke in a non-vague,
      non-ambiguous manner to the crowd of John 8:58 in expressing the
      proposition that He is God or that He will always have existed or
      that He is omnitemporal or that He is divine
      (without being a god as YHWH is a god), why would John compose John
      8:58 in a way that should be translated more or less as "...Before
      Abraham was born, I have existed"? This would be a fair question to
      ask, and I told you before that I am not strongly dogmatic about John
      8:58."

      Because the Jews asked him how it was that he, Jesus, not being 50
      years old, had seen Abraham. Jesus' reply was that he pre-existed
      Abraham's coming to be born and so could have logically seen him.

      You claim some kind of grammatical passion I think. Where is it here?
      You make absolutely no attempt at any kind of grammatical analysis of
      the verses. What is the grammatical relation of the dependent clause
      to the main clause? If it's adjunct then the main clause does not
      need the dependent clause to demonstrate what???? *omnitemporality*?
      BUT it NEEDS the dependent clause to even remotely suggest this,
      since "I am" simply says that Jesus exists irrespective of length. IF
      you suggest that the main clause is the Greek equivalent to some ANI
      HU designate of God of the OT (Isaiah particularly) then it would
      be recognized as a claim to BEING GOD HIMSELF independent of
      any other statement by Jesus whatsoever, including the dependent
      clause. However, Jesus had already used EGO EIMI in verse 24.
      Yet the Jews had no idea of it as a reference to The God (ANI HU)
      since in the next verse they asked Jesus, "Who are you?", taking
      the EGO EIMI expression NOT to refer to some hypothesized
      first century Jewish reference to The God of the OT. This even
      follows Jesus' statements that "I am from the realms above . . .
      I am not from this world, . . . If you do not believe that I am he
      (EGO EIMI), you will die in your sins." The Jews took the
      EGO EIMI clause to refer to an ordinary human sentence that
      purports to express something about a speaker, by using the
      most common human words "I am he".

      So what is the main clause verb here, Kwame? Is it existential
      or copulative, adjunct or complementary, a predicate absolute
      or predicate determined by grammar/context? If Jesus had simply
      repeated himself again and responded to the Jews question of
      how he could have seen Abraham and said, "I am", what
      would that mean to those Jews? Jesus had already said that
      "I am (he, implied)" without a reaction by the Jews that he was
      claiming an implied ANI HU status of some kind equal to God.
      Why would they now think it meant something they did not
      think it meant 3 minutes earlier??? Who did Jesus say he was?
      Verse 12, "I am the light of the world. He that follows me . .
      will possess the light of life," from "his Father", being the
      son of God. "I am he" can antecedently refer to the actual word
      used by Jesus himself as he spoke, where "he" refers to "light
      of the world".

      12. You have no knowledge of the extent of my educational
      background in psychology, neurophilosophy or the related
      sciences, so you are not able to evince an opinion beyond
      critiquing the content of my messages, and not my character
      as you have. You just speak of things about which you know
      nothing when you make such comments.

      13. So your position seems to be (at least as far as your *argument*
      is presented whether it is your actual belief or not) something of
      which you have stated your case in very general terms of which I have
      presented an alternative point of view (which does not entail that
      I believe it either). I think your purpose is to discover what is the
      *truth* here, where my purpose is to determine how it is that
      different perceptions of *truth* emerge in the first place. We seem
      to have different views on which is valuable or not. From my
      perspective my purpose lends itself to understanding the content
      of what your purpose wishes to entail, where yours does not
      accomplish the same of mine. You have no interest in that,
      apparently. But it seems to me that neither do you have any
      apparent interest in the actual grammatical structure of this
      verse, if you can *interpret* it according to what you think is
      the meaning of other biblical texts. While you show that there
      are certain instances of grammatical exceptions in speech you
      do NOT explain how this is such an instance, what it precisely
      consists and how we know it to refer to what you may suggest
      it refers explicitly. Your whole argument reduces to placing
      your interpretation of other biblical verses upon how you hold
      this verse to be interpreted, grammar be damned.

      Now I have nothing derogatory to say about this myself. I
      am not interested in persuading you to think differently. Your
      view is quite all right with me, for you. But it is not my view.
      That does not entail to me that you are less intelligent or
      otherwise deficient in some moral perspective. So I have no
      names to call you. I just think your arguments are not sufficient
      to justify what you hold them to justify, based purely on your
      arguments alone. I gave reasons. I don't see where you have
      argued them, or even mentioned them beyond your assumptions.
      That's fine with me. You seem to believe that you have.

