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Re: Re; refuting bad apologetics

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  • león
    ... Also, it is not uncommon in conversions to become as pro-something as one was fanatically against it before. I do like your suggestion that it might be
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 29, 2007
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      --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
      > > If Saul the Pharisee had an experience which
      > > he could interpret as a theophany, why should
      > > he be so insistent that it was a Christophany,
      > > given that it must mark a radical change in his
      > > theology and indeed his life?
      >
      > I don't quite know how to answer this question.
      > It seems likely that he was thinking about the
      > persecution of the Christians as he rode to
      > Damaascus, and that he might have been seriously
      > considering the possibility that he wasn't doing
      > the right thing. That thought may well have
      > frightened him, as it threatened much of his
      > world-view.

      Also, it is not uncommon in conversions to become as pro-something as
      one was fanatically against it before.
      I do like your suggestion that it might be simply because it was fresh
      in Paul's mind. It does make sense to use those symbols which are
      close at hand when we have a breakdown of mind or of conscience. I
      have in mind the many religious conversions that occur after life
      crises. The penitent seldom looks beyond the religion of his own
      particular community, does he?


      A question I have, if I may:

      Is any any documentation of any previous persecution by the Temple of
      any sub-sects within the Judaism of the time? (the Samaritans were
      more like a schism than a sub-sect, and I don't think they were so
      much persecuted as abhorred). If not, then what was it about this sect
      of Jews that circa 32-36 C.E. made Saul so violently opposed to it?

      peace

      Ó

      r. leon santiago
      student of Japanese
    • Robert Griffin
      ... Mike, My apologies for jumping into this so late, but... Does anyone know of a similar conversion to Falun Gong by anyone involved in suppressing it? Or,
      Message 2 of 15 , Feb 7 4:24 PM
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        --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Hi Tony,
        > Responding to a couple of your thoughtful
        > questions:
        >
        > > If Saul the Pharisee had an experience which
        > > he could interpret as a theophany, why should
        > > he be so insistent that it was a Christophany,
        > > given that it must mark a radical change in his
        > > theology and indeed his life?
        >
        > I don't quite know how to answer this question.
        > It seems likely that he was thinking about the
        > persecution of the Christians as he rode to
        > Damaascus, and that he might have been seriously
        > considering the possibility that he wasn't doing
        > the right thing. That thought may well have
        > frightened him, as it threatened much of his
        > world-view. I don't think it's the case, though,
        > that the experience which made up his mind for
        > him, so to speak, was such that he could have
        > interpreted it in any other way.
        >
        > > ... there have been many attempts at explaining
        > > the conversion as an extreme psychological
        > > reaction - he must have been persecuting Jesus'
        > > followers because he really wanted to join them,
        > > and this was the breakthrough moment of honesty.
        > > Does anyone seriously believe that?
        >
        > Well, I don't, that's for sure. But I believe
        > that Saul might well have been impressed by the
        > way those he was persecuting reacted - as would
        > Pliny the Younger be many years later. These
        > folks considered serious law-breakers didn't
        > seem to be a threat to anyone. Perhaps Saul had
        > occasion to examine them - to talk to them -
        > and as he learned more about them and their
        > beliefs, began to experience cognitive dissonance.
        > Well, no serious harm done as long as they were
        > just being imprisoned or forced to leave Judea,
        > but then came the execution of Stephen, at
        > which Saul was apparently an official witness.
        > How did this affect him? Might he have been
        > disturbed that his actions had come to this?
        > Was he as powerfully affected as some witnesses
        > of later Christian martyrdoms would be? I think
        > this might have been so, and if it was, Saul
        > might well have been undergoing a major crisis
        > of conscience as he rode to Damascus.
        >
        > If there's things you like about this "just-so
        > story", not to worry. One can agree with the
        > speculative scenario presented here (which I've
        > tried to base on human nature and known facts)
        > and still maintain that Saul's experience wasn't
        > just a vision.
        >
        > Mike
        >
        Mike,

        My apologies for jumping into this so late, but...
        Does anyone know of a similar conversion to Falun Gong by anyone
        involved in suppressing it? Or, while we have accounts of Gentiles
        converting to Judaism, do any of these converts claim supernatural
        occurrences leading to repentance and conversion? Have any of the
        converts from the Ku Klux Klan experienced any similar supernatural
        occurrences leading to (or aiding) their conversion?

