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 While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens

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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Tue 02 Oct 2018, 16:45

Regarding Flew and senility.  I think that is more down to there being nothing more that annoys an atheist than another atheist seeing the error of their ways.  Or as Jesus once put it, more or less, "there is more joy in heaven over one atheist who repents than over the 99 who not think they need to'.

Jesus had quite a lot to say concerning resurrection, as Paul did, but they were both concerned with the resurrection of the 'body' (that is the whole person) which was the concept of resurrection that developed rather late within Judaism.  For most of the OT period there was no belief in the resurrection and even at the time of Jesus the Sadducees did not believe in it - there was an exchange between Jesus and them on the subject.  PS it was their lack of belief in the resurrection that gave them their name as they were 'sad you see'.

Hi Temperance, I will post on the Deuteronomic history when I get the time but certainly not on Leviticus which is a user manual and like all user manuals tedious in the extreme.

Just to finish another random thought:

The Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge was founded by the physicist James Maxwell and it had carved on the front entrance a quote from Psalm 111 in Latin.  In 1973 the Cavendish laboratory moved to a new building and Sir Brian Pippard, who won the Nobel prize for physics, relates how one of his students suggested that the new building should also have the quote from Psalm 111, but in English this time.  Sir Brian told the student that he would put the idea to the policy committee, but that he fully expected them to turn the idea down.  However, to his surprise, they did not and so the inscription at the entrance to the Cavendish laboratory reads 'The works of the Lord are great. sought out all of them that have pleasure therein' (Coverdale's translation).

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Thu 04 Oct 2018, 15:21

My depression has not lifted, and I have been fretting about all this since my cucumber post. The wisdom of the usually excellent Marcus seems, sadly, flawed: you can chuck out the offending salad vegetable, but the bitter taste often remains in the mouth. May I explain to anyone who might be listening? I think nordmann and Tim both enjoy scoring points - very natural after all, and part of the pleasure of the rigour of debate - and both can be tempted at times to use language that occasionally comes across (spot of reader-response theory here which I admit can always be a bit tricky) as inflammatory, and which could be viewed, by some, as hurtful. Nordmann is the subtler of the two in his use of language while I, of course, the innocent bystander, am entirely guiltless of any passive-aggressive word crime.

Here is a paragraph from nordmann's last post: I underline the subtly emotive words and phrases. Tim's use of "error of their ways" and atheist "repenting" in his last post is also a bit dodgy, but no doubt, Tim, your remarks are meant to be taken as  tongue-in-cheek comments: what distresses me most about nordmann's prose is that he seems always to be deadly serious. No wriggle room is ever allowed. But I suppose in adult discussion, no quarter or wriggle room should be given - or sought.

@nordmann wrote:


However, not wishing to further justify any incorrect presumption of motive on my own part, especially regarding "flattening opposition", I will resist commenting further. Except to politely answer the two comments/queries you made to me directly: I have never said that the philosopher and the theologian cannot find grounds or opportunity to share mutual respect. I have certainly proposed that mutual understanding is difficult based on both disciplines' largely incompatible understanding of what "understanding" constitutes, and I have often said that any "dismissal" by either of the other's views, especially one that might include the accusation of being "unintelligent", requires rather more justification than the theologian tends to be capable of producing, as it would also a degree of obtuseness that only the most ignorant or arrogant of philosophers might pretend to insinuate into their argument. Speciousness is not the preserve of any discipline, and derogatory accusations based on such argument are prone to arise within any academic discipline that tolerates intellectual and moral laxity when it comes to formulating them. I will leave it to your own judgement regarding which disciplines may be more prone than others in this respect. "Woo woo" most certainly occurs within much theological assertion, just as it occurs within much ill-disciplined philosophical reasoning. The difference between the two in that respect is normally the rather important one that "woo woo" as asserted by theology is then often incorporated into rather concrete and pervasive attempts to control the society in which it occurs, sometimes even with a rather violently applied requirement that it should not be questioned whereas philosophical "woo woo" tends to stay on the page and should it dare venture further, is most normally identified and extinguished quite naturally within the discipline

It's a brilliant piece of writing, you have to give it to him, but what is its subtext?

"Intellectual and moral laxity" and "violently applied requirement that it should not be questioned."  Wince. Wince. Wince. There is violence and violence, nordmann: verbal attack can be as hurtful as physical - and yes, I have read the whole post. I am sure you believe you are trying to be fair, for you do indeed make your points very carefully, no doubt choosing your words without full awareness of their possible impact: however, the message as it builds up is, perhaps unintentionally, devastating. Can you not see that? Some "philosophers"  I have known in the past were capable of responding with a fair degree of violent anger when questioned or challenged. Some were passive-aggressive rather than overtly nasty, it's true, but "Do not dare question or challenge" can indeed be the subtext of the unwise philosopher as of the bigoted theologian. That approach goes against all that I believe to be good and worthwhile about the great disciplines of philosophy and theology. One or two of the  "philosophers" I have known have also, in my very humble opinion, been, at times, both morally and intellectually "lax".  But judge not and ye shall not be judged - and who wants to be judged as "intellectually lax"? I certainly don't, although I accuse myself of this fault a lot, probably too much. Here is a list of interesting synonyms for this particularly unsettling word:

slack, slipshod, negligent, neglectful, remiss, careless, heedless, unmindful, inattentive, slapdash, offhand, casual; easy-going, lenient, permissive, soft, liberal, non-restrictive, indulgent, overindulgent, complaisant, over-tolerant, irresponsible; (informal) sloppy.

Tim - I went to a Bible Study group last night, the first time I have been to such a gathering for ages - the triumph of hope over experience. It was a disaster. As ever, I came away in despair and with dangerously raised blood pressure. Resurrection was the topic, but, although not, at least on the surface, a hostile meeting, the hurl-a-cucumber mood possessed me again. It must be me: nordmann drives me up the wall at times, but so do the Christians (most of the time, if the truth be known). I think I need to become a hermit and never argue or discuss anything with anyone ever again. I  seem unable to agree with anyone these days, or make myself understood, although I think I always try to be fair and reasonable, and to listen to others and respect different views with good humour and tolerance. It is a courtesy others often do not reciprocate. That said (about becoming a hermit), a thread on resurrection - not just Christian beliefs, but views on the "afterlife", or on the different meanings of "afterlife" in different times and in different cultures -  might be interesting. What exactly did "resurrection of the body" mean  - not just to "Christians", but to the Jewish Pharisees and to the various Greek thinkers? Paul's ideas were Greek, were they not and really concerned with the resurrection of the spiritual "body",  or of the "spirit" itself, a transformation which can occur, not just after death, but while we struggle in this life? Why are Christians so obsessed with the fate of the physical body? Several people last night were raving about the recent film, Risen,  a predictably literal presentation of the Easter story. I thought the film was awful and said so - an unwise appraisal in such company.

Hope we can all continue discussing in a friendly and informative way - really. But if not, I'll retire from Res His and live out my days as a hermit - a crabby and old, but hopefully not "senile", person (unlike that unfortunate apostate, the apparently crazy old Mr Flew).


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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Fri 05 Oct 2018, 08:56

Not sure I can agree with you about the subtext you claim to have identified in my post - contrary to the subtext of your own post I was in fact attempting to be friendly, even-handed, and - rather than "informative" - at least concise. I do not set out to impress, chastise, flatten - or indeed anything else other than to state my opinion, to which you are of course at liberty to counter with your own.

Regarding your question "What exactly did 'resurrection of the body' mean  - not just to 'Christians', but to the Jewish Pharisees and to the various Greek thinkers?" I cannot answer for the Pharisees (more Tim's area) but you may be interested in the origins of atomic theory, or at least what passed as such in ancient Greece. The term "atom" in its modern sense is normally credited to Democritus, who rather wonderfully deduced from scientific observation, unaided by any magnifying lens stronger than a raindrop, that all matter was composed of indivisible and invisible elements. In fact he wasn't really the first - he seems to have been articulating and joining together the musings of several others, notably his own mentor Leucippus. What Democritus did however was propose an argument designed to circumvent gainsayers who (understandably) might question the idea of something being presumed to exist despite the fact that it - by definition - is too small to see, and therefore must logically fall within the metaphysical sphere of existence (like the gods, and indeed anything that can be felt as real but which depends on pure faith in the concept to sustain). Democritus anticipated this with a rather emphatic challenge to devise any other logical way in which softness and hardness of materials can be explained - he had taken Leucippus's (and some even more ancient Phoenician thinkers') ideas concerning the indestructibility of these fundamental building blocks of everything and deduced that their crucial quality was not just that only a small amount of variation in their design accounted for absolutely all forms of observable physical "reality" (a hugely intelligent guess by these early "atomists") but rather also that the absolute essence of their importance and nature lay in fact in the space between them. It was this "nothingness"imposing degrees of space between atoms, he reckoned, which then accounted for the physical world that we interpret as tangible matter, water, air, and all the perceived degrees of "hardness" in between. A truly scientific principle, deduced using rudimentary scientific deduction based on observation and testable hypothesis, limited only by the constraints of the rudimentary tools at his disposal, but still enough to ground his hypothesis in the physical rather than the metaphysical - two distinct takes on what constituted knowledge that Democritus termed "legitimate" and "bastard" (how's that for emotive subtext?). It is worth adding that "bastard" did not carry pejorative connotations to Democritus - it meant something undeniably real and worthy derived from non-conventional source.

However what this "champion of scientific theory" was doing in pursuing early atomic theory was something rather different than what a modern scientist might assume at first glance. Democritus, just like his atomic theory predecessors, was also obsessed with establishing acceptance of the notion of "the void" as the starting point in distinguishing legitimate from bastard knowledge, physics from metaphysics, and ultimately intelligent reason "noimos" from stupidity "viakos" (a term the Greeks used in the sense of the thinker "sleeping" and "forgetting" to use their reason). In his atomic hypothesis this accounted for space between atoms, but crucially it was also almost a magical realm, he reckoned, which had no physical expression, no "legitimate" way to deduce its nature, and therefore was the divine space into which our material world had been insinuated. Democritus was even revolutionary enough a metaphysician to deduce that the gods themselves had also been insinuated into "the void" - we and the gods had that much in common, which is why we could "know" each other - which then of course begged the question as to who or what had done all this "insinuating". What controlled "the void" and how were the rules of engagement decided? What rules applied in any sense in fact, and what kind of absolute authority therefore enforced the rules?

