Remove this ad

#181 [url]

Dec 13 14 3:01 PM

Are you implying that Paul understood botany and the reproductive cycle of plants?

Nope, not implying that at all. A modern scientific understanding of seed germination would not have helped him illustrate his point any better anyways.

A quick search of apothnesko suggests that he thought the seed died. You aren't being selective in your definitions - are you? I have no idea why you are arguing this point, because it makes more sense that Paul thought the seed died and does not change the theological issue in any way.

I am being very selective in my definitions, and that's exactly what we all should be doing when we want in-depth studying of the Bible. For example, in Genesis 22:8 "God will provide himself a lamb" - the word translated "provide" is actually ra'ah which is usually translated by KJV "to see" 879 times, and provide only 4 times. So "provides" is a very selective definition, but it is the correct definition. In the case of apothnesko, we too must go with the selective definition since the subject of the verb is not human, but a seed. When used of humans, "die" is usually the meaning, but when used of seeds or trees (like Jude 12, Jn 12:24 and here in 1Cor. 15:36) it takes on a slightly different nuance as the Greek lexicons all attest. I'm not sure why this bothers you?

I agree with you, in this case the nuance makes no difference to Paul's theological point. However, you brought it up when you suggested, seeds don't really die, so Paul's analogy is not as airtight as I think, so that a loose analogy to the Eleusinian Mysteries could also be in play. All I am pointing out is, Paul is not saying seeds "die", that is a mistranslation, he is saying seeds "seem to perish by rotting while being resolved into their elements in the ground" (Thayer's definition). Doesn't affect the meaning of passage. But it refutes your claim that Paul actually stated seeds die. So if you have a point to make, with this revised definition in mind, please make it.

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad

#182 [url]

Dec 13 14 3:35 PM

The word 'moot' means debatable.

Yes it can mean that. But in the context of our discussion, I would say 'moot' means of little or no practical value or meaning. You were attempting to say that it is of little significance whether Jesus was human or deity since I had already conceded he was promoted as deity. I would say your argument is weak, and whether Jesus was human or deity is a very significant, salient and relevant point, and not a moot point as you claim.

Is is debatable if Jesus was a human being or a deity - correct?
You have already conceded that 'NT authors' promoted Jesus as a deity, which suggests you also believe he is/was a deity. I disagree and think he was fully human; therefore it is a point of debate whether Jesus was a human being or a deity.

I was actually unfamiliar with that definition of moot, till I looked it up just now. Its funny how the same word can have opposite meanings. I think Jesus was fully human as well as fully deity. And because he was fully human, the story of his resurrection is unique and therefore not copied from or influenced by earlier beliefs. Hence, where did the early followers of Jesus get the notion that Jesus resurrected, and from where is their bias?

I am not really sure why you think it is not a matter of debate, unless you had irrefutable evidence that Jesus is/was a deity, but tell me, when Numerius Atticus swore he saw Augustus rise to heaven, does that mean Augustus was a god before or after he died?

I don't know. Some sources say Augustus became deified after death, but other sources (like his own Res Gestae Divi Augusti (The Achievments of the Deified Augustus) suggest deification happened while he was still alive.

Quote    Reply   

#183 [url]

Dec 14 14 2:09 AM

Nope, not implying that at all. A modern scientific understanding of seed germination would not have helped him illustrate his point any better anyways.

So it is quite likely he actually thought the seed died?
I am being very selective in my definitions, and that's exactly what we all should be doing when we want in-depth studying of the Bible. For example, in Genesis 22:8 "God will provide himself a lamb" - the word translated "provide" is actually ra'ah which is usually translated by KJV "to see" 879 times, and provide only 4 times. So "provides" is a very selective definition, but it is the correct definition. In the case of apothnesko, we too must go with the selective definition since the subject of the verb is not human, but a seed. When used of humans, "die" is usually the meaning, but when used of seeds or trees (like Jude 12, Jn 12:24 and here in 1Cor. 15:36) it takes on a slightly different nuance as the Greek lexicons all attest. I'm not sure why this bothers you?


