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Re: Lost Community?

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  • 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 1 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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