His justification for posing this question was what made it most interesting. Ultimately he was addressing the phenomenon of decay (as he saw it), or entropy (as it is more commonly termed in science today), an observable and inescapable quality of all "things". The atom was the attempt to explain that decay was an illusion of sorts, performed within a very narrow definition of tangible matter observable to humans. Behind this illusion was a universe of atoms, indestructible and unable to decay, and behind this level was "the void" in which these atoms did their stuff. The creation of new life, the one observable phenomenon that countered absolute decay, Democritus theorised, was simply a realignment of atoms. He didn't know about molecules, or DNA, or evolutionary theory, or indeed much that might explain this realignment in biological or chemical terms, but he knew it happened, and he mistakenly attributed this to an intelligence within the void itself. And if this intelligence underpinned the entire universe who could ever second-guess it and deny that corporeal resurrection wasn't something it was eminently capable of, should circumstances understandable only to that intelligence warrant it.

Zeno's followers (in the sense that they followed his metaphysical hypotheses later long after he'd snuffed it) thought Democritus was a bit batty. Socrates, who always tried to marry the physical with the metaphysical as a sort of philosophical peacemaker in many of his theories, apparently deduced that Democritus had come closer than anyone to finding a unifying divine intelligence behind the entire universe (and also agreed that corporeal resurrection couldn't be ruled out in that definition of the universe). Plato, his pupil, took this concept into the academy he started and encouraged quite a lot of hypothesis exploring its implications, and this debate was still in full swing when the various arcane mysticisms encouraged as religious belief within the Roman hegemony started to make their presence felt in the Greek portion of that wide and diverse assembly of world views.

So, in a weird and wonderful way that Christian theologians traditionally have been understandably rather unwilling to dwell too much on or to acknowledge in quite the same terms, Greek atomic theory led in many ways to a definition of their God, and even some of their religion's central elements of faith, including resurrection that might include the body. Even weirder - psychic or somatic resurrection "of the soul" was something that the Greeks had never had a problem believing in, though philosophically normally only in metaphysical terms. That of the body however, one incidence of which lies at a fundamental level behind Christian theological belief and a general acceptance that it will happen everyone eventually shared by many within that theology, was something the Greeks had more or less established as a "scientific" reality, at least among "void" enthusiasts still knocking around at the time. Worth thinking about - when Paul or others stressed the nature of the soul's various transitional options during life and after death this was the radical "hard to grasp" stuff to many of his listeners. Bodily resurrection was actually the given, at least to the many whose post-Socratic world view had been heavily influenced by Platonic and Epicurean definitions of "reality". In fact bodily resurrection, as Democritus had more or less stated, would be a definitive physical "proof" of an ultimate and supreme divinity. The other stuff was simply metaphysical speculation that may intrigue theologians, but not necessarily be of any significance to normal sods wishing to adopt and invest in a Christian god.


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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Fri 05 Oct 2018, 09:17

@nordmann wrote:
Not sure I can agree with you about the subtext you claim to have identified in my post - contrary to the subtext of your own post I was in fact at least attempting to be friendly, even-handed, and - rather than "informative" - at least concise. I do not set out to impress, chastise, flatten - or indeed anything else other than to state my opinion, to which you are of course at liberty to counter with your own.

OK.

The rest of your post is brilliant - I knew nothing about any of that. It has jolted me out of my lethargy, and has set me off determined to find out more about the batty Democritus. Inspiring a pupil to find out more is always the mark of a good teacher, so thank you. No subtext.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Fri 05 Oct 2018, 10:31

PS: I'm completely with Tim on avoiding a Leviticus discussion, if possible. While it's easy to see how Christians, though adopting it through default as part of their scriptural canon, have cherry-picked it to the extent that the corpse now more resembles something left behind by rabid carrion crows rather than by selective fruit gatherers, it is also evident that Jews themselves were frequently ambivalent regarding which bits should apply and how - even long before any potential radical rabbis of the 1st century rather vociferously attacked the dearth of actual moral principle or practicality behind some of its "rules", as at least one apparently did. If it was a "manual", as Tim rightly implies, it was one that had always really only applied to the guys tasked with keeping the machinery operational, not necessarily the end users of the product.

Deuteronomy & Co - now that's interesting stuff ....
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 08 Oct 2018, 16:48

Hi Temperance and Nordmann

yes my slight misquotation of Jesus' was somewhat tongue in cheek, although I was aware of the response of some to Flew's change of heart.  However, I can say that although I, not surprisingly, do not agree with a lot of what Nordmann writes, it is not causing me any offence.

Concerning the use of such words as school in the context of the 'deuteronic school', I did have a quick look in my bible concordance and school does not occur once in the bible, scholar does once in Paul, educate only occurs once (Acts), philosophy 3 times (Acts and letters), but teach occurs a lot.  

'See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit' Colossians.

Lastly concerning Leviticus: I am part of a group doing an online bible in one year (glutton for punishment) and the book that caused the big problem for many in the group, who had clearly not read much of the OT before, was not Leviticus but Numbers with its level of divine violence.

regards

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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 07:53

Tim wrote:
However, I can say that although I, not surprisingly, do not agree with a lot of what Nordmann writes, it is not causing me any offence.

Oddly enough, I do agree with a lot of what nordmann writes - which is an interesting, but rather disturbing, thought. That's probably the problem, actually, if the truth be told, which it rarely is. I'm not so much offended by him, as exasperated. With myself. As I said, it must be me: also I'm probably just jealous that his English is so good.

Re Numbers - I have to confess I nearly laughed out loud in church the  other Sunday when one of the readings was from Numbers - that bit when the Israelites are having a go at Moses because the food he is giving them is so bad. Moses has provided manna from Heaven and all they want is the delicious food they had in Egypt: a nice fish supper with cucumbers (cucumbers seem to be cropping up everywhere this week), followed by sliced watermelon:




We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:

But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.


(KJV Numbers 11)


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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Tue 09 Oct 2018, 09:24

Yes the account of the Israelites in Numbers is a bit different from that in the prophetic books.  Numbers can be considered an account of a pilgrimage with God, but one where most of the participants spent most spend of their time complaining.  The complaints were made against both God and Moses and amongst those complaining were Moses’ brother Aaron and sister Miriam.  By comparison Hosea writes “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son." And Micah "“My people, what have I done to you?  How have I burdened you? Answer me. I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam."
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Thu 11 Oct 2018, 08:47

Yes, it appears that even back then it was deemed prudent to re-write things a bit later and play down the bloody and genocidal side of Jehovah that the story highlights (even directed against "his chosen ones" on occasion).

"Numbers" (so called because of alleged head-counts) is well named - it's all about God keeping them down, it seems.

But all this OT stuff deflects from the Jesus/Socrates juxtaposition in the thread title, and especially the inference that one's philosophy entailed a compassion for a local capital city, while the other's didn't quite extend to actually crying for a city's calamitous misfortune, whether projected or actually underway, as indeed Socrates had experienced at first-hand twice. According to the account in Luke, Jesus's tearful bout of compassionate woe is actually triggered by a premonition of the city's destruction by ruthless enemies, and the next bit leaves no doubt as to where he plonks the blame (and why he went all teary). We don't know if he was still crying as he went on his one-man rampage through the temple, but we are left in no doubt by the author that the action follows logically in his mind from the preceding statement.

Socrates, at least according to others, was a great man for premonitions too (he spoke constantly to an inner "daemon" who frequently gave him glimpses into the future), and - again depending on who you believe afterwards - certainly wasn't shy about making gloomy predictions concerning the fate of Athens. According to Plato's "Theages" he foresaw a return of the oligarchs, something which in Plato's time was gloomy indeed as it would have meant a return to Spartan law enforced by another junta such as "the thirty" that Sparta had previously inflicted on them, if not outright Spartan dominion. The only problem with this account is that no one really believes that "Theages" was written by Plato, and if one reads Plato's account of Protagoras's exile then he has Socrates consulting his daemon and coming up with a prediction that Athens was doomed in fact if the anti-oligarchy faction won out (which they actually did, and executed Socrates in the process, though this might be a case of Plato crediting Socrates with foresight in his own hindsight). In other dialogues written by Plato, and quite a few other later sophists (who loved the daemon thing), Socrates is credited with several premonitions of Athens' downfall, right up to the first century BCE when these are held up as proof that Socrates even foresaw the Roman hegemony. It's a case, of course, of Socrates as a character in other people's works and being made to say anything that might involve a personal daemon and whatever argument the author wishes to prosecute (maybe a bit like the so-called four evangelists, actually, but let's not go there). Though it's worth noting that Tim's original thread title does indeed state a truth - in none of these fictions does the lad weep at all, and in fact is accused of having found the whole thing rather side-splittingly amusing, at least in one Platonic account of Socrates' actual reaction to the arrival of "the thirty" as oligarchic rulers of Athens.

