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Everything posted by thormas

  1. Heathens! 2

    Perfect, puts me in the Holiday mood. Forward to Trump and Moore.
  2. Heathens! 2

    Manger things indeed. I like it.
  3. Was Paul gay?

    My position is straightforward and in the thread. I did answer your direct question earlier. Now you have reworded it and asked again. Asked and answered - so, again I refer you to the thread. Read!
  4. Was Paul gay?

    Done and already done, all positions are clear in the thread - simply read with some attention and leave the preconceptions at the door.
  5. Was Paul gay?

    You are missing everything yet again, go back and try reading the thread.
  6. Was Paul gay?

    Rom: another swing and a miss! Participation is optional but accurate reading is required. Try it.....might help, but then again...............
  7. Heathens! 2

    Good one Burl - amazing likeness!
  8. Was Paul gay?

    I'm taking a firm stand right in the middle: I don't think the discussion of a gay Paul is absurd and intellectually null (however it is frustrating because there is no answer) but I question if Spong even makes a case (or, at the very least, it is certainly not, in my opinion, a strong one). To me Spong is forced (for reasons given earlier). However, I will revisit Spong just for argument sake. I agree with what Borg said of Spong (cited earlier) and recognize that Spong is not a critical biblical scholar. To me it is not outrageous to speculate (that Paul or anyone is gay) but 'the only genuine reason' is, I think, speculative in itself: it is and can only be an exercise in speculation. And I agree, no belittling (unless it's biblical aliens) just don't participate if it is not of interest or seems too 'off the wall.'
  9. Was Paul gay?

    I thought we were done with poor Paul. Given the acceptance of same sex relationship in that era and in certain cultures, it seems one would still have to wonder if Paul indulged. Of course he lived in a 'Hellenic culture' but he was still not only a practicing Jew but one, so 'taken with it,' that he actively defended it by his actions as Saul. That and his apocalyptic take on the Kingdom/Jesus might weigh against him being sexually active. But who knows? At this point in time and biblical scholarship, it appears unanswerable. For me (although I don't give it much priority), given his faith and view of the 'end' - the odds seem to lean against same (any?) sex relationships. But, again, I don't know. And, I don't care - it does not impact my belief or values. Spong was/is a big supporter of those who should not be persecuted or ostracized because of their sexuality and a 'gay' Paul might ease the way to change views. But one wonders if Spong's passion led him to look for 'evidence' that biblical scholars did not find - and was not there. I think the alternative that many people have gone to is they simply don't accept previous Christian or religious (ore even secular) condemnation of same sex orientation or practice. They have simply said 'we disagree' and the result is a much more accepting world (or parts of that world) and eventually/hopefully the rest of the world will catch up. The world changed, our worldview changed: greater understanding of how we grow into our humanity, greater understanding of human sexuality, knowing people who have revealed themselves as gay/lesbian has had its impact and we have simply said (whether Paul was gay or not), the bible is wrong and we can use the bible, if necessary, to defend this position: the teaching on Love, Paul's understanding that we are all one in Christ. I don't need a gay Paul to accept my gay brother, the 5 lesbian women or the gay priest who taught with me years ago in a Catholic high school or a college friend's childhood family of 8, half of whom were gay, while the other 4 were straight.
  10. Was Paul gay?

    Wrong again! Read............the thread. Most of the responses on this thread were about the books and canon of the NT - it moved from the title topic pretty fast. I actually don't care about Paul's sexuality - one way or the other (nor, given his letters, is there any there, there - to make a determination). Rather, I am interested in his letters (his theology)- the letters that were actually his - and I don't agree with all of what Paul wrote. I would have to go back and check but I have read, all or part of 5 books on Paul and the concentration is not his sexuality, - it is not even mentioned (if memory serves). This, is in part, a Spong thing - and as previously mentioned, I part with Spong (not a biblical scholar) on some of his comments/conclusions. As for other characters, see above. But if you have an interest in the sexuality of other figures in the NT or if you think such appetites matter- start a thread.
  11. Was Paul gay?

    Rom: a swing, a miss. You assume too much (plus I never liked crossword puzzles, too busy) - Paul and I were not honing debate skills, we had genuine interest in the subject (evident in the sharing), had disagreements but continued - and I was motivated to do additional reading, thankful for the exchange and look forward to further discussions on a range of topics of interest to thinking people. Participation is optional and we don't all take part in each and every thread. So................
  12. Was Paul gay?

