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Re: [XTalk] "he who saves his life will lose it" and Contextuality

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  • Daniel J. Gaztambide
    On Sat, November 12, 2005 5:21 pm, Rikk Watts wrote: ... Indeed, but this is precisely the issue. As has been so thoroughly demonstrated since Dilthey s
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 12, 2005
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      On Sat, November 12, 2005 5:21 pm, Rikk Watts wrote:

      On 12/11/05 11:40 AM, "Anthony Damato" <a-damato@...> wrote:

      > Dr. R. Watts misunderstands what I wrote. When I said that the statement
      > "he who saves his life will lose it" is pure lunacy, I was referring to the
      > statement. I was not referring to its context. Obviously a statement in
      > his historical context can have meaning for its users. But it is always
      > useful to begin with the statement itself and look at it logically. If it
      > makes no sense on its own terms, then someone might attribute sense to it
      > in the say it was used at some historical time. But at least we are
      > proceeding analytically. That is all I was trying to do, and that is all
      > that I said I was doing.

      "Indeed, but this is precisely the issue. As has been so thoroughly
      demonstrated since Dilthey's failed 19th cent attempt to ground the "human
      sciences" on the same sure (at least as he thought) foundation as the
      natural sciences there is no such thing as contextless language, just as
      there is no such thing as presuppositionless exegesis. One must always first
      begin with context, not the saying. That is, to make sense of a saying "on
      its own terms" is necessarily to look at it in its context both historically
      and literarily."

      Dear Everyone,

      I would just wish to poke my head out of my college-dorm-of-a-hole for
      just one moment. Dr. Watts makes a good point that Jesus' saying must be
      placed within its historical and literal context in order to draw out its
      meaning (whether in the lips of Jesus or early Christian preaching).
      However, Dr. Damato's desire to "logically" analyze the statement "on its
      own terms" and outside of a particular historical and literary context
      involves a bit of a fallacy on his part. The phrase "he who saves his
      life will lose it" does not exist in a vaccuum. As long as it is thought,
      spoken, and written down it will ALWAYS be within a particular historical
      and literary context.

      In Dr. Damato's case the "historical context" involves his concept of
      "lunacy" as of November of the year 2005, and the "literary context" of
      course is the fast paced world of online digital discource on biblical
      studies (Our dear X-Talk Forum, if you will).

      Ever changing context? Of course. Ever changing meaning? Definetly. On
      its own empirical, context-less form... uh... what?

      Whether its the 1st century or the 21st one, context will always be
      shaping the views and meaning-making of such material. Even trying to
      discern the meaning possibly applied in the 1st century to this saying
      within its own context involves looking at that saying FROM OUR OWN
      CONTEXT. Hence the variety of interpretations from "its lunacy" to "its
      Jesus reflection on his ministry and destiny".

      Hal Childs (The Myth of the Historical Jesus, 2000) deserves more credit
      for articulating (or at the very least, inspiring ;)) this type of


      -Daniel J. Gaztambide

      Daniel Gaztambide


      Henry Rutgers Scholar (Psychology and Religion)
      Rutgers University
      New Brunswick NJ 08901
      31045 RPO Way

      Writer/Co-writer, "AramaicNT.org"

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      Email: gazti@...
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