But then Socrates, unlike Jesus, wasn't annoyed with his fellow Athenians for having "lost their way" and never did he blame them for "bringing misfortune on themselves". He and his inner daemon apparently had a lot of discussion about it all, and equally apparently they both seem to have agreed that it just about proved that life was a comedy in the end of the day and no matter what Athenians might have felt was best politically they were doomed to screw up as they were, when it all came down to brass tacks, people. Plato's Republic - which went to great lengths to ascribe the concept of a "just man" to Socratic principles - became famous indeed precisely because it also had Socrates claiming (without even having to consult his daemon this time) that such a thing was in very short supply indeed, a point used later to justify almost every political system from democratic communism to absolute tyranny. Rather than weep for Athens, Socratic advice would probably most likely to have been very similar to that same principle which is currently keeping a lot of post-Brexit people sane in the UK - it's all so human and f*cked up you may as well bloody laugh at it all.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sun 14 Oct 2018, 19:05

'While Jesus wept for Jerusalem'

Luke 19 41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Four possible explanations for Jesus’ prediction of Jerusalem’s demise are:
1. Divine foreknowledge
2. Jesus could see that Jewish resentment at Roman rule would eventually lead to a revolt and that revolt would be crushed.
3. Jesus made a reference to Jerusalem that Luke enhanced in the light of the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD.
4. The entire saying is one made up by Luke to reflect the fall of Jerusalem and how Luke thought that Jesus would have felt about it.
One cannot prove anything one way or the other, but I will go with No 2.  It did not require divine prior knowledge to predict that at some point the Jews would revolt against Rome and that they would lose.  Jesus grew up near Sepphoris and so was aware of the destructive power of the Roman legionaries.  He preached during the time of Pontius Pilate when, according to Josephus, there was a series of disturbances that were only put down with violence.  According to Philo, Herod Agrippa in a letter to Caligula, described Pilate as ‘vindictive with a furious temper’.  Jesus’ reference to what will happen to Jerusalem is also not a detailed account of the siege, following Josephus, but phrased in general terms in lines with the Jewish Prophets.

Luke may be the only gospel writer to include these comments but it is set in the context of two incidents that are referred to by other gospels – Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his cleansing of the Temple.  The first is a deliberate enactment by Jesus of a passage from the second part of Zechariah (that is the part not written by Zechariah)
9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!  Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you,    righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey,   on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
It is likely that Jesus timed his entry to coincide with that of Pontius Pilate when he arrived from Caesarea with a contingent of cavalry as a statement that he was not a ‘son of David’ who would lead the Jews to a victorious campaign over the Romans.
The ‘cleansing of the temple’ was again a symbolic act in lines with Jewish prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  The Court of the Gentiles were Jesus carried out this act was an enormous area and it is likely that Jesus only carried out his ‘cleansing’ in a small part just as Jeremiah did not fell the need to break every pot in Jerusalem or Ezekiel to knock a hole in every house wall.  It was symbol of how Jesus would eventually cleanse the entire corrupt temple worship again in line with the Jewish prophets.  

From Micah 6 With what shall I come before the Lord   and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

And from Isaiah 1 “The multitude of your sacrifices what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me,   who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations   I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.  Your hands are full of blood! 16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. 

By the way Micah 6 ‘And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ Is probably my favourite part of the OT – the gospel in a nutshell.

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 15 Oct 2018, 11:00

Interesting post, Tim (and I'm not being funny). The discrepancy in motives behind the various gospel writers has always intrigued me, and it is interesting that such discrepancies lie firmly within the sphere of theological interpretation in which historical veracity sits a poor second, even if the narratives take a biographical/historical form.

Speaking historically, it is interesting also how it is well understood (as your post also displays) that claims regarding the course of historical events can so readily be made, adjusted, and even contradicted between authors in scripture to reflect a particular theological necessity as identified by that author - such as tailoring accounts to fulfill prophecy, for example. I suppose in theological terms this is considered expected behaviour, if not totally satisfactory when it occurs within one theology as this of course is also a feature of potential heresy when conducted by some. Of course in purely historical writing such liberty-taking with the recounting and description of actual events, not to mention invention of events as having occurred, would rightly be considered a complete anathema and would totally invalidate that author's credibility completely in his or her recounting of anything.

So it is interesting - even with the above so well understood - that so many examples of this theologically driven statement of fact, even (and especially) the wilder claims made on that basis, are still expected to be viewed unquestioningly as "history" by modern readers. I admit that this is something I will never be able to come to terms with when discussing what, if any, historically accurate references actually survive in theological tracts. It's hard enough to do so with ancient sources that at least ostensibly set out to establish a documented historical record for no other reason than that the events be remembered for posterity. But with theologically driven accounts which also forgive themselves the inclination to invent things in order to better make a theological point the task is nigh on impossible, and this much at least should be acknowledged by any devout follower of religion who still wishes to respect an honesty in the historical assessment of their core scriptural tracts that have been versed and presented in the form of biographical or historical treatises.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Wed 17 Oct 2018, 17:09

@nordmann wrote:
So it is interesting - even with the above so well understood - that so many examples of this theologically driven statement of fact, even (and especially) the wilder claims made on that basis, are still expected to be viewed unquestioningly as "history" by modern readers. I admit that this is something I will never be able to come to terms with when discussing what, if any, historically accurate references actually survive in theological tracts.  

Such demands for unquestioning acceptance of the Gospels as "history" (or factual "biography") are infuriating, and something I can't come to terms with either. The Gospels were Jewish religious literature and should be read as such (see Spong: Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes ). And it is time more people spoke freely about this within ordinary church circles - without fear of being cast into the outer darkness (where I now reside). I also enjoyed Marcus J. Borg's book, Reading the Bible Again For the First Time.  All good - if "populist" - stuff: Borg's chapter on the Gospels, particularly his comments on intrinsic metaphorical meanings and historical metaphorical meanings, certainly made complete sense to me. Have you read this book, Tim - I think you like Borg's work? I'd love to read and discuss some of Borg's ideas at the Bible Study group I visited, but that would never be allowed - would be deemed "inappropriate" and far too controversial. Why should this be in this day and age? One gives up.

PS Just to link to the OP, the cities as such don't matter: it is their metonymic significance that we should be considering. What indeed was Luke's motive when he had Jesus weeping? What did Jerusalem stand for? Were the tears for the inevitable destruction of something far more valuable than stone walls and even a beautiful Temple - for the end of the Jewish nation and its beliefs? For an already-accomplished internal destruction by the Jews themselves of their great heritage - the Jewish vision, the vision of the prophets? Or were indeed the tears simply for the blindness and stupidity, not just of a corrupt elite, but of an entire people who could not, would not, accept the truth about life? And how can we link this to the lament in Hebrews -  "For here have we no abiding city, but we seek one to come" - presumably the "New Jerusalem" of Revelation?



And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.



Incredible poetry, but how would Socrates have responded to it? Dismissed it as the yearnings of a crazy old man? Tim, in his OP, says that his authority (can't remember writer's name) considered that "Athens" represented the democratic tradition, a subject of contempt for Socrates; or was Socrates' contempt, not for that tradition, but actually for the association of that city with "wisdom"? Was it this so-called wisdom that was not worth weeping over? Had "Athens" indeed come, for him (as I think nordmann suggested up-thread), to represent human folly? Is this where the Jewish prophet and mystic and the Greek philosopher meet? A scene where Christ meets Socrates rather than the Grand Inquisitor would make good drama (set, I'm not sure where - Jerusalem or Athens or Rome or Washington?). Perhaps we need not just a New Jerusalem, but a New Athens...

This is a ramble of a post and, as ever, I hesitate to send it, but, as ever, I shall say, "What the heck?" and click "send".
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Fri 19 Oct 2018, 11:21

The problem with deducing Socrates' political views is that we are very dependent on how he is characterised in that respect by those who came after him, some of whom were acquainted with the man but not all of them, and two of whom had very strong political views of their own which they then set out in dialogue format in which Socrates plays a big role. Both based their assumptions with regard to his views on the nature of the indisputable clash between Socrates and the civic authorities that led to his death sentence. However Plato, who was a witness to events and therefore regarded as probably most trustworthy in his characterisation, puts forward a rather awkward argument that Socrates' main objection was to the democratic configuration of power within the city (in which Socrates, while not quite weeping, certainly laments the dissolution of dependable arteries of power within society), whereas Aristotle, who we must assume forged his own opinions in direct communication with Plato over 20 years as his student, has Socrates declaiming the demise of loyalty to the city (again not quite weeping, but certainly lamenting) in which weak and self-serving politicians hide behind "systems" (not just democracy) when exercising concealed disloyalty. Both arguments overlap, but differ crucially in that one posits Socrates as reactionary while the other sees him proactively investigating and revealing a deeper political malaise than Plato had identified in his "Republic".

So the truth is that we cannot know what Socrates would have said should he have been introduced to the concept of the city in personified form as adjunct to a divine will, whatever the divinity whose will is being exercised might be moved to promise or declare. He might well have laughed at such unnecessarily convoluted attribution of effect to cause in the matter of how any power exercises its will, be it civic or divine. He may even have wept should he have realised that centuries after his own life anyone could get publicity for such a daft interpretation of how things really work. In fact he may even have granted the author the poetic license he demands and assumes anyway, and seen the passage as allegory for any transcendental invalidation of human control over its own destiny, civic destiny included. We just don't know - though we can be sure that he himself would never have phrased any argument or assertion in such terms. They are too much on the assertive side for Socrates' liking, I'd say, and preclude debate - which for him was the natural (and only valid) point of any assertion.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 20 Oct 2018, 10:01

@nordmann wrote:
 



The problem with deducing Socrates' political views is that we are very dependent on how he is characterised in that respect by those who came after him, some of whom were acquainted with the man* but not all of them, and two of whom had very strong political views of their own which they then set out in dialogue format in which Socrates plays a big role. Both based their assumptions with regard to his views on the nature of the indisputable clash between Socrates and the civic authorities that led to his death sentence...

...So the truth is that we cannot know what Socrates would have said should he have been introduced to the concept of the city in personified form as adjunct to a divine will, whatever the divinity whose will is being exercised might be moved to promise or declare. He might well have laughed at such unnecessarily convoluted attribution of effect to cause in the matter of how any power exercises its will, be it civic or divine. He may even have wept should he have realised that centuries after his own life anyone could get publicity for such a daft interpretation of how things really work. In fact he may even have granted the author the poetic license he demands and assumes anyway, and seen the passage as allegory for any transcendental invalidation of human control over its own destiny, civic destiny included. We just don't know...


And the irony is that you could substitute Jesus for Socrates in above quotations from your post. Except for the laughing bit: the Nazarene is never recorded as having laughed.

Unless I have got it all wrong...


