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[gthomas] Re: Some Introductory Notes

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  • Michael Grondin
    ... Jack- Tord Svenson tells me that the only sayings of Thomas which are spoken in the movie Stigmata are this one (at least the first part of it), and the
    Message 1 of 30 , Oct 10, 1999
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      >(2) Jesus said, "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds.
      >When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled,
      >he will become astonished, and he will rule over all things."

      Jack-
      Tord Svenson tells me that the only sayings of Thomas which are spoken in
      the movie "Stigmata" are this one (at least the first part of it), and the
      thing about "Lift the stone and you will find me there." The two of these
      taken together contribute to the plot of the movie, in that eventually
      (after seeking) an ancient copy of GThom is dug up under a stone altar in
      South America.

      More to your interest, Tord also tells me that the stuff the "heroine"
      writes on the wall of her apartment may be Aramaic, given that the movie
      had an Aramaic expert as advisor. Maybe sometime you can get ahold of a
      still from this part of the movie and read the wall for us? If it is
      Aramaic, it certainly would be interesting to find out how this movie
      advisor translated the sayings.

      Regards,
      Mike

      The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
      http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068/sayings.htm
    • Michael Grondin
      ... Notice that the POxy version of this saying has a circularity to it that is absent from the Coptic version. When one comes to be at rest, one is no longer
      Message 2 of 30 , Oct 10, 1999
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        >"Let him who seeks continue to seek until he finds. When he finds,
        >he will marvel; when he marvels, he will reign; and when he reigns,
        >he will rest."

        Notice that the POxy version of this saying has a circularity to it that is
        absent from the Coptic version. When one comes to be at rest, one is no
        longer seeking. Thus the quadrad turns back on itself and becomes a
        complete circle. The absence of this feature from the Coptic quadrad argues
        for a greater authenticity of the Greek version, IMO. But then I've never
        been convinced that the Copts were simply doing a straight translation.

        Regards,
        Mike
      • Robert Tessman
        ... Well, I suppose we have to distinguish what we all mean by Early Christianity. Fear of God has been a major concept in Christianity since it was
        Message 3 of 30 , Oct 10, 1999
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          >Just wondering if you might relate what you say (Robert) to early christian
          >evidence. We might 'picture' all sorts of things about a 'good little
          >Christian': we do actually have rather a lot of texts that early christians
          >actually left, plus some archeological stuff. What evidence is there that
          >early christians were actually scared of God (in the way you seem to be
          >using it below). I can think, off the top of my head, of several texts that
          >seem to indicate at least some early christians anticipated, and even
          >hastened, their 'meeting with God' (eg Passion of Perpetua).
          >
          >Best wishes,
          >Jacob Knee
          >(Boston, England)

          Well, I suppose we have to distinguish what we all mean by 'Early
          Christianity.' 'Fear of God' has been a major concept in Christianity
          since it was transformed under Roman Law (so as to Martyr a Religion rather
          than waste time on the Practicioners). Christ became, under his
          pantocrator role, a reflection of the Emperor. Only under such a Noble
          image of Christ as a wrathful diety could christianity then latter be
          adopted by the Germanic tribes and all their sentiments toward War Gods
          such as Thor etc. Christianity before its Romanization was probably
          nothing like this. Our images of a bearded christ are directly related to
          this change from a God of Love/Peace/whatever to a God of Vengance. On the
          sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, dated at 359AD there is depicted a beardless
          Christ, still a philosopher and not yet completely transformed into an
          image of the oecumenical Emperor. Only until the late Romanesque Period in
          Europe did Images of Christ transform from a Terrible God to an Emotive,
          Suffering God.
          When Tord Svenson was speaking in terms of Fundamentalism when he
          could not see #2 being accepted by the church, I think he was speaking in
          terms of a general time frame--though I should not speak for him. When
          Stevan Davies writes that #2 could have easily been accepted by the church,
          I believe he was refering to the time period prior to Constantine's
          conversion to Christianity. I was just imagining how it could have been
          viewed in a general timespan from the period after Constantine until today.
          What I said was merely just a whimsical possibility of how the
          incorporation of the GOT as a 5th Gospel could have changed nothing of the
          manifested theology when Christianity controled Europe.
          But if we speak of 'Early Christian' evidence then we must first
          define what we mean by "Early". I would define it as prior to 323AD. And
          then say that any Christianity afterwards is a 'Romanized Christianity'.
          Any Christianity before this, by virtue of it existing in its own right,
          probably had no refrences to Christ as one who should be feared, since he
          was not at that time Emperor of the Roman Religion.
          However, the Jews would surely have feared God if they were pious.
          This is the lesson Issac's story, in Genesis, should have tought everyone:
          Be God fearing lest God alow your crazy father to sacrifice you. Surely,
          this too could have leaked into Early Christianity, via Judaism. But then
          again, there was probably more of a distinction between God the Father and
          the Divinity of Christ.
          In my personal oppinion, If Jesus is the Messiah than it should be
          fitting that he should be feared like an Emperor, since 'Messiah' is simply
          a Davidic King--though now in a Roman context.