    Oh, well but the good news is the books are up to date. So no worries.
  13. Was Paul gay?

    Perhaps no difference but I was always informed that the Protestants were more governed (for lack of a better word right now) by the Biblical Word (and more versed in it) and the Catholics, less so and truly 'into' the sacraments. Twas an enjoyable discussion. Thanks.
  14. Was Paul gay?

    A possible difference between us is that I assume you were raised Protestant (but not positive) while I was raised Catholic. Protestants were brought up on the book, we concentrated on the sacraments. I remember in great detail practice for first communion, first confession, confirmation and marriage prep (which I did as a nicety until I started to debate the priest who ignored by Protestant bride to be. We, Catholics, heard the weekly readings but did not focus on the bible; I never had a class on the Bible all through Catholic schooling to 12 grade. So without this focus, I find that I am intrigued by the bible and biblical scholarship but it never ruled in my life. I could be wrong on your upbringing and it is not about which is better, merely noting the difference in expressions.
  15. Was Paul gay?

    I understand about the copying, what I was asking about was your statement, "and this is the book that some would regard as the most accurate about Jesus and what he said/did (maybe there's a reason much of it went missing in the early centuries?)." You seem to be suggesting something deliberate, maybe a conspiracy rather than the happenstance of repeated copying. So I was asking about scholars who speak to any deliberate attempt to 'lose' Mark - the most accurate gospel. Plus, a question for Ehrman that I will have to explore: he assumes recopying every year? Even to my ear that sounds like overkill even for Christians. I will read about the snake handlers but always a bit cautious when it's wikipedia. Plus I thought it was an ancient sect not 20 th C. But does their belief rely on the 2nd ending of Mark or the serpent passage? As for comfort levels with Mark, there is no evidence to indicate how much or little there is in common from the original to the relatively complete Mark that Irenaeus had. So we are both making a choice without evidence. I did not look into Irenaeus' Mark, merely took Ehrman's 'relatively complete' Mark that he cited but I will delve into it a bit more (don't know if he was into snakes?). Of course Irenaeus was human and he was highly partisan (he firmly believed the 'photo-orthodox version, fought what he thought was heresy and thought his faith was right) and we already recognized the many Christianities - so I'm in agreement here. Some expressions had totally different books, many now lost, that they considered scripture, others, as you note, decided on 1 of the 4 and Irenaeus believed to have the complete picture, the real faith, all 4 must be considered together. Will have to check: Irenaeus wanted all 4 to be considered together (to be the true faith) but did he consider the other groups, who favored John or Matthew to have different versions? As for your question, we'll never know I guess. I go even further in that it is not simply a matter of not knowing what was originally written: I simply don't believe God meant anything, it is man's take on God.I think you agree. You were police and seem to have a very conservative group in your life, I was a theology teacher (surrounded by Catholics but none over the top) and it was my job (plus it was fun) to have these discussions and challenge and teach - before I went into business. I like the idea of balance of probabilities but I have no real problem with all the copying as it was what i was and is very human. I find enough in whatever books we have to consider how other thought about God, weigh it and make my own decisions (plus the occasional fragment shows up and causes havoc - a bit like a guest some shun and others welcome). We will probably always have 'true believers' who think God guided the entire process and his Word has come to us intact. Can't do much with that, except the occasional debate like Ehrman (and Spong had) has with some of these people.
  16. Was Paul gay?

