In some streams of North American Jesus research there was and is a clear tendency to promote real or postulated extra canonical tradition to a rank prior or parallel to the Jesus tradition of the Synoptics and the Johannine writings (H. Koester; J. M. Robinson; J. D. Crossan; B. L. Mack). The goal of such constructions is clearly to break the hold of the canonical gospels and to establish an alternative picture of Jesus based on other interpretations of the tradition. To do this, frequent use is made of the lust for sensationalism (Jesus and women; homosexual love; Jesus as prototype of alternative lifestyles; non theological, undogmatic beginnings of Christianity). Mere supposition and unproven postulates are asserted as stimulants for a debate intended to have public effects. Such constructions do not stand up to historical criticism, for neither the existence of a Secret Gospel of Mark
nor a Signs Source can be made probable, and the Gospel of Thomas
belongs to the second century.
Schnelle, U. (2009) Theology of the New Testament
. Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, p. 65.
We live in a vast universe and we are very small in it. We do not see the whole in its entirety. We manage to understand a little of all its complexity. When we ask about the purpose of all that is around us the answer is not clear. We do not know where the world is headed. We do not know where we are going. This is a deep mystery. Read More...
2015 Annual Karl Barth Conference Opening Lecture, Princeton Theological Seminary. The lecture given by Jürgen Moltmann: 'Predestination: Karl Barth's Doctrine of the Election of Grace' can be viewed HERE
The first word of the Bible is about the Creator and the creation. This is the fundamental affirmation on which all the other affirmations are based. The world is the house of the Great King and Great Artist.
Man can not see him, man can only see the world. The world is his creation and it speaks about him. Even so the man does not know God. Men are are obsessed by their own achievements and they do not discern the miraculous deeds of God. Think at what a miracle is the human eye. The eye is the window of the soul, is the soul looking outside and in the same time the soul himself can be looked upon. Is the hazard making seeing possible? This would be an absurd superstition. We are like dogs in an art gallery. We see the pictures on the walls, but we do not discern them. The cause for our failure is our foolishness, our arrogance, and our lack of respect. Read More...
If somebody speaks about God as he speaks about his cousin he knows nothing about God. We do not know anything about God unless he reveals it to us. When he reveals himself to us we understand, again, how inaccessible is he for our thinking. He is above our world. He is a mystery. We are not able to unlock the mystery about him. Never. Read More...
The Christian Church believes that the Bible is the Word of God. The Christians are the product of the Bible. There are Christians because there is the Bible. The Bible is the soil in which the Christian faith grows. The Christian faith is the faith in Christ, and we can find Christ in the Bible, and from there he speaks to us. Read More...
I share with you my thoughts on some of my daily readings. These days I read Emil Brunner (Unse Glaube
, 1935). I make available these notes because I believe that we have many things to learn from this theologian, even if we disagree at certain points (i.e. the character of revelation, infallibility of Scripture). Enjoy reading!
The existence of God
If somebody asks about God's existence the polite answer is silence, and the proper answer is 'You fool!' God is not an object of knowledge; we cannot investigate God as we do with people, objects or natural phenomena. God is not from this world, he is not of this world, he is not an object among other objects. That is why, he can't be the object of our knowledge. Read More...
Existentialism begins with the subjective, the existence comes before the essence (Sartre 1945, 1). This subjective is the ‘human reality,’ it is a being which exist before being defined by any concept (Sartre 1945, 1). Read More...
The movement of Enlightenment is complex and radical. It has the purpose of liberating men from fear and establishing their sovereignty (Horkheimer, Adorno 1989, 3), and the program of the disenchantment of the world (Horkheimer, Adorno 1989, 3). Its radicality is seen in extinguishing any trace of its own self-consciousness (Horkheimer, Adorno 1989, 4); also some substitutions take place: formula for concept, rule and probability for cause and motive (Horkheimer, Adorno 1989, 5). The rule of computation and utility is the measuring standard; if something does not conform to this, it becomes suspect (Horkheimer, Adorno 1989, 6). Read More...