          Robert Tessman

          P.S.: Let's try to be a little more creative with out subject headings.
          There are, of course, no longer any 'Introdutory Notes' that we are
          discussing.
        • Jacob Knee
          I m afraid I m a little lost by your message. The interpretation of Christ iconography as transposed imperial imagery is widespread and probably the prevailing
          Message 4 of 30 , Oct 10, 1999
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            I'm afraid I'm a little lost by your message. The interpretation of Christ
            iconography as transposed imperial imagery is widespread and probably the
            prevailing view: for an alternative, however, its worth investigating
            Finney, 'The Invisible God' who sees the origins of the iconography of
            Christ in exactly the context of philosophers and wonder workers (rather
            than Emperors).

            Just as a very general point - I would urge you to argue rather than simply
            assert or imagine what 'surely' must have been the case. If you want to make
            a point, particulary a controversial point, then argue for it by providing
            supporting evidence. In addition, the points you are making about the
            history of the church are extremely wide ranging - I wonder if it might not
            be worth trying to be more a little more specific: specific claims are
            easier to support with relevant evidence!

            I say this not to criticise but to try to be helpful.

            So to try to get this back on track - I take you to be arguing that the
            christians of the fourth century were generaly more scared of God than the
            christians of the second and third. What evidence would you use to support
            this argument?

            Best wishes,
            Jacob Knee
            (Boston, England)

