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This past Sunday we discussed the virginity (including the perpetual virginity) of Mary, mother of Jesus, and how Aristotelian philosophy shaped Greco-Roman, Jewish, and the Gospel writers and the New Testament writers in general on how they understood human conception, and how this thought contributed to the understanding of Jesus’ conception and identity.
This week, we will take a mini-break from Confessions and discuss the topic of the Virgin birth and Christology.
We will be going over an article from the November/December 2014 issue of Biblical Archeology Review titled “How Babies Were Made in Jesus’ Time” by Andrew Lincoln. A brief synopsis of the article can be found here; for the complete article you have to order from the website.
This past week we concluded Book VII of “Confessions” by covering chapters 11 – 21.
We had good conversations about human reason and the (Neoplatonic) discipline of focusing on spiritual things to draw closer to God; is Jesus the only way? and religious pluralism; the nature of Jesus; the nature of evil; the distinction between Creator and creation; the influence of Platonic thought on Christian education throughout the centuries and its problems.
We also had a stimulating discussion centering around the questions, “Who is Jesus?” One can easily spurt out, “Oh, he’s my Lord and Savior.” But if you trip away the “churchy” language everyone uses and really, really ask yourself who he is to you and what he really means to you (if anything), it might be harder than you think it is. One reason I believe that it is so hard is because that question is also a very personal question as well.
You can read our essays here.
I was exposed to how prone to error the NIV translation of the Bible was in the past, but not to this extent!
(I myself prefer the NASB, NRSV, or the ESV versions of the Bible. The only times I read or encounter the NIV these days are Sundays at church.)
The NIV is arguably the most popular translation of the Bible in America, or at least one of the most popular throughout the world. Therefore, could millions of Christians over the years been misled in our understanding of the Bible by the NIV translators?
Lots of times, we want the Bible (or even God for that matter) to fit into our own image and conform to our view of the world or reality, and not the other way around. It seems as if those who came up with the NIV seem to have placed the conservative evangelical doctrine of the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture front and foremost, and let that be the driving motivation behind the translation, which then leads to gross misinterpretations and even erroneous belief systems.
Update: Chapter 16 – Perspectives of the True Church: Part II (1492 – 1517) – The Expulsion of the Jews in Spain, the Spanish Inquisition, and Erasmus
Here are our responses from last night as we finished up Chapter 16.
We focused on the Spanish Inquisition and the legacy that Erasmus left in influencing the Protestant Reformation.
We had a lively discussion last night, mainly spurned on by Erasmus’ preference of Origen’s theology over and against Augustine. We discussed the nature of original sin, and I was surprised to find out that basically half the group still held on to (or were at least somewhat reluctant about abandoning) the doctrine of original sin. Though we all agreed with the basic understanding of human evolution, most of the group still believed that God somehow interfered in the process and specially endowed human beings with the capacity to know and understand God. (I personally am in the very small minority of believers who believe that was not the case – in terms of divine interference in human evolution – but I’ll leave that for a future post perhaps.)
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