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Author Topic: Bible as 'complete TRUTH'?  (Read 2878 times) Average Rating: 0
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rupert247
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« on: February 14, 2006, 09:18:59 PM »

Are we as Orthodox to interpret all of the events in Holy Scripture as 'literal' events? 
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2006, 09:44:00 PM »

the Bible is true; it is not the complete truth - it is complemented by the Holy Tradition of the Church

One should read the Bible with sensitivity to the various genres - in that sense one should not take everything literally; one does not take a poem literally; one does not take a parable literally (but most definitely one must take the truth taught by a parable literally).

But we take historical accounts literally - Christ literally fed 5,000 with only a few fish and loaves; He literally healed a blind man by rubbing his eyes with mud and spit; he literally raised his friend Lazarus from the dead; He literally rose from the dead himself and ascended into heaven.

I think Orthodoxy is not as uptight regarding a Western notion of inerrancy however and doesn't get hung up on a 6 day creation, for example. The 6 day creationists NEVER address the fact that in Genesis 2, it says that God created the heavens and the earth in one day (see Genesis 2:4); there is a contradiction between that verse and the 6 day creation in chapter one if you want to be "literal."
In fact Gen. chapters one and two contradict each other a good bit if you are hung up on literalism. But BOTH chapters DO literally teach that God created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing; there is no eternal matter, for instance).
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2006, 09:58:43 PM »

A good way of looking at it, that i've found, is that its 100% God and 100% human.  Its the word of God written down, incarnated into words.  However the writing was done by humans who have their own historical, spiritual and personal issues to deal with.  Every one of the Gospel writers had their own focus, why, because they were different people.  But it was the same God, the same Jesus. 

Were you looking for something more theological?  Or specific?
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2006, 10:16:34 PM »

Are we as Orthodox to interpret all of the events in Holy Scripture as 'literal' events? 

Depends on wich exegetical school you ask...I would say no.
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2006, 05:56:04 PM »

Do the Fathers comment on this? If so, where should I start?
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2006, 06:19:10 PM »

Do the Fathers comment on this? If so, where should I start?

I dont know of any treatises on the proper methodology of biblical interpretation, but you can observe their exegetical methodologies in their commentaries on the Scripture. I would recommend St. John Chrysostom for the more literal approach and Origen for the more allegorical approach.
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2006, 06:26:50 PM »

I offer for consideration, my debate with ozgeorge on the matter of Biblical inerrancy and infallibility, which begins here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=7455.msg96991#msg96991

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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2006, 06:28:04 PM »

Ditto what GIC said. Also, while you probably aren't going to find any treatises among the early fathers with titles like "Hermeneutical Principles Used by Orthodox Christians," you will find comments here and there that show that they weren't simply making things up as they went, but definately were thinking more "critically" (ie. like modern biblical criticism) than many people give them credit for.
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2006, 06:54:48 PM »

Side question:

Which version of the bible do you all use?  RSV, KJV? 
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2006, 08:39:08 PM »

I we use a KJ version.
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2006, 08:41:06 PM »

Ooops!  We use KJ at our Church.
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2006, 09:03:07 PM »

But BOTH chapters DO literally teach that God created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing; there is no eternal matter, for instance).

Are you sure? Noted Hebrew and Biblical scholar Richard Elliott Friedman in his COMMENTARY ON THE TORAH notes that the Hebrew in fact does NOT support an "ex nihilo" creation. See his comment on Genesis 1:2 "the earth had been."
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2006, 09:41:09 PM »

I prefer the NKJV, but also look at other versions (especially KJV) if I'm trying to get a better understanding of a passage (as opposed to simply reading through). For the so-called Apocryphal works I usually use the Oxford Anotated Bible With Apocrypha.
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2006, 10:51:05 PM »

Side question:

Which version of the bible do you all use?  RSV, KJV? 

I like King Jimmy's, specifically the original 1611 edition, which has slightly more traditional spellings and includes the apocrypha.
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2006, 11:03:47 PM »

King Jimmy, eh?  I didn't know a Demetri translated the Bible!
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2006, 11:04:19 PM »

Quote
I like King Jimmy's, specifically the original 1611 edition, which has slightly more traditional spellings and includes the apocrypha.