        Be Well, and Thanks for any response,
        Bob Griffin
      • Mike Grondin
        ... Hi Bob, If we re trying to determine the uniqueness of Paul s experience, I think we need to ask about cases involving conversions _to Christianity_ in
        Message 3 of 15 , Feb 7 8:13 PM
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          --- Robert Griffin wrote:
          > My apologies for jumping into this so late, but...
          > Does anyone know of a similar conversion to Falun
          > Gong by anyone involved in suppressing it? Or, while
          > we have accounts of Gentiles converting to Judaism,
          > do any of these converts claim supernatural occur-
          > rences leading to repentance and conversion? Have
          > any of the converts from the Ku Klux Klan experienced
          > any similar supernatural occurrences leading to (or
          > aiding) their conversion?

          Hi Bob,
          If we're trying to determine the uniqueness of Paul's
          experience, I think we need to ask about cases involving
          conversions _to Christianity_ in particular. The reason
          I say that is that the Christian founder-figure is given
          a role somewhat unique among the larger religions, such
          that one is encouraged in at least some quarters to have
          "a personal relationship with Jesus". Theoretically, this
          should bias Christian conversion experiences toward some
          sort of "encounter with Christ", and I think we will find
          that to be the case.

          Aside from that, your questions raise another one that
          we'll never be able to answer for sure: had Saul heard
          about post-resurrection appearances before he had his
          own experience? If so, would this not have greatly
          increased the probability that he would think of his
          own experience as being of the same kind?

          Mike Grondin
        • Gordon Raynal
          ... Robert, Leon, Mike If one will bracket the later story telling and just look at the original testimony of Paul in the 50 s... so, a decade and a half or so
          Message 4 of 15 , Feb 8 6:31 AM
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            > --- Robert Griffin wrote:
            >> My apologies for jumping into this so late, but...
            >> Does anyone know of a similar conversion to Falun
            >> Gong by anyone involved in suppressing it? Or, while
            >> we have accounts of Gentiles converting to Judaism,
            >> do any of these converts claim supernatural occur-
            >> rences leading to repentance and conversion? Have
            >> any of the converts from the Ku Klux Klan experienced
            >> any similar supernatural occurrences leading to (or
            >> aiding) their conversion?
            >
            > Hi Bob,
            > If we're trying to determine the uniqueness of Paul's
            > experience, I think we need to ask about cases involving
            > conversions _to Christianity_ in particular. The reason
            > I say that is that the Christian founder-figure is given
            > a role somewhat unique among the larger religions, such
            > that one is encouraged in at least some quarters to have
            > "a personal relationship with Jesus". Theoretically, this
            > should bias Christian conversion experiences toward some
            > sort of "encounter with Christ", and I think we will find
            > that to be the case.
            >
            > Aside from that, your questions raise another one that
            > we'll never be able to answer for sure: had Saul heard
            > about post-resurrection appearances before he had his
            > own experience? If so, would this not have greatly
            > increased the probability that he would think of his
            > own experience as being of the same kind?
            >
            > Mike Grondin

            Robert, Leon, Mike

            If one will bracket the later story telling and just look at the
            original testimony of Paul in the 50's... so, a decade and a half or
            so after "the event"... the language in the most common parlance is
            simply a change of mind language:

            Galatians 1:11-12 "For I want you to know brothers and sisters....
            but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ." and 15-16
            "But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me
            through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me..."(NRSV)
            and
            I Corinthians 15:3 ff "For I handed on to you as of first importance
            what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins according
            to scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the
            3rd days in accordance with scriptures and that he appeared to
            Cephas.... Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to
            me."

            Such language as "revelations" and "appearances," of course, occur
            all over the TANAK. Just setting aside metaphysical wonderings, such
            is the sort of language that just ordinarily gets used when people
            have significant changes of mind (or poetically put, changes of
            heart). Such is shown in modern cartoons when the proverbial light
            bulb goes on over a characters head. Significant changes such as
            these happened to such as Malcolm X after he went to Mecca, such as
            Anwar Sadat, etc. etc. In Christian remembrance Slave Ship Captain
            John Newton had such a change of mind and wrote "Amazing Grace." The
            language Paul uses for this is thoroughly good Hebraic theological/
            Scriptural language. One need not at all try to figure out either
            metaphysics nor try to read a persons psychology across two thousand
            years to understand the use of these rather ordinary ways of talking
            about someone having a significant change of mind. Of course, such
            metaphysical and psychological speculations will know no end as there
            is so much fascination with such, but whatever that, the significant
            thing and what is rather important and even very good news (<g>) is
            that humans can make significant ethical changes. Malcolm X's and
            Sadat's are just two noteworthy examples. One would hope for a
            little more of this these days, eh!

