Sunday, August 14, 2016

Today's Quote

From Russell M. Nelson, "Protect the Spiritual Power Line" (October 1984):

"Learning can be misused! A sharp mind, misdirected, can cut into that line of spiritual power. Some 'learned' souls delight in leading others astray, all in the so-called name of learning. Years later their victims may realize that they have climbed their ladder of learning, only to find it leaning against the wrong wall."

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Today's Quote

I witnessed something yesterday that reminded me of a quote by Peter Novick:
"There is nothing more tedious than the spectacle of disgruntled authors complaining that they have been misrepresented or, even worse, whimpering that they have been misunderstood. Academic authors, above all others, should be immunized from such concerns, after years of seeing the versions of our lectures we get back in blue books at the end of the term."
(Peter Novick, "My Correct Views on Everything," American Historical Review 96/3 (1991): 699.)
I have often thought I have been misunderstood. Sometimes I have even felt deliberately misunderstood. When that occurs I often remember this quote.

Alas, authors who pretend to be academic but never teach classes have no such immunization. Such immunization also avails nothing to narcissists.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Metaphor for Apostasy

Psalm 73 in the Septuagint (where it is numbered Psalm 72) contains an unusual metaphor for apostasy:
οτι ιδου οι μακρυνοντες εαυτους απο σου απολουνται εξωλεθρευσας παντα τον πορνευοντα απο σου
For behold those who remove themselves from thee are lost; thou shalt destroy all those who fornicate from thee (Psalm 72:27 LXX).
This is actually a fairly close translation of the Hebrew. In the minds of the ancient Israelites immorality and apostasy are closely linked (see also Hosea).

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Bitter Cup

In Matthew 26:39 Jesus said:
Πάτερ μου, εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν, παρελθάτω ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο πλὴν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλω ἀλλ’ ὡς σύ.
The King James translation gives this as:
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Because the cup is mentioned by Jesus, the expression is familiar, but where does the cup come from? Cups do figure into the Passover ceremony but not in such a way that it makes sense in the way that Jesus uses it.

The same term, cup (ποτήριον), shows up in Psalm 74:9 (Psalm 75:8 in the KJV):
ὅτι ποτήριον ἐν χειρὶ κυρίου οἴνου ἀκράτου πλῆρες κεράσματος καὶ ἔκλινεν ἐκ τούτου εἰς τοῦτο πλὴν ὁ τρυγίας αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐξεκενώθη πίονται πάντες οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τῆς γῆς
For a cup of undiluted wine is in the Lord's hand, full of mixture and he tips it from this to this but its dregs will not be poured out, all the sinners of the earth shall drink them.
So the reference to drinking the cup seems to refer back to the cup that the Psalmist sang about, the cup of the wrath of God directed at sinners.