PS * In the case of the Gospels one writer, "John", may have been an eyewitness. Robin Lane Fox, Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford and Reader in Ancient History, University of Oxford, writes: "Many readers and scholars would find the fourth Gospel most easy to classify: they treat it almost entirely as unhistorical, viewed simply as a record. It interprets its story very heavily, and it clashes head-on with the routes, words, dates and encounters of the other three. However, I believe that it is historically the most valuable. It gives us a hint of its ultimate author: its final verses are a postscript, added by a later writer, who stated his belief that the Gospel's final chapter ('these things', a limited reference) was based on the written legacy of the 'the disciple whom Jesus loved'. We cannot date this postscript, but we do know the postscript was added to the rest of the Gospel after the beloved disciple died. Presumably the addition was made because all the preceding Gospel was already considered to be the work of the beloved disciple too. In the prologue the author claimed to have been an eyewitness: 'we beheld his glory'. In context this 'glory' must relate to Jesus's earthly life. (The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible Chapter 13, pages 204-205)

PPS Lane Fox was an atheist when he wrote above - still is, as far as I know, unless, like the unfortunate Mr Flew, he has gone a bit batty. He does garden a lot - always a worrying sign.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 20 Oct 2018, 11:23

@Temperance wrote:

And the irony is that you could substitute Jesus for Socrates in above quotations from your post. Except for the laughing bit: the Nazarene is never recorded as having laughed.



Sorry, off topic I know ... but your comment immediately made me think of this clip, which does raise a couple of interesting points about humour; its role in communication, and how it was viewed by Greek philosophers and by medieval theologians.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 20 Oct 2018, 12:12

MM wrote:
 

Sorry, off topic I know ... but your comment immediately made me think of this clip, which does raise a couple of interesting points about humour; its role in communication, and how it was viewed by Greek philosophers and by medieval theologians.


Yes, but a very interesting meander.


I do not find the Gospels to be without humour: Jesus, after all, was very fond of the reductio ad absurdum line of argument (like his Greek counterpart?). It was the Pharisees who were the humourless lot. And glee is a lovely, childlike quality - I'm all for a bit of glee now and again. Different from nasty, cruel, vicious humour.

Was it Kierkegaard who said laughter was the invention of the devil? Don't know the context of the remark though - wonder why he said that? There is after all a time to laugh and a time to weep, as the OT tells us.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 20 Oct 2018, 21:04

Temperance had again the feared "no post specified" and my message was gone...

Start again:

I learned today a new English word: "glee"
In my paperback Collins I found: glee: great merritment, joy.
And on internet, and that is google: the first two hundred entries about a stupid (or soul searching Wink)American musical and at the end I saw that you had to seek with the term: glee meaning...
And there
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/glee

Glee is a feeling of happiness and excitement, often caused by someone else's misfortune.
In Dutch for the feeling of exitement: vreugde as in German:Freude
but in Dutch for the second part of the sentence: leedvermaak: leed: misfortune (or even not exactly that) and vermaak: pleasure.
Thus: pleasure about (someone else's) misfortune...
Seems to be a word like we discussed already overhere too as empathy and compassion...
But I will make a thread about it on the language board, as for Meles meles a whole reasoning as I promised about the Dutch "beslagen zijn in" from another thread.

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 20 Oct 2018, 21:43

Paul : Glee has a secondary meaning - as in this sort of "Glee Club" -
 take a look for that term on wikimisleadia.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 20 Oct 2018, 23:20

@Green George wrote:
Paul : Glee has a secondary meaning - as in this sort of "Glee Club" -
 take a look for that term on wikimisleadia.

Yes George, in my paperback Collins there was also this second meaning: a type of song sung by three or more unaccompanied voices, but I made not the link with the American musical...had I looked further I would have seen it...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glee_club
But to my exoneration I had not in mind what the English people would have in mind, as they know the phenomena...
In my imagination I saw more a group of Spanish or Russian street singers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuVdVYJxHgE
Once travelling by car to Rostock I saw and heard in Travemunde a group of five Russian street singers, who sang the great Russian classicals near a bridge unaccompanied. Unbelievable sensation that I think never will hear again. Sought a bit on google with "russian street singers" but nothing but the modern subway thingies...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sun 21 Oct 2018, 08:23

I meant "glee" in the sense of happy mirth or hilarity, usually at something that is delightfully absurd; but yes, Paul, I suppose glee can at times be spiteful - laughing at the misfortune of another. I don't like that sort of malicious glee.

"Gleeful" is not a word we associate with philosophers: I suppose they are/were all far too grown-up for such silliness. I can't imagine a gleeful Greek philosopher or, for that matter, a gleeful Jewish prophet. But I expect some of them did gloat gleefully when things went badly wrong for their enemies. (Was Elijah, for example, gleeful after the defeat of the priests of Baal in the "My God is better than your god" fire competition on Mount Carmel? Was there a hint of glee there because he had cheated, and the priests of Baal hadn't cottoned on?)


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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sun 21 Oct 2018, 22:21

@Temperance wrote:
I meant "glee" in the sense of happy mirth or hilarity, usually at something that is delightfully absurd; but yes, Paul, I suppose glee can at times be spiteful - laughing at the misfortune of another. I don't like that sort of malicious glee.

"Gleeful" is not a word we associate with philosophers: I suppose they are/were all far too grown-up for such silliness. I can't imagine a gleeful Greek philosopher or, for that matter, a gleeful Jewish prophet. But I expect some of them did gloat gleefully when things went badly wrong for their enemies. (Was Elijah, for example, gleeful after the defeat of the priests of Baal in the "My God is better than your god" fire competition on Mount Carmel? Was there a hint of glee there because he had cheated, and the priests of Baal hadn't cottoned on?)

Temperance,

thank you very much for your extensive explanation of what you meant with the word "glee" and now a understand better why you used the word "childlike" or someting in that sense.

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 22 Oct 2018, 09:34

If there was an original and real Jesus lad, and we were learning about him from those who would have known him best (such as his brother, James, or maybe even his wife Mary Magdalen according to some), rather than from the Pauline church approved tracts we're left with, we might have had more philological examples to cite these days of the guy having a good belly laugh now and again (and not just the odd winsomely ironic comment we're left with, which may or may not be humour and therefore passed later redactors). But then again, we mightn't even have a religion that anyone remembers anymore either had its posterity been tied to the fate of the Jewish sect he allegedly assumed leadership of for a short while and which James took over after his death, so perhaps the two thousand year old humour couldn't be shared in any case ...

Socrates on the other hand did have one "comic" trait that apparently really got up the noses of some of his contemporaries and which, like a lot of ancient humour, is very hard to appreciate for modern readers. We know about it because Plato not only discusses it often but also puts several examples of it into his old master's mouth when he uses him as a character in dialogues. The humour is based on what the Greeks called "eiróneia", the root of the modern word "irony" but which in those days meant something much more scurrilous and, in humour terms, base and unworthy than its modern version might be regarded, a much closer relative in fact to modern sarcasm than irony, and not very clever sarcasm at that. It entailed the coy pretence of ignorance or simplistic credulousness in order to provoke another person into an erudite "correction" or "pointer", which of course Socrates then countered with a much more erudite refutation of his own. You can imagine how irritating this must have been, though as a tool for weeding out pretentious gits and frauds it was one of Socrates' favourites - and therefore those pupils of his who would have been "in on the joke" whenever he did it to someone else would most likely have had a good guffaw at the victim's expense. However they hated it with equal passion when Socrates used it on them. All very "unclassy" stuff, but effective and a real rhetorical fave for Socrates.

The famous example of it is during his trial when the city advocates had a field day denouncing him as a "dissembler", "traitor", "blasphemer", "bad influence on the youth of today" and anything else of the mud variety they could chuck at him in the knowledge that it only took one accusation to stick for the guy to be totally screwed. Socrates apparently listened politely to all this and then responded with a comment along the lines of "so eloquently put - where's this bastard so I can strangle him myself!"

Cue loud guffaws among the audience of unwashed at the event, groans among his pupils (who knew this was one eiróneiac statement too far for their teacher), and the humourless "city fathers" choosing to take the old joker at face value and recommending that maybe poison might be easier than strangulation to self-administer.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 22 Oct 2018, 11:27

I don't think that Socrates appreciated 'The Clouds' and that was a comedy in which he was a character who declares 'with us the gods are no longer current' and 'Zeus is dead [did Nietzche crib this], Awhirl is the new king'.  

While Conservative evangelicals may believe that Paul influenced 'Mark' and 'Luke' modern scholarship places the 4 gospels as having been written between 70 and 100AD, that is after the presumed death of Paul.  'Luke/Acts' was written by an admirer of Paul but one whose theology was quite different proposing a gospel of forgiveness rather than atonement.  There is quite a debate going on within evangelical circles concerning the theology of atonement.

Awhile back I read a book written by Bart Ehrman called ‘Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene’.  Peter, Paul and Mary were an American folk trio who used to sing covers of other peoples music and Ehrman made a play on the trio’s name to look at what he argues are the three most important post resurrection followers of Jesus (that applies whether or not one thinks that the resurrection happened).  Ehrman commented that if he were to give a lecture on Peter or Paul then a few people would turn up to listen but if he gave one on Mary Magdalene then the place would be packed.  Mary Magdalene has got ‘sex appeal’ in the way that Peter and Paul do not.  And the reason that she has ‘sex appeal’ is because of musicals like ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, films like ‘the Last Temptation of Christ’ and above all because of the ‘Da Vinci’ code’.  

Mary M is actually one of the only two women in the church year to have a major day.  The other is Mary, mother of Jesus and it is rather ironic that the one Mary should traditionally seen as a perpetual virgin, despite it being clear from the NT that she had at least six children in addition to Jesus, while the other Mary is in tradition seen as the prostitute, as the fallen women.  This is despite there not being a shred of evidence that she was a prostitute.

One problem is that Mary is such a common name.  There are not that many women identified in the gospels, but quite a few of them are called Mary.  There is Jesus’ mother; there is Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha; there is Mary mother of James and Joseph; there is Mary, mother of John Mark; and there is Mary of Magdala.  It has been estimated that something like a quarter of Jewish woman were called Mary.  Mary of Magdala or Mary Magdalene is so called to identify her from the other Mary’s.   She came from the town of Magdala which was a fairly substantial place on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  According to the Jewish writer Josephus Magdala was a good sized city surrounded by a large wall, two grain markets, a major aqueduct, a Greek style theatre and a hippodrome.  But Josephus tended to exaggerate about his Galilee and none of these structures have been found by archaeologists.  What Magdala definitely was important for though was as a centre of the fishing industry and it had a large tower; the Aramaic word for tower is Magdala.  