            Anyway, I simply want to point out to the valuation change and
            however one wants to attribute it... God, human psychological nature,
            "events," whatever.... the core of the matter is thankfully a down to
            earth event.

            Gordon Raynal
            Inman, SC
          • Robert Griffin
            ... Hi Mike, What I m addressing is a claim that Paul s experience was purely psychological, produced presumably by his ruminations over his potential guilt in
            Message 5 of 15 , Feb 8 11:25 AM
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              --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > --- Robert Griffin wrote:
              > > My apologies for jumping into this so late, but...
              > > Does anyone know of a similar conversion to Falun
              > > Gong by anyone involved in suppressing it? Or, while
              > > we have accounts of Gentiles converting to Judaism,
              > > do any of these converts claim supernatural occur-
              > > rences leading to repentance and conversion? Have
              > > any of the converts from the Ku Klux Klan experienced
              > > any similar supernatural occurrences leading to (or
              > > aiding) their conversion?
              >
              > Hi Bob,
              > If we're trying to determine the uniqueness of Paul's
              > experience, I think we need to ask about cases involving
              > conversions _to Christianity_ in particular. The reason
              > I say that is that the Christian founder-figure is given
              > a role somewhat unique among the larger religions, such
              > that one is encouraged in at least some quarters to have
              > "a personal relationship with Jesus". Theoretically, this
              > should bias Christian conversion experiences toward some
              > sort of "encounter with Christ", and I think we will find
              > that to be the case.
              >
              > Aside from that, your questions raise another one that
              > we'll never be able to answer for sure: had Saul heard
              > about post-resurrection appearances before he had his
              > own experience? If so, would this not have greatly
              > increased the probability that he would think of his
              > own experience as being of the same kind?
              >
              > Mike Grondin
              >
              Hi Mike,

              What I'm addressing is a claim that Paul's experience was purely
              psychological, produced presumably by his ruminations over his
              potential guilt in the persecution of the early Christians. Assuming
              this to be the case, I would expect similar occurrences (maybe only a
              few) in similar situations.

              The founder of Falun Gong appears to occupy a central position, as
              does the Buddha, but I'm not focusing so much on the content of the
              experience at this point as the fact of it. (Imagine a vision of the
              Dharmakaya to a Chinese communist persecutor of Falun Gong!) Visions
              of supernatural and departed beings are not entirely unknown in
              anthropology, whatever part those beings may play in some religious
              or mythological context. So, an equivalent, in an American setting,
              would be the Angel Moroni appearing to some violent persecuter of the
              19th century Mormons, leading him (or her) to repent and convert.
              Likewise, a vision of Krsna to a Moghul (or even a vision of Muhammad
              or the angel Gabriel).

              As I'm not aware of such accounts, I'm hesitant to classify Paul's
              experience with them. I certainly don't see Paul as having a
              _unique_ psychological breakdown. If it was such a pschological
              breakdown, it shouldn't be unique. There are too many similar
              situations (persecution of the honorable and defenseless) for such a
              breakdown to have only occurred once in human history.
              I also want to avoid a simple list of similar conversion experiences
              among converts to Christianity, since there should be no reason that
              such experiences be limited to potential Christian converts.

              Thanks for your response,
              Bob Griffin
            • Robert Griffin
              Gordon, The point I m addressing is the context of the current thread on Crosstalk, where among other things we are looking at Paul s claim (in 1 Corinthians)
              Message 6 of 15 , Feb 8 12:31 PM
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                Gordon,

