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Term Slippage


consiglieri

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A persistent problem with scriptural exegesis involves term slippage--by which I mean the redefinition over time of a particular term such that the modern interpretation is different from the original meaning.

One such instance that comes to mind involves the word, "Word."

I think John's Gospel got us off and running with using "Word" as a name-title for Jesus Christ, and it is used elsewhere in the NT in a similar vein.

The slippage occurs when readers of the text first begin to shift the meaning away from the living Christ to the written word, and then from the written word to only those written words that were included in the current Protestant versions of the Bible.

In this way, scriptures originally written about Jesus come to be interpreted as being about the Bible, with predictable results.

I hasten to add Mormons are not immune to this phenomenon; indeed I think a similar thing happens with the same word in Lehi's Dream of the Tree of Life and the interpretation of the iron rod as the "word of God" commonly received as exclusively being the scriptures.

This thread is for comment on what has already been said, as well as to invite examples of other instances of term slippage, both within and without the LDS Church.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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The slippage occurs when readers of the text first begin to shift the meaning away from the living Christ to the written word, and then from the written word to only those written words that were included in the current Protestant versions of the Bible.

I have seen this also. It leads to the doctrine of inerrancy and eventually to Bibliolotry.

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In the instance of Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life, I think the iron rod does literally mean scripture and the living word of God given through prophets and revelation, rather than Christ. Christ is represented by the fruit of the Tree: the end of the journey. The word of God gives us a guide to get to Christ, and partake of his fullness.

Nephi would not have understood the Greek concepts and symbolism behind the word Logos. But John definitely did.

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A persistent problem with scriptural exegesis involves term slippage--by which I mean the redefinition over time of a particular term such that the modern interpretation is different from the original meaning.

One such instance that comes to mind involves the word, "Word."

I think John's Gospel got us off and running with using "Word" as a name-title for Jesus Christ, and it is used elsewhere in the NT in a similar vein.

The slippage occurs when readers of the text first begin to shift the meaning away from the living Christ to the written word, and then from the written word to only those written words that were included in the current Protestant versions of the Bible.

In this way, scriptures originally written about Jesus come to be interpreted as being about the Bible, with predictable results.

I hasten to add Mormons are not immune to this phenomenon; indeed I think a similar thing happens with the same word in Lehi's Dream of the Tree of Life and the interpretation of the iron rod as the "word of God" commonly received as exclusively being the scriptures.

This thread is for comment on what has already been said, as well as to invite examples of other instances of term slippage, both within and without the LDS Church.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

"Word" meant word long before John decided to use it as a name-title of Jesus Christ; so not sure where you are going with that one. And in any case, JST John 1:1 puts an entirely different slant on that "word".

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When I had Stephen Robinson as a professor he said people misinterpreted 1 Cor 3:16-17 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God... which temple ye are." This does not refer to our individual bodies, as some like to say, but to the church in general. "Ye" is plural, so Paul is saying everyone collectively is the temple of God (Bokovoy's communal sin post comes to mind here).

That's not say the body isn't a temple of God, that's what Paul says in 1 Cor 6: 19. But in 1 Cor 3:16-17 it's the church collectively (ye) not the individual.

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When I had Stephen Robinson as a professor he said people misinterpreted 1 Cor 3:16-17 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God... which temple ye are." This does not refer to our individual bodies, as some like to say, but to the church in general. "Ye" is plural, so Paul is saying everyone collectively is the temple of God (Bokovoy's communal sin post comes to mind here).

That's not say the body isn't a temple of God, that's what Paul says in 1 Cor 6: 19. But in 1 Cor 3:16-17 it's the church collectively (ye) not the individual.

Taken from my blog:

1 Cor. 3:16-17: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." This set of verses has absolutely nothing to do with our individual physical bodies. Nothing at all. The first clue is that "ye" in vs. 16 is plural in Greek. This is a reference to the Church as a whole. Paul has been condemning the divisions within the Church. Unity is his message. Paul attempts to unify the divided Corinthians with the message of Christ's atonement. They are God's field (vs. 5-9) [3]. This draws on the metaphor of Israel as God's vineyard (e.g. Isaiah 5:1-7). The imagery of the Corinthians as "God's field" then shifts to "God's building" (vs. 9). Paul fulfills the role as a "master builder," laying the foundation of Jesus Christ. Those who build upon it with "gold, silver, and precious stones" (which were used to build the temple: see 1 Chronicles 22:14, 16; 29:2) will be rewarded. Those whose works do not withstand the fiery cleansing (which is similar to Malachi 4:1-2) will "suffer loss" (or "punishment"), but will be saved "yet so as by fire" (vs. 15) [4].