The gospel story most associated with Mary is that of the women who anoints Jesus’ feet with costly perfume on his feet.  From Luke’s gospel.  “Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”

The woman is unnamed and she is not described as a prostitute but a sinner, which is not necessarily the same thing.  But could women be Mary?   almost certainly not, for immediately after the incident with woman Luke makes his only reference to Mary other than that connected with crucifixion and resurrection.  From Luke “After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”  If Mary had been the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet then surely Luke would have said so.

Mary was a follower of Jesus and helped support Jesus and his disciples and so presumably had some financial means.  One of the woman; Joanna, was the wife of the manager of Herod Antipas’ household, clearly a lady of some importance.  The other thing the passage says about Mary is that ‘seven demons had come out’.  Perhaps Mary had some form of mental illness that Jesus cured her from.  

We also know about Mary from the gospels is that she was one of the women who witnessed the crucifixion and that it is claimed [given the view of women amongst Jews, probably somewhat reluctantly] that it was she who first found the empty tomb and who, according to John the person who first sees the risen Christ.  But after that she disappears from the New Testament.  She is not mentioned in Acts, Paul does not mention her and neither do any of the other New Testament letters.  Nor is she mentioned in the writings of the early church fathers’.  

So where on earth does the Da Vinci code and the like get all that they include about Mary.  In part it comes from a rather vivid imagination and a lot of historical errors, but it in part comes from a collection of documents known as the Gnostic gospels.  Most of these were found buried in a jar near a place called Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945.  Gnosticism comes from the Greek word gnosis meaning knowledge.  There was in fact no one religion of Gnosticism but all branches of Gnosticism were centred on the idea that one could have a secret knowledge through which one could gain salvation.  Gnostics did not believe that we lived in a good world created by a good God but instead that all matter is evil and that only the spirit is good.  They believed that God was wholly good and wholly spirit but that seeing that matter was evil he could not have created the world.  He therefore sent out a series of emanations, each one a bit more evil, until there was one that was sufficiently evil to create.  And Christian Gnostics identified that evil god with Jehovah of the Old Testament.  By this logic then the serpent in the Garden of Eden actually became good because he wanted mankind to have knowledge.  The goal of Gnosticism was to allow us to escape from this evil world to the spirit world where we belong but we can only do this by learning the secret truth about ourselves, this world, how we came to be here and how we can escape.  In a sense a cult such as Scientology could be considered as a successor of Gnosticism but a successor where it helps to have lots of money to buy their way to that secret knowledge.  Following on the Gnostic beliefs that matter was evil it also followed that if Jesus was good then he could not be a flesh and blood human but instead must be an entirely spiritual being.  One advantage of following Gnosticism was that you do not have problem answering questions such as why does God allow such things as the tsunami happen because the answer is that the world is made of matter and therefore is evil and evil things happen.  But then it also follows that Jesus does not save us through being crucified but through the secret knowledge that Jesus brings.  The crucifixion never really happened.  

It is in these Gnostic gospels that Mary becomes prominent.  In some of these books Mary is portrayed as having more understanding than the 12 apostles.  In one Peter complains bitterly that Mary spends so much time taking and asking questions that none of the other disciples can get a word in edgeways.  One of the Gnostic gospels that is very important is one called the gospel of Philip.  In it Mary is referred to as Jesus’ companion and this is taking in the Da Vinci code as meaning that Jesus and Mary were married as in Aramaic ‘companion’ means ‘spouse’.  However, the Gospel of Philip was not written in Aramaic, the language of Jesus but in Coptic Egyptian and the word companion means companion.  In fact contrary to what is claimed in the Da Vinci code, not one of these gospels says that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene or anyone else for that matter.  For all we know Mary Magdalene might have been old enough to be Jesus’ grandmother.  

If one wanted a candidate for a wife for Jesus then surely the other Mary of Bethany is a much better candidate.  We know far more about her.  She sat down at Jesus’ feet with rapt attention listening to his teaching until her sister Martha complained that she should be helping her with the housework.  Jesus is said to have loved her, although he also is said to have loved her sister Martha and their brother Lazarus as well.  Also in John’s gospel it is this Mary who anoints Jesus’ feet with perfume and yet in the Jesus romance stakes she never gets a look in.  

The idea, however, that Jesus could have been married is based on the mistaken concept that all Jewish men married, they did not.  There were living at the same time as Jesus a group of Jewish men who did not marry but who dedicated themselves to the service of God and that is the Essenes.  Jesus was not an Essene but like them he dedicated himself to the service of God.  Jesus himself says that some do not marry for the sake of God’s kingdom. 

Why then did she become so important outside the New Testament while having so little written about her within the gospels.  The reason ironically is in both cases the same, the claim that Mary Magdalene was the first person to discover the empty tomb and to meet the risen Christ.  If you were making up the resurrection then Mary would have been the last person you would have chosen for this role.  Not because she was a prostitute, which she was not, but because she was a woman, which she clearly was.  Women were not recognised as witnesses in Jewish law, they were deemed inferior, they were failed men, they were unreliable and gave rise to old wives tales.  In one of the gospels it even says the disciples initially dismissed the idea that Jesus was raised from the dead as an old wives tale.  
  
It seems clear to me that Jesus and also it must be said Paul, with his declaration that there is no male or female took a different and more what we would call liberated view of women and that women such as Priscilla and Lydia, for example, were quite prominent in the early church.  But later on there was a reaction against this and the role of women in the church was downplayed, something that has continued up until this day.  The Gnostics, however, did not accept this and so when it came to write their version of what Jesus preached seized on the Mary precisely because she was the woman who first saw the risen Jesus and started attributing all sorts of things to her including even some of the actual sayings of Jesus.  In medieval times she attracted all sorts of legends to her.  In one she is extremely wealthy, fabulously beautiful and has more sex appeal than Marilyn Monroe but give it all up to follow Jesus. 

Just to add to Nordmann if you have reached the end of this tome, thanks for your comments on my last post.

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 22 Oct 2018, 12:26

I think we're in agreement, Tim, that when it comes to theological treatise and interpretation of scripture, Dan Brown's stuff is up there with "The Bash Street Kids".

I'll see your tome and raise you one of my own however ...

There is little in your above analysis that I would disagree with as a treatment of the philological sources. The problem as I see it is, that in this particular body of philological source material, it is very difficult, in fact historically apparently impossible, to objectively and unanimously select what in ancient Greek philosophy was called "ὑπόθεσις" - nowadays used in most languages to mean "hypothesis" as in extrapolated theoretical data from a starting assumption in order to posit a plausible explanation of something, but in Greek as used by Socrates & Co a word that actually meant the base assumption itself. It's an important distinction philosophically in that it was the job of the hypothesiser therefore to justify the selection of that base assumption even before he was allowed by his peers to extrapolate anything at all. In fact in those days the "hypothesis" was often the only part of a philosophical argument grounded therefore in what we would call "forensic" or "scientific" reasoning, certainly more so than anything usually then further guessed using it as a premise or starting point.

In philological research the word is often used in much the same sense. When presented with the task of finding a logical line of continuity, for example, in the written treatment of an idea using ancient sources, it is essential that the exact point in that material which can be identified as the logical starting point of the paper trail can be adduced, and preferably agreed by all. This is a challenge well known to students of Sumerian texts - the scant philological evidences point to one "hypothesis" serving this purpose whereas the classical treatments of the same sources (ironically now our own primary sources themselves) suggest something else entirely. This is a frequent issue also with any tradition that operated orally for any length of time, either before or even alongside attempts to record it in writing.

Which leaves us with the problem when trying to retrospectively assign motive, relative validity and even correct sequence to the source material you have obviously spent a long time studying. As I'm sure you're aware it is almost impossible to have any type of coherent discussion, even with like-minded scholars with whom you have absolutely no difference of opinion, if you don't all agree to adopt the same "hypothesis" with regard to the documents being examined. But whereas a good "hypothesis" in the old Greek usage of the term implied almost irrefutable fact as the founding premise of any subsequent deduction, it takes quite a few acts of faith with regard to the New Testament texts to credit them with the same attribute, and in even the most erudite and well-examined theories that theologians have come up with there is an unavoidable amount of "reading between the lines" in order simply to make it appear that the basic agreed "hypothesis" is sound.

Maybe you don't agree with the above, but I think your example of the profusion of Mary's in the narrative and how this in itself has led to confusion - not to mention sometimes downright weird theological extrapolations - over the years shows how difficult it is to actually nail the hypothesis down. There is always someone going to come along at some point and draw new and even at times fantastic conclusions from the same source material - sometimes erudite, but this seems almost coincidental when it occurs, and the door of interpretation is equally ajar for anyone who wishes to come along and give it a nudge. In theology this is actually acceptable - it is how come a religion's core beliefs can be subtly adjusted to suit prevailing mores after all. But philologically it's a complete nightmare when trying to arrive at intepretational consensus.

If analysis of the New Testament was restricted to being a purely philological exercise then those involved would have long ago agreed to differ so often on the basis of identifying the "hypothesis" that it would now be more likely seen as an extremely fractured and philologically incoherent body of material, at least when assembled as it is now presented to us. However this has never been the case - it is really only in recent times that we have seen some scholarly attempt to approach the task primarily philologically, and even then it is almost impossible to find anyone who has done this who hasn't also at least some theological take on the material anyway, or indeed an anti-theological take, which also depends on at least some subjective selection of "hypothesis" in itself.