    First, apologizes as I was not clear when I repeated myself in a later response: I first said, "by the middle of that century, most of the NT canon (general content - 20 of 27 books) were known and accepted by the Church." In particular, Irenaeus cited the gospels; referencing this, Ehrman spoke of the 'relatively complete' copies of the Gospels dating from around 200CE. My understanding was that he was saying the photo-orthodox Church, in this specific example, Irenaeus, had/knew the gospels, considered them authoritative and cited them. In a later response, I said 'we had them' but did not mean to suggest that we, in the 21st C, but the Church of that era. So, again, apologies for the lack of clarity. Now, these, like ours, are copies; originals from the hands of the actual writers don't exist. However, my point was and remains that the 'Church' had 21 of the 27 books around 200 CE (and I believe Justin refers to them, without author attribution, earlier in the 2nd C) - books that later were the canon. So whereas you said, the "closest we have to the 'real thing' concerning the NT books and letters dates some 300 years after Jesus" I was making the point that the real thing we had in the mid 4th C was already 'had' by the photo-orthodox expression of Christianity, the one that 'won out.' As to whether what existed from the writers' hands was identical to what the Church had in the mid to late 2nd C and, in turn, identical to the Codex cited - who knows to what degree? I agree with Ehrman and others about the issues with scribes, both mistakes and 'corrections' and also that, as is obvious Mark's 2nd ending was added and someone(s) wrote in Paul's name. So, it is a stretch that we have relatively complete copies dating back to 200 CE but it is seemingly not a stretch that the 'Church' had them. I like Ehrman a great deal and living near Chapel Hill, NC have gone to a few classes with him that run for about 4hours on a Friday and another 4 hours on a Saturday. I have never seen an empty chair. In addition to him, I read others to include Luke Timothy Johnson, Dale Allison, Dunn, Wright, Levine, Fredriksen, Brown and others. So, I was simply wondering who you read. I am unfamiliar with the theory of the missing Mark, so on that I would definitely like to have a source. And what other books fair a lot worse? And what do you mean about the pentecostal snake handling sects? Who were they, did they accept Mark? Did they not accept the 2nd ending? Source? I am truly curious as you might be reading different scholars. And, I guess this is what I mean about the bathwater and the baby, you seem to see the glass half empty or perhaps totally empty because we can't know - whereas, I recognize we don't have originals but even with 'changes' real or suspected, I allow that there is some considerable consistency from Jesus, the oral tradition, the writings, the gospels and letters, and their 'transmission' to Justin, Irenaeus and beyond. Plus I don't consider myself locked to the Christian take on God: it is the understanding of a man, Jesus and the understanding of others about him and God; I look to that as a valued source but I too, as a human, have the freedom (and responsibility) to gather insights from whatever sources and in the end, make my own interpretation, have my own understanding. I take nothing as 'gospel' but so far the Christian 'insight' speaks to how I understand. There was never any evidence if we recognize the gospels are faith statements - not histories and/or biographies. One example of unhelpful evidence: there is considerable agreement from Ehrman and other mentioned above that the 'evidence' strongly suggest that Jesus expected the Kingdom to be established by God in the lifetime of his followers - so let's say by 60CE. He was wrong! Never happened. So what if the scholarly opinion agrees that there is sufficient biblical evidence to support this understanding of Jesus ? He was wrong! So much for 'evidence.' This is not my understanding regardless of what Jesus, gospel writers, bishops, popes and generations of Christians believe. Again, I think it is perfectly okay to say, I disagree with Jesus. Plus I would have to reread some authors to determine how large the 'gaps' are - and how would we know the size without the originals? Finally, some do indeed take this all as the literal word of God but they won't stop based on scholarly findings or because some of us present honest information about their books - what I have found that works is to play Socrates, ask questions and then more questions, then get the 'accepted' answers and, gently, throw even more questions out. Let them get confused (some already are), see problems and contradictions with their answers and, eventually, there are possibilities..........I use to walk into a classroom of Catholic high school seniors (who were raised and believed in an all-powerful, loving God) and tell a story of a the people on a plane. I gave great details of the young woman, just a few years older than them, going to meet a guy she was crazy about, s mother with her infant, a small boy traveling alone, a father returning from a business trip, having just talked to his HS kids before take off, and on and on - they could 'see' these people, they knew these people (in their own lives). And then I had the plane crash and two people survive, only two - all the others dead, nothing left. As class ended, I described again the Catholic belief about God (loving, all-powerful, all good) and then, right before the bell rang for the end of class, I would ask, almost shouting, "Where the hell was God?" Class the next day was interesting............And so we began.
  17. Was Paul gay?

    Well don't leave us hanging Rom, suggest some 'up to date' scholarly books on Paul, biblical scholarship and early Christian history that, having read, you think might help. I love recommendations. I seem to be current - ordering new books on Paul and early Christianity (by authors previously read) and referencing other books for our topics. Furthermore, the info on Irenaeus is out there and has been for a while, regardless of when the scholar wrote his/her book. Already set on gay rights, so OK there - as for Paul it is simply an intriguing topic for some, although not earth shaking by any means - and it is the topic of the thread.
  18. Was Paul gay?