      So unless you have something very precise and specific to
      say about the grammar of the verse, the semantic ranges of terms
      used as jargon of that time, all contextual considerations
      placed within the sourced historical representations of Jewish
      beliefs from that period then I don't think this dialogue is
      going anywhere, and I would give you the last word on it.
      If you have something specific to say then that may be worth
      considering a response.

      Best wishes;

      John Blackman


      balance of referenced post;

      Kwame
      Do you honestly think I'm so stupid, unmindful, or corrupt to as to
      forget or
      ignore grammatical rules, as if Baalema Kwame Eliyahu, the king of
      grammatical
      rules himself (I say that in jest, of course), would forget or ignore
      these?
      (Well, apparently you do, as noted below.)

      Do you honestly think that I would be so sloppy as to comment on
      something that
      I have not read, as I did not know that such a thing is a mistake and
      that such
      things can come back to haunt a person? Moreover, do you honestly
      think I had
      not gotten the vast majority of what you had written, or do you
      honestly think
      that I should have read the last two to three lines as if one of the
      last of
      them was a "Oh, by the way, I was just kidding about all of what I
      just said"?
      (endnote 1)

      Could it be, in the meantime, that after I said that I would attempt
      to explain
      or talk about things in a different way, lest I appear to be lazy,
      that I really
      did explain things in a clear way and that for some reason one of
      your blind
      spots (which we all seem to have; don't you think Peter Pike, Kwame,
      Bowman,
      Beduhn, etc. have blind spots?) were not involved in the issue of
      John 8:58
      which you raised? (endnote 2)

      Sorry to see that you assume the worst here.


      And now to speak frankly, you actually do seem to have trouble
      understanding
      clear things. Example:

      <<
      > > 1) Presumably, first-century Jews will attempt to stone someone
      > only as apparently prescribed by the Law, and presumably they will
      > not put themselves in a precarious situation such that other people
      > observe their trying to kill someone as occasioned by their hearing
      a
      > sentence not lending itself to swift, sound interpretation (whether
      > by vaguness, ambiguity, or strangeness.*

      JB
      No one has implied that the listening Jews did not perceive Jesus
      words and felt motivated by them to stone him, or that ambiguity was
      an issue to them at the time.>>

      Well, duh, and so why should I not be amazed?


      Moreover, one should have given me the benefit of the doubt (if I am
      not
      speaking too vaguely) in the following case, to cite one case, since
      premise #1
      of the revised argument of a few posts ago indicated that I always
      thought that
      cases like that of the cliff of Nazareth and the one you which
      mention below are
      not analogous:

      <<> > 2) Christ's claiming to have judicial authority or something
      like
      > this is not a reason for which they would have stoned him.

      JB
      Covered above under the broad Jewish perceptions of "god"
      and "divine" and related concepts. However, your statement is not
      factually true, according to Jewish history. There were many judges
      and prophets threatened and/or killed just for their message as a
      judge or prophet, quite apart from any claim to being the "God" of
      the OT. For instance, from Jeremiah 26;>>

      <<1) Presumably, first-century Jews will attempt to stone someone
      only as apparently prescribed by the Law, and presumably they will
      not put themselves in a precarious situation such that other people
      observe their trying to kill someone as occasioned by their hearing a
      sentence not lending itself to swift, sound interpretation (whether
      by vaguness, ambiguity, or strangeness.*>>

      I said "first-century Jews," first of all, which throws into question
      whether
      the Jews of earlier times are even relevant since they are not first-
      century
      Jews. Moreover--and consider this enthymemic if you will, given the
      religious
      character of first-century Jews--many people of the time were
      religious, and
      idolatry and corruption so characteristic of fallen man would now
      often be
      somewhat covert and hidden in the new, post-exilic community of
      Hebrews,
      especially in the religious leaders; it is doubtful that that they
      would have
      acted as did anyone in Jeremiah 26; instead, if they stone someone
      then they
      will have done so only with the semblance of the stoning's being in
      accord with
      the Law of Moses, unless probablistic thinking is now useless in life
      or someone
      other than you finds a problem with my line of reasoning (which I am
      willing to
      entertain, actually; I am sure some of the work of this Beduhn guy is
      not hard
      to find).