It doesn't bother me at all, because the point appears clear that Paul is using an analogy familiar to the residents of Corinth, just as Jesus used it when explaining it to Greeks..
I agree with you, in this case the nuance makes no difference to Paul's theological point. However, you brought it up when you suggested, seeds don't really die, so Paul's analogy is not as airtight as I think, so that a loose analogy to the Eleusinian Mysteries could also be in play.

No, I didn't say that at all, and have gone to great pains to explain it to you. Paul's analogy was strong, and implying he did not think the seed died would weaken the analogy. That is my point, and I think the analogy is stronger if the seed dies; because Jesus died and Christians die also.
All I am pointing out is, Paul is not saying seeds "die", that is a mistranslation, he is saying seeds "seem to perish by rotting while being resolved into their elements in the ground" (Thayer's definition). Doesn't affect the meaning of passage. But it refutes your claim that Paul actually stated seeds die. So if you have a point to make, with this revised definition in mind, please make it.

 
For Paul, and likely the Corinthians, seeds die. Thayer's definiton is, I think, unique and you have selected it because of its ambiguity. Sure, the seed appeared to rot and die, but how does that help you in that Paul did not really believe the seed died?

Quote    Reply   

#184 [url]

Dec 14 14 2:28 AM

The word 'moot' means debatable.

Yes it can mean that. But in the context of our discussion, I would say 'moot' means of little or no practical value or meaning.

In the context of my discussion, it meant debatable.
You were attempting to say that it is of little significance whether Jesus was human or deity since I had already conceded he was promoted as deity.

No, I was saying that it is a debatable point whether Jesus was human or divine. I would suggest most people think he was human and not divine, and it is only most Christians who think he was a deity. This is why it is debatable.
I would say your argument is weak, and whether Jesus was human or deity is a very significant, salient and relevant point, and not a moot point as you claim.

It would be weak if that is what I said, but I said it is moot (debatable) if he was human or divine. Why you would argue that I do not know, but there are even Christians who would debate that Jesus was not divine.
I was actually unfamiliar with that definition of moot, till I looked it up just now. Its funny how the same word can have opposite meanings. I think Jesus was fully human as well as fully deity. And because he was fully human, the story of his resurrection is unique and therefore not copied from or influenced by earlier beliefs. Hence, where did the early followers of Jesus get the notion that Jesus resurrected, and from where is their bias?

Fair enough, and I used it in the context of debatable. I agree that the Christian resurrectiuon has unique characteristics, but to get this uniqueness across, paul uses the Grecian similarities to make his point. It was quite clever, I think, and Paul definitely knew his audience.
I don't know. Some sources say Augustus became deified after death, but other sources (like his own Res Gestae Divi Augusti (The Achievments of the Deified Augustus) suggest deification happened while he was still alive.

A good comparison for a debatable point as to whether Augustus was a deity while he ruled or not. I think he was deified while living (he was the first), but he really didn't accept it and from memory joked about it on his death bed.

Regardless, I think this discussion simply stemmed from a misunderstanding of what I wrote.

Quote    Reply   

#185 [url]

Dec 14 14 10:55 PM

So it is quite likely he actually thought the seed died?

I actually have a hard time seeing how they possibly could have thought a non-living seed could have literally died, as the term is only meaningful when applied to living things. I'm not trying just to argue, or be polemical, but I think the Hebrews and Christians were only interested thinking in terms of seeds sprouting and blossoming to new growths once buried in the ground. I don't think they thought about whether seeds died or not, as it wasn't important for their analogy. I see no evidence from ancient apologists or theologians where they thought seeds died, do you?

No, I didn't say that at all, and have gone to great pains to explain it to you. Paul's analogy was strong, and implying he did not think the seed died would weaken the analogy. That is my point, and I think the analogy is stronger if the seed dies; because Jesus died and Christians die also.

Then I have misunderstood you. Still, I don't think an analogy to resurrection is strengthened by claiming seeds literally died just like humans. At what point is a seed alive, and at what point is it dead? You might say at the point it is still connected to the plant it is alive, and at the point it is separated from the plant it dies, but then there is nothing remotely analogous to human life in this. So there really is no good analogy between the life and death of a seed and the life and death of a human. The only analogy then is to resurrection. A buried human body resurrects to a new life, just as a buried seed sprouts to a new growth.