This brings us to vs. 15-16. Given the fact that the Corinthian Church has been compared to a field and a building, it makes no sense whatsoever to assume that Paul has suddenly shifted from a collective address to one about individuals (let alone the physical bodies of the individuals). Paul is describing the Corinthian Church as the place where God's Spirit dwells. They are the recipients of the Spirit and its gifts. They are to be a spiritual people. Paul in similar fashion compared the Ephesian Church to the "household of God" (Eph. 2:20), "an holy temple in the Lord" (vs. 21), "an habitation of God through the Spirit" (vs. 22). Even Peter declares the saints to be built up unto a "spiritual house" (1 Pet. 2:5).

This understanding, in my view, makes the connection to 1 Cor. 6:19-20 much deeper and more significant by bringing a communal context to our actions:

Previously, Paul had used the "temple" (naos) metaphor of the Corinthians as a body corporate (3:16-17); now he uses it of the Corinthian bodies individually. What is true of the Corinthians together is true of them individually also: their bodies are holy because they have become places where the Holy Spirit is present. But some of the Corinthians act as if this is not so, and in doing so they are polluting and destroying the whole. So, says Paul, [1 Cor. 6:19b-20]. This is the language of slavery...to remind them to who they belong and therefore who they really are...And since God has bought them at the cost of his Son in death, they are under obligation to render God his due: [6:20b]. Here is the basis for a sexual morality (and therefore a social morality) which neither denigrates the body nor exalts the body as the only worthwhile thing but in which bodily relations are ordered toward their true end: the glory of the God who raised Christ bodily and will raise our bodies also "by his power" [5].

3. Slightly off topic: I think it is worth pointing out that Paul describes himself and Apollos as "one" (Greek hen) in vs. 8. The very same description is given by Christ in reference to Him and His Father (see John 10:30).

4. John T. Townsend compares this verse (along with 1 Corinthians 5:5) to Rosh ha-Shanah 16b-17a bar, which followed the Shammaite train of thought. The "in between" (i.e. those who are not "wholly good nor wholly bad") will "go down to Gehinnom, 'chirp' (cf. Isa. 29:4) and arise" (Townsend, "1 Corinthians 3:15 and the School of Shammai," Harvard Theological Review 61:3, July 1968: pg. 501). The biblical support for this interpretation was Zechariah 13:9. Townsend says, "A Shammaitic interpretation of 1 Cor. 3:15 implies a belief on the part of Paul that at the end of the age there would be a final opportunity for some to be saved even from the fires of Gehinnom" (pg. 503). Drawing on this background, Townsend finds that 1 Cor. 15:29 has "usually been understood to refer to some form of vicarious baptismal rite intended to benefit somehow those who have died. Such a rite would be meaningless if a man's fate had been fully determined in his lifetime; and in view of this difficulty some commentators have asserted that, although the Apostle tolerated the rite, he did not approve of it. Such a suggestion, however, appears somewhat forced, and a better explanation is that Paul had no reason to condemn the rite because he believed that the final opportunity for salvation would not precede the end of the age" (pg. 503). This is enlightening, particularly with the doctrine recorded in D&C 76 regarding the terrestrial and telestial inhabitants.

5. Stephen C. Barton, "1 Corinthians," in Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, eds. James D.G. Dunn, John W. Rogerson (Eerdmans, 2003): pg. 1327. I also used pgs. 1318-1320 for my analysis along with the NET Commentary: pgs. 2230-2233.

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When I had Stephen Robinson as a professor he said people misinterpreted 1 Cor 3:16-17 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God... which temple ye are." This does not refer to our individual bodies, as some like to say, but to the church in general. "Ye" is plural, so Paul is saying everyone collectively is the temple of God (Bokovoy's communal sin post comes to mind here).

That's not say the body isn't a temple of God, that's what Paul says in 1 Cor 6: 19. But in 1 Cor 3:16-17 it's the church collectively (ye) not the individual.

Wow! That is a weird interpretation of 1 Cor 6:

14 If any
man's
work abide which
he
hath built thereupon,
he
shall receive a reward.

15 If any
man's
work shall be burned,
he
shall suffer loss: but he
himself
shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know
ye
not that
ye
are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you?

