1 Crointhians 1:19-25

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Christianity
  3. » 1 Crointhians 1:19-25

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Deckard
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:11 pm
Quote:
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

19For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." (from Isaiah 29:14)
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,

23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

- 1 Crointhians 1:19-25

In this passage both the wisdom of the Greeks and the signs of the Jews are cast aside in favor of salvation. The sign of the cross is a stumbling stone to the Jews. The way of salvation will be seen as foolishness to the Gentiles (i.e. Greeks). Note that signs are associated with power in several verses such as 24. So this is about power and wisdom.

This is one of the passages that presents God's wisdom as an inversion of Man's wisdom. What is considered foolishness and weakness by men is deemed powerful and wise by God.

I'm interested to hear what the forum thinks of the inversion of wisdom and power found in these verses.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:37 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;169174 wrote:
In this passage both the wisdom of the Greeks and the signs of the Jews are cast aside in favor of salvation. The sign of the cross is a stumbling stone to the Jews. The way of salvation will be seen as foolishness to the Gentiles (i.e. Greeks). Note that signs are associated with power in several verses such as 24. So this is about power and wisdom.

This is one of the passages that presents God's wisdom as an inversion of Man's wisdom. What is considered foolishness and weakness by men is deemed powerful and wise by God.

I'm interested to hear what the forum thinks of the inversion of wisdom and power found in these verses.
The reference to Greek wisdom echoes the folklore about the conversation between Jesus and Pontius Pilate. Jesus tells him that he has come to testify to the truth. Pilate, demonstrating his education, asks "What is truth?"
 
Deckard
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 04:28 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;169197 wrote:
The reference to Greek wisdom echoes the folklore about the conversation between Jesus and Pontius Pilate. Jesus tells him that he has come to testify to the truth. Pilate, demonstrating his education, asks "What is truth?"

Is "What is truth?" a rhetorical question or a Socratic question. I suppose its rhetorical since Jesus never answers. Still, I'd like to write a gospel that has a longer more philosophical conversation between Jesus and Pilate.

Quote:
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
"What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him.

John 18:37&38
 
Brian phil
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 05:54 pm
@Deckard,
Since Deckard has already shown himself a fool on another post I am not surprised he writes of foolishness in this one.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 06:22 pm
@Brian phil,
Brian;169281 wrote:
Since Deckard has already shown himself a fool on another post I am not surprised he writes of foolishness in this one.

Jesus loves you Brian, but I think you're an a**hole.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 06:55 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;169174 wrote:
In this passage both the wisdom of the Greeks and the signs of the Jews are cast aside in favor of salvation. The sign of the cross is a stumbling stone to the Jews. The way of salvation will be seen as foolishness to the Gentiles (i.e. Greeks). Note that signs are associated with power in several verses such as 24. So this is about power and wisdom.

This is one of the passages that presents God's wisdom as an inversion of Man's wisdom. What is considered foolishness and weakness by men is deemed powerful and wise by God.

I'm interested to hear what the forum thinks of the inversion of wisdom and power found in these verses.

This is the Saint Paul that fascinates me.

The Greeks are perhaps too clever for their own good, lost in abstractions. Also perhaps they are too proud, elitist, for "Christ crucified." The Jews want a miracle. This reminds me of externalized religion. Wasn't the O.T. quite a about God rewarding the good man on this Earth with wealth? Schopenhauer gave the Jewish religious perspective grief for its optimism. Is Christ crucified an acceptance of "interpenetration"? Christ can be viewed as the symbol for something universal, a state of being accessible to all. The cross would be the matrix, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, man's judgment on the "infinite and holy" as something finite and corrupt. I think it's actually a tradition that the cross is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Something like that in Jung. And the cross connects to the mother, as well, the devouring mother. Is the cross a message to the effect that god only exists as embedded within a birth-death matrix? Zizek presented Freud's death drive as an immortality drive, and this would be Hegel's skeptic, stoic, and otherworldly Christian using abstractions to hide from their slavery, or to spread it around.

