Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reading Over My Shoulder

From Darrell Bock, The Missing Gospel

"Here is the argument they (recent scholars who emphasize the Gnostic gospels) make: These documents, and others like them, show that all of us, from historians and theologians to believers, really have misunderstood the faith that has changed lives and inspired centuries of art and architecture and, yes, even war. The documents represent a historical exposé of our faith’s origins and reveal the diversity of early Christian views. They open the possibility for new vistas and new ways of thinking about religion that breathe life into an old faith suffering a kind of religious arthritis. And the beauty of it all is that these new vistas are really the views of other ancients whose perspectives have been buried in sand for centuries."

What they claim: "Orthodox Christianity is really the product of a late second-century church father, Irenaeus, and those who followed him. ... The new school claims that Irenaeus won and was the key architect of orthodoxy. The claim is that this orthodoxy (or the claim of a defined, legitimate Christianity) emerged even more clearly in the third and fourth centuries. So the new school argues that the Christianity we know has roots that do not really go back to the time of Jesus or even to the apostles in a way that precludes other alternative views of Christianity. . There is no doubt that Irenaeus is a major figure for the church, but it is possible to see what Christianity, including orthodox Christianity, looked like before him. ... All the passages we examine from the 'orthodox' side precede Irenaeus and his supposed organization of themes for the orthodox view."

From R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas

(Summarized) The decline of Athens came as a result of heavy taxation under Pericles; defeat in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC); crass politicization of education, economics, law, and public works; decline in substantive thinking and civic virtue. In this environment, the Sophists arose, who abandoned formal philosophical pursuits in exchange for pragmatism and skepticism. Some, like Gorgias, sought persuasion through rhetoric instead of philosophical truth. Gorgias denied absolute truth. Thrasymachus attacked the quest for justice. Protagoras established man as the measure of all things. Then arose Socrates whom some have argued was the savior of Western civilization. He realized that the death of truth would mean the death of virtue, and thereby, the death of civilization. To Socrates, virtue amounted to right knowledge.

From Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont, The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Textform

(Summarized) The Byzantine texttype preserves the type of the NT text that dominated the Greek speaking world from the 4th to 16th Centuries. Western and Alexandrian mss. differ more from one another than either does from the Byzantine, suggesting it is a common source to both. Modern eclectic theory (such as that behind NA27 and UBS4) produces a sequence of favored readings that at times—even over short segments of text—has no demonstrated evidence in any known mss., versions, or fathers.

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