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Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue

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  • kymhsm <khs@picknowl.com.au>
    Dear Jeffery, James wrote (to Ramsay):
    Message 1 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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      Dear Jeffery,

      James wrote (to Ramsay):

      <<<Thanks for your quick reply. The second text you cite might
      well be counter-evidence. The first, unless it is taken to mean
      that Jesus descended from heaven as a complete, flesh -and-
      blood human being, probably doesn't prove anything one way or
      the other.>>>

      To which you peplied (in part):

      <<< I wonder if the expression "the Logos became flesh" was
      intended to cover this sort of problem.....But what did the fourth
      evangelist mean by it? >>>

      I suspect that a good sense of what John meant by it can be
      found in the opening of 1 John.

      [1] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard,
      which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon
      and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life -- [2] the
      life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and
      proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and
      was made manifest to us -- [3] that which we have seen and
      heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship
      with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son
      Jesus Christ.

      As a further comment, James' words "unless it is taken to mean
      that Jesus descended from heaven as a complete, flesh -and-
      blood human being" need some clarification. James seems to
      want to read John in isolation - I am not sure that even John
      intended it to be so read. But from the moment of the Spirit's
      coming upon Mary and the overshadowing of the Most High (Lk
      1:35), i.e. from the moment of conception, before even the first
      cell had divided, there was the Word made flesh (cf Lk 1:41-45).

      The Prologue tells us that the Word pre-existed with God and as
      God and that the Word became flesh. If God is Spirit (Jn 4:24)
      then we cannot understand that the Word who was God had a
      body of flesh with which to descend (as per James statement
      perhaps slightly misrepresented). If he did then he would not be
      truly human as we are and as he needed to be to redeem
      humanity. The Word becoming flesh begins with the conception
      as I have mentioned. That the Word made flesh rose from the
      dead and ascended to the Father in truly human form is another
      - though wonderful - issue altoghether.

      Sincerely,

      Kym Smith
      Adelaide
      South Australia
      khs@...




      S
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      Perhaps I was too vague:
      Message 2 of 22 , Feb 4, 2003
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        Perhaps I was too vague:

        <<< I wonder if the expression "the Logos became
        flesh" was intended to cover this sort of problem ....
        But what did the fourth evangelist mean by it? >>>

        I meant that there can be a difference between stating
        that "the Logos became flesh" and stating something
        like "the Logos took on flesh." In the former case,
        one could claim that the flesh, being
        spirit-transformed-into-flesh, had in fact descended
        from heaven in its pre-transformed state. In the
        latter case, the spirit did not become flesh in a
        strict sense but simply took on flesh, such that the
        statement about the flesh descending from heaven might
        be purely metaphorical.

        Jeffery Hodges

        =====
        Horace Jeffery Hodges (Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley)
        Assistant Professor
        Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
        447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
        Yangsandong 411
        South Korea

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      • Big_Mart_98 <big_mart_98@yahoo.com>
        ... He does not mention Jesus being born. He does later refer to his mother, but such inconsistencies do not seem to have bothered ancient people very much,
        Message 3 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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          >
          > I wonder if the expression "the Logos became flesh"
          > was intended to cover this sort of problem. If the
          > fourth evangelist meant that the Logos, which is
          > spirit, became flesh, then he could reconcile his
          > presentation of Jesus's statment about his flesh being
          > from heaven with his view that Jesus was born in a
          > human way.
          >
          He does not mention Jesus being born. He does later refer to his
          mother, but such inconsistencies do not seem to have bothered ancient
          people very much, either the learned or the masses. On the other
          hand they bother us, anyway those of us who think about such things
          at all, quite a lot. On the basis of the evidence we have, the
          Christ myth theory is tenable. If you believe in a historic Jesus,
          the Loisy thesis, that his followers still felt him to be with them
          in a spiritual way, and a mythology evolved from this, is the most
          tenable. Je ne crois plus au Pere Noel.
          Martin Edwards.
        • GustavSym@aol.com
          In a message dated 2/4/2003 7:09:46 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... Kym: I appreciate your systematic response to this difficult question. I also find it
          Message 4 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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            In a message dated 2/4/2003 7:09:46 PM Eastern Standard Time,
            khs@... writes:

            > The Prologue tells us that the Word pre-existed with God and as
            > God and that the Word became flesh. If God is Spirit (Jn 4:24)
            > then we cannot understand that the Word who was God had a
            > body of flesh with which to descend (as per James statement
            > perhaps slightly misrepresented). If he did then he would not be
            > truly human as we are and as he needed to be to redeem
            > humanity. The Word becoming flesh begins with the conception
            > as I have mentioned. That the Word made flesh rose from the
            > dead and ascended to the Father in truly human form is another
            > - though wonderful - issue altoghether.
            >

            Kym:

            I appreciate your systematic response to this difficult question. I also find
            it problematical to see the word-becoming-flesh structurally similar to the
            "bread from heaven" discourse.

            kai [h]o logos sarx egeneto: the Word became flesh

            About this statement, Jeff Hodges offers the following analysis:

            >>I meant that there can be a difference between stating
            that "the Logos became flesh" and stating something
            like "the Logos took on flesh." In the former case,
            one could claim that the flesh, being
            spirit-transformed-into-flesh, had in fact descended
            from heaven in its pre-transformed state. In the
            latter case, the spirit did not become flesh in a
            strict sense but simply took on flesh, such that the
            statement about the flesh descending from heaven might
            be purely metaphorical.<<

            I agree that there is a great difference between the two readings explored
            here. Strictly speaking, translations such as 'took on flesh,' or 'was made
            flesh' are difficult because *egeneto*, aorist indicative of *ginomai* ('come
            into being' , 'become' etc), disallows a passive construct ('was made');
            moreover, 'to take on flesh' is already a commitment to a specific reading of
            the text that is far more exclusive than the more literal (and grammatically
            'correct'), 'became flesh.'

            Nonetheless, Jeff Hodges' metaphorical sense of "descent" informs all
            Christologies "from above," even though the prologue offers no such motion
            explicitly. Only from subsequent pericopes( intra-, or para-textually) do we
            learn of such motion, and these are the pericopes that function as a lens
            through which the prologue is read. *Egeneto* implies no descent, no vector,
            no direction from which the "Word" comes; rather it gently implies a *time*.
            Dimensionally then, the word became flesh not from above but from the
            beginning (*arche*). Perhaps the structurally essential pericope (as a lens
            for reading the prologue) is not the "bread from heaven," but the stunning
            image of time in Jesus' most succinct rebuttal: "before Abraham was, I AM"
            [Jn. 8:58].

            Joseph Calandrino (henceforth, Joe C.)



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • John Lupia
            The Prologue of John contains central key statements or propositions that are essential themes and threads that run throughout the Gospel. A few examples (just
            Message 5 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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              The Prologue of John contains central key statements
              or propositions that are essential themes and threads
              that run throughout the Gospel. A few examples (just
              enough to give you the hint) are given below.

              The Johannine Prologue is certainly modeled on the
              Genesis Prologue where EN ARCH has a cosmogenetic
              meaning found in antique Greek philosophical writings
              that predate the supposed LXX translation at
              Alexandria.

              Aristotle's Metaphysics 983b11, TOUTO STOICEION KAI
              TAUTHN ARCHN FASIN EINAI TON ONTON is a discussion on
              "the first principle element" that signifies the
              primordial element which in his theory as well as
              Anaximander's meant "the first principle and cause of
              all things (creation)". According to Simplicius,
              Aristotelis physica commentaria 150.23 the concept
              first appeared in Anaximander.

              These same Greek ideas were certainly absorbed
              becoming part of Hellenistic Jewish thinking and St.
              John saw the value in borrowing them to express the
              Jewish concept of creation. The Jewish idea is that
              God spoke the eternal word from which all things come.
              John 1,1 expresses this in the Peripatetic formula:

              1.1a EN ARCH EN hO LOGOS
              "The first principle and cause of all things was the
              Word.

              1.1b KAI hO LOGOS EN PROS TON QEON
              and the Word was with God

              1.1c KAI QEOS EN hO LOGOS
              and the Word was God.

              The first verse is syllogistic with each clause
              having propositions: 1.1a + 1.1b Q.E.D. 1.1c

              John then paints a picture that the Word is the
              creator of all things and humans, and that His life is
              the light of humankind. The light shone in the
              darkness but the darkness could not comprehend it.