                The point I'm addressing is the context of the current thread on
                Crosstalk, where among other things we are looking at Paul's claim
                (in 1 Corinthians) to have seen the Jesus after the resurrection (and
                ascension).
                As far as I'm aware, humans have been making ethical changes since
                before the beginning of written history. This is not unusual, and
                does give some hope for our future. However, it is completely
                irrelevent to Paul's discussion in 1 Corinthians and to the
                discussion of the resurrection of Jesus (what was it? did it really
                occur? what did folks mean when they wrote about it?...)
                The claim the Paul (and the other disciples) were only referring to a
                re-evaluation of the impact of Jesus' life when they spoke or wrote
                about the resurrection seems extremely farfetched to me. They don't
                appear to be claiming what anyone could claim of Socrates, Diogenes,
                or Isaiah or Moses. I would compare and contrast the statements of
                the early Christians with the statements in the Letter of Mara bar
                Serapion to Serapion bar Mara (whether that be an actual letter or
                merely an exercise in rhetoric is not relevent).
                I have a great deal of admiration for Mar Binyamin Shim'un, which I
                believe I share with most members of the Church of the East. However
                I am not aware of anyone claiming that he rose from the dead.
                Likewise with Hrant Dink.
                In some ways, the Christian claims of Jesus' resurrection parallel
                claims that Buddha achieved Paranirvana. I don't see the Buddhists
                denying that other teachers (Mahavira for instance) were influential
                or important, or denying that they had an influence or importance
                undiminished by their death. They are claiming something more than
                that for the Buddha. So also with the early Christians. Claims the
                Jesus overcame death did not negate claims of the importance of
                Isaiah, Moses, or Plato.
                My apologies for my wordiness.

                Be Well,
                Bob Griffin


                > Robert, Leon, Mike
                >
                > If one will bracket the later story telling and just look at the
                > original testimony of Paul in the 50's... so, a decade and a half
                or
                > so after "the event"... the language in the most common parlance
                is
                > simply a change of mind language:
                >
                > Galatians 1:11-12 "For I want you to know brothers and
                sisters....
                > but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ." and 15-
                16
                > "But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called
                me
                > through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me..."(NRSV)
                > and
                > I Corinthians 15:3 ff "For I handed on to you as of first
                importance
                > what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins
                according
                > to scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on
                the
                > 3rd days in accordance with scriptures and that he appeared to
                > Cephas.... Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also
                to
                > me."
                >
                > Such language as "revelations" and "appearances," of course, occur
                > all over the TANAK. Just setting aside metaphysical wonderings,
                such
                > is the sort of language that just ordinarily gets used when people
                > have significant changes of mind (or poetically put, changes of
                > heart). Such is shown in modern cartoons when the proverbial
                light
                > bulb goes on over a characters head. Significant changes such as
                > these happened to such as Malcolm X after he went to Mecca, such
                as
                > Anwar Sadat, etc. etc. In Christian remembrance Slave Ship Captain
                > John Newton had such a change of mind and wrote "Amazing Grace."
                The
                > language Paul uses for this is thoroughly good Hebraic
                theological/
                > Scriptural language. One need not at all try to figure out either
                > metaphysics nor try to read a persons psychology across two
                thousand
                > years to understand the use of these rather ordinary ways of
                talking
                > about someone having a significant change of mind. Of course,
                such
                > metaphysical and psychological speculations will know no end as
                there
                > is so much fascination with such, but whatever that, the
                significant
                > thing and what is rather important and even very good news (<g>)
                is
                > that humans can make significant ethical changes. Malcolm X's
                and
                > Sadat's are just two noteworthy examples. One would hope for a
                > little more of this these days, eh!
                >
                > Anyway, I simply want to point out to the valuation change and
                > however one wants to attribute it... God, human psychological
                nature,
                > "events," whatever.... the core of the matter is thankfully a down
                to
                > earth event.
                >
                > Gordon Raynal
                > Inman, SC
                >
              • Robert Griffin
                ... My impression from Paul s writings is that he found the idea of a crucified messiah blasphemous. Once he converted, that which had been offensive to him
                Message 7 of 15 , Feb 8 12:41 PM
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                  >
                  > A question I have, if I may:
                  >
                  > Is any any documentation of any previous persecution by the Temple of
                  > any sub-sects within the Judaism of the time? (the Samaritans were
                  > more like a schism than a sub-sect, and I don't think they were so
                  > much persecuted as abhorred). If not, then what was it about this sect
                  > of Jews that circa 32-36 C.E. made Saul so violently opposed to it?
                  >
                  > peace
                  >
                  > Ó
                  >
                  > r. leon santiago
                  > student of Japanese
                  >
                  My impression from Paul's writings is that he found the idea of a
                  crucified messiah blasphemous. Once he converted, that which had been
                  offensive to him became nearly the center of his theology. (This, as
                  far as I know, isn't uncommon)