            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Robert Tessman [mailto:tess0006@...]
            > Sent: 11 October 1999 00:54
            > To: The Scholarly debate
            > Subject: [gthomas] The Fear of Constantine
            >
            >
            > >Just wondering if you might relate what you say (Robert) to
            > early christian
            > >evidence. We might 'picture' all sorts of things about a 'good little
            > >Christian': we do actually have rather a lot of texts that early
            > christians
            > >actually left, plus some archeological stuff. What evidence is there that
            > >early christians were actually scared of God (in the way you seem to be
            > >using it below). I can think, off the top of my head, of several
            > texts that
            > >seem to indicate at least some early christians anticipated, and even
            > >hastened, their 'meeting with God' (eg Passion of Perpetua).
            > >
            > >Best wishes,
            > >Jacob Knee
            > >(Boston, England)
            >
            > Well, I suppose we have to distinguish what we all mean by 'Early
            > Christianity.' 'Fear of God' has been a major concept in Christianity
            > since it was transformed under Roman Law (so as to Martyr a
            > Religion rather
            > than waste time on the Practicioners). Christ became, under his
            > pantocrator role, a reflection of the Emperor. Only under such a Noble
            > image of Christ as a wrathful diety could christianity then latter be
            > adopted by the Germanic tribes and all their sentiments toward War Gods
            > such as Thor etc. Christianity before its Romanization was probably
            > nothing like this. Our images of a bearded christ are directly related to
            > this change from a God of Love/Peace/whatever to a God of
            > Vengance. On the
            > sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, dated at 359AD there is depicted a beardless
            > Christ, still a philosopher and not yet completely transformed into an
            > image of the oecumenical Emperor. Only until the late Romanesque
            > Period in
            > Europe did Images of Christ transform from a Terrible God to an Emotive,
            > Suffering God.
            > When Tord Svenson was speaking in terms of Fundamentalism when he
            > could not see #2 being accepted by the church, I think he was speaking in
            > terms of a general time frame--though I should not speak for him. When
            > Stevan Davies writes that #2 could have easily been accepted by
            > the church,
            > I believe he was refering to the time period prior to Constantine's
            > conversion to Christianity. I was just imagining how it could have been
            > viewed in a general timespan from the period after Constantine
            > until today.
            > What I said was merely just a whimsical possibility of how the
            > incorporation of the GOT as a 5th Gospel could have changed nothing of the
            > manifested theology when Christianity controled Europe.
            > But if we speak of 'Early Christian' evidence then we must first
            > define what we mean by "Early". I would define it as prior to 323AD. And
            > then say that any Christianity afterwards is a 'Romanized Christianity'.
            > Any Christianity before this, by virtue of it existing in its own right,
            > probably had no refrences to Christ as one who should be feared, since he
            > was not at that time Emperor of the Roman Religion.
            > However, the Jews would surely have feared God if they were pious.
            > This is the lesson Issac's story, in Genesis, should have tought everyone:
            > Be God fearing lest God alow your crazy father to sacrifice you. Surely,
            > this too could have leaked into Early Christianity, via Judaism. But then
            > again, there was probably more of a distinction between God the Father and
            > the Divinity of Christ.
            > In my personal oppinion, If Jesus is the Messiah than it should be
            > fitting that he should be feared like an Emperor, since 'Messiah'
            > is simply
            > a Davidic King--though now in a Roman context.
            >
            > Robert Tessman
            >
            > P.S.: Let's try to be a little more creative with out subject headings.
            > There are, of course, no longer any 'Introdutory Notes' that we are
            > discussing.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
            >
            > eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/gthomas
            > http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Tord Svenson
            ... Popes. ... Constantine established the orthodoxy by force of arms in the third century. Did not his troops have crosses on the their shields? Wasn t their
            Message 5 of 30 , Oct 10, 1999
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              At 11:58 AM 10/9/99 -0500, Stevan Davies wrote:
              >
              >> From: Tord Svenson
              >> The RCC claims direct descendancy from Jesus through Peter to all the
              Popes.
              >> That saying in the GOT is a small problem that discredits the heritage of
              >> the entire RCC. If you think that discrediting the line of Popes by Jesus
              >> turning the whole show over to his brother James instead of Peter is not a
              >> problem, no wonder its so easy to interpret the sayings. :-) The Pope may
              >> not have an army now --but he used to.
              >
              >Not in the second or third century.
              --------- Reply ------------
              Constantine established the orthodoxy by force of arms in the third
              century. Did not his troops have crosses on the their shields? Wasn't
              their function to establish the orthodoxy?
              ------------------------
              --------- Snip --------
              >>You do not mention the second sentence -- "When he
              >> finds he will become troubled." The KJV version has the seeking as leading
              >> directly to God.
              >
              >Where?
              ---------- Reply -----------
              Matthew 7:7-8
              -----------------------------
              >
              >> The GOT introduces an intermediary step that the
              >> Fundamentalists do NOT recognize. They do not accept that one gets troubled
              >> by seeking and finding. You can be troubled by seeking --but NOT by
              >> finding. We may be troubled by what we find --but they aren't --at least
              >> as regards their God. The concept of astonishment has NO place in their
              >> orthodoxy. Fear is OK --submission -- acceptance -- grace --etc. What does
              >> one need astonishment for? You seek --you find --you believe -- or else!
              >
              >I suppose so. But there weren't many Fundamentalists around before
              >the 19th century.
              --------- Reply -------------
              I can be argued that Constantine and his Popes and Bishops were
              fundamentalists. My congregation was founded by fundamentalist Puritans in
              1630.
              ---------------------------
              >
              >> Also isn't it a capital A in All? The All? --which appears to be a synonym
              >> for the Kingdom, The One, etc.?
              >
              >Not in the original. The capitalization of All results from
              >scholars assuming that Thomas is Gnostic and then
              >using technical Gnostic terms to translate it (from which they
              >then conclude that, since Thomas contains technical Gnostic
              >terms it is, therefore, Gnostic.

              ---------- Reply ------------
              This is an interesting point --- I am told by a Coptic translator that the
              Coptic word "the" can denote a capital letter ---- the example I was given
              is "the god" is "God" --- apparently the Greeks ( ancient?) do this also.

              Obviously -- "the One" is different than "one" --which raises the question
              -- "one of what?"

              One finds an interesting mixture of capitals and lower case letters used in
              the GOT. --- the word "He" turns up --which I take would have been "the
              he". "Father" is "the father" --etc.

              I wonder if there are any comments on this by the Coptic translators? I
              understand that it is a complex issue.
              Tord
            • Tord Svenson
              ... Actually I said it was saying #77 --not saying #2 ( I wish it was !) here is my post --- ... 77) Jesus said, It is I who am the light which is above them
              Message 6 of 30 , Oct 10, 1999
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                At 01:28 PM 10/10/99 -0400, Michael Grondin wrote:
                >>(2) Jesus said, "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds.
                >>When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled,
                >>he will become astonished, and he will rule over all things."
                >
                >Jack-
                >Tord Svenson tells me that the only sayings of Thomas which are spoken in
                >the movie "Stigmata" are this one (at least the first part of it), and the
                >thing about "Lift the stone and you will find me there." The two of these
                >taken together contribute to the plot of the movie, in that eventually
                >(after seeking) an ancient copy of GThom is dug up under a stone altar in
                >South America.
                >
                >More to your interest, Tord also tells me that the stuff the "heroine"
                >writes on the wall of her apartment may be Aramaic, given that the movie
                >had an Aramaic expert as advisor. Maybe sometime you can get ahold of a
                >still from this part of the movie and read the wall for us? If it is
                >Aramaic, it certainly would be interesting to find out how this movie
                >advisor translated the sayings.
                >
                >Regards,
                >Mike
                ------------ Reply ------------
                Actually I said it was saying #77 --not saying #2 ( I wish it was !)
                here is my post ---
                ----------------
                >The only two I heard were #1 and
                -----------------
                77) Jesus said, "It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I
                who am the All. From Me did the All come forth, and unto Me did the All
                extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you
                will find Me there."
                -------------------------
                but only the last sentence. That sentence was repeated several times
                during the film.