      But the real point is that in view of premise #1, you should have
      given the
      benefit of the doubt given what you surely know of first-century Jews
      and given
      what was said as part of premise #1. Jeremiah 26 at the most only
      weakens my
      argument (which I have not presented as dogma, I would like to point
      out), not
      disproves it out of hand.


      In the meantime, do not be surprised if I say that I am amazed at
      responses such
      as that which follows:

      <<K
      > > 3) Christ's claiming to have properties other than divine
      > properties is not such a reason for which they would have stoned
      him.
      > > 4) On the other hand, a man's claiming to be divine would be a
      > reason for which they would have stoned him if they demonstrably
      did
      > not believe that he was divine.

      JB
      The "presumptions" of both 3 and 4 are themselves false. Relevance
      to this instance is not shown at all.>>

      What? People would not have had people stoned to death for claiming
      to be
      divine? Do I instead have to be so precise as to say, "Well, some or
      most of
      them would have tried to stone people who claimed to be divine?"


      Anyway, there is something else that I also feel like responding to:

      <<JB
      Is not nearly the only reason for stoning, nor even required to meet
      the conditions here, as shown above. Merely false claims to be the
      Messiah and Christ and to have claimed a pre-Abrahamic lifespan while
      yet being a *man* is sufficient reason without claiming to be the God
      of the OT.>>

      Part of this statement is too strong for reasons that we have already
      gone into,
      but where did you demonstrate that one's claiming to be alive before
      Abraham
      could get him killed? Are you now assuming and guessing as you claim
      I have?


      But then you also said:

      <<K
      > > 14) It is not blasphemy to claim to have any judicial authority
      > from God and it is not blasphemy to claim to have a special mission
      > from God.

      JB
      But it can be, as demonstrated repeatedly in the OT and Jewish
      history, when it is perceived that a judge or prophet claiming to
      speak for God does not. Jesus' claim to an extended life pre-dating
      Abraham is itself sufficient, without any need to claim he has always
      existed. That is K's theological assumption not supported by Jewish
      history or the OT accounts of prophets/judges.>>

      Well, of course the last part is false (and I later respond to such
      an idea as
      strongly as I should), but I would be interested in seeing an
      argument for the
      notion that Christ's claiming to have been around since some pre-
      Abrahamic time
      would have been a sufficient cause for people's trying to stone him,
      something
      which was not obvious last time around. (Why get upset enough to kill
      someone
      if he claims to be 2000 years old? Is that so bad?) Actually, same
      goes for
      the claims of OT and Jewish history: if you can quote the sources,
      I'd be
      willing to take a look in my free time.


      And there was something else:

      <<K
      > > 17) In Mark 14:61, Matthew 16:16 and elsewhere the
      > name/word "Christ" seems to precede the appostive phrase "the Son
      of
      > God" or something like this.

      JB
      Nonsense. Because Alexander the Great was "great" does not infer that
      ice cream cannot be "great" in conventional use, an altogether
      different intensional orientation of great. The "Son of God" in no
      way inferred to those Jewish minds the identical referent as the God
      of the OT.>>

      Well, I was going to say "false analogy" at first, but then after
      reading this
      again I don't follow you. Now you know.



      But wait, there's more since you also said:

      <<> JB
      > You are assuming and guessing what was the historical state of the
      > Jewish community in its beliefs about the Messiah. You are
      assuming
      > and guessing that such terms as "god" and "divine" were used then
      by
      > them the same way you theologically use them today. >>

      No, that is silly, for I never claimed that anyone used the
      word "divine," a
      formal equivalent thereof, or any similar adjective in any particular
      way though
      you have heard me use the word "divine."


      More:

      <<> This possible interpretation depends upon the conventionally
      accepted
      > range of the term "god" in the Jewish mind in those days. There
      are
      > many supportive statements, including Jesus' own statement here,
      that
      > show such a conventional semantic range. Therefore, your limiting
      > inferences of what is "god" and "divine" below are not predicated
      of
      > the actual argument used by others against you. They amount to
      straw
      > men type of argument,>>

      What? Straw men you say?


