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Lost Community?

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  • Mike Grondin
    Bill- The discussion you ve generated seems now to be concentrating on the word LOGOS, but it seems to me that at least utterance is in the ballpark, whereas
    Message 1 of 3 , May 8, 2005
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      Bill-

      The discussion you've generated seems now to be concentrating on the
      word LOGOS, but it seems to me that at least 'utterance' is in the
      ballpark, whereas your translation of KOSMOS as 'lost community' is
      almost totally baffling to me. In response to Mark Matson, you say
      that "... John's usage ... is always, always, always - 'lost
      community.'", but I'm sure you realize that virtually everyone else
      would say "never, never, never". The lexical objections are really
      unanswerable, IMO, but there is yet another objection - namely that
      your reasoning is faulty. It's that objection that I want to raise
      here.

      1. "... the KOSMOS 'did not correctly recognize him'"
      (response to Jeffrey Gibson, message #5151)

      The reasoning here seems to be that only _people_ can recognize (or
      reject, hate, etc), therefore John must have had a special meaning
      of KOSMOS in mind - one that didn't include planets, bees, and
      trees, e.g. But then why did he not use the word 'men'? The natural
      answer, ISTM, is that he was using hyperbole and poetic license, and
      that his statements are not to be taken literally. The LOGOS made
      the KOSMOS, but the KOSMOS didn't recognize it. This nice symmetry
      would be lost if he had said that the LOGOS made the KOSMOS, but
      _men_ didn't recognize it. He worded it to have maximum impact - not
      literal truth.

      2. In Jn's usage, the KOSMOS doesn't include believers.
      (basically, this is used to support the word 'lost' of 'lost
      community', as against, say, humankind in general)

      The mistake in reasoning here is on the same order as the first,
      except that now the mistaken reasoning is used to eliminate a subset
      of humans from KOSMOS, rather than non-humans. Since believers don't
      reject the LOGOS, they must not fall under what John means by
      KOSMOS. But again, there's a failure to recognize hyperbole. The
      mistake in reasoning here is similar to one which would be made if
      we were to claim that when a person says "Everyone hates me!", he
      must have a _different sense_ of the word 'everyone' in mind,
      because he obviously isn't hated by all of humankind. The proper
      analysis of this utterance is not that the speaker had a special
      sense of 'everyone' in mind, but that he was engaged in hyperbole,
      not to be taken literally.

      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
    • Bill Ross
      ... reject, hate, etc), therefore John must have had a special meaning of KOSMOS in mind - one that didn t include planets, bees, and trees, e.g. But
      Message 2 of 3 , May 9, 2005
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        <Mike>
        >>The reasoning here seems to be that only _people_ can recognize (or
        reject, hate, etc), therefore John must have had a special meaning of KOSMOS
        in mind - one that didn't include planets, bees, and trees, e.g. But then
        why did he not use the word 'men'?

        <Bill>
        ISTM that 4G has a major theme:

        "God reaches out"

        Ie: he will show that he puts no stock in human lineage and invades Samaria,
        decrying former concepts of geographical borders, race, religion, gender or
        exclusivity.

        To do this, John refers to the target by a code name - KOSMOS. Think
        "Operation KOSMOS." The usage is not without precedent (assuming Paul
        precedes John):

        2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be
        repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
        Ga 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord
        Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

        This in turn may have been coined in the LXX, I do not yet know the origin.

        But for John, it is a very prevalent concept.

        Now, don't get your undies in a bunch thinking I really think this was a
        "code name" with a military operations background. Rather, he uses the
        extant term to refer to the divine invasion in much the same way - as a
        "handle" for this group - much the same way, by the way, as he uses the term
        "the Jews." Did he mean all Jews? Or was this a code name for a particular
        group?

        <M>
        >>The natural answer, ISTM, is that he was using hyperbole and poetic
        license, and that his statements are not to be taken literally. The LOGOS
        made the KOSMOS, but the KOSMOS didn't recognize it. This nice symmetry
        would be lost if he had said that the LOGOS made the KOSMOS, but _men_
        didn't recognize it. He worded it to have maximum impact - not literal
        truth.

        <B>
        So are you saying that he is speaking like this...

        "God made gay [happy] people, but gay [homosexual] people didn't recognize
        him."

