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Re: [XTalk] Supernatural?

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Mike, The reason I brought this up was that you were examining the foundational mission statements of institutions of higher learning as if they
    Message 1 of 104 , Mar 2, 2003
      At 07:36 AM 2/27/2003 +0000, Mike Grondin wrote:
      >... I had forgotten about the evolution of public schools,
      >but it's undeniable that pretty much everything that's now secular
      >originally arose under the aegis of religion. In the distant past,
      >even so "pure" a field of study as mathematics was considered to
      >belong to the realm of the mystical. We've evolved somewhat since
      >then, and in fact I perceive the (eventual) separation of secular
      >from faith-based history to be a matter of evolution as well.

      The reason I brought this up was that you were examining the foundational
      mission statements of institutions of higher learning as if they
      represented some sinister plot to delude their students. If you look at the
      original mission statement of Harvard University, I think you'll find
      something similar. So now that you're crediting public schools with having
      "evolved," I trust that you will stop citing old mission statements as
      evidence of current corrupt purposes.

      >... I thought we agreed that impartiality should be reached for, even if
      >not ever grasped.


      > > I think that in historical Jesus study, *no one* comes without an agenda.
      >My first response to this would be to say that there's agendas and
      >there's AGENDAS. But it might be more productive to ask what you
      >mean by an "agenda"? (I have a vague idea, but vague ideas lead to
      >vague conclusions, so let's be clear about this.)

      By "agenda" I meant certain presuppositions which not only shape what data
      we would accept, and what methodologies are acceptable, but also the
      conclusions that we might find acceptable. So, for example, one person's
      agenda might rule out any finding that there is a God in heaven and that
      s/he has intervened in history in a way that contravened "natural law."
      Consequently, any data, method or conclusions that allowed for that
      possibility is one that would be automatically reject without bothering to
      consider. I use this only as an example to clarify what I mean by "agenda."

      > > [some good stuff left out]

      Thanks for giving me credit for good stuff. <g>

      > > Our recent differences rest on your categorical assertion that a
      > > methodology for dealing with spiritual matters is *impossible*
      > > and therefore one wastes one's time in the attempt. You seem quite
      > > adamant about this. I am not so sure that such a methodology is
      > > impossible, and am willing to waste my time in the attempt to
      > > discover what such a methodology would be like.
      >I think I was suitably careful to state that my belief that such a
      >methodology is logically impossible was based on the usual
      >definition of the "supernatural" as (1) being essentially separate
      >from the natural world and (2) being essentially unpredictable

      But this rests on the assumption that explanation *must* be based on "laws"
      of some kind, for which you claim the mantle of "logic." Actually, your
      stance differs only in small ways from that of St. Thomas Aquinas, who
      seems to have shared your concern for logic-- but his cosmology happened to
      be different from yours.

      >But history is littered with the corpses of mistaken
      >concepts. If one accepts, for example, that "spiritual forces"
      >might actually be some kind of energy phenomenon that can be evoked
      >under the right (mental?) conditions, then "spirit" will turn out
      >to be a natural force obeying laws as yet unknown to us.

      See? Your metaphysics requires that explanation be based on "laws". This is
      certainly a very important class of explanation, but it is not the only
      one. Furthermore, you also presume, I think, a certain kind of law, ruling
      out other kinds of laws that you probably would not even consider as laws
      at all.

      >So I don't
      >say unconditionally that your quest is Quixotic, but it does seems
      >to me that the assumption that "spirit" is "supernatural" (in the
      >sense of 1 and 2 above) rules out any methodology a priori, and
      >would therefore have to be abandoned as logically incompatible with
      >any such quest.

      I don't think so. But we are headed in the direction of metaphysics here.

      Eric Eve has intervened and contributed much to this debate. I have a few
      points to pick with him, but generally consider his contributions
      quite helpful.

    • Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis
      Don t know what to do with Lev 11 on Locusts - certainly interesting. Manna in the wilderness certainly must be related somehow to the honey JB eats. And, yes,
      Message 104 of 104 , Mar 11, 2003
        Don't know what to do with Lev 11 on Locusts - certainly interesting.

        Manna in the wilderness certainly must be related somehow to the honey JB
        eats. And, yes, this is not incompatible with the angelomorphic interp. of
        the honey given that the Israelites ate the "bread of angels" in the
        wilderness (Ps 78:25, and cf. the use of Ezek 16 for Passover in rabbinic
        On all this there are helpful references in: D. Goodman, "Do Angels Eat?,"
        JJS 37 (1986) 160-70.


        On 11/3/03 1:07 pm, "Horace Jeffery Hodges" <jefferyhodges@...> wrote:

        > Mike inquired about the locusts and wild honey that
        > John the Baptist is reported to have eaten.
        > Wouldn't the initial significance of this be that it
        > recalls the covenant time of the desert wanderings of
        > the Israelites? John the Baptist, after all, calls for
        > covenant renewal, doesn't he?
        > As I recall, the locust was acceptable as a kosher
        > food, unlike other creeping things. Leviticus 11:10
        > (or 10:11?) describes this. (I'm not near a Bible at
        > the moment and cannot check.) Is this exception a
        > significant point?
        > At any rate, a reference to the time of the covenant
        > doesn't exclude angelomorphic aspects, of course.
        > Jeffery Hodges
        > =====
        > Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges (Inv.) [Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley]
        > Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
        > 447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
        > Yangsandong 411
        > South Korea
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