      Possibly to be filed under the category of not understanding clear
      things:

      <<> As for your Greek claims, they are most certainly false. They are
      > false in any language I know that relies upon verbal tense or
      verbal
      > typing like acktionsart. You postively cannot obtain a future
      > perfect from the present tense verb. You can believe this if you
      > wish, but no scholar does. There is a Greek idiom that is commonly
      > used called the PPA, but NO Greek idiom that refers to a future
      > perfect present. Period. The reason is obvious. If I began
      > reading "Moby Dick" before breakfast this morning, someone could
      say,
      > Are you reading "Moby Dick" this morning? I might say, Before
      > breakfast I am reading this book. In English, that is very awkward,
      > and suggests I was only reading *before* breakfast. But if I
      intend
      > to mean that I began to read the book before breakfast and have
      > continued reading it to the present moment in English which does
      not
      > have the PPA Greek idiom, I would say, I have been reading this
      book
      > since before I ate breakfast this morning. That is the function of
      > the PPA in Greek using a present tense verb. The verb says
      > the "nature" of the action, and the action is one of which I am
      > currently engaged, and the PRIN ("before") dependent clause tells
      > when the action is said to have either begun or from which it is
      said
      > to have emerged without specifying a beginning as such. It is
      > *possible* that I could have said this in Greek when it was the
      case
      > that I have always been reading the book since I began to read many
      > years before breakfast. The verb does not *exclude* this
      > possibility. But neither does it *imply* this to be the case
      either.
      > One cannot use this instance to imply that I have been reading the
      > book any significant time beyond "before I ate breakfast".
      > It *can* be the case, but the verb does not say nor infer it. To
      say
      > that it does is "interpretation" and overlaying the meaning of a
      text
      > based upon one's in-place theological beliefs. One, in Greek, can
      > absolutely NOT supportively claim that my statement *can* mean, I
      > will have always been reading this book since before breakfast, any
      > more than one can say, I have always been existing (in this present
      > moment -- "omnitemporal") since before Abraham was born (or I will
      > always have been existing, etc, future perfect). In fact, none of
      > those statements is even sensible.>>

      Well, at this point you've told me nothing new of the verb category
      at issue
      here. Nevertheless, I do not know that what you say of scholars is
      true since
      obviously there *are* scholars who do not share Beduhn's view of John
      8:58.
      Those of them who do know of John 8:58 might even agree with what I
      have said
      before and will say again right now. For whatever it is worth, that
      the wording
      of the verse probably is awkward if there is no PPA; you have never
      heard me say
      otherwise. But I will also reiterate that as much as you, or Beduhn,
      or anyone
      might like to find comfort in the idea that because 80% or 90% or
      99.5% of the
      use of various linguistic constructions carries a certain meaning it
      will always
      have that meaning, the idea is false. Consider the rule that tells us
      that
      direct object pronouns always follow the verb in English declarative
      statements
      as contrasted with the common line "With this ring, I thee wed."
      There is a
      direct object there, and there is a verb, but the
      direct object ain't "wed." Now consider the three-year-old child who
      points to
      a carton of orange juice and says something on the order of "Me want
      juice."
      The rules tell us that it should be that the child is telling us that
      he or she
      is wanted by something since he is using a subject pronoun here, but
      if we
      accept an application of the rule in this case, then we must believe
      that the
      child is telling us that juice wants him or her, which is absurd. If
      there are
      exceptions with one language, and there are, then it may be that
      there are
      exceptions with other languages, and indeed there are as the
      anecdotal example
      of use of feminine pronouns with reference to males in some parts of
      South
      America comes to mind.

      Oh no! If we admit that this is true, then the JWs will always have
      good reason
      to say that Christ is not God, and trinitarians will always have good
      reason to
      say that Christ is God, and Mormons will always have good reason to
      say that
      there are many gods proper! Nonsense. Descriptive rules of grammar
      first of
      all are just that--descriptive. Secondly, they are things of
      inductive or
      probablistic reasoning. If I flip a coin 10,000 times and it comes up
      heads
      every time, and if I know there is a tails side, then it should (not
      to say
      *must*) come up heads next time. If "me" is used as direct object
      pronoun 99.9%
      of the time out of 10 million instances of its being used in a
      certain way, then
      it should be that next time it is used, functionally it will be a
      direct object
      pronoun. On the contrary, if I flip a heads/tails coin 10,000 times
      and it
      comes up heads every time, I had better have a pretty good reason,
      even an
      outstanding one, to say that it should not be that next time
      the coin will land on tails. And good reasons sometimes arise in the
      game of
      linguistics. Somebody tells me that "me" always is a direct object
      pronoun, and
      I ask him about children still in the process of L1 language
      acquisition or
      about idiomatic "It's just me, myself and I." Somebody tells me
      that "all men"
      always refers to all people, and I ask him about Paul's talking about
      being all
      things to all men that he might win some. It's all about having good
      reasons to
      violate, as it were, the rules and about following sound principles
      of inductive
      or probablistic reasoning. Do such reasons exist, for example, with
      regard to
      the Trinity? No, though some would like to think otherwise. Do such
      things
      exist with regard to John 8:58? Well, you know what I for one think.


