The Sense of Scripture

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Thomas, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Christian patristic tradition holds there are four 'senses' in reading scripture:

    Literal sense:
    the literal meaning of the words, as understood according to the genre of the text. Here one should meditate upon what the words mean - in the parables, such as the treasure hidden in the field, what is the treasure, what is the field?

    Allegorical sense:
    what the text signifies with regard to objective reality, as opposed to the veils of manifestation and their subjective forms;

    Moral or tropological sense:
    the meaning the text has in relation to how one should conduct oneself according to the nature of the revelation. Essentially in Christianity this sense signifies the practice of virtue towards detachment from the world of appearances and the forging of an immortal soul.

    Anagogical or eschatological sense:
    the meaning the text has in relation to the four 'last things', death and the various eschatalogical states.

    Thomas
     
  2. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    we have a similar system known as PaRDe"S:

    Pshat: "basic" - the literal meaning of the text
    Remez: "hint" - the implied meaning of the text
    Drash: "explicate" - the expanded, allegorical, or symbolic meaning of the text
    Sod: "secret" - the deeper, anagogical, mystical level of the text

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi bananabrain -

    And no prizes for where we got ours from!

    pax,

    Thomas
     
  4. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    however we read and understand the bible we will each get a different story and a different belief from it , i have never met two christians who believe in the same thing scripture by scripture .
     
  5. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namate all,

    in my tradition, we have three types of teachings.

    ones that you can observe and demonstrate for yourself to be true. such as the First Noble Truth.

    ones that you cannot observe yet can impute and you can use logic and reason to establish it as true. such as the Atman doctrine.

    ones that you cannot observe or prove through logic and reason, which require faith. such as rebirth.

    in our practice, we begin with the first types of teachings. if we can establish them as correct, we are enjoined to implement them for the good of all beings.

    once we've established for ourselves the truth of the first types of teachings, we can move to the second type. after establishing the logic sequences and proving the teachings through them, we can move to the thrid type of teachings.

    this type of teaching is really one of the main differences between Buddhist schools.

    in any event, only after we've established that the first types of teachings are correct through our own experimentation and subsequently engaged our logic and reason to established the truth of the second type of teachings, only then, can we have faith in the third type of teachings.
     
  6. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    which ever the path or direction all religions belive in faith ,that is blind faith ,something with no proof and with out question .children belive in santa without question and on total faith does this then mean that children are enlighterned or is santa true because so many believe it to be so ? or is it more probable to sumise that without question is a controlling factor of life .as a parent many say to children "because it is" "because i said so " does it then follow that it is because they say so ? i dont think so .to be blind in faith or otherwise is to be blind and according to the bible blind ppl dont go to heaven .


    oh btw i quite like the idea of buddism as there is no god but perfection comes from being perfect .i like that idea
     
  7. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste mikie8,

    thank you for the post.

    er... that's not quite the idea of Buddhism :) nobody is interested in perfection, whatever that word might mean.

    there are some ongoing discussions in the Eastern Thought area, if you'd like to participate there.

    not all faith is blind faith. if you can establish the proper reasons for accepting a teaching through logic and reason, it can be properly said that your faith is not blind. i will agree that many people do, indeed, have a blind faith.
     
  8. emong

    emong New Member

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    Belief is not blind.....I don't know who you are judging, but to make such a generalization, I can't accept. You are obviously angry or have no respect for those who are able to believe. How are you able to determine that they, as individuals, have not received their own spiritual proof.

    It sounds like PROOF is what YOU need.......keep searching.
     
  9. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    sorry if i upset anyone but disrespectfull i am not and angry i try not to be also to judge is not my place , for this i am sorryas i didnt mean to affend .

    to believe in something noone else can see , to know something you can not prove does not make it not so but by definicion its "blind faith" .im not judging its just my understanding of the english language .

    ok perfection may not be the best word so i will rephrase it and say that man has a potential to be the best he can . better ?
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Mikie8 -

    There is a view of 'blind faith' in that faith can enter the Divine Darkness beyond the realms made known by illumination of the transcendant intellect - beyond all manifestation - faith is blind because in it has no need of sight, physical or spiritual, because its object lies beyond all comprehension.

    One can then proceed by faith alone because there is no means by which one can perceive or comprehend the Ineffable.

    All faiths - all religions - agree that the 'ultime' - be it God, the Absolute, the One, the Nameless, is beyond all description or definition because it is All and (metaphysically) no-thing.

    Thus the 'eye of the mind' cannot see it, but the 'eye of the heart' can know it, and this is faith.

    Thomas
     
  11. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    for me, "blind faith" operates in much the same way that music does. music is just a set of waveforms which can be rendered as 1s and 0s, but that won't make a computer a good musician. you can't convey the experience of music to someone with no ears. the experience of the Divine mediated through the religious faculties of the senses is very similar. blanket generalisations are not going to get you anywhere with dialogue, mate.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  12. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web New Member

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    Good post Thomas. And I like bananabrain's comments about waveforms. I am glad that I am not the only one who finds the search for specific meaning in the scriptures to be such a challenge. There are so many levels that different verses can be read.
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Which of those types of review of scripture has to do with the social context of the day. ie is it possible that one type of review has an 'expiration date' due to the fact that our social structure or relationship between slave and owner or serf and dictator no longer exists?
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Wil —

    I don't think so, or rather I think Christ addresses eternal or spiritual issues, rather than contingent cases.

    It is for us to find the best expression of that idea in our culture, so there will always an inevitably be a 'local flavour' in time and place, but the essentials are the same, and unchanging.

    One of the issues of the New Testament is the Christ obviously worked according to a different social paradigm, but never actually emphasised that teaching in words, other than His absolute statement of a new covenant.

    He appeared to the women first, after His resurrection — a complete waste of time as women could not testify to anything, according to the law. So was He promoting an equality agenda? Yes, I think he was — but I think if pressed He would say get the important bits right first, and everything else falls into its natural and proper place.

    Christianity stills represents an 'ideal' in the sense that we do not live up to ourselves within it. Further I think He would say, 'you can't move mountains, but your Father can ... get the relationship with God right, and you will find the mountains have moved."

    This is the work of the Holy Spirit.

    My argument with a lot of 'social justice Christianity' is that the secular dimension is all that it sees — but I am aware also that although we are not perfect in one aspect, does not mean we should not strive in all areas.

    Thomas
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi bananabrain —

    Nice post. I would say "you can't convey your experience of music to anyone — even those with ears ... they either like it, or they don't. Music can be explained, but the effect goes beyond that. Like art ... "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like."

    Learning to like art is an intellectual exercise, but it can never replicate those moments when something just 'takes' you.

    It brings to mind the conversion of Bishop Kallistos Ware from Anglicanism to Orthodoxy, he passed a Greek church, heard singing, went in, and knew he was home.

    No amount of reason nor logic can illuminate the experience of faith as such.

    Thomas
     

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