              This final note by John is a play on words where the
              darkness (SKOTIA) is unenlightened humanity. So God
              sent John (vv. 1-8) who was not himself the light but
              a witness of it to the world so that could come to see
              through the eyes of faith that the light was Jesus
              Christ, whom they did not recognize (v.10), nor
              accepted (v.11 and repeated in v. 33).

              However, those who did accept Him (Jesus) he made
              children of God (v.12). In v. 13 John introduces the
              theme that this transformation into children of God
              is not through biological reproductive means (repeated
              in John 3:3).

              In v. 14 John tells us that the Word became flesh (KAI
              hO LOGOS SARX EGENETO = Et Verbum caro factum est)
              immediately after he just finished speaking about
              natural human biological birth contrastively with the
              new birth that Word brings to humankind. The logic of
              the Prologue is very lucid and clearly shows a
              pre-existent Christ who became a living man of flesh
              and blood, themes which John will develop in
              Eucharistic theology.


              John


              =====
              John N. Lupia, III
              31 Norwich Drive
              Toms River, New Jersey 08757 USA
              Phone: (732) 341-8689
              Email: jlupia2@...
              Editor, Roman Catholic News
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News

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            • Jeffrey B. Gibson
              ... The claim implicit within this statement is that you have, at the very least, scoured the Patristic commentary and sermonic tradition on John -- where
              Message 6 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                "Big_Mart_98 " wrote:

                > >
                > > I wonder if the expression "the Logos became flesh"
                > > was intended to cover this sort of problem. If the
                > > fourth evangelist meant that the Logos, which is
                > > spirit, became flesh, then he could reconcile his
                > > presentation of Jesus's statment about his flesh being
                > > from heaven with his view that Jesus was born in a
                > > human way.
                > >
                > He does not mention Jesus being born. He does later refer to his
                > mother, but such inconsistencies do not seem to have bothered ancient
                > people very much, either the learned or the masses.

                The claim implicit within this statement is that you have, at the very
                least, scoured the Patristic commentary and sermonic tradition on John --
                where one would expect any "bother" on the part of ancient peoples to have
                been expressed -- and have found nothing in this regard. How else would you
                be able to make your claim with such certainty.

                So I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell us just how much of -- and what
                it is specifically within -- the patristic commentary and sermonic tradition
                on John you have actually read so that we can evaluate juts how well
                established your claim actually is.

                Thanks in advance.

                Yours,

                Jeffrey Gibson
                --

                Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                Chicago, IL 60626

                jgibson000@...
              • Paul Schmehl
                ... From: Jeffrey B. Gibson To: Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 3:51 PM Subject: Re:
                Message 7 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
                  To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 3:51 PM
                  Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue
                  >
                  > So I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell us just how much of -- and
                  what
                  > it is specifically within -- the patristic commentary and sermonic
                  tradition
                  > on John you have actually read so that we can evaluate juts how well
                  > established your claim actually is.
                  >
                  This now makes two of us who have requested the same evidence. I hope it
                  will be forthcoming.

                  Paul Schmehl
                  pschmehl@...
                  http://www.utdallas.edu/~pauls/
                • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                  I was wondering, too, and was on the verge of inquiring but decided to wait. Jeffrey Gibson has posed the query much better than I could have. Jeffery Hodges
                  Message 8 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                    I was wondering, too, and was on the verge of
                    inquiring but decided to wait. Jeffrey Gibson has
                    posed the query much better than I could have.

                    Jeffery Hodges

                    --- Paul Schmehl <pschmehl@...> wrote:
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
                    > To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                    > Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 3:51 PM
                    > Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the
                    > prologue
                    > >
                    > > So I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell us
                    > just how much of -- and
                    > what
                    > > it is specifically within -- the patristic
                    > commentary and sermonic
                    > tradition
                    > > on John you have actually read so that we can
                    > evaluate juts how well
                    > > established your claim actually is.
                    > >
                    > This now makes two of us who have requested the same
                    > evidence. I hope it
                    > will be forthcoming.
                    >
                    > Paul Schmehl
                    > pschmehl@...
                    > http://www.utdallas.edu/~pauls/
                    >
                    >
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                    >


                    =====
                    Horace Jeffery Hodges (Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley)
                    Assistant Professor
                    Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
                    447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
                    Yangsandong 411
                    South Korea

                    __________________________________________________
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                  • kymhsm <khs@picknowl.com.au>
                    Dear Joe C. I am concerned about the frequency with which I am posting to this list and the time involved in doing so. However, I wonder if you could say a
                    Message 9 of 22 , Feb 5, 2003
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                      Dear Joe C.

