The Bible's Uncanny Genius

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alex717
 
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2008 12:46 am
When actually analyzing the philosophies in the new testament, it really amazes me that perhaps we take much of it for granite, as we shoo off to more prestigious early Greek philosophies. Although I'm not a Christian, their idea of paradise and their idea of love is quite refreshing. Even more so being their clear meta-ethical ideas (without the things society has obviously bent). I think if most step away from the pre-notions and examine the ideas, not the claims and prophecies, just idea for idea, it is quite the masterpiece, to any standard.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2008 09:50 am
@alex717,
If it be possible to separate the NT's ethical admonitions from its religious grounds, then there can be much to admire, if one is so pre-disposed to make that interpretation. But many of these same moral precepts can be found in philosophical works grounded outside of religion and its baggage of eternal rewards and punishments.
 
alex717
 
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2008 03:04 pm
@alex717,
Yes, but for people at that time to actually write and answer so many questions in that form is spectacular without a doubt. IMO, wouldn't you say so?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2008 06:29 pm
@alex717,
Many of the Bible's various books are some of the world's greatest texts. Revelations is absolutely brilliant, and one of the most influential books.

The "claims and prophecies" are part of the text, and to ignore then as you consider the text is to miss important aspects of the books. Just remember, prophecies do not have to be understood literally to have meaning; a literal reading eliminates the brilliance of the prophecies and miracles, a figurative reading displays these passages in all of their brilliance.

There is no need to separate the religion from the pure ethics of the Bible in order for the Bible to be admirable. The religious notions found in that volume are some of the most admirable aspects of the book, even if you do not personally accept them.
 
Lithium phil
 
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2008 07:21 pm
@alex717,
alex717 wrote:
it is quite the masterpiece, to any standard.


And our Bible is from translations of translations of translations! I'm sure a lot of revision was done, but I bet a lot more things would be clearer and even more beautiful in a philosophical way if we could read and speak the original language, Aramaic. I was watching a NetGeo about Aramaic and it was beautiful like French but different.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 07:55 am
@alex717,
Not to take away from the (what we understand to be) unique message of Jesus, a part of which was making religion a person's existential way of life as apposed to social and public performance of rites, but the NT was not written in a vacuum. Obviously, for example, the influences of the Jewish OT and its monotheistic conception of God was important, as was (especially in the case of St. Paul) the general influence of Hellenistic thinking that had spread throughout the Levantine area.

Jesus never having written anything himself, we are tantalizingly left with second hand accounts of his life and teaching, and must search the fragments in an attempt to understand either. As we know much less than supposed about the meaning of many of the words found in the ancient texts, and are also dependent upon translations which are tainted by dogmatic traditions, the process of understanding it seems very challenging.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 09:27 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed - Like any other great text, the Bible must be read, reread and studied closely to be fully appreciated. Yes, this is a challenge. The same sort of challenge faced by readers of any classic text - Homer, Dante, and so forth all require some serious study. We can read any book once through and understand some, but deep understanding of deep texts requires serious study.
 
 

 
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