      On a similar note, you said:

      <<K
      > > 9) If it should be that present PPA is used in John 8:58, then it
      > should be that present PPA is used in John 8:58.
      > > 10) However, the proposition that something *should* be is not
      the
      > proposition that a thing *must* be.

      JB
      The question is NOT answered by conjecture as you argue here, but by
      actual exegesis of the verses in question. Whether the text is
      contingent (should) or necessary (must) obtains from the text itself,
      not your personal conjectures layered over the text. You simply
      don't deal with the text itself, but your personal conjectures about
      your personal intuitions about what you *feel* determining what you
      can't possibly know without consideration of the text itself.>>

      Right, I don't deal with the text, even though I freely make mention
      of tense
      used in one verse, make mention of issues surrounding that tense,
      call you on
      misunderstanding of what I have said about the verse, etc. And yes,
      the kind of
      probablistic reasoning that informs me that the three-year-old child
      who points
      at a carton of orange juice and says, "Me want juice" is not
      expressing a
      proposition that something wants the child (even though grammatical
      rules
      dictate otherwise unless set aside under certain circumstances), the
      kind of
      probablistic reasoning that tells us that most bank robbers won't
      stick around
      to do a ten-minute song and dance number before bank cameras before
      they try to
      make a getaway--that's all useles personal conjecture, right? Well,
      maybe you
      don't do think they are useless after all, but you do seem to forget
      that
      epistemology is the horse leading the cart of linguistics. The
      average bank
      robber will not waste a gross amount of time when he robs a bank,
      the average person or average Jew will not act in certain ways under
      certain
      circumstances, and the next time I hear someone in the year 2005
      say, "This is
      for you and I," even though that sounds stupid and "I" used to be
      more or less
      exclusively a subject pronoun, chances are excellent that it is not
      being said
      that the speaker is the agent of some particular action! These are
      things you
      should have seen by now, and should I not be amazed at your not
      seeing them?
      Oh, but wait; you also said:

      <<K
      > > 12) Epistemology informs the work of hermeneutics and
      > interpretation of spoken words such that descriptive rules of
      grammar
      > are mere rules of thumb as in cases of semantic extension. For
      > example, if the first person in the course of the history of the
      > English language to use the word "meat" with a mere intension of
      > muscle tissue (for it used to mean *food*) said at first, "I like
      all
      > kinds of food, but I don't like meat," then the person who was
      there
      > for this historical occasion would do well in this case to reason
      > that the speaker has not just contradicted himself.

      JB
      But you don't show how this is relevant to the text itself, that this
      has happened in this text. It hasn't as far as anyone else has ever
      claimed. No one but you here appears to throw out grammar as being
      subordinate to his theological in-place beliefs, or at least not
      overtly. That would mean that anyone can claim any sentence says any
      non-grammatical thing he wishes it to say because his theological
      views demand it.>>

      WHAT??? What makes you think Kwame's like, "Oh no, if I lose John
      8:58, then I
      won't have any reason to believe or say that Christ is divine, yet I
      want to
      believe and to say it. I will fight JB tooth-and-nail to defend the
      honor of
      John 8:58!"? What statement, what cue, what would-be clue ever gave
      you any
      epistemic justification for saying that???!!! What "personal
      conjectures" or
      "personal inuitions" compelled you? And do you honestly think I need
      John 8:58
      or need to believe that Christ is divine? If so, why?


      Oh, but there's more though. You also said:

      <<K
      > > 13) Where a fast commitment to descriptive rules of grammar cause
      > us to believe that something strongly unlikely to occur has
      occurred,
      > we probably have erred, and an inevitable exception to the rule has
      > been met.