Which, I suppose, is why I still wish that it had been fellow semi-literate Galileans, preferably from the same family, who had left us original philological documentation regarding the wayward rabbi who allegedly sits at the heart of everything that followed. This would be the perfect "hypothesis", not only because of its timing and its geographical source, but also because the "logos" (the quality of everything that follows from his alleged personality and actions and stays within the logic these imply) would be intact - historically, theologically, philologically, and perhaps even philosophically if the attributed words within the "hypothesis" survived with any obvious intelligence behind them still relevant and understandable today. Instead we have some utterances that appear to fit the bill but lack secure "hypothesis". We have utterances that are to be regarded as part of the "hypothesis" but which have little or no relevance outside that context.

But alas what we don't have is a philologically secure start to the "logos" that in its various transmuted forms has survived (and which to me appears itself to have been hijacked and kick-started later by a Romanised Hellenic-Turkish Jew who for his own reasons distorted any philologically necessary "hypothesis" an original Jesus may have engendered, thus establishing very much a "logos" of his own), and are therefore doomed to subjectively select "hypotheses" of our own for whatever reason suits us, be it Paul's epistles, a gospel of our choice (official or otherwise), extraneous sources, written or archaeological  - and on that basis then extrapolate as we please, even inventing a sex life for the guy if we wish. It's all there somewhere, or made to appear to be there, even the Dan Brown stuff if one approaches the philology as ham-fistedly as one approaches the study of history. But then Dan was writing a work of fiction, and felt he had licence to establish any "hypothesis" he wished. My point is that this is not as different from what everyone else has also done as one might comfortably wish to contemplate.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 03 Nov 2018, 10:24

I agree that it is a shame that we have no account of Jesus' siblings especially as the childhood gospels of Jesus paint a pretty monstrous picture of him.

However, I am not sure that many people from the ancient world have had their siblings write about them.  I have not checked whether Socrates had any but I could well imagine them complaining that every time they asked him if he wanted to play that he would firstly want them to define play so he could be absolutely certain as to what activity he was embarking upon.  If either Mago or Hasdrabul Barca penned an account of their elder brother's life then it has not survived, mind you never has anything else written by Carthage about their favourite son.

Richard Bauckham, when professor of NT studies at St Andrews penned a fairly hefty tome, although not as long as NT Wright's, in which he set out the case for the gospel writers having had access to eye witness sources.  

I have posted this before but just a quick reminder as to what scholars agree concerning Jesus:

This is given by E.P.Saunders as a list of statements about Jesus that meet two standards: “they are almost beyond dispute; and they belong to the framework of his life and especially of his public career.”
“Jesus was born c. 4BCE, near the time of death of Herod the Great;
He spent his early childhood and early adult years in Nazareth, a Galilean village;
He was baptized by John the Baptist;
He called disciples;
He taught in the towns, villages and countryside of Galilee (apparently not the cities)
He preached ‘the kingdom of God’
About the year 30 he went to Jerusalem for Passover
He created a disturbance in the Temple area
He had a final meal with his disciples;
He was arrested and interrogated by Jewish authorities, specifically the high priest;
He was executed on the orders of the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate.”

And this is what one can ascertain about Jesus from Paul's letters, one I prepared earlier:

Jesus is a is Jew.
Paul thought that Jesus was descended from king David.
Jesus had more than one brother, some of whom were married.
One of Jesus’ brothers was called James
Jesus had 12 followers, known as apostles
Two of the apostles are called Peter (Cephas) and John
Jesus was rejected by the Jews
Jesus initiated the eating of bread and wine in remembrance of him.
Jesus was betrayed and he initiated the eating of bread and wine in remembrance of him on the night he was betrayed.
Jesus died by crucifixion
Jesus died at the Passover.
Paul considered the Jews to be responsible for Jesus’ death
He was buried
Paul believed he rose from the dead on the third day.
there were various people including Peter, James and the apostles whom Paul thought had seen the risen Jesus.
This happened within fairly recent times as the majority of a group of 500 are still alive. 
They believed that Jesus would return and it is clear they were expecting a fairly imminent return.  Not from Paul but from John it seems that at one point it was believed that Jesus would return before the last of the apostles (John) died.

Concerning though the different hypotheses concerning Jesus, Prof Bart Ehrman acknowledged this in one of his books.  In his class on Jesus he portrays him as an apocalyptic prophet.  When asked by his class to also set out other Jesuses, his response is that in 16 weeks he has for the course there is not enough time as other scholars view him as a political revolutionary, a proto-Marxist, a proto feminist, a counter-cultural hero, a Jewish holy man, a Jewish Cynic Philosopher.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 03 Nov 2018, 13:03

Tim wrote:
I have not checked whether Socrates had any but I could well imagine them complaining that every time they asked him if he wanted to play that he would firstly want them to define play so he could be absolutely certain as to what activity he was embarking upon.


Smile


Last edited by Temperance on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 13:05; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 03 Nov 2018, 14:10

Deleted - just me being stupid on a serious thread.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Fri 16 Nov 2018, 08:22

Mark, in his gospel, may not describe Jesus as laughing but he gives the most human portrayal of Jesus, in fact at times it is a bit too human for the later gospel writers.  For example, in the other gospels Jesus is described as the son of a wood-worker (the Greek word tekton can mean joiner as well as carpenter) but in Mark he is also described as a tekton.  Jesus sighs deeply, he is moved with compassion, he is amazed at their lack of faith, he is indignant, and he is tired and hungry.  He is also repeatedly fed up with his disciples getting it wrong.

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Fri 16 Nov 2018, 18:27

And He loved, too - but we are not allowed to discuss that, I think?
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Fri 16 Nov 2018, 21:35

@Temperance wrote:
And He loved, too - but we are not allowed to discuss that, I think?


Temperance,

"And He loved, too - but we are not allowed to discuss that, I think?"

Temperance, up to my knowledge, we are allowed to discuss here all what we want, or it has to be something not allowed by the law. In France for instance it is not allowed to publish negationism, by law. So the site owner,  in this case Passion Histoire can't allow it.
Of course I have with my statements and suppositions had some "headwind" here, but I think that's the purpose of a discussion?

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 17 Nov 2018, 08:54

I was not referring to any discussion we have here, Paul: I had in mind a friend who absolutely refused to watch Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" on the grounds that it was "blasphemous".

The film was a serious study of a very human and a very troubled Christ - far more moving than the risible "Risen" which is apparently so approved in Christian circles.

Has anyone ever made a film about Socrates, I wonder?
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 17 Nov 2018, 09:01

@Temperance wrote:

Has anyone ever made a film about Socrates, I wonder?

Yes, of course:

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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 19 Nov 2018, 20:49

There was a play 'The Clouds', written during his lifetime, in which Socrates is a character.  I do not think though that Socrates appreciated it much.

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 01 Dec 2018, 15:49

I wrote:
Has anyone ever made a film about Socrates, I wonder?


Actually, this question was meant to be a serious one (well, sort of).  OK - Socrates had a bit part in Bill and Ted's excellent adventure, but the Greek, unlike Jesus of Nazareth, never had his own excellent adventures (lots of them) in Hollywood - just one other bit part in boring old Aristophanes' rather bad play; whereas that there Jesus has inspired more stories and  (rather bad) films than any other mythical character (even King Arthur) - ever. Is that because his is such an excellent myth, or is it because of something else?

But now a serious question.

In my never-ceasing - and, I suspect, sadly fruitless - effort to improve myself, I read a portion every evening from my  "The Daily Stoic", an inspiring little book which was a gift from a very clever but rather cynical and despairing friend. Yesterday's entry has had me pondering. Here it is:



November 30th
Follow the Logos


"The person who follows reason in all things will have both leisure and a readiness to act - they are both cheerful and self-composed." Marcus Aurelius Meditations, 10.12b

The guiding reason of the world - the Stoics called this the logos - works in mysterious ways. Sometimes the logos gives us what we want; other times it gives us precisely what we do not want. In either case, they believed that the logos was an all-powerful force that governed the universe.




Logos. That utterly confusing word.

Now I know Socrates was not a Stoic, but that he greatly influenced this school's philosophy. Was Saint John , whose famous reference to the logos at the opening of his Gospel has baffled me for fifty years,  a secret Stoic and was he referring to the Greek idea of the logos - interpreting it as reason incarnate in human form (the "Christ") - and, if so, was this something Socrates would have understood and acknowledged?

Or is this an utterly daft question?
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 01 Dec 2018, 19:35

Message to Temperance;


Note this message from Tim:"

Tim of Aclea  

   

Temprance has added an interesting post on John and his use of Logos. Could someone please post that I will respond when I get back from Oman. Thanks T"







end of message.





Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sat 01 Dec 2018, 21:55

@Temperance wrote:
I wrote:
Has anyone ever made a film about Socrates, I wonder?


Actually, this question was meant to be a serious one (well, sort of).  OK - Socrates had a bit part in Bill and Ted's excellent adventure, but the Greek, unlike Jesus of Nazareth, never had his own excellent adventures (lots of them) in Hollywood - just one other bit part in boring old Aristophanes' rather bad play; whereas that there Jesus has inspired more stories and  (rather bad) films than any other mythical character (even King Arthur) - ever. Is that because his is such an excellent myth, or is it because of something else?

But now a serious question.

In my never-ceasing - and, I suspect, sadly fruitless - effort to improve myself, I read a portion every evening from my  "The Daily Stoic", an inspiring little book which was a gift from a very clever but rather cynical and despairing friend. Yesterday's entry has had me pondering. Here it is:



November 30th
Follow the Logos


"The person who follows reason in all things will have both leisure and a readiness to act - they are both cheerful and self-composed." Marcus Aurelius Meditations, 10.12b

The guiding reason of the world - the Stoics called this the logos - works in mysterious ways. Sometimes the logos gives us what we want; other times it gives us precisely what we do not want. In either case, they believed that the logos was an all-powerful force that governed the universe.




Logos. That utterly confusing word.

Now I know Socrates was not a Stoic, but that he greatly influenced this school's philosophy. Was Saint John , whose famous reference to the logos at the opening of his Gospel has baffled me for fifty years,  a secret Stoic and was he referring to the Greek idea of the logos - interpreting it as reason incarnate in human form (the "Christ") - and, if so, was this something Socrates would have understood and acknowledged?

Or is this an utterly daft question?

