OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.
I submit that we have the same endeavor but different views on how to accomplish the task. I also want to read “the words of the Bible and…understand how to live the new creation now in late modern America”. But I don’t believe it is possible to use the Bible to “understand how to live the new creation now in late modern America” without understanding what the Bible meant in the context of its original writing or without attempting to understand the worldview of the writers or of Christ.
I will admit that I am not a Bible scholar so I am certain that I lack a thorough understanding of what the Bible meant in the context of its original writing. Because I am a layman without the formal training, I rely on commentaries, seminary classes, etc. to try and understand the Bible in its original context. I will also admit that I rely on the translations of people who do understand the language and the history of the Biblical culture. I do rely on the idea that when I read Luke 24 in the NIV English translation, that it is a reasonable translation of the original text.
Given that, when I read about Jesus talking to the men on the road to Emmaus, I see Jesus talking with conviction (much like a realist would speak) about the words of Moses and all the Prophets:
25. He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26. Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27. And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
And I see the men make a very “realist” statement:
33. They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34. and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35. Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
And I logically conclude that Luke is writing the words in agreement with the conclusion those men made. Otherwise, I would expect Luke to break into the dialogue here (or anywhere in the writing)and suggest that perhaps the men don’t know what they are talking about because they can’t possibly know whether Jesus rose from the dead. Or, I would expect Luke to leave that story out of his writings if he didn’t agree with the conclusion.
I am comfortable with my leap of faith that the English translations I use are reasonable. I suspect you might also be comfortable with that since you probably use an English translation as you are “here in late modern America reading the words of the Bible and trying to understand how to live the new creation now in late modern America.”
“I can make determinations about contemporary writers because I have been trained to make those determinations—I make a living as a teacher and some of the classes that I have taken and that I teach deal with the philosophy of knowledge. I know the history of the philosophy of knowledge, especially modern construels.”
You are definitely more learned than I am as you have clearly studied this topic for years. You note that you specifically understand the modern construels. But I suspect you must have studied Plato and other ancient writers as it relates to the study of the philosophy of knowledge. When you read a quote from Plato that has been translated to English, do you forbid yourself to draw any conclusions on his paradigm because you don’t speak his language? Or do you accept the translation and read his writings with an eye toward understanding both what he is trying to say and his paradigm from which he said it? Or do you you even care what his philosophical paradigm is? I suspect those who study the philosophy of knowledge spend endless hours trying to understand the paradigm of the philosophers they are studying and learning from. I suspect those students (such as yourself) not only want to know what the other philosophers are saying but also want to understand why they are saying it and what they are thinking when they are saying it.
I would not personally put the writings of Plato anywhere near the significance of the writings of Paul but I would suggest that if one believes it is necessary to understand Plato’s paradigm in order to understand his writings, it must also be necessary to understand Paul’s paradigm in order to understand his writings. And I believe that one actually can come to understand Plato’s paradigm through both his writings and through an understanding of his culture. The same is true with Paul, etc. I know we will never have a complete and thorough understanding of either person’s paradigm but my point is that we can seek to understand it and that it is important to seek to understand it.