According the Heidegger being has the character of Da-sein, and the fundamental structure of Da-sein is being-in-the-world (Heidegger 1996, 37). This structure is constantly whole. The essence of this being lies in its to be (Heidegger 1996, 39); the essence of Da-sein lies in its existence (Heidegger 1996, 40). Read More...
The point of Hofstadter’s distinction between ‘What would it be like for me to be X’ and ‘What is it like, objectively, to be X’ is based on the observation, which he formulates as a question, of ‘How can something be something that it isn’t?’ (Hofstadter 1981, 409). This question is deepened by the other fact that both these two ‘things’ can have experience (Hofstadter 1981, 409). And then, he continues by offering, perhaps, the final blow, by bringing a third party into the equation: Like for whom? (Hofstadter 1981, 409). Is it for us, the perceivers, or, again ‘objectively’?
According to Hofstadter this is the ‘sticking’ point of Nagel’s article (Nagel wants to know if it is possible to give a description of the real nature of human experience in terms accessible to beings that could not imagine what it was like to be us.). Hofstadter says that this is ‘a blatant contradiction’ (Hofstadter 1981, 409). It seems that no one can know objectively what it is subjectively like (Hofstadter 1981, 409). Read More...
Why the question of ‘Being’ has been forgotten?
The answer formulated by Heidegger has three major aspects. The overall perspective is that there are prejudices that promote the idea that a questioning of being is not needed. These prejudices are rooted in ancient ontology (Heidegger 1996, 2). These prejudices are presented by Heidegger in three sections: universality, indefinability, and self evidence. Heidegger’s description and critique of every one of these goes like this. Read More...
Husserl admires Descartes and follows him up to a point, but from there on he goes on a different path. Husserl goes that far that he is willing to speak about phenomenology as a new twentieth century Cartesianism (Husserl, 1973, 3). According to Husserl the themes in Meditations are timeless and can give birth to what is characteristic of phenomenological method (Husserl, 1973, 3).
Continuity Read More...
Descartes method of doubting exposed in the Mediations
worked in the following way. His intention was to doubt every proposition he was able to. For that he used two conjectures: the conjecture of the dream, and the conjecture of the evil demon. All his knowledge can be just a dream or all his knowledge can be a big lie because some evil demon is devoted to deceive him. Descartes’s point with these two conjectures was to show their bizarreness. He needed a measure of certainty that goes beyond everything, even reaching the incredible and the bizarre. Read More...
Bacon’s scientific method, in his own words, is ‘hard in practice but easy to explain’ (NO
, Preface). Bacon proposes ‘to establish degrees of certainty’ (NO,
Preface) by starting from ‘sense-perception’ (NO
, Preface). He is determined to reject ‘ways of thinking that track along after sensation’ (NO
, Preface). The aim is to be able to derive ‘notions’ and ‘axioms’ (NO
, 1.18) and to acquire a ’more certain way of conducting intellectual operations’ (NO
, 1.18). In the project of searching into and discovering the truth, Bacon proposes to ‘derive axioms from senses and particular events in a gradual and unbroken ascent’ (NO
Induction Read More...
Descartes in Meditation III offers two separate arguments for the existence of God. The first starts with the fact that everyone of us has an idea of God
, and the second starts with the fact that it is certain that I exist.
The steps of the first argument are like this:
I have an idea of an infinitely perfect substance / such an idea must have a cause / from nothing nothing comes / so the cause of an idea must have at least as much formal reality as there is subjective reality in the idea / I am a substance, but I am not perfect / so I could not be the cause of this idea / so there must be a formal reality that is an infinitely perfect substance / so God exists. Read More...
The overall method of Descartes is a method of doubt. He dismisses knowledge derived from authority, senses, and reason (Watson, 2014). His demonstration is one of clarity and absolute certainty (Skirry). He is determined to bring any belief based on sensation into doubt because they might be a dream; mathematics included, because of the existence of an evil demon with supreme power of cunning about everything.
