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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   Yesterday at 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   Today at 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 defined by that author - such as fulfilling prophecy, for example. I suppose in theological terms this is considered expected behaviour, if not quite satisfactory when it occurs within one theology. Of course in purely historical writing such liberty-taking with actual events would rightly be considered a complete anathema and totally invalidate the author's credibility completely.

So it is interesting - even with the above so well understood - that so many examples of this theologically driven statement of fact, even 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 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. But with theologically driven accounts 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 versed and presented as biographical or historical treatises.
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While Jesus wept for Jerusalem, Socrates never shed a tear for Athens

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