Why do people think that everyone else's belief affects their translations, but not their own analyses - even when they don't go to the primary sources? Not that there is one definitive ancient Greek, Aramaic, ancient Hebrew text of the different books of the "Christian" Bible. There is no "original". Even if we could lay our hands on the actual original handwritten text of, for example, the Gospel of John, and the written documents of the historical narrative within it (the basis around which many of us agree that the Gospel of John was built) and where it was written, what would, and would not, this tell us:
- for me, the biggest would be the ur-text - what a goldmine that would be (just saying)
- we could follow the changes in the text throughout the western historical tradition more clearly (I can always dream)
- we would have more definitive answers (maybe) about the mindset of the original author
- we would have a greater understanding of the community out of which it came
- we would have greater understanding of the development of the belief system that became Christianity, and it's move away from the Judaisms of the first two centuries
- however, it would tell us nothing about "truth"
- it would not explain whether or not Jesus was divine; it would only tell us that a group of people had ventured further down that murky slope of integrating Greek and Roman mindsets with Jewish mindsets, and then started to argue (rather cautiously, I would suggest) that Jesus was divine
Then again, if we're "proof-texting" this, one only has to go to the Gospel of Matthew (at least the ur-text one could say). Matthew 1:1-17 makes it clear that there are 42 generations between Abraham and Jesus. including David and Solomon. So, apparently, Jesus was descended from the kingly line of David biologically. This means that Jesus can only be the biological offspring of Joseph, but wait ....... Of course, shortly thereafter (v. 18 ff) we get the Holy Spirit story of Mary's pregnancy. I don't have time (nor the inclination) to go into the wherefores and whys of biblical criticism on the subject. Suffice it to say that there are plenty of commentaries, articles, and books dealing with the issue, if one were so inclined to follow up on this topic
Then there is the difference between exegesis and eisegesis - I'm not going down that rabbit hole right now - probably later - stay tuned.
Why this post?
1. Triggered by a conversation that I had last night.
2. Avoidance of writing the review of Sacred Witness that has been burning a guilt hole in my mind. It deals with all of these issues.
3. Avoidance of writing the reviews of Ray Donovan that are also burning a hole - but a different kind of hole, more emotional than anything else. The third season has started. I began my post yesterday morning and it sat there all day. It is call "Disconsolate". I wrote a few things, then it kept rolling around in my head - all the things that should go into the post. I just couldn't get around to writing them down - avoidance, emotional pain. Needless to say, but it was a difficult first two episodes. The next two have been easier. It will be up soon.