b-greek-digest V1 #646

b-greek-digest              Sunday, 2 April 1995        Volume 01 : Number 646

In this issue:

        Re: Date of Revelation
        Re: Baptism
        The Beloved Disciple -- Lazarus?
        Re: DSS CD-ROM


From: Kenneth Litwak <kenneth@sybase.com>
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 95 18:02:40 PST
Subject: Re: Date of Revelation

     I'd just like to throw an additional question into the ring in terms
of the dating of Revelation.  If it appears to require a setting in late
1st cent. Asia, why isn't it taken as prima facie evidence of a persecution
of Christians otherwise undocumented?  Why does evverything in the NT
fall under suspcion because it can't be externally verified?  I'd have
to throw out an awful lot of what I think is history, if one source is
not adequate to establish the event, and I don't mean just ancient history.


Ken Litwak
Emeryville, CA


From: David R Graham <merovin@halcyon.com>
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 1995 19:07:21 -0800
Subject: Re: Baptism


I'd like to mention that there is no biblical and there is certainly much 
experiential evidence to support the assertion that apostolic authority is a 
continuing thing in the sense that there are always alive -- though not 
always immediately present -- people who embody apostolic authority as much 
as Paul or Thomas did.  Certainly the laity believe that this is so, as 
evidenced by their behavior.  They'll run to an apparent well-spring of 
soteriological strength with very great speed and efficiency.  Sometimes 
they are right.

All the best,


The Rev. David R. Graham
Resident, Adwaitha Hermitage
Professor of Philosophy, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning


From: David R Graham <merovin@halcyon.com>
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 1995 19:52:52 -0800
Subject: The Beloved Disciple -- Lazarus?


Late last week I put up a number of public and private
notes covering a range of topics in NT scholarship.
Several of you responded to those notes, and I want
to thank you very much for those responses and
assure you that I have been paying careful and
appreciative attention to what was said.  My apparent
absence the past week was caused by a system
conversion, upwards, naturally.

I noted, also, that a few of the brethren appear to
think that they pants the fool from Bellevue and that,
to congratulate themselves on this accomplishment,
they conducted a ritual of male bonding in the virtual
corn fields of the United States' central watershed.
Neener, neener, neener.  I took birth in Elkhart,
Indiana, my mother's home town, and her mother's
people came from Bordeaux via ... you guessed it ...
Missouri.  Now, I am sure we are all ready to
dispense with the alimentary by-product.

As for the intellectual obstinacy ascribed to
Missourians by their famous motto -- and the equally
famous tale of having to club the species with a bat
just to get their attention -- it can be said that, on
principle, 'Show me' is appropriate when a small
plume of smoke curls from the rear sections of the
barn, but when the entire structure is involved in
flame, 'Show me' is the response of one who wants
the barn destroyed.  By which I mean that anyone
who asks me to prove my assessments right at the
start, assuming I am ignorant and disregarding the
conflagration which is destroying both church and
culture, must be wanting that destruction because
they oppose both institutions.  Only an anti-Christian,
an anti-American and an anti-scholar wishes to
embarass me.  My bona fides are without superior
and usually without peer, and will not be detailed.

What I have to say is soteriologically beneficial and
necessary.  Who wants to doubt that wants to deny
God and salvation.

Now, I am ready to discuss cases.  The arguments
opposing the views I expressed number three, one
implicit and two explicit.  The implicit one, being the
more clever, is also having the most appearance of

The implicit argument against the views I expressed
is that, since there is no statistically significant
sample to contradict the assertion that NT texts are
by and large autographs, that assertion stands.
Perhaps, even, MUST stand.  This argument uses the
fruits of German scholarship to falsify those very
fruits.  It is a clever argument and worthy of reply.

The reply is at least two-fold.  First, not being able to
disprove an assertion is not evidence to support the
assertion.  It is evidence of nothing.  It could be
circumstantial evidence in the case where it is known
that correlative evidence was not tampered with.  But
in the case of NT texts, the tampering (redacting and
"copying") is known to have been so wide-spread,
over such a period of time, and for so many reasons,
that circumstantial evidence is not a factor in that
case.  And that is our second reply.

In the case of NT texts, there is no evidence in the
ordinary sense of the word.  Everything is cooked.
Everything is tampered with.  Everything is
tendentious.  Much was destroyed.  This is not bad,
necessarily.  It just means that NT texts are not
subject to the rules of evidence when it comes to
establishing their bona fides.  The circumstances of
their origin and transmission are too much out of
sight.  Not only so, but these things were deliberately
put out of sight, the tracks deliberately erased.  And it
is that deliberation which makes it impossible to
falsify the fruits of German scholarship by means of
its own conclusions.  (Boiling the calf in its mother's milk.)  

Indeed, to talk of autographs with regard to NT texts is
to invite suspicions regarding the talkers' allegiance.

The assertion that there is no statistically significant
evidence to counter the claim of autograph for the
majority of NT texts is a rhetorical pose.  It is bullying,
or as they say in the South, ramshagging.  As
conduct in an investigation of NT texts it is a non

Furthermore, there is statistically significant evidence
that the NT texts are not autographs, evidence from
within and from without Christian tradition.  And if we
want to say that that isn't true, then we will be
answered that we haven't been paying attention to
developments.  (And I am not conducting a course in
Katch-Up 101 for people who could have been doing
their job, as others have been.)