Temperance,

I know that I am a Beotian in things about religion and philosophy and as such not troubled by all that stuff I have perhaps less difficulties comtemplating life than you in your quest on both these fields for the sense of life. We have many times reasoned on these boards about all that and you know my point of view. I see it the humanist way (and now you will ask what is the humanist way) and me as the product of a long evolution of humankind. My mind and brain influenced by my genetic inheritance (nature) and by my education both by (lucky) my parents and my environment (which is here the 20th century Belgium) (nurture) and by reasoning to myself I try to learn what really matters in life. And in my opinion I have to be honest with myself. I mean one has to have the honesty to not deceive oneself.
But I know that I "have not the wisdom on hire" (dat ik de wijsheid niet in pacht heb) and so will listen to the wisdom of you, Tim and nordmann...to learn...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sun 02 Dec 2018, 08:11

Paul wrote:
 know that I am a Beotian in things about religion and philosophy and as such not troubled by all that stuff I have perhaps less difficulties comtemplating life than you in your quest on both these fields for the sense of life. We have many times reasoned on these boards about all that and you know my point of view. I see it the humanist way (and now you will ask what is the humanist way) and me as the product of a long evolution of humankind. My mind and brain influenced by my genetic inheritance (nature) and by my education both by (lucky) my parents and my environment (which is here the 20th century Belgium) (nurture) and by reasoning to myself I try to learn what really matters in life. And in my opinion I have to be honest with myself. I mean one has to have the honesty to not deceive oneself.
But I know that I "have not the wisdom on hire" (dat ik de wijsheid niet in pacht heb) and so will listen to the wisdom of you, Tim and nordmann...to learn...


I always remember Tas on the old BBC board telling me of the black cat analogy and he advised me - wisely - to abstain, not from just from beans (i.e. arguing about politics), but from futile attempts to "do" philosophy.

But religion and philosophy have much in common, as Dave Allen points out here. (His attempt at a papal - is it meant to be Italian? - accent is dreadful.)

Lord, I am so weary of it all - but perhaps the wisdom of Tim and nordmann will inspire us to continue the struggle to understand - I doubt it though.

I suspect the Moggy thread is my natural home - did the Boeotians like cats? There is a place called the Boeotian Trough, isn't there?. I think I'm in it.


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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sun 02 Dec 2018, 11:59

@Temperance wrote:
... did the Boeotians like cats?

Modern Greeks are on the whole cat lovers so I don't see why the Boeotians were not also felophiles. Anyway here's a Boeotian cat, or rather a lion, on a 6th century BC Boeotian cup. Didn't lions still exist in the wild wild in Greece at that time, or were they already extinct? - Which might account for why the artist, having perhaps never seen a real lion, gave it those rather peculiar feet.



Sorry Tim, I'm leading the thread astray yet again ... but I thought maybe a flat-footed feline might lift Temp's mood. More to the point however; did Jesus like cats? I imagine St Paul was more of a doggy person, but what about Christ?
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sun 02 Dec 2018, 12:23

I've just googled, "Did Socrates like cats?"

I found this:


The only Greek philosophers of any consequence, after Aristotle, were almost exclusively logicians, who attempted to make sense of the laws of syllogisms. A syllogism, as we well know, is a series of three statements -- two premises and a conclusion drawn from the premises, such as: "All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates is mortal."

Syllogisms, however, are not as simple as they appear: take, for instance, the perplexing example of "All cats are mortal; Socrates is mortal; therefore Socrates is a cat."




So was Socrates the original black cat of the futile search?  Or was he just flat-footed?


EDIT:

MM wrote:


Sorry Tim, I'm leading the thread astray yet again ... but I thought maybe a flat-footed feline might lift Temp's mood. More to the point however; did Jesus like cats? I imagine St Paul was more of a doggy person, but what about Christ?


Yes, sorry, Tim - this is a serious and interesting thread - look forward to your comments on the logos when you return. But I wonder why MM thinks Saint Paul was a doggy person? Dogged and dogmatic, yes - but doggy?

The Boeotian lion with the weird paws did cheer me up - I've never seen a lion like that before.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Sun 02 Dec 2018, 20:23

Temperance and MM,

lost again an elaborated message about "Beotian". And sorry Tim, it is also out of subject. And I know I lose my time, while I have still to do Macron this evening. And it is for my own intellectual knowledge and I know it is a detail in a wider discussion and I couldn't resist...am I an autist?
I started with a kind of literal translation of the Dutch "Beotiër"
https://www.ensie.nl/vandale1898/beotier

But now you both wrote "Boeotian" and I wondered if the French "Béotien", came perhaps also as the English word from a former "Boeotien" written with a coupled "oe" as in "foedéral" now "fédéral"
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%92

But no in French it was already in a dictionary of 1932: "Béotien" and I saw now that the English "Boeotian" comes directly from Latin
https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/b%C3%A9otien

"Anglais : Boeotian (en)
[*]Grec : βοιωτικός (el)
[*]Grec ancien : βοιωτός (*) ; βοιώτιος (*) ; βοιωτικός (*) ; βοιωτίς (*)
[*]Latin : Boeotius (la) ; Boeotus (la)

I am nearly berserk, each time that I introduce a new link the access to RES is extremely extremely slow...
Will see what happens with my next messages...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 03 Dec 2018, 09:05

@Temperance wrote:
I've just googled, "Did Socrates like cats?"

I found this:


The only Greek philosophers of any consequence, after Aristotle, were almost exclusively logicians, who attempted to make sense of the laws of syllogisms. A syllogism, as we well know, is a series of three statements -- two premises and a conclusion drawn from the premises, such as: "All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates is mortal."

Syllogisms, however, are not as simple as they appear: take, for instance, the perplexing example of "All cats are mortal; Socrates is mortal; therefore Socrates is a cat."




So was Socrates the original black cat of the futile search?  Or was he just flat-footed?



The comment you quote - Google tells me - comes from someone who has "learnt" philosophy as part of his law degree, and owes almost everything to early medieval interpretation of the bits of Aristotle approved by the then prevailing European religious institutions. One can understand why simplistic logical deduction might hold some appeal to lawyers, or at least one very narrow interpretation of how rational deduction is conducted. Outside of a court of law however, and indeed outside of Christianity and from long before Aristotle, syllogistic logic as understood within philosophy has been almost entirely modal - in fact we couldn't even have religion without such modal inference in syllogistic logic, and it is precisely the religious inclination to refuse to admit modalism in its "deductive reasoning" that marks it out as inferior philosophy. Aristotle himself in his own definition of the term stressed that syllogisms tended to lose logic the more categorically they were restricted in scope, even if he then used categorical examples (at least in surviving texts) to illustrate such deductive reasoning in action. Since medieval times this disparity has been accepted as being down to having lost a good chunk of Aristotle's actual treatise on the subject, or indeed some rather single-minded (in every sense) "editing" by subsequent theologians.

Stoicism, as I'm sure you have noticed yourself, rejects categorical syllogism as dangerously close to illogical edict, at best unhelpful in deducing anything of worth, and at worst a "blind" by which easily manipulated people can be rhetorically convinced to deduce reason and actions that defy logic while pretending to be logical. As Marcus Aurelius warned - this and abuse of power (and religion) are practically indistinguishable in definition and effect. He advised, as a Stoic, that each person check first that the essential modal component simply hadn't been omitted in any categorical syllogism one is invited to contemplate. And in fact he used Aristotle's example of "Socrates being mortal" to illustrate his point - in which he pointed out that all men were "reputedly" mortal, Socrates was "on evidence" a man, and therefore the deduction lacked the essential modal qualifier "most probably". That's how Stoics tended to think back in his time ... or at least intelligent ones like MA.

In a way this brings the conversation back to my original point that this thread sets out to compare two very unlike things - philosophy, unlike religion, operates best when dismantling or challenging assumptions, and if Socrates was ever to cry for philosophical reasons over the fate of his city it would have been that he had recently witnessed in current political developments a retreat into dogmatism and "bad" philosophy. Whatever reasons for shedding tears might be ascribed to Jesus by his various authors one can be sure that a descent into sloppy philosophy wasn't his motivation to cry when contemplating Jerusalem.

EDIT: I see "logos" has come up for discussion here too. As yet I have never read or heard an adequate explanation by any theologian of how Heraclitus's original concept of the term as the framework of logic behind any argument could so easily have been appropriated and misrepresented by early Christian authors as "the word of their god" or even their "god" himself. If ever a proof exists that theology bowdlerises anything from philosophy that it deems might be useful in propaganda it is the history of that word. Maybe Tim can enlighten us (though I hope he doesn't concentrate on John, who seems to have been only one of the culprits). Ironically, in this case it may even have been the Stoics' fault, who ceded that one word to describe a universal logic was a contradiction in terms and therefore "logos" must mean something even higher in the intellectual universe (Marcus Aurelius said "the unknowable"), and from this it was an easy hop for sloppy philosophers (or theologians) to stick the "god" definition in there, even though they tended to qualify it with the definite article in case giving their god such a role ever should invite the religious adherent to actually search for logic in statements such as John's. Not the way religion works ...
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 03 Dec 2018, 11:12

Thank you for bothering to reply nordmann. I didn't really think Socrates could logically have been a cat, you know; it was just a feeble attempt at a joke, MM having, bless him, attempted to lift my mood with his picture of the flat-footed lion. I, in my innocence, just thought it funny that you can google anything daft and get an answer.


Alas, I am once more plunged in cosmic gloom at my total inability to understand the most elementary things in philosophy.


@nordmann wrote:
One can understand why simplistic logical deduction might hold some appeal to lawyers, or at least one very narrow interpretation of how rational deduction is conducted. Outside of a court of law however, and indeed outside of Christianity and from long before Aristotle, syllogistic logic as understood within philosophy has been almost entirely modal - in fact we couldn't even have religion without such modal inference in syllogistic logic, and it is precisely the religious inclination to refuse to admit modalism in its "deductive reasoning" that marks it out as inferior philosophy.