                  Be Well,
                  Bob Griffin
                • león
                  ... I think it is relevant to the discussion in the sense that, since Saul s description of his conversion and his discourse in 1Cor. is the only
                  Message 8 of 15 , Feb 9 3:01 AM
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                    --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Griffin"
                    <muggleorsquib@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > As far as I'm aware, humans have been making ethical changes since
                    > before the beginning of written history. This is not unusual, and
                    > does give some hope for our future. However, it is completely
                    > irrelevent to Paul's discussion in 1 Corinthians and to the
                    > discussion of the resurrection of Jesus (what was it? did it really
                    > occur? what did folks mean when they wrote about it?...)
                    > The claim the Paul (and the other disciples) were only referring to a
                    > re-evaluation of the impact of Jesus' life when they spoke or wrote
                    > about the resurrection seems extremely farfetched to me. They don't
                    > appear to be claiming what anyone could claim of Socrates, Diogenes,
                    > or Isaiah or Moses. . . .
                    >


                    I think it is relevant to the discussion in the sense that, since
                    Saul's description of his conversion and his discourse in 1Cor. is the
                    only near-contemporary attestation that we have (wouldn't it be great
                    if we had letters of Barnabbas or of Apollos to compare and contrast
                    Paul's developing christology to? - lacking these, what "other
                    disciples" were saying this?), then saying that people were
                    claiming Jesus had risen bodily at that time is a projection back into
                    Paul's day of a position which didn't really surface in any texts
                    until the author of Mark and the subsequent gospels spoke of such a
                    thing (very probably a couple of decades later).

                    That is, if Paul was *not* talking about a physical re-animation of
                    Jesus' body (a tenable position, and one which I admit to leaning
                    toward), then placing such claims to his physical rising so early is
                    really "just-so" anachronistic speculation, unsupported by historical
                    evidence.

                    I've been up late working on a website and I need to sleep, but I
                    wanted to say a few words on this.

                    peace

                    Ã"

                    r. leon santiago
                    heathen at large
                    Tempe, AZ
                  • Gordon Raynal
                    Hi Robert, ... And that is what I addressed in terms of the language used... in Galatians a revelation from God and in I Corinthians the affirmation that
                    Message 9 of 15 , Feb 9 7:57 AM
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                      Hi Robert,
                      On Feb 8, 2007, at 3:31 PM, Robert Griffin wrote:

                      > Gordon,
                      >
                      > The point I'm addressing is the context of the current thread on
                      > Crosstalk, where among other things we are looking at Paul's claim
                      > (in 1 Corinthians) to have seen the Jesus after the resurrection (and
                      > ascension).

                      And that is what I addressed in terms of the language used... in
                      Galatians "a revelation from God" and in I Corinthians the
                      affirmation that Jesus "was raised... according to scripture... and
                      ***appeared*** to Peter, the 12, James, 500... Paul." Revelation?
                      Appearance? What is such language indicating? The answers that have
                      been given are:
                      1. these words point to what is told in the later written story
                      telling of the gospels as being historical remembrances where in
                      Jesus shows up for conversations, dining, disappearing, rising up
                      into the sky as "seen with the eyes/ heard with the ears" encounters
                      akin to seeing a friend and having a chat. (Mind you the very same
                      story language also talks about Jesus "descending into the lower
                      parts of the earth" Eph. 4:9 and "sat down at the right hand of the
                      Majesty on high" Heb. 1:3) About the former "encounters" people of
                      this interpretive stance suggest the stories (or some of them) are
                      biographical/ historical remembrances and make some extended
                      arguments about "eyewitness testimony" and the faithful carrying of
                      that in oral tradition until the decades later when the Gospels were
                      written down. I've never seen such about the descent into the earth
                      or the sitting on the big throne in heaven, although these are very
                      much at the heart of the matter as to the significance of Jesus'
                      resurrection.
                      2. This language refers to "visionary experience" and those of a
                      mystical theology/ philosophical bent define this in terms of
                      metaphysical "encounter," while those of a purely psychological
                      understanding focus upon this as something entirely mundane... either
                      as suggesting some kind of illusory/ delusional brain activity or as
                      normal emotional operations.
                      3. This language is metaphorical/ poetical theological language.
                      This sort of language, as I noted, can be understood in quite
                      ordinary ways wherein one does not have to either venture into
                      metaphysical or psychological examinations. And in light of this one
                      can understand the theological usage of such language as "seeings/
                      appearances" and "revelations" in terms of that ordinary use in
                      discourse.
                      >
                      > As far as I'm aware, humans have been making ethical changes since
                      > before the beginning of written history. This is not unusual, and
                      > does give some hope for our future. However, it is completely
                      > irrelevent to Paul's discussion in 1 Corinthians and to the
                      > discussion of the resurrection of Jesus (what was it? did it really
                      > occur? what did folks mean when they wrote about it?...)

