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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:12 pm 
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Polycarp wrote:
For a description of what exactly is meant by a document being divinely inspired, see the biblical encyclicals Providentissimus Deus, Spiritus Paraclitus, and Divino Afflante Spiritu, and the dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum. Both God and men are authors of Holy Scripture, just in different ways -- God is the true author of Scripture.

And yes, Americans of 2005 are among the Gospels audience, in the sense that we are meant to learn from them. But no, we are not the original audience, so we might have to work a bit harder to learn from them than an member of the original audience would have.


Who was the original audience for the four gospels? How would we know without asking the author?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:14 pm 
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Who was the original audience for the four gospels? How would we know without asking the author?


Perhaps you woudn't definitely know, but if you did a little research you'd get a general idea.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:18 am 
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I think I listed those same Encyclicals on another thread in response to Yoga's constant reiteration on how to know if scripture is inspired...if one is not willing to read those Encyclicals to get an answer, then that person should quit asking the same question over and over again.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 11:05 am 
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Well, that's Yoga/Ken for you.

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I praise Thee for all things, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, with whom, to Thee, and the Holy Spirit, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen. -- St. Polycarp's prayer of thanksgiving at his martyrdom, 156 A.D.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 11:20 am 
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Polycarp....the permanency of the earth?.....I guess we can argue over what "permanency" means but.....I'm not sure your rebuttal does the job..can you expand?


The text in question is Ecclesiastes 1:4, which comes from Solomon's introductory discourse on the vanity or futility of all things in this life. "Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What good does a man get out of all the labor in which he engages under the sun? A generation passes away, a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, then it hurries back to the place where it rose. The wind goes to the south, then turns around to the north -- it circles continually, and the wind returns on its regular routes. All the rivers run to the sea, yet the sea is not full -- to the rivers' source, there they return. . . . What has been is what shall be, and what is done is what shall be done -- there is nothing new under the sun." (Eccl. 1:2-7, 9)

Nothing new under the sun -- steady, unchanging cycles of repetitious change. The earth remains forever -- no fundamental change in the earth, just the same earth that we've always had. That's the message here in Ecclesiastes -- boring, plodding, ultimately frustrating and useless repetition. It was not Solomon's intention to assert that the earth will exist eternally, will never come to an end. He is talking about the conditions in which we live in this universe, on this earth -- the question of whether it will ever end, and how it might end, is not something he addresses in this place, because it doesn't have anything to do with the lessons he is teaching here. You just can't lift a sentence or a clause out of context and set it against another clause taken out of context. That's a fundamentalist, hyperliteralist approach to the text.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 11:33 am 
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ON HUMAN SACRIFICE
"... Thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God..." -- Leviticus 18:21

[In Judges, though, the tale of Jephthah, who led the Israelites against the Ammonoites, is being told. Being fearful of defeat, this good religious man sought to guarantee victory by getting God firmly on his side. So he prayed to God] "... If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering" (Judges 11:30-31).

[The terms were acceptable to God -- remember, he is supposed to be omniscient and know the future -- so he gave victory to Jephthah, and the first whatsoever that greeted him upon his glorious return was his daughter, as God surely knew would happen, if God is God. True to his vow, the general made a human sacrifice of his only child to God!] -- Judges 11:29-34


First of all, Lev. 18:21 does not ban human sacrifice -- it bans the pagan custom of sacrificing children to the Canaanite God Molech. Secondly, commentators are not agreed that Jephthah actually sacrificed his daughter of God -- but even if he did, he didn't sacrifice her to Molech, so in that case there wouldn't be any contradiction between Lev. 18:21 and Judges 11:29-34.

Now, on the question of Jephthah's daughter, if you read the Book of Judges you will find several examples of Israelites and their Judges doing things that were not right. One of the recurring statements in the Book of Judges is, "In those days there was no king in Israel -- every man did whatever seemed right to him." So, even if Jephthah sacrificed his daughter, that is not necessarily being held up as an example to follow, any more than Samson's frequenting brothels are carrying on a personal vendetta against the Philistines are being held up as examples to follow. In any event, the story of Jephthah and his daughter is capable of being interpreted in a way that doesn't require him to have killed his daughter. Some commentators say his vow of sacrifice was fulfilled by dedicating his daughter as a sacred virgin for the rest of her life -- that would fit with the text's making such a big deal about her remaining a virgin, and about her bewailing her virginity. Marriage and fecundity were highly valued in ancient Israelite culture.

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Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and through Mizpeh of Gilead as well, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he went on to the children of Ammon. Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, "If You deliver the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the children of Ammon shall surely be LORD's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering."

So Jephthah went on to the children of Ammon to fight against them, and the LORD delivered them into his hands. He smote them from Aroer to the approach of Minnith (twenty cities in all) and as far as Abel-keramin, with a massive slaughter. Thus were the children of Ammon brought into subjection before the children of Israel.

Jephthah came to his house in Mizpeh, and lo, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and dancing. She was an only child: he had neither son nor daughter besides her. So it happened that when he saw her, he rent his garments and said, "Alas, my daughter, you have struck me down and brought calamity upon me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot retract." She said to him, "My father, you have made a vow to the LORD. Do with me as you have vowed, because the LORD has wrought vengeance for you on your enemies the children of Ammon." She said to her father, "Let me have this favor. Let me alone for two months, that I may go off down the mountains to mourn my virginity, I and my friends." "Go," he said. He sent her away for two months, and she departed with her companions and mourned her virginity on the mountains. It happened at the end of the two months that she returned to her father, who did with her as he had vowed: she remained a virgin. It was a custom in Israel that the women of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days a year.

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I praise Thee for all things, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, with whom, to Thee, and the Holy Spirit, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen. -- St. Polycarp's prayer of thanksgiving at his martyrdom, 156 A.D.

Baby No. 8 is on the way!

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