                However -- the heroine did write out something on her apartment walls
                --lots of writing. I am sure we could find a still of it and you might be
                able to tell if is Coptic. Its probably Aramaic -- they listed an Aramaic
                scholar in the credits. We also see the supposedly original GOT at the end
                when the hero digs it up from under the altar at the South American church
                it was hidden in. You could look at that as well. Want me to look up the
                stills for us ? They usually have them in the fan magazines. There is
                probably a web-site for "Stigmata".

                >The whole of history is a liberty --it's words after all ( and now a few
                images).
                ------------------------
                91) They said to Him, "Tell us who You are so that we may believe in You."
                He said to them, "You read the face of the sky and of the earth, but you
                have not recognized the one who is before you, and you do not know how to
                read this moment."
                ------------------
                Tord
              • William E. Arnal
                ... This is nonsense, at least as phrased. The definite article CANNOT denote a capital letter in a language in which such animals do not exist. Rather, and
                Message 7 of 30 , Oct 10, 1999
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                  On Sun, 10 Oct 1999, Tord Svenson wrote:

                  > This is an interesting point --- I am told by a Coptic translator that the
                  > Coptic word "the" can denote a capital letter ---- the example I was given
                  > is "the god" is "God" --- apparently the Greeks ( ancient?) do this also.

                  This is nonsense, at least as phrased. The definite article
                  CANNOT "denote" a capital letter in a language in which such
                  animals do not exist. Rather, and more properly put, English
                  sometimes chooses to indicate definiteness using a capital
                  letter RATHER THAN the definite article. Thus Greek uses the
                  definite article before proper names (sometimes) "the
                  Jesus," "the Peter," etc., whereas in English we drop the
                  article but capitalize the word to indicate its
                  definiteness. This sometimes leads to strange combinations:
                  "the Father," for instance, which seem to come from
                  combining a generic noun ("father") used definiteoly ("the
                  father") with a title for a specific being ("the Father").
                  In the case of "the All," what we have here is overkill.
                  Either it's "all" (an adjective) or "an all" (an indefinite
                  noun) or "the all" (a definite noun) or "All" (a strange
                  personal name I've never heard before.
                  In short -- Steve is right: the rendering of this
                  phrase as "the All" is prejudicial and unsubstantiated by
                  the text itself.

                  > Obviously -- "the One" is different than "one" --which
                  > raises the question -- "one of what?"

                  But in different languages definiteness is expressed with
                  greater or lesser consistency. In Greek (from which Thomas,
                  after all, has been translated), what might woodenly be
                  rendered as "the all" is better translated as "the whole" or
                  "everything," or even adverbially: "wholly," "completely,"
                  "altogether."

                  > One finds an interesting mixture of capitals and lower
                  > case letters used in the GOT. --- the word "He" turns up
                  > --which I take would have been "the he". "Father" is "the
                  > father" --etc.

                  No, there is no "the he" in Coptic -- the capitalization of
                  pronouns in the text is simply the translators' convention.
                  It is not relevant at all.

                  > I wonder if there are any comments on this by the Coptic
                  > translators? I understand that it is a complex issue.

                  As above. It's not THAT complex. The fact is, we have all
                  kinds of conventions in English -- capitalization,
                  punctuation, even word division -- that are not present in
                  the original languages. (On the other hand, THEY had some
                  conventions not avaoialble to us -- the supralinear bar
                  comes immediately to mind.) Translators are stuck
                  interpreting in their translations, but those
                  interpretations are no more specially normative than anyone
                  else's: they don't tell us (where they are, in fact,
                  "merely" interpretive) what the text "REALLY" says, just
                  what the translator THINKS it MEANS.

                  Bill
                  ________________________________________
                  William E. Arnal e-mail: wea1@...
                  Religious Studies/Classics Check out my web page, at:
                  New York University http://pages.nyu.edu/~wea1/
                • Robert Tessman
                  ... Scared is not the term I would use. Fearful is a better term. One is Fearful of a King or Emperor. One is scared of wild boar. Now, if I knew
                  Message 8 of 30 , Oct 11, 1999
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                    >So to try to get this back on track - I take you to be arguing that the
                    >christians of the fourth century were generaly more scared of God than the
                    >christians of the second and third. What evidence would you use to support
                    >this argument?