God's weakness reminds me of water in the Tao. Here's my compulsive math association. An angle in radians equal to pi is 180 degrees, a straight line. I think of the way Christ's arms are positioned. An eternal hug for time and all its birth and death. Well, I freestyled.
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:33 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;169197 wrote:
The reference to Greek wisdom echoes the folklore about the conversation between Jesus and Pontius Pilate. Jesus tells him that he has come to testify to the truth. Pilate, demonstrating his education, asks "What is truth?"


A quicky here, before getting back with more. This above understanding is more likely not the case.

For one, the work According to John, had not been compiled when the letter to those earliest followers of Paul's troupe in Corinth had been read by them, and they would have had absolutely no information on that.

Secondly, any conversation that will have happened between Yeshua and Pontius Pilate, would more likely never have gotten past those of that inner connection with the Roman court. (It's hardly likely to consider that any fellows of Yeshua's troupe had been listening in on that, and the consideration that such information had come through any supernatural means has been very well rebutted.)

Here, the conclusion that there is no alluding to what had later come up by one of the hands which had gone into penning According to John, is most secure, and irrefutable.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 08:01 pm
@Reconstructo,
What bothers me about the passage is how much it reminds me of Orwell's 1984 "Weakness is Strength", "Ignorance is Wisdom". I can't help but compare Paul to O'brien.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 08:15 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;169355 wrote:
What bothers me about the passage is how much it reminds me of Orwell's 1984 "Weakness is Strength", "Ignorance is Wisdom". I can't help but compare Paul to O'brien.


That's very much a valid observation. It's so much a matter of interpretation. The New Test is full of paradoxes: "he who abases himself shall be exalted...he who seeks to save his life shall lose it.. the first will be last and the last will be first.."

I think words in themselves are beads-on-a-string. They are objects. Something like the RNA of a virus. Written thought has this frozen structure. It has a life apart from the living being it was once the utterence or penstroke of.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 08:31 pm
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;169344 wrote:
AFor one, the work According to John, had not been compiled when the letter to those earliest followers of Paul's troupe in Corinth had been read by them, and they would have had absolutely no information on that.

Secondly, any conversation that will have happened between Yeshua and Pontius Pilate, would more likely never have gotten past those of that inner connection with the Roman court. (It's hardly likely to consider that any fellows of Yeshua's troupe had been listening in on that, and the consideration that such information had come through any supernatural means has been very well rebutted.)

Here, the conclusion that there is no alluding to what had later come up by one of the hands which had gone into penning According to John, is most secure, and irrefutable.
Dang it! I said it was folklore. But you're right. I said echo when I just meant that it's related. Christianity developed in a hellenized world.

Early Christians were oddballs. Paul worked to unify them and give them courage. I think that's what he was doing in that passage... just saying.. yes, the most educated people think you're an idiot and your mother culture spat you out. That's ok, because you know the truth. What is truth?

Another tie: Kierkegaard's poetry about Abraham's power, wisdom, hope, and love.... power which is impotence... wisdom whose secret is foolishness.... because Abraham's identity had fused with God's.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 08:42 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;169368 wrote:

Early Christians were oddballs. Paul worked to unify them and give them courage. I think that's what he was doing in that passage... just saying.. yes, the most educated people think you're an idiot and your mother culture spat you out. That's ok, because you know the truth. What is truth?

I love it. Thank you.
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 10:28 pm
@Deckard,
Thank for your further clarifications, Arjuna. Yes, I understand the possible sense that could be applied in your usage of 'folklore,' and 'echo,' yet (and this is the weak point of my take, it's true) I simply followed the norm, without giving consideration of authorship [I mean, there is a common usage/sense for these terms in the biblical literature field, and I just automatically applied these].

So, just as a matter of clarification, 'echo' will always carry the sense of alluding to another tenet, pericope, or document, and 'folklore' will be a stable oral communication spread over a relatively large area within, or among social groups.