For Paul, and likely the Corinthians, seeds die. Thayer's definiton is, I think, unique and you have selected it because of its ambiguity. Sure, the seed appeared to rot and die, but how does that help you in that Paul did not really believe the seed died?

I have not selected Thayer's definition. Thayer has selected it. Most words have different meanings in different contexts, and Thayer has specifically chosen this definition for the usages in 1 Cor 15, John 12:24 and Jude 12. See for yourself:
http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G599&t=KJV
So I will trust the Greek lexicons, written by Greek scholars who compare a word's usage within the wider Hellenistic world, until and unless you give me a good reason to do otherwise. I can go check some additional sources like BDAG or TDNT and show you other Greek writers of that era using the term apothnesko to refer to germinating seeds in perfectly natural discussions with no theological analogies tomorrow when I get to the library.

The point is, one doesn't pick definitions to strengthen one's interpretation of the text; one picks definitions objectively and lets one's interpretation of the text be informed by that definition. It really doesn't matter if you think a seed literally dying strengthens Paul's analogy. If the lexicons all agree that Paul is not saying seeds literally die, then seeds don't really die and we are left with a less-than ideal analogy (in your view). I care about getting the right definition of the term, for its own sake. Even though in this case it doesn't make any difference to my interpretation of the text.

Quote    Reply   

#186 [url]

Dec 15 14 10:37 PM

A buried human body resurrects to a new life, just as a buried seed sprouts to a new growth. 

I'm sure I made a similar analogy, but you argued against it.

Quote    Reply   

#187 [url]

Dec 15 14 11:35 PM

I am at the library, and I looked up "apothnesko" in the Greek-English Lexicon (BDAG):

"of grains and wheat placed in the ground, decay J 12:24; 1 Cor 15:36"

So the standard scholarly reference seems to think the definition in this case is, decay, not death.

Quote    Reply   

#188 [url]

Dec 15 14 11:43 PM

I also found this in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament by David E. Garland:

"Paul has no intention of explaining how the resurrection happens but wishes only to make the case that it can happen. The assertion that the seed does not live unless it dies is not intended to underline a pattern of dissolution and a new life or to underscore the necessity of death (contra Godet 1887: 403; Riesenfeld 1970: 174; cf. John 12:24, since Paul specifically argues in 1 Cor. 15:51-54 that not all will die. Nor is the purpose of the analogy to reveal that "dissolution and continuity are not incompatible" (contra Robertson and Plummer 1914: 369). He intends only to underscore the change between the naked seed sown in the ground and what will be harvested" - pg 728

So it appears Garland agrees with my point of view, that death is not important to the analogy, especially since Paul believes some will never die, but still be transformed. Nevertheless, I realize that there are scholars that agree with your point of view as well, as referenced. Guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Quote    Reply   

#189 [url]

Dec 15 14 11:55 PM

The New International Commentary on the New Testament by Stonehouse, Bruce, Fee and Green:

"The first clause is reminiscent of the Jesus logion in John's gospel, but Paul's point in fact is quite different. In the Johannine narrative the emphasis is on the necessity of death before there can be fruit. Despite some contemporary scholars who would see the necessity of death as the point here as well, that concern is not in fact picked up anywhere in the succeeding argument, and what Paul says a bit later (vv 50-53) stands quite against it. Paul's concern is with death as the precondition of the life to come, not in the sense that all must die but in the sense that the seed itself demonstrates that out of death a new expression of life springs forth." Commentary on 1 Cor 15

So this guy also says the same thing. Death is not necessary to the analogy and is not the main thrust of the analogy, the change or transformation is.

Quote    Reply   

#190 [url]

Dec 16 14 12:28 AM

I'm sure I made a similar analogy, but you argued against it.

I don't think I was opposed to that. What I was opposed to, is that the Eleusinian Mysteries had a similar analogy. I see no similarities that would have appealed to Paul so that he would use them in his teaching. Persephone ascended and descended between the Earth and Hades, and caused the yearly crops to blossom - right? How would this story help illustrate the the nature of the body of Paul's physical resurrection, when in fact Persephone's resurrection was immaterial? I think it would only cause confusion, and it did cause confusion, which is why I can't see how Paul would use it. Your answer is that analogies don't have to be exact. My response is, a mere sprouting seed is a universal motif, too general to be peculiarly influenced by Corinth's proximity to Eleusis. Your response is that other Christian colleagues see the borrowing.

