Re: Pentecost response

I think this discussion would perhaps belong better on another list (I
am a philosopher of religion, but belong to this list to keep my Greek
up to date) BUT I can't resist noting that John Richards takes the name
of science in vain when he writes that miracles are "self-defeating as
pretended "fact" in the scientific 20th. century - at least for
thoughtful people."  Science is not interested in miracles, nor is it in
conflict with them, because it does not deal in unique events.  Francis
Bacon understood this perfectly at the dawn of western science.  I think
his dictum was "De singularibus non est scientia".  (Quoted from memory,
so excuse any latin howlers.) If "the Virgin Mary had a baby boy", that
does not challenge science in the least.  Science is content to record
that the _probability_ of a virgin having any baby is negligibly small.

I have followed the discussion on the Spirit with sympathy for all the
parties.  (I think they are _all_ thoughtful people.)  I would wish to
draw a distinction between reading a scriptural text to elucidate the
basic meaning of the words, and reading it to understand its _personal_
religious import for oneself.  I would agree with Ken Hall that the
latter can only be mediated by the Holy Spirit. The Bible as words on
paper is not revelatory until the Spirit explains it.

The Bible as words on paper, however, would not exist unless a lot of
people took care over it.  Even the believer in biblical inerrancy
(I don't) must accept that there is no inerrancy in those who transmit
the text: the vast range of variants is proof of that.  Every
transmission, every copying, every translation takes the text that bit
further away from the original.  Only painstaking scholarship can ensure
that the text retains some relation to that original word.

Why should that matter?  Why do people go to services, when they can
pray at any time?  Why do we have churches, when God is everywhere?  
There is no obvious reason why the Spirit should not use a telephone
directory as a means of revelation, but it happens that a certain
community has found this particular scripture to be of special religious
significance: a text which was written at a particular place and time,
and in koine Greek, which we cannot confidently understand now without
an amount of study.

So now, back to the Greek?

Adrian  Machiraju,                              uhyl005@vax.rhbnc.ac.uk
Bedford Library,                                
Royal Holloway College,                         Tel. +44-784-443327
University of London,                           
Egham,  Surrey,  TW20 0EX,  U.K.                FAX  +44-784-477670