North Western Winds

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Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

Obama on the Mount

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It’s been a long time, but I simply can’t let this pass by me without a rejoinder:

( – Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told a crowd at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, Sunday that he believes the Sermon on the Mount justifies his support for legal recognition of same-sex unions. He also told the crowd that his position in favor of legalized abortion does not make him “less Christian.””I don’t think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state,” said Obama. “If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.” ((Hear audio from WTAP-TV)) St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans condemns homosexual acts as unnatural and sinful.

I sincerely hope our American friends will soundly reject Obama as a presidential candidate in favour of a far more mature and steady John McCain. There is much about Obama that makes me more than a little queasy.For starters, that ‘obscure’ quote from St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans is older than any of the gospels. I just happen to be reading Garry Wills’ book, What Paul Meant at the moment. Wills is a liberal Catholic. He might, for all I know, agree with Obama’s positions.This quote from the introduction shows that he would argue for such a position along very different lines. It also makes Obama look silly:

Many people would just as soon avoid Paul’s psychodrama and go “back” to the Gospels, which do not argue about understanding Jesus but just present him. Taking the shortcut was the obvious thing to do in the Middle Ages, when it was thought that the Gospels were written by the original followers of Jesus, who were eyewitnesses to what they set down. This lead to the view that there was a primitive church, true to Jesus’ simple teachings, which was later contaminated by Paul’s doubts and theories and wrangling (this is Jefferson’s thesis). But scholarly enquiry has destroyed the idea that the Gospels have a simple biographical basis. They are sophisticated theological constructs, none written by their putative authors, all drawing on second – or third – or fourth hand accounts – and all written from a quarter of a century to half a century after Paul’s letters. If we want to see what the original Jesus communities looked like, the first and best witness is Paul, the earliest writer of what would become the New Testament. In fact, his authentic letters [of which Romans is one – ed.] are the only parts of the of which we can say we know who wrote them. The Gospels, coming later, try to make sense of a history that already contained the conflicts that Paul reveals to us. Those who believe in a providential revelation through the New Testament must deal with the fact that Providence preserved the first batch of inspired writing with the signature of Paul. His letters were written roughly two decades after the death of Jesus. Other new Testament letters attributed to Paul or other authors (Peter, Paul, or John) are written two to five decades after his, and imitate the form of his.


Written by Curt

March 4, 2008 at 5:45 pm

A bit of Bakhtin

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Terry Eagleton reviews a new book on Mikhail Bakhtin:

Bakhtin’s central concept of dialogism does not mean bending a courteous ear to others, as some of his more liberal commentators seem to imagine. It means that every word or utterance is refracted through a host of other, perhaps antagonistic idioms, through which alone its meaning can be grasped. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Curt

June 28, 2007 at 4:00 pm

To even ask the question is to have missed the point

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More from Bob on the correspondence between John’s miracles and Genesis.

One Cosmos: Titanic Ignorance and Vertical Paralysis:

how does one “disprove” that God created life on the fifth day? To even ask the question is to have missed the point, the point being to meditate on the meaning of such a statement. In order to do that, we must examine its entire context, as well as the general metaphysical view that is developed and promulagted in Genesis. And if you are a Christian, you must definitely analyze it teleologically in light of the Gospels, since the Old Testament points to (or in philosophical terms, “entails”) the New, while the New Testament illuminates the Old. The correspondence of miracles is just one of a multitude of ways to expand upon this dialectical resonance.

This series of posts is well worth checking out.

Also: Condolences to Bob on the loss of a good friend. The last picture in this post is great.

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Written by Curt

March 18, 2007 at 11:38 am

John’s miracles

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(graphic by Oniric Mermaid)

Loved this post at One Cosmos. Loved it.

There are only seven miracles described in the Gospel of John, beginning with the transformation of water into wine at the wedding in Cana, and ending with the raising of Lazarus. The conclusion of John points out that if every miracle attributable to Christ were to be recorded, “the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.'” Therefore, [Valentin] Tomberg suggests that the seven miracles of John are intended to be “archetypal,” or to summarize certain categories of the miraculous — of how humans, unlike any other beings in existence, may surpass themselves in love, wisdom, and action. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Curt

March 14, 2007 at 7:22 pm