Doubting for Truth Read More...
Existentialism is a philosophical theory characterized by a search for the meaning of existence/being. The norm of authenticity (Crowell, 2010) is the governing norm in this search. The considered aspects of existence are several: the problematic character of the human situation, the phenomena of this situation, the intersubjectivity that is inherent in existence, the general meaning of Being, and the therapeutic value of existential analysis (Abbagnano, 2014).
Authenticity Read More...
The role of Malebranche in understanding Berkeley. Malebranche, a follower of Descartes, very influential in France, is important in understanding Berkeley. Malebranche understands ‘what is it for one thing to cause another’ in terms of necessity; it must be, when A happens, B necessary follows. Why is this? Because the only real cause in universe is God, and God sustains the world by recreating it every instant (see Malebranche 1688, 1.10; 2.4; 3.5; 3.16).
Revised Occasionalism Read More...
According to Hume ‘cause and effect’ is one of the three principles of connexion among ideas (Hume 1902, III) on which all our reasonings are founded (Hume 1902, IV.1). This constant conjoining of objects/ideas is known by us humans only by experience (Hume 1902, IV.1; Russell 2009, 532; Moore 2011, 134). Our minds cannot discover the effect in the cause thorough scrutiny; this is so because the effect is ‘totally different from its cause’ (Hume 1902, IV.1; also Moore 2011, 133). They are distinct. Their connection is ‘not logical’ and there is nothing in A which should lead to produce B (Russell 2009, 532). Thus, this inference is not determined by reason but from experience (Russell 2009, 532).
Cause, Effect and Reasoning Read More...
SABOU, Sorin. ‘Human Nature and Moral Principles.’ Jurnal teologic Vol 13, Nr 1 (2014): 5-16. Read More...
Baptist Theological Institute of Bucharest; Liberty University
In broad general terms human nature matters to which moral principles we should endorse. Moral and political principles exist for the good of human persons. There is a link between our basic abilities as humans and the moral and political principles we endorse. Our basic abilities to live, love and choose should inform our judgments for preserving and fostering life, love and liberty.
Keywords: human nature, ethics, moral principles, abilities
The main outlook on God, by Leibniz, in his Discourse on Metaphysics
, is given towards the end of his argument when he says that ‘we must think of God not only as the root cause of all substances and of all beings, but also as the leader of all persons or thinking substances, or as the absolute monarch of the most perfect city or republic - which is what the universe composed of the assembled totality of mind is’ (Leibniz 1686, 35). To this I have to add what he says at the beginning of his argument that ‘God is absolutely perfect being’ (Leibniz 1686, 1). The perfection of God applies to his power, knowledge, wisdom, and actions; they are of highest degree, he has them in ‘unlimited form’ (Leibniz 1686, 1). These three metaphors of ‘root cause’, ‘leader,’ and ‘absolute monarch’ give me the structure of the answer to the question ‘What is God?’ and the related terms of ‘all substances,’ ‘thinking substances,’ and ‘the most perfect city’ give me the elements of the answer to the second question of this assignment 'What philosophical problems is Leibniz working through his contemplation of God?'
What is God? Read More...
Hume says that ‘public utility is the sole origin of justice’ (Hume 1777, III.1), and that ‘the rules of equity and justice depend entirely on the particular state and condition in which men are placed’ (Hume 1777, III.1).
Justice and Well-Being Read More...
The role of God in Berkeley philosophy is that of the foundation of existence. Everything that exists, exists because exists in the mind of the Eternal Spirit/God. In Berkeley’s words this is expressed as follows: ‘All the bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world, have not any subsistence without a mind, that their being is to be perceived or known; that consequently so long as they are not actually perceived by me, or do not exist in my mind or that of any other created spirit, they must either have no existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit’ (Berkeley 1710, I.6).
Perception, Reality and God Read More...