                      How one chooses to understand that language has everything to do with
                      the questions you raise. And it is also entirely relevant to Paul's
                      understanding of resurrection no matter which of the above options
                      (or permutations thereof) one chooses. Paul's whole point of the
                      significance of Jesus Christ's resurrection is about ethical
                      transformation (read again I Cor. 15:56-58) The TANAK testifies that
                      both Enoch (Gen. 1:24) and Elijah ( II Kings 2:1ff) were taken by God
                      into God's presence. Matthew tells the story (contra Paul's way of
                      talking about it) that "many bodies of the saints who had fallen
                      asleep (aka died) were raised" (Matthew 27:52) at Jesus' death and
                      they showed up out of those tombs after Jesus was later raised "on
                      the 3rd day." (Most interesting to try to visualize this as a
                      historical remembrance, to say the least:)! Let's just say that that
                      Abraham and Sarah were among those that were resurrected after some
                      1800 to 2000 years and per the story have to hang out in those tombs
                      from Friday afternoon til Sunday morning. That would surely be an
                      interesting experience;)!). Jesus' birth, life, ministry, suffering,
                      death, resurrection, descent, ascent, enthronement, rule and coming,
                      again in any understanding, is about ethical proclamation to the
                      core. Put plainly, others get to heaven, Jesus is "King of Kings and
                      Lord of Lords" there and in that he accomplished and is accomplishing
                      a complete ethical makeover of the whole creation.

                      And as for "did it really occur?" All three of the above options
                      allow for a yes answer. Spelling out those yeses obviously points to
                      some fundamental disagreements, but then should the conversation turn
                      to theology/ ethics (not the purpose of this list), then it is quite
                      possible to find lots of agreements no matter the above choice chosen.

                      > The claim the Paul (and the other disciples) were only referring to a
                      > re-evaluation of the impact of Jesus' life when they spoke or wrote
                      > about the resurrection seems extremely farfetched to me.

                      I, of course, accept that this is your evaluation. I quite
                      disagree. I would argue that the whole of the TANAK heritage
                      capitalizes in the use of creative theological writing to give
                      expression to theo-ethical convictions. Moses, for example, wanted
                      to see God, and so there's that marvelous of him having to hide
                      behind the rock, God passes quickly by and only allowing for Moses to
                      see his hind parts:)! That's an "appearance" story and one filled
                      with "revelation:)!" If one will, for arguments sake, think through
                      the 3rd option above, then one will find it none to surprising that a
                      crowd of Hebraic/ Jewish folk utilized this metaphorically rich,
                      theological/ ethical story telling tradition and framed their
                      understanding of Jesus in terms of precisely this kind of creative
                      theological communication. And my point is, this can be understood
                      as intellectual work... very careful and thoughtful intellectual
                      work, whether one is religiously drawn to it or not.

                      Back to Paul. The language of Galatians is revelation language about
                      what God did. In I Corinthians the 15th chapter explicitly begins
                      with Jesus' death and resurrection as being "in accord with
                      scriptures." This is theological writing that utilizes a theological
                      heritage of communication. It "appears" to me, that it is most
                      "revealing" to think through the 3rd option as central and essential
                      to understanding what resurrection means even if one wants to make a
                      case for either metaphysical or emotional understandings:)!

                      Gordon Raynal
                      Inman, SC
                    • Bob MacDonald
                      ... What was it about this sect of Jews that circa 32-36 C.E. made Saul so violently opposed to it? Saul/Paul objected to denial of Torah by the sect and the
                      Message 10 of 15 , Feb 9 8:00 AM
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                        --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, león <taino_leon@...> wrote:
                        What was it about this sect of Jews that circa 32-36 C.E. made Saul so
                        violently opposed to it?

                        Saul/Paul objected to denial of Torah by the sect and the acceptance
                        of Gentiles into Israel without circumcision - the very thing he
                        defended with such force later.

                        The problem with the negative approach to a psychological 'crisis'
                        which is where this conversation seems to have been over the past day
                        or so, is that it fails to take in the positive aspects of the
                        covenant dialogue, the issue of Paul's experience of his relationship
                        with his God, the God of Israel, through love of Torah and in its
                        fuller revelation for Paul, love of God through his Lord, Jesus Christ.

