Saturday, October 29, 2011

"the LORD is God; there is no other".

“The Christian-Jewish God is the incomparable Wholly Other and One [(der unvergleichbare völlig Andere und Eine)]; but a god in Greco-Roman antiquity is only one among innumerable others, the number of which is constantly on the make [(sich ständig vermehrt)].  The men of Greco-Roman antiquity for whom Josephus writes see themselves at one end of a continuum at the other end of which are to be found the gods.  The way from one end to the other is [both] traversable and [in fact] traversed.  Differences between [the] gods and men are sometimes so slight that one does not in a [given] encounter know whether it is with a god or a man that one has to do.”

     Ulrich Victor, "Das Testimonium Flavianum:  ein authentischer Text des Josephus," Novum testamentum 52 (2010):  73 (72-82).

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Very ignorant, very innocent and very civilized."

Primo Levi, "Of 'Cesare' (Lello Perugia, his Italian companion on the journey home [from Auschwitz])," as quoted by Tony Judt, in his "The elementary truths of Primo Levi," Reappraisals: reflections on the forgotten twentieth century (New York:  The Penguin Press, 2008), 51 (citing The reawakening, p. 204) (44-62).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"The burning bush is the Cross. The highest claim of revelation, the 'I am he,' and the Cross of Jesus are inseparably one."

"'When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am [(τότε γνώσεσθε ὅτι ἐγω εἰμι)]. . . .'"

Jn 8:28, RSV, but with the concluding pronoun, i.e. "he" ("then you will know that I am he"), removed.  Cf. the LXX of Is 43:10:  "I too am a witness, says the Lord God, and the servant whom I have chosen so that you may know and believe and understand that I am [(ἵνα γνῶτε...ὅτι ἐγώ εἱμι)]" (NETS).  The pronoun is there in the Hebrew of v. 10 ("that I [am] He [(כִּֽי־אֲנִי הוּא)]"), but that is followed by v. 11:  "I, I am the Lord [(אָנֹכִי אָנֹכִי יְהוָה, ἐγὼ ὁ Θεός)]".  All of this is brought out on pp. 347-349 (pp. 345 ff.) of Joseph Ratzinger's Jesus of Nazareth: from the baptism in the Jordan to the transfiguration, trans. Adrian J. Walker (New York, NY:  Doubleday, 2007), whence the heading, which occurs on p. 349.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

David Lyle Jeffrey on the superiority of Christian formation in China

"what many foreign visitors have observed, namely that the quality of biblical preaching and teaching in the patriotic (registered) churches and in the study groups and house churches typically seems much higher than in evangelical churches here in America, is confirmable by anyone from the West who spends time with Chinese students and younger faculty converts; one may expect to find much higher levels of biblical literacy and theological clarity by three to five years post-conversion than amongst American counterparts after two or three decades in the church.  In urban house churches, the teaching is often led by young women, professional university teachers (laoshe) with doctoral degrees in literature and philosophy.  This teaching is learned, yet marked by an evangelical urgency and commitment to obedient practice rather than simply intellectual assent."

David Lyle Jeffrey, "A critique of all religions:  Chinese intellectuals and the church," Books and culture 17, no. 4 (July/August 2011):  19 (18-21).