The first explicit argument against the views I
expressed is that, with respect to words, etymology
has no effect on usage.  This is at once a gorgeous
howler and an indication of the deconstructive end of
academic specialization.  If it were true, this list
wouldn't exist and all the exegetes in history were
time wasters, along with law courts, medical journals
and culture itself.  The purpose of etymological study,
of course, is to discover the meaning of usage and to
make that usage precise and powerful in the light of
the meanings discovered.  Even crossword puzzlers
on subways know that.  Or, anyone read poetry?

But more than this, the argument seeks to falsify the
opening Cantos of the Fourth Gospel.  The Logos -- a
Stoical doctrine developed and adapted for Christian
usage by Alexandrine scholars who were also a
variety of monastics -- is the inherent structure of the
world, of all that is.  It is the inhering reason.  Logos is
the words that are always going on in the mind of
man, the words that you are hearing inside you right
this moment.  That is the Logos.  They were there
before you remember they were and they will be there
after you can't remember anything.

Those words mean specific things.  They go to
specific ends.  Their etymologies describe what those
ends are by describing what they mean.  The
meaning is the ending.  Know the meaning and you
know the ending.  Neither meaning nor ending
depend on usage.  Usage merely more or less
distorts meaning and ending.  The words, the Logos,
are from before the world began, as the opening
Cantos of the Fourth Gospel very plainly say.  Their
etymology is fully divine.  And so is their meaning,
their ending and -- should be ! -- their usage.
Whether usage follows etymology, in letter as well as
in spirit, is a question of intent, not of usage.  The
word stands on its own, unaffected, just as your mind
is always talking to you, no matter what you are
doing.  You don't have any control over the Logos.

So, to say etymology or meaning is not related to
usage is a howler.  It is the assertion of a non-
believer.  It is saying that someone can use Biblical
words and sacred Names to defile life and defile
those Names and all with impunity because there is
no connection between etymology/meaning and
usage.  It is nominalism in the service of a
fundamentalist agenda.  (Some oxymoron there!)  It
is an argument of one whose allegiance is other than
God, church and culture.  It is the argument of
scholars lost in the by-ways of professional
certification, making distinctions (career hooks) where
there are none.

The second explicit argument against the views I
expressed is that they do not coincide with scholarly
opinion (a.k.a., supposedly, certain knowledge).
There are two replies to this.  First, I am a scholar
and they coincide with my opinion.  Second, scholarly
opinion is not the measure of Truth.  Experience is.
At times scholarly opinion coincides with experience.
At times it does not.  We have to discriminate.  Each
one of us has to be the judge of that.  Who falsifies
experience to satisfy opinion is no scholar.  That is a
demonic thing to do.

In addition, we are affirming allegiance to One who
had a bit of trouble with scholars, finding their
attitudes and even their methods something less than
commendable.  He kept mentioning that their
opinions all too frequently derived from something
other than a desire for Truth .... or to help people ....

Behind this discussion is the issue of authority.  Many
of you want to locate authority as or in biblical texts.
This is called bibliolatry and it doesn't work.  Others of
you want to locate it as or in majority opinion.  This is
called dependency and it doesn't work.  Still others
want to locate it as or in church hierarchy and/or
dogma.  This is called idolatry and it doesn't work.

The crisis of the church today is the crisis of authority,
plain and simple.  We don't know where authority lies
any more.  No harm in that.  But we can't afford to
settle for less than a plenary solution with respect to
finding were authority is.  There is such a plenary
solution.  It is in the final affirmation of Jesus
regarding His identity and, implicitly, His Messianic
Mission.  I have already mentioned this by one
phrase, the ontology of non-dualism.  There are other
descriptions of it.  Jesuits may care to hear that
Jansen and Guyon were experienced with it, as were
Jerome, Augustine, Francis and Dominicans.  So
were Luther and Calvin.  And Sankaracharya and a
few others ....

Exclusivistic approaches, elevating belief above
experience, don't work.  Synthetic approaches,
combining a little of this with a little of that don't work.
What works?  The only method that really works for
scholarly effort -- or any other -- is the method of
correlation.  The NT texts and the persons associated
with them have to be correlated with their Ur-Types in
former and subsequent years, across the cultures,
across the continents, across the categories of space
and temporality we think we know so well and don't.

As one participant here put it subtly, watching this
board renews ones appreciation of the Cappadocian
fathers.  His meaning was that Truth is always far
more than we realize or appreciate and that in view of
this fact, humility and a kind appreciation for the
many views of the many facets of the Jewel of Truth
are the minimum requirement for students.

I am willing to discuss these or other cases, such as
folks here consider important.  The summary of what I
am saying is this:  those of you who figured you had
pantsed the fool from Bellevue have been unvigilant.
You didn't keep the lamp burning.

All the best,


The Rev. David R. Graham
Resident, Adwaitha Hermitage
Professor of Philosophy, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning


From: "James K. Tauber" <jtauber@tartarus.uwa.edu.au>
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 1995 13:44:30 +0800 (WST)
Subject: Re: DSS CD-ROM

On Sat, 1 Apr 1995 Timster132@aol.com wrote:
>      If only we had something like this with NT Greek mss.

Tim Finney (who is on this list) is working on such a thing. The greatest 
barrier is the manuscript owners' reluctance to have their manuscripts 

James K. Tauber <jtauber@tartarus.uwa.edu.au>
4th year Honours Student, Centre for Linguistics
Computing Assistant, University Computing Services
University of Western Australia, Perth, AUSTRALIA


End of b-greek-digest V1 #646


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