Re: (To Carl) Two routes to the passive voice

From: Will Wagers (
Date: Sat Apr 17 1999 - 22:53:23 EDT

>>Jim West writes:
>>>This would be true except for one major problem: the writers of the NT are,
>>>so far as we know it, Jews (except of course "Luke").
>>We don't really *know* very much, do we?
>In Kantian terms, we only know the moral imperative. But since this isn't
>the Kant forum, I will not delve into epistemology.

Without resorting to academic dodges, the fact is--we know little, if
anything, about the authors beyond speculation and conjecture.

> What persuades you that the NT was more influenced by Greek than
> Hebrew thought?

What I am persuaded is that the NT would not have been possible
without the thought--especially syncretism--of the Greeks.

>I realize that panhellenism is
>still in vogue, but there really is precious little evidence that it made
>the inroads that are often claimed for it.

Greek thought dominated the sciences, philosophy, and the arts, not only
then, but for thousands of years. I guess that's why it's still *in vogue*.

>In fact, what we really have is
>one or two sources which are then parroted by everyone so that a multitude
>of voices are seen as independent witnesses when they are really only a
>singular voice.

Rather like gospels?

>So which was the dominant culture? Hellenism? If so, why did Alexander
>adopt many Near eastern practices???

Oh, you *have* heard of Alexander. The Greeks, especially Alexander, were
syncretistic--good philosophy, good theology, good politics.

> Show us some hard evidence of Greek
>influence in Palestine among the village folk in the first century ce.
>Theater? In Sepphoris and Ceasarea- but in Nazareth and Magdala? Show the
>influence on Jesus of Hellensitic religion or philosophy. Demonstrate
>archaeologically that the peasants and fishermen and carpenters of the
>galilee were influenced by Homer or Plato.

Given the weight of academic opinion,surely it is up to you to prove
your speculations, rather than the other way around.

And, why is it necessary to prove that the ignorant and uneducated were
Hellenists? It is literate city folk--scientists, philosophers, diplomats,
leaders, politicians, merchants, artists, *writers*--who were most

>In short, what we frequently have claimed for hellenism is indemonstrable.
>What we do have is art, pottery, architecture, and religious documents that
>are wholly Jewish. And still, in spite of this, we are informed that
>Hellenism was everywhere and everyone (virtually, or so it is implied) was a
>Stoic philosopher wandering galilees hills.

Although I have read of the similarities to Stoic and to Cynic philosophy
of the sayings attributed to Jesus, I have never heard the theory that
everyone everywhere was Hellenistic: I am inclined to think that it is your

> Greek language documents no
>more indicate greek influence than english language documents found in
>Alabama indicate British culture.

Your claim that Alabama was unaffected by British culture is of equal merit
to your claim that Palestine was unaffected by Hellenism.

Will Wagers "Reality is the best metaphor."

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