So let me ask you, do you think you will be able to convince me too?

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad

#191 [url]

Jan 20 15 5:23 PM

Alex, thank you for your patience, but I am doing my final essay for my Studies in Religion unit, and only have field work to do in my Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology unit, so I haven't forgotten you.
 

Quote    Reply   

#192 [url]

Jan 20 15 5:32 PM

Just quickly. You said-"Your response is that other Christian colleagues see the borrowing. "

Not at all, and that has never been my point. My point is that Paul used something familiar to them, and likely something more familiar to them than any other people, to explain his point. There was no borrowing at all.

I think I have made that clear all along. I have used it in one essay, and now in one on Acts and the Epistles, where in each I make it clear there was no borrowing by Paul.

Quote    Reply   

#193 [url]

Feb 19 15 2:10 PM

Well, I cannot deny that Paul knew of the Eleusinian Mysteries, being that he was educated and travelled, and that we see him quoting from pagan religions elsewhere. However, for me to accept that Paul used something familiar to them, I would require explicit evidence in the text of it, as is found in other passages where he alludes to pagan motifs ("as your poets have said"...).

Further, if Paul indeed did have the Eleusinian Mysteries in mind when he was explaining the nature of the resurrected body, I would say the textual evidence strongly suggests Paul was using the Eleusinian motifs contrastively, not comparatively. In other words, he was not comparing between the two motifs, he was contrasting between them. His focus was on their differences, not their similarities. The whole chapter is polemical and contrastive and is intended to correct the Corinthian's erroneous beliefs.

The effect of all this to me seems to be the opposite of what I understand you to be proposing. To me it seems the Eleusinian Mysteries was counterproductive, antithetical to Paul's message. Hence I don't see the reason why he would've alluded to something they were familiar with, if it impeded their understanding of what he was saying. Plus given that there were existing grain-resurrection motifs in Judaism, it seems more likely to be the source of Paul's analogies.

I understand your proposal, I just don't think we'll agree on it. I did actually write a paper in my last course just about this topic, and the professor liked it and gave me a great grade, so from my point, this discussion was beneficial, thanks.

Quote    Reply   

#194 [url]

Feb 19 15 2:20 PM

Alex, thank you for your patience, but I am doing my final essay for my Studies in Religion unit, and only have field work to do in my Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology unit, so I haven't forgotten you.

I'm taking an OT class, and a class on Prayer. We were in Exodus last week, where the suggestion was made in class that Mt. Horeb (Sinai) was in the land of Midian (Saudi Arabia) according to the text, and so the reason for the lack of evidence in Sinai is that we've been looking in the wrong place. The suggestion was also that the Gulf of Aqabah was where the Israelites crossed and supporting evidence was provided. Have you heard this theory?

I do plan on taking a class on Archaeology in the ANE in the future.

In

Quote    Reply   

#195 [url]

Mar 7 15 4:19 PM

Just quickly, I finished my religion course with a Distinction, earning an average of 80.375%. It was harder than I thought it would be, especially my last unit where the lecturer and marker was a reverend. I think my approach where I use independent thinking, which is encouraged in my scientific units, may have led to a lower mark, but I am not complaining about 75% for a unit on early Christianity that was marked by a university lecturer who was also a reverend. That being said, I also used things from our discussions which changed my approach on some points.

I did one unit on religions of the ANE, plus a unit on excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum, so I have a bit of knowledge on both issues I may be able to share with you. I am still rather busy and have an essay on archaeologly to get in, plus am making preparations for a dig in about a month's time. I expect to be fully online again by May, so will be in sporadically and appreciate your patience.

Quote    Reply   

#196 [url]

Mar 7 15 4:24 PM

alex wrote:
We were in Exodus last week, where the suggestion was made in class that Mt. Horeb (Sinai) was in the land of Midian (Saudi Arabia) according to the text, and so the reason for the lack of evidence in Sinai is that we've been looking in the wrong place. The suggestion was also that the Gulf of Aqabah was where the Israelites crossed and supporting evidence was provided. Have you heard this theory?