                      I am concerned about the frequency with which I am posting to
                      this list and the time involved in doing so. However, I wonder if
                      you could say a little more about what you wrote, especially the
                      second half which I have enclosed with [[[-]]]?

                      <<<Jeff Hodges' metaphorical sense of "descent" informs all
                      Christologies "from above," even though the prologue offers no
                      such motion explicitly. Only from subsequent pericopes( intra-, or
                      para-textually) do we learn of such motion, and these are the
                      pericopes that function as a lens through which the prologue is
                      read. *Egeneto* implies no descent, no vector, no direction from
                      which the "Word" comes; rather it gently implies a *time*.
                      [[[Dimensionally then, the word became flesh not from above but
                      from the beginning (*arche*). Perhaps the structurally essential
                      pericope (as a lens for reading the prologue) is not the "bread
                      from heaven," but the stunning image of time in Jesus' most
                      succinct rebuttal: "before Abraham was, I AM" [Jn. 8:58].]]]>>>

                      Now I am a `bear-of-little-brain' and often miss the subtleties that
                      most see at a glance so perhaps I just can't grasp what you
                      mean. It seems to me that you are saying that the Word / Son /
                      Jesus was always in the flesh. I can understand if, by that, you
                      mean that it was always part of the Father's plan for him to
                      become one with us in our humanity. However, that is different
                      from saying that he was `flesh' from `the beginning' (eternally?),
                      `before Abraham...'. I understand that he took on flesh – or the
                      appearance of flesh – to appear to Abraham (e.g. Gen 18), but
                      that is different from `becoming flesh'.

                      Thankyou,

                      Kym Smith
                      Adelaide
                      South Australia
                      khs@...
                    • Big_Mart_98 <big_mart_98@yahoo.com>
                      . ... and what ... tradition ... You re right, I haven t read any of it. Perhaps you could refer me to those fathers who expressed concern that John does not
                      Message 10 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                        .
                        >
                        > So I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell us just how much of --
                        and what
                        > it is specifically within -- the patristic commentary and sermonic
                        tradition
                        > on John you have actually read so that we can evaluate juts how well
                        > established your claim actually is.

                        You're right, I haven't read any of it. Perhaps you could refer me
                        to those fathers who expressed concern that John does not mention
                        Jesus being born but later refers to his mother. I should also be
                        interested to know which fathers were worried by the fact that, in
                        the Synoptics, Jesus's is mother is called Mary; but, while John does
                        not name her, he names her sister Mary of Clopas. This would be a
                        good place to start my patristic studies.

                        Martin Edwards BA (UEA), PGCE (Hull), RT.
                      • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                        ... I think before I do, I d like to be sure about what it is that you are owning up to in your admission above. Are you acknowledging not only (a) that your
                        Message 11 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                          "Big_Mart_98 " wrote:

                          > .
                          > >
                          > > So I wonder if you'd be kind enough to tell us just how much of --
                          > and what
                          > > it is specifically within -- the patristic commentary and sermonic
                          > tradition
                          > > on John you have actually read so that we can evaluate juts how well
                          > > established your claim actually is.
                          >
                          > You're right, I haven't read any of it. Perhaps you could refer me

                          > to those fathers who expressed concern that John does not mention
                          > Jesus being born but later refers to his mother. I should also be
                          > interested to know which fathers were worried by the fact that, in
                          > the Synoptics, Jesus's is mother is called Mary; but, while John does
                          > not name her, he names her sister Mary of Clopas. This would be a
                          > good place to start my patristic studies

                          I think before I do, I'd like to be sure about what it is that you are owning
                          up to in your admission above.

                          Are you acknowledging not only (a) that your claim about what ancient peoples
                          were not bothered with has no real grounding (since you have had no direct
                          contact with what ancient people thought) and therefore was just a surmise;
                          but also (b) that your claim is wrong?

