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What is 'The Word'?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Willamena, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. !Fluffy!

    !Fluffy! Lacking Common Sense

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    When viewed side by side, translation 'difficulties' like this are usually fairly easy to comprehend and in most cases dismiss. What I see is an overwhelming consensus there. Also, the Bible translates itself referentially. For example the verse in question might be considered with the following:

    John 8:58: "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."

    Is 44:6: "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel,
    And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
    'I am the First and I am the Last;
    Besides Me there is no God."

    Rev 1:17 "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:"

    Rev 1:8 "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
     
  2. TashaN

    TashaN Veteran Member
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    What's that? hehehehe

    I'm not Malaysian, i just live there currently for studying purpose.

    I can't speak Malay but anyway, thanks. :)
     
  3. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    That's a very interesting point. That could just mean that whoever wrote the book commonly known as "The Gospel of John" wrote it while working off the Septuagint, which does have ego eimi. If that's a mistranlation in the Septuagint (and I'm not saying it is or it isn't), then it would be carried over as a mistaken reference based on a mistranslation in John, which (it is widely understood by scholars) was written originally in Greek.

    the doppleganger
     
  4. Deut 13:1

    Deut 13:1 Well-Known Member

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    Obviously not so clear.

    Using the links that you provided let's look at 2 verses:

    Link

    There's the English of the translation, now tell me what do you notice about the Hebrew...

    Link

    Now, on what basis does your unanimous translators choose to translate the same word differently? Do they guess? Do they have a randomizer? Come on now, be serious. It's kind of embarassing that less then 2 verses later, the same word, same vowels, is translated so differently.

    How embarassing *edit* that they make the same mistake */edit*...

    Link

    Now, Moon Woman, you were so eager to point out how all of the translations say that
    אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה means "I Am that I Am", yet everyone one of those translations makes the same mistake 2 verses prior. :eek:
     
  5. !Fluffy!

    !Fluffy! Lacking Common Sense

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    It depends on the application. For "just reading", the NKJV and NASB. I have electronic texts (E-Sword) with the NETBible which includes in my case the KJV and YLT (Young's literal trans.) and Strong's, plus several commentaries and maps.

    I prefer online resources for research; BlueLetterBible allows one to view a number of translations, concordances and lexicons simultaneously like this: http://www.blueletterbible.org/tsk_b/Exd/3/14.html

    Bible Gateway is an easy source to use as well and provides some interesting 'helps'.

    When all else fails I call my brother, a pastor with a Master's - Divinity and religious studies. ;)
     
  6. !Fluffy!

    !Fluffy! Lacking Common Sense

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    Deut: If your problem is with 3:12, I don't get the problem. If your problem is with 3:14 versus 3:12, it is a simple matter of tenses in context or am I a total moron.

    A sleep deprived total moron. Let me chew on your links some more and get back with you tomorrow evening; obviously you have a point to make or an axe to grind and perhaps we can figure out which - amicably.

    -- MW
     
  7. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    Perhaps, but if it is a mistake, it is the same mistake made by the translators of the Septuagint, which uses esomai in 3:12 and eimi in 3:14.

    http://www.spindleworks.com/septuagint/Exodus.htm

    That the LXX understood the sense of esomai and eimi as different would seem to indicate this wasn't an error of ignorance on their part. There are a couple of easy explanations that make this not a "mistake": (1) the LXX thought the meaning of the Hebrew, in context, was better expressed as ego eimi in 3:14 rather than ego esomai as they used in 3:12 (as I demonstrated above with "boys will be boys"); or, (2) the LXX had a different version of the Hebrew they were tranlating from that had 3:14 in the present tense.

    the doppleganger
     
  8. Deut 13:1

    Deut 13:1 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I'm just saying it's not fair to say that Eh-eh literally means I Am, yet translate it as I Will Be.

    No axe to grind, take your time.
     
  9. Deut 13:1

    Deut 13:1 Well-Known Member

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    Read this, I just found it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_am_that_I_am
     
  10. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    I'm not proficient in Hebrew (to say the least), but I found this from the Wiki article interesting as it may shed some light on a linguistic problem that may have faced both the Septuagint translators and modern English translators (both Greek and English are understood to have a past, present and future tense, though as the "boys will be boys" example illustrates, it's not always that clear):

    So would a more accurate English translation be "I am becoming what I am becoming"? And what would that do to 3:12?

    the doppleganger
     
  11. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    Which, by the way, would make the "Jewish" "God" sound like a Buddhist. ;)

    Walking through walls can be a real trip.

    the doppleganger
     
  12. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Referring to the creative process that is God -- "I cause to be what comes to be" could be a paraphrase of "I shall become what I shall become." I think the idea here is that, if the earth is the Lord's (as the scriptures say) then the creation is "of God." As God becomes, so we become.
     
  13. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    Or, as we become so "God" becomes.

    the doppleganger
     
  14. angellous_evangellous

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    But we must add specific Gnostic qualities from later sources to make the Gnostic reading plausible.

    For all practical purposes we may be on the same page here.

    Then we can evaluate texts one at a time. I've seen more critical errors in identifying Gnosticism in the NT than I can mention. It seems to me like the older schools of finding Gnosticism in the NT are completely wrong.