 

Yes, I have heard the theory, but tread carefully because it is not really supported by any evidence and is founded, if I remember correctly, on the 'research' of Ron Wyatt. If that is correct, I can show you where it fails.

Quote    Reply   

#197 [url]

Mar 7 15 4:32 PM

Just to add quickly.

I have no issue with Mt. Sinai being in the land of Midian, because Jethro, the Midianite priest visited Moses there, along with his daughter, and it was in the land of Midian that Moses saw the Burning Bush. In fact I think there is a mountain there that is viewed by many, Muslims included, as being Mt. Sinai, and there is even an ancient monastery there for that purpose. I will have to check up on that location, but my objection comes from them crossing at Aqaba based on the dubious work of Ron Wyatt.

Quote    Reply   

#198 [url]

Mar 17 15 7:44 PM

You are correct, Horeb, where the mountain of God was located, where Moses saw the burning bush, was in the land of Midian (Ex 2:15, 3:1). This is the same mountain of God where he went up after the Exodus to receive the tablets with the 10 commandments:

"When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” - Ex. 3:12

Now Moses would have good reason to flee to Midian, which was outside Egypt's territory, but he would not be safe in the Sinai Peninsula. Both Philo and Josephus describe Mt. Sinai as the highest mountain of Midian, specifying it was east of the Sinai Peninsula and south of Palestine, and Apostle Paul makes it clear Mt. Sinai in Arabia (Gal 4:25). Ptolemy the 1st century Greek geographer identified Midian in the northwest Arabian peninsula and you are right about the local tradition about Moses and Mt. Sinai being there. The current site is a 4th century Church invention as no Jews ever held that site as being Mt. Sinai. Therefore the lack of any archaeological evidence of Israelite presence there is not surprising, its the wrong site. Of course Saudi law prohibits archaeological excavation of the site.

We did not rely on the work of Ron Wyatt at all for the Aqaba site. Rather we relied on the research of two Swedish scholars, Viveka Ponten and Dr. Lennart Moller. Interestingly the Gulf of Aqaba is known as Yam Suph (Red Sea), the name it is known by in Exodus. They discuss pi-hahiroth, the site of Israelites encampment before crossing the sea, and there is such a site, a plane surrounded by mountains (modern day Nuweba Peninsula). From here there is a shallow and flat ridge to Arabia, in the otherwise mile-deep gulf of Aqaba, where crossing would have been easy on foot (devoid of water of course). Part of the evidence discussed is the unique shaped coral found along this ridge.

Here is the video we watched in class:


BTW I'm pleased you took courses on religion taught by reverends. I too have taken scientific courses taught by naturalists, so I think courses from both magisteria are useful.

Quote    Reply   

#199 [url]

Mar 20 15 4:46 PM

By the way, according to Genesis 25:2, the Midianites are descendants of Abraham through his wife Keturah. Therefore it should not be the least surprising that Jethro, the Midianite priest, worshipped Yahweh, the God of Abraham.

Last Edited By: alex Mar 23 15 1:59 PM. Edited 1 time.

Quote    Reply   

#200 [url]

Mar 23 15 4:32 PM

Alex, Viveka Ponten and Dr. Lennart Moller are followers of Wyatt, though more credentialed, who took up the cause after Wyatt died about sixteen years ago. I think you will find they are quoting almost verbatim from Wyatt, and Ponten has spoken of her thrill of meeting Wyatt.

Your point on Keturah is well made, and one I proposed to a US seminary graduate a year ago, where he agreed with me that the Midianites were monolatrous and their worship of Yahweh was a result of Midian being the son of Abraham and Keturah.

I'd like to add more, but I have to get this assignment finished before heading off after Easter to a dig and intensive school. I agree though that studying from both sides should be a requirement. I watched part of the video but didn't have enough time to watch it all, but it is definitely following Wyatt, and will watch it all when time permits.

Cheers, and thanks again for your patience.

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad
Add Reply

Quick Reply

bbcode help