      JB
      The use of a Greek PPA in no way demonstrates any exceptions to any
      grammatical rules that suggest it ought to be ignored as the device
      that carries meaning here. Only your personal theological overlays
      so suggest this.>>

      No, Dr. Freud. Please see the paragraphs that I wrote immediately
      above and you
      will see that on this particular count, you have misread your
      subject. And I
      will say pretty much the same below since you said:

      <<K
      > > 18) Meanwhile, in John, chapter ten the Jews say that
      Jesus "makes
      > himself God," so to speak, seemingly in response to his having
      > said, "I am God's Son." In other words, therein the Jews seemingly
      > take Christ's statement to express or at least imply the
      proposition
      > that he is God.

      JB
      That is interpretation of your theological view. Again you ignore
      verses 34-36 where Jesus classes himself among those who are "gods"
      as conventionally descriptive, quite distinct from The God, and who
      is yet more distinct as claiming only to be the "Son of God", and not
      The God of the OT. In fact, Jesus' entire argument to the Jews
      depends entirely upon the *semantic range* of "god" as being a God-
      given title or description for the judges and others who are not The
      God himself of the OT, which you continue to minimize if not ignore
      altogether.>>

      No, doctor, you do not know what goes on in my head. (What, do you
      think that
      it is my theological view that Christ is God that causes me not to
      use some of
      other people's arguments for Christ's divinity since I doubt the
      soundness of
      those arguments? Ah, you didn't know about that, did you?) Now, it
      may be that my account of verses of John 10 is mistaken, but do not
      say that
      I ignore verses that I do not ignore and which I have already
      addressed in a
      perfectly clear manner in the past. If I didn't stop to check myself
      and make
      sure I wasn't speaking too hastily I would call you a liar.



      More sloppiness:

      <<> > 20) On (1-3), and with (19) notwithstanding, there was no good
      > reason for the Jews to try to stone Christ in John 8 though on (1)
      it
      > must be that they had a good reason, relatively speaking.
      > > 21) Considerations of present PPA notwithstanding, Christ's words
      > in John 8:58 sound like a sentence which expresses the proposition
      > that he will always have existed, regardless of how he tends to
      view
      > or experience time or matters thereof.

      JB
      You have not shown at all how anything beyond a period of time
      extending from pre-Abramhic birth to speaking constitutes "always
      have existed", or that the super-human but limited period of time was
      insufficient to have motivated the Jews to kill. Instead, you
      *assume* what you think is required and then interpret the text to
      fit your assumptions. Whether your conclusions are true or false,
      they are circular, beg the question, and overlook both grammar and
      the historical views of the Sanhedrin and the Jewish community at
      large, replaced by your theology.
      >>

      Nuff said. I hope by now you know why I was amazed.


      Finally, you said:

      <<K
      > > 22) Therefore, the scales of probability appear to be tipped in
      > favor of the notion that no present PPA is used in John 8:58.

      JB
      That's remarkable. You use your theological assumptions to deny that
      the grammar of a verse has any influence on how that verse is to be
      structured and understood.

      Believe what you want.

      I don't think these objections "heavy-handed", but appropriate, given
      that we are attempting to determine what happened and what the verses
      say and mean. To assert that referring to the actual documented
      historical beliefs of the Jewish community at that time is "heavy-
      handed" seems self-defeating if what we pursue is the true cognitive
      state of Jewish beliefs then. Once learning them, are we to ignore
      them? Are we to ignore Jesus own arguments about the use of "gods"
      as a descriptive term for certain ones other than The God? Why? How
      do you justify that? Are we really to ignore grammar, as though
      Jesus was resorting to bad linguistic constructions, or more
      precisely improper linguistic expresssions bearing no correspondance
      with what that construction ordinarily shows? How do you justify
      that with a literate Jesus?

      JB
      >>
      Now I want to call you a sloppy liar, but I would again be speaking
      too hastily,
      and so I will instead let it suffice merely to say that your work is
      at times
      slovenly sloppy and that you say false things unjustifiably. No, I do
      not deny
      that grammar has no relevance to the matter of heremeneutics, and you
      should
      already have known better to say this. Look, I do not know what the
      problem is
      here, but you really have shown a capacity for treating other people's
      statements in an irresponsible way. I don't know; maybe you yourself
      want it to
      be true that PPA is used in John 8:58; or maybe Kwame is now a
      representative of
      all people that you have disagree with in the past concerning the
      issue of John
      8:58. I cannot say, but I can say that you should know better than to
      have said
      some things that you have said lately. If you are someone who likes
      to study
      belief-formation or something similar, then I encourage you to do the
      same *with
      regard to yourself.* There's no excuse for some
      of what has gone on here, even if I do fail at times to be as clear as
      possible.