What on earth does  "modal inference in syllogistic logic" mean? I know what a modal verb is, but that is no help.  I appealed to Google, and, God help me, Wiki came up with this, no doubt the dummies' version. God knows what the erudite reply would be:



Modal logic is a type of formal logic primarily developed in the 1960s that extends classical propositional and predicate logic to include operators expressing modality. A modal—a word that expresses a modality—qualifies a statement. For example, the statement "John is happy" might be qualified by saying that John is usually happy, in which case the term "usually" is functioning as a modal. The traditional alethic modalities, or modalities of truth, include possibility ("Possibly, p", "It is possible that p"), necessity ("Necessarily, p", "It is necessary that p"), and impossibility ("Impossibly, p", "It is impossible that p").[1] Other modalities that have been formalized in modal logic include temporal modalities, or modalities of time (notably, "It was the case that p", "It has always been that p", "It will be that p", "It will always be that p"), deontic modalities (notably, "It is obligatory that p", and "It is permissible that p"), epistemic modalities, or modalities of knowledge ("It is known that p")and doxastic modalities, or modalities of belief ("It is believed that p").

A formal modal logic represents modalities using modal operators. For example, "It might rain today" and "It is possible that rain will fall today" both contain the notion of possibility. In a modal logic this is represented as an operator, "Possibly", attached to the sentence "It will rain today".

It is fallacious to confuse necessity and possibility. In particular, this is known as the modal fallacy.

The basic unary (1-place) modal operators are usually written "□" for "Necessarily" and "◇" for "Possibly". In a classical modal logic, each can be expressed by the other with negation:
◊ P ↔️ ¬ ◻️ ¬ P ;   {\displaystyle \Diamond P\leftrightarrow \lnot \Box \lnot P;}  \Diamond P\leftrightarrow \lnot \Box \lnot P;◻️ P ↔️ ¬ ◊ ¬ P .   {\displaystyle \Box P\leftrightarrow \lnot \Diamond \lnot P.}  \Box P\leftrightarrow \lnot \Diamond \lnot P.
Thus it is possible that it will rain today if and only if it is not necessary that it will not rain today, and it is necessary that it will rain today if and only if it is not possible that it will not rain today. Alternative symbols used for the modal operators are "L" for "Necessarily" and "M" for "Possibly".




Dear Lord, that way madness lies.  What are they on about?



You can understand why ordinary people prefer the poetic beauty and simplicity of the something like this - or perhaps not?



Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.



Is it really a sign of utter stupidity to find meaning and truth - and comfort - in such a passage? I suppose offering comfort is not the job of the philosopher, be he sloppy or not.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 03 Dec 2018, 11:41

Well, as usual if you stick with Marcus A you won't go far wrong.

Ignoring the blatantly untrue bit about "the only other philosophers of note being categorical syllogists", the original quote you provided still gives what is traditionally regarded a good and classic example of an explicitly categorical syllogism. A = C, B = C, therefore A = C.

However Marcus would have said - "hold on a minute, you're only claiming A equals anything in the first place, how do we actually 'know' this is the case without a whole chain of categorical syllogisms setting up each proposition in turn, right back to the logos itself?"

So instead the Stoic says "As far as we understand things A = C, and in as much as the evidence suggests B also = C, so therefore in all probability A might even = C too". All the extra bits make it modal, and essentially a supposition instead of a blatant proposition. However for the purposes of rational thinking it suffices as a proposition in most cases (with a built-in allowance for the possibility of being wrong if someone comes up with a good alternative using similar logic, which is why religions - who in truth put forward supposition as proposition all the time - traditionally pretend to being categorical, and probably retrospectively made poor Aristotle all categorical too).

I suppose you could say "modal syllogism" is syllogism with a bit of common sense chucked into it.

Like you, I find all that shorthand stuff in text books designed to make common sense look complicated extremely tedious. Intellectual snobbery, in fact, as it often disguises what is - in philosophical terms - a very basic precept that otherwise would have been incredibly easy to understand in layman's terms. Unlike you, I do not think of the sermon on the mount as a valid point of comparison. Its language may be easier with a poetic tinge to it, but philosophically it's all over the place regarding proposition, veering into outright preposterous proposition in places or at best misguided, and is exactly the kind of thing that would have put our pal Marcus off his Stoic porridge. I can just hear him muttering - "Hark at Him - he's havin' a go at the bleedin' lilies now!!!!"
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 03 Dec 2018, 12:32

The debate here is somewhat above my head.  For some reason nordmann's thought put me in mind of a lady I used to know (no longer with us) who as a child having been told that the Lord was watching everything she did, stuck her tongue out at Him.  She thought he was rude if he watched her in the lavatory.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Mon 03 Dec 2018, 12:37

LiR wrote:
...having been told that the Lord was watching everything she did ... thought he was rude if he watched her in the lavatory.

This is exactly what the result of a categorical syllogism looks like, LiR. Children are actually very good at spotting the flaws in them (and find these flaws very funny). However religion teaches us to take them extremely seriously, and some religions will even kill you if you laugh at them.

This is what happens when common sense is abandoned, as Marcus A often also pointed out, humour being often the first victim of the resultant intellectual stupor (and yet the charge of "joyless" is so often aimed in the opposite direction by the very people whose lethal ambitions are so often not simply restricted to joy).
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Tue 04 Dec 2018, 08:09

@nordmann wrote:
However Marcus would have said - "hold on a minute, you're only claiming A equals anything in the first place, how do we actually 'know' this is the case without a whole chain of categorical syllogisms setting up each proposition in turn, right back to the logos itself?"

So instead the Stoic says "As far as we understand things A = C, and in as much as the evidence suggests B also = C, so therefore in all probability A might even = C too". All the extra bits make it modal, and essentially a supposition instead of a blatant proposition. However for the purposes of rational thinking it suffices as a proposition in most cases (with a built-in allowance for the possibility of being wrong if someone comes up with a good alternative using similar logic, which is why religions - who in truth put forward supposition as proposition all the time - traditionally pretend to being categorical, and probably retrospectively made poor Aristotle all categorical too).

Phew - what a relief: I can actually follow all that and agree with it; where "religion" is concerned I am all for supposition - no human being can claim to have the "truth" about anything. I know Marcus found the noisy type of Christian extremely irritating (don't we all?), but perhaps he would have found Jesus of Nazareth himself an interesting thinker? Re your final paragraph, "Consider" is a  subtle little verb, one that perhaps the Emperor would have appreciated: doesn't it mean "think about"?


@nordmann wrote:


This is exactly what the result of a categorical syllogism looks like, LiR. Children are actually very good at spotting the flaws in them (and find these flaws very funny). However religion teaches us to take them extremely seriously, and some religions will even kill you if you laugh at them.

This is what happens when common sense is abandoned, as Marcus A often also pointed out, humour being often the first victim of the resultant intellectual stupor (and yet the charge of "joyless" is so often aimed in the opposite direction by the very people whose lethal ambitions are so often not simply restricted to joy).

The God I believe in is not a god of the lavatory: it's unfair and silly to infer (and you do, so don't deny it!) that all "religions" or people of a religious inclination believe in a God who has nothing better to do than oversee the goings-on in our loos (or our bedrooms, for that matter). Such a "god" is, as Maitland of Lethington is reputed to have observed, a mere "bogle of the nursery". How he got away with saying that in John Knox's Edinburgh the Lord only knows - unless John Knox actually agreed with him. Bogles, for children, or for adult children, can be extremely useful to those who have a penchant for control - as you point out. I agree with that. But not all people who have a faith of some sort are natural-born controllers (see stuff on transactional analysis for this one). I think my heroes - one the Roman emperor, the other the  Jewish rabbi - would agree too. Jesus was (if I have understood correctly) all for people having "life" and having it more abundantly - not happy-clappy "joy", but freedom and truth and the other good things that make life worth living (including enough food). I honestly can't see how anyone who has read the Gospels can deny that. Incidentally, I think Soccers would have agreed; he could recognise greatness of heart when he saw it.
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Tue 04 Dec 2018, 09:25

I'm sorry if I caused offence by relating a story, albeit a true one, about a late friend (who admittedly was not a religious lady).  I thought of it as being similar to a story I heard in the 1960s (though I can't remember if it was in real life or on the radio) of a young child intoning "Our Father, Which/Who' (depending on the denomination)..."art in Heaven, Harold be thy name".  I think the "Harold" was probably Harold Wilson.  The concept of Christianity is an adult faith I think (I daresay this is where I get shot down in flames by those members of the board who gave up religion when they came to adulthood).
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Tue 04 Dec 2018, 09:33

Oh, you didn't cause any offence whatsoever, LiR: your story was funny. I just get cross when it is suggested that everyone these days who has any kind of faith must of necessity be some sort of humourless control freak (with a possible tendency to kill anyone who disagrees).

But I'm not having a huff -  honest. Too old and weary for a proper huff these days - shame, because huffs were fun, especially when one got taken away in the huffocopter.

I do like "bogle of the nursery" though - lovely expression. Poor old Maitland, too clever by half. They called him Scotland's "Michael Wily".

But I digress (badly).

Sorry (no, I'm not).
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PostSubject: Re: While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens   Tue 04 Dec 2018, 10:31

Temp wrote:
I just get cross when it is suggested that everyone these days who has any kind of faith must of necessity be some sort of humourless control freak ...

No need to get cross with me so ... as I readily admit that those who aren't control freaks in that category may be simply and harmlessly delusional Smile

A god of lavatories may not be a bad idea at all. In Rome they had three - Cloacina looked after the sewer bit, Crepitus gave you hand if you were constipated or diarrhetic as he specialised in excrement, and another guy called Stercutius was handy to pray to if you wished to recycle the excrement or urine in some useful way, such as fertilizer for your veggie patch or as a mordant when dyeing cloth. St. Augustine of hippo fame had a lot to say about Stercutius (none of it good of course) and said in his "City of God" that Stercutius wouldn't be allowed past the gates. Which is odd, as it infers that Gus still saw a role for the other two - I suppose even God's city needs a good sewage system and help with unblocking the plumbing (in every sense) - whereas he obviously saw no need for fertilizer or dyeing cloth once his lad took over.

Those Christians ... mad, the lot of them!
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