        In this way, he makes use of two usages for maximum impact of symmetry, at
        the expense of clarity and consistency? It does not work for me that way.
        Rather, by being consistent in his usage, we can make sense of his speech
        without inside information provided by bracketed additions.

        <M>
        >>...But again, there's a failure to recognize hyperbole. The mistake in
        reasoning here is similar to one which would be made if we were to claim
        that when a person says "Everyone hates me!", he must have a _different
        sense_ of the word 'everyone' in mind, because he obviously isn't hated by
        all of humankind. The proper analysis of this utterance is not that the
        speaker had a special sense of 'everyone' in mind, but that he was engaged
        in hyperbole, not to be taken literally.

        <B>
        ISTM that hyperbole is analaog, while John's use is digital. That is, he
        makes explicit distinction rather than an exaggerated inclusion. Hence,
        hyperbole is not a possible explanation:

        Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but
        because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,
        therefore the world hateth you.
        Joh 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out
        of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept
        thy word.
        Joh 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but
        that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

        Again, the usage is not necessarily an invented one, but one John uses quite
        specifically. Paul does also:

        9 ΒΆ I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
        10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the
        covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out
        of the world.
        11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is
        called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer,
        or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
        12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye
        judge them that are within?
        13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among
        yourselves that wicked person.

        In fact, Paul seems to define the KOSMOS (in this usage) as: "them that are
        without [outside]" in verse 12 and 13.


        Bill Ross
      • Mike Grondin
        ... recognize him. No, this is not an apt analogy. ... I m not sure what you mean by that, but it worked for the ancients. In fact, it may be the crux of the
        Message 3 of 3 , May 9, 2005
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          --- Bill Ross wrote:
          > So are you saying that [John] is speaking like this...
          >
          > "God made gay [happy] people, but gay [homosexual] people didn't
          recognize him."

          No, this is not an apt analogy.

          > In this way, he makes use of two usages for maximum impact of
          > symmetry, at the expense of clarity and consistency? It does not
          > work for me that way.

          I'm not sure what you mean by that, but it worked for the ancients.
          In fact, it may be the crux of the problem that you believe that
          John (and the other evangelists) were interested in "clarity and
          consistency" - as opposed to a rather unmistakeable interest in
          rhetorical persuasion. Take 1.10 for example. Yes, I would say that
          it's a combination of literality and poetic license:

          (a) "the world came into being through him" (literal)
          (b) "but the world knew him not" (poetic license)

          Part (b) constitutes poetic license, because KOSMOS includes things
          which cannot "know" (e.g., stars and rocks and trees). You want to
          believe that John used KOSMOS consistently, and so you find an
          English phrase that you think makes all his usages of that word
          literally true. Well, in fact he did use it consistently to refer to
          the world, but sometimes he (like most every other writer/speaker)
          was writing literally (or so he took it), sometimes poetically. The
          proper thing to do is to translate what he actually wrote, not what
          we think would make his statements literally true.

          Consider the following two cases from modern usage:

          (1) In the movie _Titanic_, the hero yells out "I'm king of the
          world!" from the bridge of the ship.
          (2) In the context of televised protests, the protesters will
          sometimes chant "The whole world is watching!"

          Do you suppose that the hero of _Titanic_ or the protestors have a
          special meaning of 'world' in mind? That they use it as a code-word
          for something else? That when they use the word 'world' in _other_
          contexts, they continue to use it in that special way? But if
          moderns can sometimes engage in hyperbole without it being thought
          that they have a special meaning of the word in mind, how much more
          so ancient religious writers - who had almost no interest in
          "clarity and consistency" at all?

          > ... by being consistent in his [John's] usage, we can make sense
          > of his speech without inside information provided by bracketed
          > additions.

          It's not a case of "bracketed additions" (you're misled by your own
          inapt analogy). We just have to recognize when the writer/speaker is
          using language relatively literally and when he isn't. If you're
          thinking that GJn or any other religious writing of the time is full
          of careful and consistent usage of terms, boy are you on the wrong
          track!

          > ... [John} makes explicit distinction rather than an exaggerated
          > inclusion. Hence, hyperbole is not a possible explanation ...

          "The world hates you" _isn't_ "exaggerated inclusion"? Oh, my. So
          you would say that John seriously believed that all members of
          the "lost community" (whatever that is) hated Christians? Or by not
          hating Christians, did one forfeit membership in the "lost
          community"? Either way seems nonsensical to me.

          Mike Grondin
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