While we have to be careful about non-Pauline interpolations (not autographical passages), we can also see a strain of 'you guys are to remain under my teaching' pressure here. This is the first letter, and it does start out the approach to this theme from the 'so, you guys are already following somebody else, huh?' message. It is done very nicely, very 'under the current,' but it is there.

Odd balls or not, I'm not so sure of for the particular immediate audience of that letter. Paul always sprung-borded from the local synogogues, so we can reason that the greater portion (at first, at least) were non-Hebrew practicing Jews--to whatever degree. Paul is definitely making effort to lead them away from that 'Jewish' disposition, and that (as it seems he felt) would require a certain humbling...thus 'you have to be in the weak position so that YHWH can use you' position.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 10:55 pm
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;169409 wrote:

So, just as a matter of clarification, 'echo' will always carry the sense of alluding to another tenet, pericope, or document,...

Is it correct to call this passage from 1 Corinthians an "echo" of the Isaiah 29?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 11:20 pm
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;169409 wrote:

So, just as a matter of clarification, 'echo' will always carry the sense of alluding to another tenet, pericope, or document, and 'folklore' will be a stable oral communication spread over a relatively large area within, or among social groups.

While we have to be careful about non-Pauline interpolations (not autographical passages), we can also see a strain of 'you guys are to remain under my teaching' pressure here. This is the first letter, and it does start out the approach to this theme from the 'so, you guys are already following somebody else, huh?' message. It is done very nicely, very 'under the current,' but it is there.

Both Paul's words here and the conversation between Jesus and Pilate point to the same situation: Christianity was gnostic in character from the beginning. Gnosis, or knowledge is simple and mysterious. Socrates taught an unraveling process, starting with a question and ending with a question. There's sophistication of thought in that. Knowledge is naive.

I don't buy that Paul was targeting some philosopher in particular. He was telling them to stop arguing with each other and be naive. In this, Deckard is right... it is vaguely 1984ish. Without the rats.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 01:11 am
@Arjuna,
There is a difference between rhetoric and theology. The Paul we know was more a rhetorician than a theologian. All we know of Paul are the speeches. They are speeches first and teachings only second. Imagine if Paul wrote a more systematic theological treatise. What would it be like? Was Paul even capable of writing such a thing?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 01:14 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;169425 wrote:
. He was telling them to stop arguing with each other and be naive.

Rorty does something similar with ethics. "Cruelty is the worse thing we do." He makes a case against the over-complication of the issue. I'm not saying I agree or not, but it's an interesting approach.

Did he mean naive, or tuned into something (dangerously?) self-evident?
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 01:36 am
@Deckard,
Let me get back with you on that, Dekard, since I don't have any reference material here at the office, and can't recall that right off hand. There is a fair chance, of course, that it would be alluding to that particular pericope (or theme) in Isaiah (or at least one particular Isaiah text).

I don't have much room, Arjuna, to agree with that conclusion either. Gnosticism, in the strictest sense, is much more narrow than mysticism, and somewhat different from the more Hebrewish mysticism circles, as far I have learned. Additionally, it is not so easy a task to reconstruct just exactly what the very first Christian cult, formed around one Yeshua, had had in mind--although the chances are pretty high that it all had to do with some Jewish-bent eschatological doctrine. According to John is not a good standard by which to rule about the very beginning, and is out to teach a certain mystical position which one just won't find in the Ebonite tradition (which is probably much closer to the original movement).

Here, once again, it is better to have a degree of background (as I had mentioned before) for reading 1 Corinthians. The contextual setting of the passages in question, both immediately and epistle-wise, leaves interpretation quite a bit more narrow than what many try to squeeze out those (and it happens in other places as well).

In this letter, we cannot really consider that any reference is more specifically being made towards any Greek philosophers, or non-Jewish philosophy in general, but towards troupe leaders among the general Christian domains. He was more specifically targeting Apollos and Peter's troupes (or at least teachings) in the opening of this letter, and much of the first quarter of that letter cling very closely to that concern. Additionally, as comes out in a number of places in Paul authentic letters, as well as the more questionable 'attributed to' Paul documents, there is a push for clarification of Paul's authority and position. The appeal to weakness is a method for instilling an attitude in the followers which will allow for the following to follow. It can also be seen as a type of 'crowd psychology' tool being leveraged in order to maintain control over, and among, his followers.