                    'Scared' is not the term I would use. 'Fearful' is a better term. One is
                    'Fearful' of a King or Emperor. One is 'scared' of wild boar.

                    Now, if I knew that I was arguing with you about something then perhaps I
                    would have come up with a better argument to support a possition that--up
                    until now--I didn't know I was supporting. I feel as though I somehow got
                    hooked into a dialogue without my knowing it was actually a debate. I
                    feel like a charictor in a Kafka Novel--'the Trial' comes to mind. And just
                    like that charictor did not know what his crime was, neither do I know what
                    I am arguing against. And, just as one who cannot prove himself innocent
                    of a crime he is unaware of, neither can I defend a point if 'nothing'
                    seems to be opposing it...yet somehow, what I am saying is wrong. Of
                    course, neither can I prove the validity of everything I should happen to
                    say or I would waste most of eternity in those times when I merely wish to
                    say," I am happy at the moment," or "I imagine this..."
                    (can you imagine trying to support the claim that you are happy?!)

                    I am sorry Jacob, I have no idea what kind of 'evidence' you are looking
                    for to support something that I merely assumed. But if you would kindly
                    give me YOUR oppinion, then I might be able to narrow the possibilities
                    down a bit. But then again, perhaps I am unjustifiably 'Guilty' of 'making
                    an ASS out of U and ME'.

                    Perhaps you should ask more pertinant questions if you want more pertinant
                    answers.

                    Maybe I should also clear something up here:
                    Tord Wrote:

                    You do not mention the second sentence -- "When he
                    >finds he will become troubled." The KJV version has the seeking as leading
                    >directly to God. The GOT introduces an intermediary step that the
                    >Fundamentalists do NOT recognize. They do not accept that one gets troubled
                    >by seeking and finding. You can be troubled by seeking --but NOT by
                    >finding. We may be troubled by what we find --but they aren't --at least
                    >as regards their God. The concept of astonishment has NO place in their
                    >orthodoxy. Fear is OK --submission -- acceptance -- grace --etc. What does
                    >one need astonishment for? You seek --you find --you believe -- or else!

                    And I Replied:

                    But you yourself say that Fear is OK, say, of God. Why would it not be
                    fear that is 'disturbing' if this saying can be interpreted as seeking and
                    finding God. I picture a good little Christian...etc.,

                    Such is a self contained logic, and needs no evidence apart from what Tord
                    said above--Tord is all the Evidence We Need Here. But as far as my
                    imagination goes--I'll have to do a bit more research on that...


                    Robert Tessman
                  • Robert Tessman
                    ... Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 AD. you might be making a common error here, Tord. I think you are assuming the 300s to be the third
                    Message 9 of 30 , Oct 11, 1999
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                      >>> The Pope may
                      >>> not have an army now --but he used to.
                      >>
                      >>Not in the second or third century.
                      >--------- Reply ------------
                      >Constantine established the orthodoxy by force of arms in the third
                      >century. Did not his troops have crosses on the their shields? Wasn't
                      >their function to establish the orthodoxy?

                      Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 AD. you might be making a
                      common error here, Tord. I think you are assuming the 300s to be the third
                      century. Yet just as we are living in the 20th century in 1999, so was
                      Constantine living in the Fourth Century in 312.

                      If I may be so bold as to answer this question--please correct me if I am
                      wrong here--The Battle at the Milivian Bridge whereby Constantine, under
                      the symbol of the cross, defeated Maxientus was mostly a political battle
                      between two Tetrarchs for dominion of the Roman Empire. Constantine
                      claimed latter that it was because of a revelation to convert to
                      Christianity that he utilized this symbol, but more probably it was to gain
                      support from Christians and others to whom the symbol was important. He of
                      course became the first Emperor to legaly tolerate the Christians and even
                      played a major role in shaping the new Roman institution but Orthodox
                      Christianity was not declaired the official Roman Religion until Emperor
                      Theodosius in the early 5th century--when paganism and any Christian Heresy
                      was declaired illegal. The Pope--that is the Bishop of Rome--did not
                      possess much power before this time. The Bishop of Rome was the most
                      distinguished position held among the bishops of the councils but had
                      virtually no power over any other bishop. The Emperor was the one who held
                      most of the jurisdictional power over this now Roman Religion. It was not
                      until the fall of Rome and still not until 800 AD when the bishop of Rome
                      came to exert an influence over Western Christianity whereby the Pope could
                      now command other bishops and even, soon after, Kings and even (Western)
                      'Emperors' (if they could be called that). This is the time when
                      Charlemagne was crowned Emperor by the Pope. From that time on, one could
                      say that the Pope commanded armies. However, I should say that in the east
                      with the Orthodox Churh of Constantinople, the Emperor was still the one in
                      charge. There was a patriarch but above him was still the Emperor.