                          Yours,

                          JG

                          --

                          Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                          1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                          Chicago, IL 60626

                          jgibson000@...
                        • Big_Mart_98 <big_mart_98@yahoo.com>
                          ... ancient peoples ... no direct ... surmise; ... a)My use of the word seem implies a surmise. b)It may be right or wrong: I am asking you to demonstrate
                          Message 12 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                            >
                            > Are you acknowledging not only (a) that your claim about what
                            ancient peoples
                            > were not bothered with has no real grounding (since you have had
                            no direct
                            > contact with what ancient people thought) and therefore was just a
                            surmise;
                            > but also (b) that your claim is wrong?
                            >
                            > Yours,
                            >
                            > JG
                            >
                            > --
                            >
                            > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                            a)My use of the word "seem" implies a surmise.
                            b)It may be right or wrong: I am asking you to demonstrate that it
                            was wrong.
                            Mart.
                          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                            ... Sorry, but this is to shift the burden of proof, a tactic which is unacceptable on academic lists. You made a claim. The burden for demonstrating its
                            Message 13 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                              "Big_Mart_98 " wrote:

                              > >
                              > > Are you acknowledging not only (a) that your claim about what
                              > ancient peoples
                              > > were not bothered with has no real grounding (since you have had
                              > no direct
                              > > contact with what ancient people thought) and therefore was just a
                              > surmise;
                              > > but also (b) that your claim is wrong?
                              > >
                              >
                              > a)My use of the word "seem" implies a surmise.
                              > b)It may be right or wrong: I am asking you to demonstrate that it
                              > was wrong.
                              > Mart.

                              Sorry, but this is to shift the burden of proof, a tactic which is
                              unacceptable on academic lists.

                              You made a claim. The burden for demonstrating its truth, let alone that you
                              had any right to make it, is yours.

                              JG
                              --

                              Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                              1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                              Chicago, IL 60626

                              jgibson000@...
                            • Paul Schmehl
                              ... From: To: Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 7:48 AM Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit
                              Message 14 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: <big_mart_98@...>
                                To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                                Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 7:48 AM
                                Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue
                                >
                                > a)My use of the word "seem" implies a surmise.

                                This is equivocating. You clearly stated (twice) a belief that the ancients
                                were not concerned with illogical statements. You *never* indicated that it
                                was a surmise. Had you stated that it was a surmise, I would have rebutted
                                it rather than requesting the evidence for your statement.

                                > b)It may be right or wrong: I am asking you to demonstrate that it
                                > was wrong.

                                Bzzz! Wrong answer. *You* made the statement. Now *you* get to back it
                                up. But you can't, because you've admitted you haven't read the patristics
                                *at all*.

                                Here's some food for thought. If the ancients weren't concerned with
                                illogical statements, why do we find so many corrections to the text in
                                places where the "original" was illogical? Why do we find the clear removal
                                or replacement of "troubling" statements or "contradictory" statements
                                (commonly known as "difficult readings")? Why did Tatian write his
                                Diatessaron? Why was so much work done on harmonization of the texts?

                                The answers to these questions point clearly in the direction of people who
                                were troubled by contradictions and illogical statements in the text.

                                Frankly, I think the assumption that we moderns are "more logical" or "more
                                rational" than the ancients points clearly to hubris. In some ways we have
                                never even approached the level of their achievements. Think about it.
                                *All* modern law is based upon the code of Hammurabi, which dates to 1800
                                years BCE (and I could easily argue that Hammurabi stole his ideas from even
                                older civilizations.) All modern philosophy is built upon the foundation of
                                Socrates, Plato and the other great Greek thinkers. What can modern man
                                point to that is as lofty as those accomplishments?

                                Paul Schmehl
                                pschmehl@...
                                http://www.utdallas.edu/~pauls/
                              • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                [I attempted to send this some hours ago, but my server was, apparently, having problems, so my post bounced.] Big_Mart_98 --
                                Message 15 of 22 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                  [I attempted to send this some hours ago, but my
                                  server was, apparently, having problems, so my post
                                  bounced.]

                                  Big_Mart_98 <big_mart_98@...> -- concerning
                                  Jeffrey Gibson's challenge to his statement that
                                  ancient people were unconcerned with logical
                                  consistency -- wrote:

                                  "It may be right or wrong: I am asking you to
                                  demonstrate that it was wrong."

                                  But why should Jeffrey Gibson have to do this? You
                                  made the assertion (originally, in response to one of
                                  my posts), so you need to back it up.

                                  Jeffery Hodges

                                  =====
                                  Horace Jeffery Hodges (Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley)
                                  Assistant Professor
                                  Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
                                  447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
                                  Yangsandong 411
                                  South Korea

                                  __________________________________________________
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