... and hundreds of errors Wink Which brings up an interesting question. When you hear about "original King James (1611) Bibles," either as reprints or online, are these exact reproductions of the original KJV, errors and all, or are they a cleaned up version of the KJV 1611?
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2006, 11:46:01 PM »

most the corrections are quite minor, like the difference between 'toward' and 'towards' or adding articles or changing word order; and as I dont believe in the inerrancy of scripture these minor things really dont bother me. But the reprints of the 1611 edition I have are original, with errors included.
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2006, 12:50:05 AM »

Are you sure? Noted Hebrew and Biblical scholar Richard Elliott Friedman in his COMMENTARY ON THE TORAH notes that the Hebrew in fact does NOT support an "ex nihilo" creation. See his comment on Genesis 1:2 "the earth had been." (how do you guys get those blue quotations?)

I KNEW somebody would bring that up!

I am making the apriori assumption that God had already created that primordial, formless earth, basing that assumption on how God as creator is presented elsewhere in the Bible - particularly the Psalms and book of Job. I am not going verse by verse or prooftexting, however - I am speaking of the general impression one gets from reading such texts.

Also, in the evangelical seminary I attended, they gave no credence whatsoever to the Septuagint; the OT faculty were all Hebrew scholars and I never heard this view; so I would assume that Friedman's view is one way of translating the Hebrew and not necessarily the only way of translating Gen. 1:2
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2006, 12:58:17 AM »

in response to the question of versions
I use the RSV -

Although I grew up on the KJV, the church in which I became serious about my faith as a teen used the RSV - so that is what I read in my formative spiritual years and it feels and sounds like the Bible to me - I think it keeps the rhythm and cadence of the KJV very nicely

I never warmed up to the NKJV - there's no flow to it

For many years I used the NIV but when I began to discover Orthodoxy I couldn't use such an obvious evangelical protestant translation any longer and went back to the RSV.

Any passages of the Bible I have "memorized" however, are an interesting amalgmation of KJV, RSV and NIV
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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2006, 09:58:31 PM »

The different versions of the bible is a big topic here at my school.  The people who read the KJV (the small few who aren't Protestant) claim that the RSV is lacking because of missing passages, and the counter-argument to that from the people who read the RSV is that those verses were never there in the original Greek to begin with.

The whole debate on versions of the bible is pretty fascinating to me.  Could any of you suggest some websites and/or books about this issue?
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« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2006, 10:22:56 PM »

[flame] Of course, the version dispute could easily be solved if every Christian learned Koine. Then the only dispute would be "the Septuagint vs. the Masoretic."[/flame] Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2006, 10:27:05 PM »

is there a similarity between New Testament koine and the Greek liturgy; if you can read and understand the Greek text of the liturgy would you be able to pick up a Greek NT and read it??
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« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2006, 10:33:27 PM »

Forget Masoretic vs Septuagent; How about Masoretic versus pre-Masoretic, and then the winner vs. Septuagent (those Masorets were influenced by the developments at the time of Christ; my OT professor has pointed out a few places where they may have incorrectly ascribed certain vowels...)

And there are Greek OT's that were done by the Jews, too....
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« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2006, 10:37:53 PM »

And there are Greek OT's that were done by the Jews, too....
Isn't that the Septuagint?
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« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2006, 10:47:30 PM »

[flame] Of course, the version dispute could easily be solved if every Christian learned Koine. Then the only dispute would be "the Septuagint vs. the Masoretic."[/flame] Cheesy

I agree that only the Greek should be used in our Churches and regarded as canonical. Thus leaving the english translation debate to the realm of literature...and frankly with the exception of the Bishop's Bible, which is impossible to get a hold of, from a literary perspective little else compares to the original KJV (I insist on the original because I do like my gothic font typeface and appreciate the more archaic spellings). Wycliffe's translation is great because of the language, but is far too literal making it difficult to read and not adding up from a literary perspective.
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« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2006, 11:11:26 PM »

I agree that only the Greek should be used in our Churches and regarded as canonical.
Oh please don't agree with me GiC! You know what kind of responses that will attract! Cheesy
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« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2006, 11:17:00 PM »

Quote from: ozgeorge
Isn't that the Septuagint?

Actually, I was referring to later Greek translations of the Masoretic, done by Jews in response to the negative reaction to the Septuagent in the Jewish communities post-Jamnia.
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« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2006, 01:22:06 AM »

Oh please don't agree with me GiC! You know what kind of responses that will attract! Cheesy

Good point, I try to avoid agreeing with anyone, it just makes things so boring Wink
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