    I hate the Harvard school! I think that Elaine and Helmut are wrong, wrong, wrong. I may change my mind, but I'm pretty convinced at this point that the Gospel of Thomas is later.

    I agree that proto-Gnosticism was as well established as the proto-orthodox. I actually think that the proto-Gnostics used the infrastructure of the early churches to get its message out, and the converted churches imploded due to the new Gnostic disorganization. I don't think that the Gospel of Thomas is that early. There may be some Jesus tradition in Thomas, but it was more than likely redacted in.

    But not Christian Gnosticism.

    This would exempt the Gospel of John/Thomas conflict.
     
  15. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    Angellous:

    Can you give me a brief description of what you mean by the following terms:

    "Gnosticism"

    "Christian Gnosticism."

    Thanks.

    the doppleganger
     
  16. angellous_evangellous

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    I saw your question earlier, and I am looking for references for you.
     
  17. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    With that understanding of the Hebrew, Exodus 3:12 would then read "I shall become with you," right?

    the doppleganger
     
  18. angellous_evangellous

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    Without references, my understanding of Gnosticism is that everything before the mid to late second century that has Gnostic tendacies may only properly be called proto-Gnostic. Full-blown Gnosticism is a distinctly Christian phenomenon and the reflection of a long tradition of Christianity, using its writings its organization (which Gnosticism destroyed).

    Many Gnostic tendacies are shared with most Christian "heretical" sects and other mystery religions or Greco-Roman groups:

    1) Denial of the divinity of Christ
    2) Denial of the bodily resurrection of Christ
    3) Anti - or non-trinitarian tendacies
    4) Emphasis on special knowledge
    5) Lack of organization (=no bishop)
    6) Belief that the human body is evil - attempt to escape from the body

    Specific Gnostic tendacies (which I think are too late to be in the NT)
    7) Highly (to me) complex Gnostic cosmology

    Full-blown Christian Gnosticism
    8) Highly analogous/metaphysical interpretative retelling of the OT stories that justify the complex cosmology (there are no quotations like this in the NT to my knowledge)
    9) Highly analogous/metaphysical telling or retelling of the NT stories that justify Gnostic cosmology

    IMO, older biblical exegetes rush to say that something is Gnostic if a particular group holds to any items listed in 1-6, but this is spurious because many MANY groups held one or all of these beliefs without the Gnostic cosmology.

    I think also (without much critical study) that the proto-Gnostic Jewish groups or otherwise fit only 1-6 without the cosmology.
     
  19. Earthling

    Earthling David Henson

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    Willamena: I have heard some argue that 'The Word' (Logos) is Jesus in Heaven before his incarnation on Earth. What does that mean, for him to exist as 'The Word'?

    Earthling: What that means is that Michael, the firstborn (the first creation of Jehovah God) only begotten son (the only thing created solely by Jehovah God without the assistance of Michael himself) is the spokesman for God. He represents God. When you see, in the Hebrew / Aramaic as well as the Christian Greek scriptures, someone who is speaking for Jehovah (The personal name of God in the English language) God, it is most likely Jesus. Either as himself or as his pre-human existance.

    Willamena: Still others say that 'The Word' (Logos) is Wisdom, a separate "lost" feminine deity, possibly part of a Hebrew pantheon. Does this represent a Jewish, or perhaps Gnostic, belief?

    Earthling: That is just religious nonsense. The word, that is Michael who later became Jesus, was mentioned in ... I think Psalms or Proverbs? as being Wisdom, and it was in the feminine sense of the word. Not some deity. You have to realize that the word deity is just a god. Dagon, Baal, Molech, Tammuz, Moses, Satan, The angels, the Judges of Israel, Jesus, Jehovah, sticks and stones ... even as Paul said, ones own belly could be a god. The word god means anything or anyone who is deemed 'Mighty' or who is venerated can and is a god.
    It isn't really Jewish or Gnostic or Christian ... it is language. The feminine and the masculine. Like spanish. The chair is feminine and the table is masculine. It doesn't imply gender.
    Willamena: The following quote indicates another interpretation of 'The Word'. It represents the understanding of some Akan tribes-people who settled Jamaica after emancipation, and adopted Christianity; sort of a blend of old-world African and new-world New Testament, and claimed as "Coptic revelation."

    "What does that mean? That means that to know the Word was to know God, to be with God, to manifest God. To know the Word and speak it was to make the Word of God occur."

    Earthling: I really am not sure what to think of this. It is true that Jesus was such a flawless representation of his father Jehovah that to know him was to know God. Most of the quote sounds like it could have been spoken by Paul.

    Willamena: I'm aware that God speaks things into existence in Genesis, but how does man manifest God by knowing 'the Word' of God?

    Earthling: By listening of course.
     
  20. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Well...no. I think you're approaching this from a humanist pov. That's not my pov. Your previous post is very telling:
    The point of reference is God, not humanity. God creates us, not the other way around. We live in and are part of God's world. I think a better way to say it is simply "I shall become what I shall become." It's up to us to "buy into" the fact that we live in and are subject to God's creative process for us. We become self-aware because God gives us that ability -- not because we develop that ability on our own.

    God speaks creation into existence...not the other way around. The creative word that is spoken to us is "I AM." Our whole life is a process designed to help us see that, as God is, so we are.
     
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