                      >--------- Snip --------
                      >>>You do not mention the second sentence -- "When he
                      >>> finds he will become troubled." The KJV version has the seeking as leading
                      >>> directly to God.
                      >>
                      >>Where?
                      >---------- Reply -----------
                      >Matthew 7:7-8

                      I think what is being asked here is, "where...does it say that 'seeking'
                      leads specifically to 'God' in the King James Version"?


                      >>> The GOT introduces an intermediary step that the
                      >>> Fundamentalists do NOT recognize. They do not accept that one gets troubled
                      >>> by seeking and finding. You can be troubled by seeking --but NOT by
                      >>> finding. We may be troubled by what we find --but they aren't --at least
                      >>> as regards their God. The concept of astonishment has NO place in their
                      >>> orthodoxy. Fear is OK --submission -- acceptance -- grace --etc. What does
                      >>> one need astonishment for? You seek --you find --you believe -- or else!
                      >>
                      >>I suppose so. But there weren't many Fundamentalists around before
                      >>the 19th century.
                      >--------- Reply -------------
                      >I can be argued that Constantine and his Popes and Bishops were
                      >fundamentalists. My congregation was founded by fundamentalist Puritans in
                      >1630.

                      I think I would have to disagree with this. Back then, they were all
                      arguing theological points that had very little to do with the actual words
                      of the Bible--like, 'was Mary the mother of God if Jesus is God?' Or 'how
                      much of Christ was divine and how much was human?' The matters were all
                      speculative and it all centered around the creation of a Creed which was
                      not at all a part of the Bible but was nonetheless necessary for them to
                      distinguish The True Christians from the Enemy Heretics. They were
                      Fundamentalist with respect to their developing Creed--A Roman Law
                      Code--but with respect to the Bible there was no fundamentalism...Only
                      exegeses that were made to conform to the Creed. To some extent then, they
                      were slightly doing the opposite of what fundamentalists would have done.
                      A fundamentalist would read litteraly every word of the Bible--The Roman
                      Church was attemting to alter the interpretations of the 'Word' so that it
                      fit into the Creed.
                      Yet, when you mention the Puritans, yes, I agree but then they,
                      like all the protestants, were opposed to many of the Catholic
                      interpretations. The result in my oppinion: Bad became Worse!!!
                      Yet, how Fundamental can one get with the Bible without contradicting
                      oneself? The Bible Contradicts itself everywhere if we are to read it
                      literaly. They can try, I suppose, but they will only wind up looking like
                      complete morons. Unfortuantely, such has been acomplished.
                    • Tord Svenson
                      ... It was my understanding that Constantine s career spanned the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth centuries. Many of his conquests took place
                      Message 10 of 30 , Oct 11, 1999
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                        At 02:37 AM 10/11/99 -0500, Robert Tessman wrote:
                        >
                        >>>> The Pope may
                        >>>> not have an army now --but he used to.
                        >>>
                        >>>Not in the second or third century.
                        >>--------- Reply ------------
                        >>Constantine established the orthodoxy by force of arms in the third
                        >>century. Did not his troops have crosses on the their shields? Wasn't
                        >>their function to establish the orthodoxy?
                        >
                        >Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 AD. you might be making a
                        >common error here, Tord. I think you are assuming the 300s to be the third
                        >century. Yet just as we are living in the 20th century in 1999, so was
                        >Constantine living in the Fourth Century in 312.
                        ----------- Reply ------------
                        It was my understanding that Constantine's career spanned the end of the
                        third and the beginning of the fourth centuries. Many of his conquests took
                        place in the third century ( not true?).
                        ---------------------------
                        >
                        >If I may be so bold as to answer this question--please correct me if I am
                        >wrong here--The Battle at the Milivian Bridge whereby Constantine, under
                        >the symbol of the cross, defeated Maxientus was mostly a political battle
                        >between two Tetrarchs for dominion of the Roman Empire. Constantine
                        >claimed latter that it was because of a revelation to convert to
                        >Christianity that he utilized this symbol, but more probably it was to gain
                        >support from Christians and others to whom the symbol was important. He of
                        >course became the first Emperor to legaly tolerate the Christians and even
                        >played a major role in shaping the new Roman institution but Orthodox
                        >Christianity was not declaired the official Roman Religion until Emperor
                        >Theodosius in the early 5th century--when paganism and any Christian Heresy
                        >was declaired illegal. The Pope--that is the Bishop of Rome--did not
                        >possess much power before this time. The Bishop of Rome was the most
