RE: Back to Greek
First I would like to offer my apologies to Carl Conrad for being "over
simplistic." I will try not to do that any more in the future, but simply
remain with "simplistic." (Oh, please don't call me "Mr. Cauley;" that's my
dad; Kevin will do fine).
Second, although I said Christianity is a historical religion, I do not
think that this implies that other religions do not base some of their
theological tenets upon the historical, as some seemed to think.
Third, in my original "history and theology," I was simply trying to make
the point that alterations of the history will most likely result in
alterations of the theology (and that thus there is a fundamental
connection between history and theology). There must be *some* historical
base upon which Christianity is founded, else, it does not seem that it
would ever have begun at all. It is upon this historical base that
theology begins to be built. For one to assert that one can have "faith"
(whatever that is) and at the same time for one to assert that this "faith"
does not need to be based upon anything in particular, but can just "be,"
(i.e. ontologically and epistemologically separated from any evidence
whatsoever) strikes me as pure irrationality. If one wants to base his
theology upon this distinction, then it will be an irrational theology.
However, if one prefers a rational theology, he/she will seek for an
evidential base (either in history or reason, or both) upon which to build
his/her theology. Thus, if one tampers with the evidential base--the
historical--one necessarily affects the conclusions--theology--others have
drawn from that evidential base. If one's theology does not depend upon an
evidential base, then one may as well incorporate into it as a theological
statement that the Moon is made of green cheese, for there would be no
grounds even to determine whether something is, in fact, theological to
begin with. I do not think that this view is an adoption of a modernistic
approach to epistemology, but rather, a very human one. If however, I am
guilty of imposing a modernist point of view between the relationship
between history and theology, then it seems that others are equally as
guilty in imposing the post-modernist view upon the relationship between
history and theology in saying that theology need not have any epistemic
Fourth, if what James Sennet means by "positivistic view of language" has
any correspondence to the referential theory of meaning, or the isomorphic
view of words and objects, this is by no means a Modernistic understanding
of meaning, but rather a very ancient one, which even Plato discusses in
the "Sophist" (as Dr. T.K. Seung was explaning to us today in class). Only
until very recently has this view been challenged by Grice, Quine,
Davidson, et al (specifically Grice), with their theory that the word is
not the fundamental unit of meaning, but that the sentence is. It seems
very consistent, not ironic, at least to me in my simplicity, for
"fundamentalists" to want to use the same understanding of meaning as they
to whom the gospel was originally given and interpret it as they
interpreted it. The hermeneutical travesty would be for a person today to
take Grice/Quine/Davidson's understanding of meaning, and apply it to a
text that was written under a totally different understanding.
Fifth, to bring this all back to the text of the Greek New Testament, it
seems that the Greek words which Luke chose in Luke 1:1-4, indeed were
intended to convey a sense of the historical (epeideper polloi epecheiresan
*anataxasthai diegesin* peri ton *peplerophoremenon* en hemin pragmaton,
kathos *paredosan* hemin oi ap arches *autoptai* kai uperetai henomenoi tou
logou, edoxe kamoi *parekolouthekoti anothen pasin akribos kathexes soi
grapsai*, kratiste theophile). Further, based upon this history which Luke
was about to draw up, he expected Theophilis to formulate a sound
epistemology (hina *epignos* peri on katechethes logon ten *asphaleian*).
With Luke's historical account, it seems that Theophilus could then most
naturally develop a coherent theology.
Sixth, I think that this discussion concerning Luke 1:1-4 will answer our
questions concerning whether or not presuppositions affect our
understanding of and ability to discuss the Greek text.
Seventh, I for one am rather enjoying these conversations, and it is my
opinion that they are relevent to the Greek text.
I anticipate reading the responses (after a short vacation to my in-laws).