                        His writing about his experience of love resulted in the disputes and
                        evolution of 'Christian' sectarian theology through how we read Paul's
                        letters. Explanation of theology or psychology should not be mistaken
                        for the reality of the love or his original intent.

                        Is there evidence that what people see as unique to Paul (Gentiles not
                        requiring circumcision etc), precedes his conversion? The 'evidence'
                        is provided by Acts in the Peter-Cornelius episode. Post hoc reasoning
                        would say that Paul would never have been commissioned to go to the
                        Gentiles with this message if such a radical break with the covenant
                        sign had only occurred to him.

                        Bob MacDonald
                        Victoria BC
                        http://drmacdonald.blogspot.com
                      • Robert Griffin
                        Hi Gordon, From what I ve read, I believe most such metaphorical usages are intended to be read as straightforward narrative. Some examples from the far
                        Message 11 of 15 , Feb 9 12:36 PM
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                          Hi Gordon,
                          From what I've read, I believe most such 'metaphorical' usages are
                          intended to be read as straightforward narrative. Some examples from
                          the far fringes:
                          My favorite: When Yogananda claims that his parents saw the man who
                          was to become his guru several hundred miles away from where that man
                          actually was, Yogananda appears contextually to be claiming that
                          something extremely unusual happened.

                          When the Ahmadiyya (Qadiyani) Muslims claim that Jesus survived the
                          crucifixion, fled through Galilee, Nisibis, and Afghanistan to settle
                          and die in Kashmir, they go to a lot of trouble to treat this as non-
                          metaphorical history.

                          The various claims that Jesus visited India, Kashmir, or Ladakh (or
                          Tibet) are handled by their propagators as non-metaphoric fact.

                          All of the above can be neatly and nicely treated as metaphor, but
                          the literary context makes it clear that this is not the authors'
                          intent. I understand you probably disagree with me on this. I'd be
                          interested in a demonstration with regards to any of the above.

                          A somewhat similar modern American phenomenon is UFO material. We
                          can get a lot of inspiration from treating it all as metaphorical,
                          but is that an appropriate approach to the literature?

                          Be Well,
                          Bob Griffin


                          > > The claim the Paul (and the other disciples) were only referring
                          to a
                          > > re-evaluation of the impact of Jesus' life when they spoke or
                          wrote
                          > > about the resurrection seems extremely farfetched to me.
                          >
                          > I, of course, accept that this is your evaluation. I quite
                          > disagree. I would argue that the whole of the TANAK heritage
                          > capitalizes in the use of creative theological writing to give
                          > expression to theo-ethical convictions. Moses, for example,
                          wanted
                          > to see God, and so there's that marvelous of him having to hide
                          > behind the rock, God passes quickly by and only allowing for Moses
                          to
                          > see his hind parts:)! That's an "appearance" story and one filled
                          > with "revelation:)!" If one will, for arguments sake, think
                          through
                          > the 3rd option above, then one will find it none to surprising that
                          a
                          > crowd of Hebraic/ Jewish folk utilized this metaphorically rich,
                          > theological/ ethical story telling tradition and framed their
                          > understanding of Jesus in terms of precisely this kind of creative
                          > theological communication. And my point is, this can be
                          understood
                          > as intellectual work... very careful and thoughtful intellectual
                          > work, whether one is religiously drawn to it or not.
                          >
                          > Back to Paul. The language of Galatians is revelation language
                          about
                          > what God did. In I Corinthians the 15th chapter explicitly begins
                          > with Jesus' death and resurrection as being "in accord with
                          > scriptures." This is theological writing that utilizes a
                          theological
                          > heritage of communication. It "appears" to me, that it is most
                          > "revealing" to think through the 3rd option as central and
                          essential
                          > to understanding what resurrection means even if one wants to make
                          a
                          > case for either metaphysical or emotional understandings:)!
                          >
                          > Gordon Raynal
                          > Inman, SC
                          >
                        • Gordon Raynal
                          Hi Bob, ... I m not exactly sure what you mean by this statement, but, of course, most all stories, save surreal ones, are told with narrative realism. Said
                          Message 12 of 15 , Feb 9 5:31 PM
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                            Hi Bob,

                            On Feb 9, 2007, at 3:36 PM, Robert Griffin wrote:

                            > Hi Gordon,
                            > From what I've read, I believe most such 'metaphorical' usages are
                            > intended to be read as straightforward narrative.