    Where are you getting your information, what scholars are you reading? And you have referred to manuscripts around 300 years after Jesus (330) or the originals (370-400) - what manuscripts do you mean? Where do the scholars say these manuscripts come from as they must be copying something? My reading indicates that we have relatively complete manuscripts of the Gospels around the year 200 (that cuts the time stated above by 130-170 years and with Irenaeus we bring it even closer to the originals and cut it by 160-200 years): these manuscripts were copies and one can allow for some changes but if copies were being made within religious communities (say the 'orthodox community) it is fair to say also that care was taken in the copying. My understanding of the different Christianities is that they had different 'sacred books' and the 'orthodox' had what became the canon. So, Irenaeus, being orthodox, referred to 21 of the 27 books of the NT canon in the middle of the 2nd C CE. I will recheck but don't think it was a matter of different versions/copies of the same books - it was the selection of different books altogether. I do agree there are some changes by scribes and even Luke and Matthew changed/added to Mark - yet we still seem to have books that make up the later canon, already existing in the 1st C and referred to both at that time (Matthew and Luke on Mark) and later Irenaeus and the 'Church' he represented. I have no problem recognizing the later canon, no problem seeing where scribes 'tinkered' to clarify(?) or perhaps with Mark, create an ending in line with developing belief (also done with Paul), but the use of tinkering and fiddling and the set canon date of the 4th C seems to suggest that we don't at that later date don't have - some, a lot or even most - of what came and was recognized earlier. It seems throwing out the baby with the bathwater. One issue is when the official canon was recognized (mid 4thC), while the other is when we have relatively complete manuscripts much earlier, that point to even earlier accepted books (mid 2nd C). Of course. it must be remembered that the gospels were not history or biography as we define those terms but faith statements. So, I guess, even in the beginning, it became less what Jesus said than what Christians believed about who he was. It is fascinating stuff.
  19. Was Paul gay?

    It seems this assumes there is a substantial difference but, as stated above, Irenaeus is citing 21 of the 27 book in the NT canon. This was also a time of heresy and there would seemingly have been a 'standard' that men like he accepted and referred in order to 'comment' on other takes on Jesus. But, again, what manuscripts and do they (and if so how) differ from the 21 books that Irenaeus cited? And what sources are you using? As for Mark's ending, scholars have shown that it was a later addition - thus the earlier copy was the real Markan gospel. It is possible to make such determinations.
  20. Was Paul gay?

    Well, that makes things interesting - which letter? "In any event, biblical sexuality was certainly not conceptualized the way we see it today in 21C." I get that but things still worked the same way, correct?
  21. Was Paul gay?

    Borg made an interesting point about Spong
  22. Was Paul gay?

    Now that is interesting. Like Jesus, he believed the apocalypse / the Kingdom of God was at hand. No time to marry, no time to do anything but prepare since it was happening in their lifetime. So, I guess he had a sexual orientation but perhaps (most likely) didn't act on it - would have fit in perfectly with the Catholic Church (orientation if ok, you just can't do anything about it - love that compassion). Paul, other than Spong, do you have actual biblical scholars who weight in either gay or straight on Paul? I have read a number of scholars but have to go back and check - I simply don't remember, so this was probably not a big issue for them. I truly like Spong (still do) but some of his claims are outlandish and have been questioned by biblical scholars - Spong is not such a scholar.
  23. Was Paul gay?

    Hard copies - what do you mean? Scholars only date the general contents, what does that mean? What gap? Irenaeus in the mid to later 2nd C CE refers to 20 or 21 of the 'books' of the NT canon. If he is doing this as a middle age man, then by the middle of that century, most of the NT canon (general content - 20 of 27 books?) were known and accepted by the Church. This is roughly 50 - 70 years after John's Gospel is dated. Where is the 250 year gap? Scholarly source?
  24. Was Paul gay?

    Just a question: "closest we have to the 'real thing' concerning the NT books and letters dates some 300 years after Jesus" - what do you mean? Paul dates from the 50s some 20-25 years after Jesus and it is probable his ministry begins within 3 or so years after Jesus. And, all the gospels date to the 1st C CE - so 40-70 years after the crucifixion. The 'official' canon comes later but the 'book' include in that canon are roughly dated this way. Before saying, "...and misogyny (admittedly Paul was living in a highly patriarchal society that often treated women like property, however he is a sole voice in the NT when it comes to putting women 'in their place')" which letters are you attributing to Paul? Some are from Paul's hand and others are (seemingly) not Paul's writings. Also, Paul writes about women in the Church and Christian society, including leadership roles, in very un-misogynistic ways.