                        >distinguished position held among the bishops of the councils but had
                        >virtually no power over any other bishop. The Emperor was the one who held
                        >most of the jurisdictional power over this now Roman Religion. It was not
                        >until the fall of Rome and still not until 800 AD when the bishop of Rome
                        >came to exert an influence over Western Christianity whereby the Pope could
                        >now command other bishops and even, soon after, Kings and even (Western)
                        >'Emperors' (if they could be called that). This is the time when
                        >Charlemagne was crowned Emperor by the Pope. From that time on, one could
                        >say that the Pope commanded armies. However, I should say that in the east
                        >with the Orthodox Churh of Constantinople, the Emperor was still the one in
                        >charge. There was a patriarch but above him was still the Emperor.
                        >
                        >>--------- Snip --------
                        >>>>You do not mention the second sentence -- "When he
                        >>>> finds he will become troubled." The KJV version has the seeking as
                        leading
                        >>>> directly to God.
                        >>>
                        >>>Where?
                        >>---------- Reply -----------
                        >>Matthew 7:7-8
                        >
                        >I think what is being asked here is, "where...does it say that 'seeking'
                        >leads specifically to 'God' in the King James Version"?
                        ------------- Reply ------------
                        If you read Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus speaks of seeking and knocking on the door
                        --"it shall be opened unto you." --then it goes on talking about "your
                        Father" -- is it some vast leap to consider that the open door leads to
                        "the heavenly Father."? What is the door? Who opens it? What is behind
                        the door? In the opinion of the Orthodox it is God. By introducing the
                        concept of finding causing one's mind to be troubled and in saying that "he
                        will be astonished." --the GOT Jesus adds something which, in my opinion,
                        is very different than we find in the NT Gospels --and which is troubling
                        to the Fundamentalists I have spoken with about saying #2
                        ------------------------------
                        >
                        >
                        >>>> The GOT introduces an intermediary step that the
                        >>>> Fundamentalists do NOT recognize. They do not accept that one gets
                        troubled
                        >>>> by seeking and finding. You can be troubled by seeking --but NOT by
                        >>>> finding. We may be troubled by what we find --but they aren't --at
                        least
                        >>>> as regards their God. The concept of astonishment has NO place in their
                        >>>> orthodoxy. Fear is OK --submission -- acceptance -- grace --etc. What
                        does
                        >>>> one need astonishment for? You seek --you find --you believe -- or else!
                        >>>
                        >>>I suppose so. But there weren't many Fundamentalists around before
                        >>>the 19th century.
                        >>--------- Reply -------------
                        >>I can be argued that Constantine and his Popes and Bishops were
                        >>fundamentalists. My congregation was founded by fundamentalist Puritans in
                        >>1630.
                        >
                        >I think I would have to disagree with this. Back then, they were all
                        >arguing theological points that had very little to do with the actual words
                        >of the Bible--like, 'was Mary the mother of God if Jesus is God?' Or 'how
                        >much of Christ was divine and how much was human?' The matters were all
                        >speculative and it all centered around the creation of a Creed which was
                        >not at all a part of the Bible but was nonetheless necessary for them to
                        >distinguish The True Christians from the Enemy Heretics. They were
                        >Fundamentalist with respect to their developing Creed--A Roman Law
                        >Code--but with respect to the Bible there was no fundamentalism...Only
                        >exegeses that were made to conform to the Creed. To some extent then, they
                        >were slightly doing the opposite of what fundamentalists would have done.
                        >A fundamentalist would read litteraly every word of the Bible--The Roman
                        >Church was attemting to alter the interpretations of the 'Word' so that it
                        >fit into the Creed.
                        > Yet, when you mention the Puritans, yes, I agree but then they,
                        >like all the protestants, were opposed to many of the Catholic
                        >interpretations. The result in my oppinion: Bad became Worse!!!
                        >Yet, how Fundamental can one get with the Bible without contradicting
                        >oneself? The Bible Contradicts itself everywhere if we are to read it
                        >literaly. They can try, I suppose, but they will only wind up looking like
                        >complete morons. Unfortuantely, such has been acomplished.
                        >
                        -----Reply --------------
                        Personally, I think it is a mistake to use pejorative terms to categorizing
                        people.

                        The early Christian sects believed that their Bible was the word of God.
                        The same is true of many current day Christian sects. Stevan said that
                        there were not many Fundamentalists before the 19th century.