                            I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this statement, but, of course,
                            most all stories, save surreal ones, are told with narrative
                            realism. Said realism gives us absolutely no indication that said
                            story is a historical or biographical account.

                            > Some examples from
                            > the far fringes:
                            > My favorite: When Yogananda claims that his parents saw the man who
                            > was to become his guru several hundred miles away from where that man
                            > actually was, Yogananda appears contextually to be claiming that
                            > something extremely unusual happened.
                            >
                            > When the Ahmadiyya (Qadiyani) Muslims claim that Jesus survived the
                            > crucifixion, fled through Galilee, Nisibis, and Afghanistan to settle
                            > and die in Kashmir, they go to a lot of trouble to treat this as non-
                            > metaphorical history.
                            >
                            > The various claims that Jesus visited India, Kashmir, or Ladakh (or
                            > Tibet) are handled by their propagators as non-metaphoric fact.

                            Many traditional stories, once generations removed, are regarded by
                            those later as factual remembrance or essentially factual. But the
                            ancients just like the moderns knew how to spin myths, legends,
                            parables. And the creators and hearers/ readers knew what they were
                            doing in such literary creations. That later readers/ generations
                            historicize such stories, of course, doesn't turn creative fictions
                            into facts.
                            >
                            > All of the above can be neatly and nicely treated as metaphor, but
                            > the literary context makes it clear that this is not the authors'
                            > intent. I understand you probably disagree with me on this. I'd be
                            > interested in a demonstration with regards to any of the above.

                            Yes, we quite disagree. I'm not quite sure what would count as "a
                            demonstration" for you. If you want a list of Bible stories that I
                            think are creative theological fiction, well... let's start at
                            Genesis 1, proceed on to the 2nd chapter... and go right on down to
                            through the Gospels. This is not to say that I believe there are no
                            instances of historical reference... remembrance of some actual
                            persons, some deeds, some words ... some underlying accounts of
                            events that did occur. But I don't at all think the vast majority of
                            the Bible stories are historical/ biographical materials, but rather
                            as a whole are better understood in terms of the poetics and creative
                            narratives of explicitly theo-ethical communication. It has only
                            been in very modern times that the questions of scientific
                            historiography have been asked of these and such stories as you
                            sight. And to this day most all people in all cultures don't study
                            much history and for the most part could care less about it. To say
                            the least the theological/ ethical and communal value for all
                            societies is not based in "the historicity" of narratives. I don't
                            for a minute think, for example, that the powerful story of Jonah has
                            any thing to do with the accounting of some guy named Jonah who was
                            swallowed by a big old fish and later vomited out. Neither do I
                            think the author of said story thought he was crafting a story to
                            remember such a set of events. But that in no way at all suggests
                            any diminished value to the story. Quite the opposite, actually. To
                            understand a story in terms of genre is absolutely important in terms
                            of understanding the very nature of the communication. And so with
                            that judgment about Jonah, it remains theologically and ethically
                            one of the most profound stories. That the majority of church folks
                            in SC think it is a remembrance doesn't exactly work to push me to
                            think they're on to something;)! But at the same time it is not hard
                            at all to engage such persons in conversations about the theological,
                            ethical... and human meanings is such story telling. To do so one
                            precisely points to the matters of thought and poetry in such a story.

                            Should you want to entertain this alternative to your position, I'd
                            suggest you read Thomas Thompson's, "The Mythic Past." Thomas, has
                            now and again, actually written a few notes on this list. And then
                            again, if you have not, read such as Crossan, Mack and the Five
                            Gospels by the Jesus Seminar, they will provide other resources for
                            thinking about this alternative.
                            >
                            > A somewhat similar modern American phenomenon is UFO material. We
                            > can get a lot of inspiration from treating it all as metaphorical,
                            > but is that an appropriate approach to the literature?

                            Pardon, but I don't at all get your point about this. I don't at all
                            think the production of cultural/ communal theological and ethical
                            craftsmanship... speech and writings that connect persons across
                            generations in terms of theology, ethics, communal and personal
                            praxis... is at all on par with UFO stories. And who is going to get
                            what sort of inspiration??? Unless you are meaning this as a joke
                            that I'm just missing, what is the relevance of this to the crafting
                            of the the TANAK, the Christian Scriptures, the Koran, the Gita,
                            etc? So, you'll have to clarify the point here.

                            Gordon Raynal
                            Inman, SC
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