17 If any
man
defile the temple of God,
him
shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple
ye
are.

18 Let no
man
deceive
himself
. If any
man
among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let
him
become a fool, that
he
may be wise.

So if I said, "Don't ye know that ye are handsome?" that would mean "communally" handsome, and not "individually" handsome? :P

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Wow! That is a weird interpretation of 1 Cor 6:

14 If any
man's
work abide which
he
hath built thereupon,
he
shall receive a reward.

15 If any
man's
work shall be burned,
he
shall suffer loss: but he
himself
shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know
ye
not that
ye
are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you?

17 If any
man
defile the temple of God,
him
shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple
ye
are.

18 Let no
man
deceive
himself
. If any
man
among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let
him
become a fool, that
he
may be wise.

So if I said, "Don't ye know that ye are handsome?" that would mean "communally" handsome, and not "individually" handsome? :P

Foreign missions are useful things. They introduce us to quirks of language that are not generally known in USmerican English.

In English, just as they/them is the plural form of he/him,

ye/you is the plural form of thou/thee.

While there is an exception for certain English dialect like Scots English (I was born an Englishman, I've lived an Englishmen, and I'll die an Englishman ------- Have ye no ambition?), "ye" is ALWAYS second person plural nominative.

I can understand why somebody who spends a fair bit of time with the BoM might get confused on this (the singular/plural forms frequently get muddled in JSJr's translation), the KJV use of thou/thee and ye/you are consistent and correct.

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In the instance of Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life, I think the iron rod does literally mean scripture and the living word of God given through prophets and revelation, rather than Christ. Christ is represented by the fruit of the Tree: the end of the journey. The word of God gives us a guide to get to Christ, and partake of his fullness.

Nephi would not have understood the Greek concepts and symbolism behind the word Logos. But John definitely did.

Nephi would have understood the concepts and symbolism behind the Hebrew word "dabar." In this case, the commandments or instructions given by God. Some of them happen to be in the scriptures. Dabar, and later Memra and Logos, took on the meaning of a divine agent employed in carrying out God's commands, especially in creating the world.

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Nephi would have understood the concepts and symbolism behind the Hebrew word "dabar." In this case, the commandments or instructions given by God. Some of them happen to be in the scriptures. Dabar, and later Memra and Logos, took on the meaning of a divine agent employed in carrying out God's commands, especially in creating the world.

Sorry, but according to Bowman, you are WRONG!!!

From

. . . Nephi's father's language was a culturally Jewish form of Egyptian. How exactly it differed from other forms of Egyptian we are not told, except that part of the difference was some alteration of the characters. But all of the references to the language of the BOM speak of it as some form of Egyptian, and Mormon 9:33 explicitly denies that it was Hebrew.

Don't you Mormons know anything?

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"Word" meant word long before John decided to use it as a name-title of Jesus Christ; so not sure where you are going with that one. And in any case, JST John 1:1 puts an entirely different slant on that "word".

Who is the one New Testament author Nephi sources by name?

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Border Lines discusses how the Logos became Christ for the Christians, and the Torah for the Jews. Superb book. It also explains why heresy hunters became an integral part of Christian religion. Anyway, I have a blog post on it too.

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I interact probably the most with Kolipoki and Volgadon outside of this board. (Maklelan too, though not recently. I've been off Facebook the past couple months.) These guys run circles around me half the time with the stuff they know and have read.

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A persistent problem with scriptural exegesis involves term slippage--by which I mean the redefinition over time of a particular term such that the modern interpretation is different from the original meaning.

Amen to his priesthood... The Hebrew meaning of amen is the exact opposite of Joseph's colloquial English usage.

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Amen to his priesthood... The Hebrew meaning of amen is the exact opposite of Joseph's colloquial English usage.

Now that I think about it, you're right. That had never once occurred to me. I think that will now bug me when people say it.

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Marriage. I reckon the meaning of "marriage" is soon to depart forever, thus confusing future generations as to the word's historical, strictly heterosexual definition....

Why not? They ruined a perfectly good adjective not all that long ago:

And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.
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Why not? They ruined a perfectly good adjective not all that long ago:

And in doing so, made millions of little children giggle whenever they read the word in its original meaning. Laughter, usually a good thing, is not so here.

Lehi

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Oh, yes. Lots. It almost makes me sick knowing I won't get around to it all in my lifetime.

Which is why we have eternity where you not only could read the books if you want to, but talk directly to the authors.....
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