                        Of course, people are going to interpret any document to suit themselves.
                        That is why we have a Supreme Court --- as regards our Constitution.
                        Constantine established a sort of "Supreme Court" as regards the Bible and
                        it was decided which were the words of God and which were the words of the
                        Devil. The Bible may well be what it is today because Constantine thought
                        one of the proponents of Matthew's Gospel had a cute ass --and Arias had a
                        bony ass. The Fundamentalists I know would say that God had it all planned
                        that way --so his word would be the Word.

                        And then seventeen hundred years of destruction and glory was visited on
                        the sons (and daughters) of man.:-)
                        Tord
                      • Michael Grondin
                        ... This kind of flippancy is not welcome on this list. Stop it. Right now. And please apologize for this remark. Mike
                        Message 11 of 30 , Oct 11, 1999
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                          Tord Svenson wrote:
                          >The Bible may well be what it is today because Constantine thought one of
                          >the proponents of Matthew's Gospel had a cute ass ...

                          This kind of flippancy is not welcome on this list. Stop it. Right now. And
                          please apologize for this remark.

                          Mike
                        • Jacob Knee
                          OK - let s just let this drop. As a general point this is a scholarly list about an ancient text in its historical context and arguments are made by
                          Message 12 of 30 , Oct 11, 1999
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                            OK - let's just let this drop.

                            As a general point this is a scholarly list about an ancient text in its
                            historical context and arguments are made by marshalling supporting
                            evidence.

                            Best wishes,
                            Jacob Knee
                            (Boston, England)

                            > -----Original Message-----
                            > From: Robert Tessman [mailto:tess0006@...]
                            > Sent: 11 October 1999 08:37
                            > To: The Scholarly debate
                            > Subject: [gthomas] Re: The Fear of Constantine
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > >So to try to get this back on track - I take you to be arguing that the
                            > >christians of the fourth century were generaly more scared of
                            > God than the
                            > >christians of the second and third. What evidence would you use
                            > to support
                            > >this argument?
                            >
                            > 'Scared' is not the term I would use. 'Fearful' is a better term. One is
                            > 'Fearful' of a King or Emperor. One is 'scared' of wild boar.
                            >
                            > Now, if I knew that I was arguing with you about something then perhaps I
                            > would have come up with a better argument to support a possition that--up
                            > until now--I didn't know I was supporting. I feel as though I somehow got
                            > hooked into a dialogue without my knowing it was actually a debate. I
                            > feel like a charictor in a Kafka Novel--'the Trial' comes to
                            > mind. And just
                            > like that charictor did not know what his crime was, neither do I
                            > know what
                            > I am arguing against. And, just as one who cannot prove himself innocent
                            > of a crime he is unaware of, neither can I defend a point if 'nothing'
                            > seems to be opposing it...yet somehow, what I am saying is wrong. Of
                            > course, neither can I prove the validity of everything I should happen to
                            > say or I would waste most of eternity in those times when I merely wish to
                            > say," I am happy at the moment," or "I imagine this..."
                            > (can you imagine trying to support the claim that you are happy?!)
                            >
                            > I am sorry Jacob, I have no idea what kind of 'evidence' you are looking
                            > for to support something that I merely assumed. But if you would kindly
                            > give me YOUR oppinion, then I might be able to narrow the possibilities
                            > down a bit. But then again, perhaps I am unjustifiably 'Guilty'
                            > of 'making
                            > an ASS out of U and ME'.
                            >
                            > Perhaps you should ask more pertinant questions if you want more pertinant
                            > answers.
                            >
                            > Maybe I should also clear something up here:
                            > Tord Wrote:
                            >
                            > You do not mention the second sentence -- "When he
                            > >finds he will become troubled." The KJV version has the seeking
                            > as leading
                            > >directly to God. The GOT introduces an intermediary step that the
                            > >Fundamentalists do NOT recognize. They do not accept that one
                            > gets troubled
                            > >by seeking and finding. You can be troubled by seeking --but NOT by
                            > >finding. We may be troubled by what we find --but they aren't
                            > --at least
                            > >as regards their God. The concept of astonishment has NO place in their
                            > >orthodoxy. Fear is OK --submission -- acceptance -- grace --etc.
                            > What does
                            > >one need astonishment for? You seek --you find --you believe -- or else!
                            >
                            > And I Replied:
                            >
                            > But you yourself say that Fear is OK, say, of God. Why would it not be
                            > fear that is 'disturbing' if this saying can be interpreted as seeking and
                            > finding God. I picture a good little Christian...etc.,
                            >
                            > Such is a self contained logic, and needs no evidence apart from what Tord
                            > said above--Tord is all the Evidence We Need Here. But as far as my
                            > imagination goes--I'll have to do a bit more research on that...
                            >
                            >
                            > Robert Tessman
                            >
                            >
                            >
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