This was in the heat of battle, it was very down to the 'LXX' readings, it was very Pauline in nature, and it would really be missing the mark to a large degree to try to force any gnosticism out of it.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 02:47 am
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;169463 wrote:

It would really be missing the mark to a large degree to try to force any gnosticism out of it.
Maybe so. I've noticed a trend here. I use words with my own poetic meaning and it doesn't translate. Which isn't surprising, since you can't read my mind. By gnostic I don't mean the various perspectives called Gnosticism. I mean a self-conscious attitude about having knowledge. It's something that can only happen in a world where there is no prevailing world view and skepticism is present in society.

I'm suggesting that this was an aspect of Christianity early on. Paul is advising the Corinthians not to look for external bases for knowledge: whether in the Greek approach or the Jewish one. But rather to look for it in God. Earthly divisions and arguments would be focusing in the wrong place for the point of the whole thing. Does that make sense?

I don't mark the book of John as the beginning. The book of Daniel seems like a more likely womb... or part of the womb.

Didn't Paul exhort the Corinthian congregation not to be his followers in the preceding passage? This could be linked (if only in some imaginary land in my mind) to the story of the apostles' argument about who among them was greater. Jesus says: we have one father in heaven... we are brothers (he includes himself). Again, I'm just identifying a theme.. not suggesting any temporal link.
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 03:15 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;169475 wrote:
I've noticed a trend here. I use words with my own poetic meaning and it doesn't translate.


I see. Yes, that can happen when terms are used in manner which is somewhat outside what is expected in a given field, and when no 'up-front' description, or explanation, is provided. I'll try to be a bit more careful, then. . . sorry.

Arjuna;169475 wrote:
. . . Earthly divisions and arguments would be focusing in the wrong place for the point of the whole thing. Does that make sense?

Yes, in the context in which you have presented it, it does make sense. It will then have to weighed in with the overall contextual setting of that letter, which will leave us with an after taste of Paul's exhorting those who were his foundation, to remain in that position under him (and his troupe). It is his teaching about YHWH and the messiah which is where the knowledge lies...thus, in effect, him.

I don't mark the book of John as the beginning. The book of Daniel seems like a more likely womb... or part of the womb.

Arjuna;169475 wrote:
Didn't Paul exhort the Corinthian congregation not to be his followers in the preceding passage?


Yes, and this is simply part of the technique used. It's the same with his 'not being worthy of being called an apostle' type stuff. There is a bit of cultural emotion in such linguistic style, and we'll find it in other literature of the time.

As you would guess, I'd be cautious about trying to link this passage as any reverberation of a gospel pericope, while the general mentality of humility before YHWH would most surely have been around--and not only of that early Christian cult.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 04:09 am
@Deckard,
An interpretation from the viewpoint of comparative religion. I agree with Arjuna that this a gnostic reference. That doesn't mean it is a gnostic doctrine, but more a gnostic element within orthodoxy. It is concerned with the profound idea of 'dying to the conscious mind' where 'conscious mind' is what the 'wisdom of the Greeks' signifies. This represents a profoundly spiritual understanding which is also represented in (for example) the Zen Doctrine of No Mind (Suzuki) and also in the teachings of Ramana Maharishi. You can't really rationalise or intellectualise this understanding, for obvious reasons. "The wisdom of God is folly to the world". This kind of understanding is also fundamental to Catholic monasticism and mysticism. Comparison from Taoism: 'he who knows it, knows it not, while he that doesn't know it, knows it'.

---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 08:11 PM ----------

Quote:
This knowing that knows nothing is so potent in its might that the prudent in their reasoning can never defeat it; for their wisdom never reaches to the understanding that understands nothing, all science transcending.
St John of the Cross
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Christianity
  3. » 1 Crointhians 1:19-25
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 05/20/2019 at 11:45:56