      Finally, I will answer your final question or query here though I
      have already
      spoken to the issue at least twice before as I talked about Christ's
      speaking
      something other than Greek, Greek's not being identical with any
      Semitic
      language, and the fact that Biblical authors sometimes used ambiguous
      language,
      if anyone would claim that the construction of one language will be
      as clear as
      another. I will throw your series of questions out in favor of a
      better
      question: Even if Christ Semitically spoke in a non-vague, non-
      ambiguous manner
      to the crowd of John 8:58 in expressing the proposition that He is
      God or that
      He will always have existed or that He is omnitemporal or that He is
      divine
      (without being a god as YHWH is a god), why would John compose John
      8:58 in a
      way that should be translated more or less as "...Before Abraham was
      born, I
      have existed"? This would be a fair question to ask, and I told you
      before that
      I am not strongly dogmatic about John 8:58. Come to think of
      it, the formal construction of the verse may well be a good
      reflection of what
      words Christ actually used, and with this being the case, right along
      with *the
      old concerns that we would have to conclude that absurd states of
      affairs once
      were,* I suppose that a more thoroughgoing look at the issue,
      something like Dr.
      White's "Purpose and Meaning of `Ego Eimi' in the Gospel of John In
      Reference to
      the Deity of Christ," should be undertaken before the court adjourns
      with any
      final decision.

      So, you can do with that response what you will, BUT, do not let this
      be a
      distraction from all of what was said before it. Sure, it takes hours
      to
      compose a good e-mail, it take a long time to read such e-mail, and
      in between
      mistakes can be made both in composition and in interpretation. But
      there just
      isn't any excuse for missing entire paragraphs like *two times* and
      going as far
      as to declare that someone thinks and speaks as he does for certain
      theological
      reasons when he hasn't given a shred of any indication that he has
      acted for
      those reasons, to cite only two examples. If I too may play the role
      of
      psychologist here, it looks to me that you want it to be that PPA is
      used in
      John 8:58.

      Thanks for your time.
      Bye.
      -Kwame
      _______
      ENDNOTES

      1 <<> Dude, I didn't even bother finishing reading what you just said
      here.

      JB
      Then you really have no intelletual or moral justification for
      commenting on something you have not read.>>


      2 <<K
      It is clear enough that you keep on missing certain points that I
      have made, misconstruing things that I have said, and missing the
      import of other things that I have written.

      JB
      Then you might make a clear effort to show exactly how, where and
      why.>>
    • Kwame
      Message 75 of 75 , Mar 8, 2005
        << Brother John, I'm sure you already know this. Can such a thing be
        explained? We can only apprehend G-d, not comprehend Him. Only those
        pretending comprehension or pretending Him comprehensible would attempt
        to explain the multi-personality of the one true G-d or claim to
        undertand Him as such. He did make it easy for us though, we just have
        to obey and worship Him. :-) >>

        Well gee, nobody gets mad if a pastor in the pulpit or a layman on an e-mail list states that God is good, that God is holy, that God is merciful, that God has other properties or attributes, or that there are certain relations that obtain, for example, between Christ and the person to whom He prayed--namely, for example, that Christ is the son of that person and that Christ is the crucified son raised from the dead by that same person. Ah, but for some reason when it comes to matters of the Trinity and questions of what relations obtain between Christ, his Father, and the Spirit, all of a sudden people want to be like, "Oh, you just can�t comprehend God. Oh, you just can�t explain the Trinity. It cannot be explained." This is a transparent cop-out, something said by people who personally do not understand things and who therefore want to say that no one can understand *even in principle* and are unwilling (perhaps from laziness) to do the hard work of losing sleep and losing
        free time in testing theory after theory until they finally come up with an account of the situation that withstands all possible scrutiny. (Notice that nowhere in that sentence did I use the word "only." I�ve not pointed the finger at anyone on this list here, though if the shoe fits it should be worn.)

        Again, this is a cop-out, and if it does not matter that Biblical authors apparently contradict themselves such that members of the Trinity are represented as being both identical and unidentical with each other, then what on earth gives any trinitarian the right to try to indoctrinate or persuade others that Oneness Pentecostals have an errant theology? What makes trinitarian absurdity any better than Oneness absurdity?

        -Kwame

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