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8232Rational sheep (Was Re: collaborators and assistants to Metropolitan Anthony)

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  • frpeterjackson
    Apr 14, 2003
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      Just an aside: It was said:

      >Yes, the laity should be rational sheep, not unthinking
      > automotons.

      The phrase "rational sheep" is often misunderstood, mainly because of
      the clumsy tranlation. "Rational" as used here is an overly-literal
      rendering of the Greek "logikos", which did not mean "logical" at the
      time. (I don't think it took on this sense till the Middle Ages.) It
      come from "logos", meaning the inner, non-literal sense of something,
      rather the the superficial meaning. IOW, "logikos/rational" refers to
      what we what call the metaphorical sense. "Metaphorical", then, is
      the best way to render this (though I doubt anyone will ever bother
      to do so). As Christ's sheep, we are to be reasonable, certainly, but
      the phrase in question has nothing to do w/this. Rather, it simply
      means that we are His "metaphorical sheep", rather than literal cud-
      chewing, bleating creatures.

      Another case which comes to mind is Romans 12:1, which speaks of us
      offering ourselves as living sacrifices because this is
      our "reasonable service". Again, the word "reasonable" is "logikos"
      and should be translated as "metaphorical". More than once I have
      heard (or read) people respond to this passage saying, "Yes, offering
      our bodies as living sacrifices is only reasonable, after all."
      Actually, it's not very reasonable, and if anyone tried to crawl up
      onto the altar table, it would be a problem. "Reasonable" has nothing
      to do with what St. Paul is saying. "Service" here means liturgical
      worship, in the sense of the OT priests sacrificing animals in the
      Temple. St. Paul is merely saying that instead of sacrificing
      animals, we Christians are to offer ourselves; this is how we
      metaphorically serve God around a metaphorical altar. It is true
      service, to be sure, but not in the literal sense of a blood
      sacrifice.

      Fr. Peter Jackson
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