Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Words, semantics, expectations, stylings I

Am thinking about words today. In two ways.

First: the lingo of the New Testament.
Most Bible readers know that the New Testament of the Bible was written in the common language of the people of its day. That means that Paul, Jesus, the apostles all spoke the uneducated language of their day. Okay, Paul was a little more educated and his writing gets pretty stylistic and punny and downright full of allusions to Greek poetry and Hebrew poetry. But for the most part, consider the Greek of the New Testament the po folk talk of its day.

My Moslem friends rightly say that the language of the New Testament simply is not as beautiful as the Koran. They also add -- not so rightly-- that God would never write a book like that. God, they say, wrote the Koran. But let's be clear about this: Allah may not write a book like the New Testament or the Bible but Jehovah/Yahweh would. The Bible is about God and Man working together. In Islam God is so far above that he is totally sovereign. Allah may work with man but not to the extent that Jehovah allows man's writing styles, personality, peeves, doubts to enter into Judeo-Christian Scripture.

I remember an atheist telling me that St Paul wrote the entire new testament as a way to deceive people...that St Paul was a creation of Jesus....gospel and all. He said that's why all the prophecies of the Messiah work so well with Christ (???? Honestly!!!!) because Paul was a scholar and theologian. My attitude as a writer is this: IF Paul was such a scholar, and religious inventor, why did he write a book that picks on scholars and religious theologians? And why did he choose stylistically to write in the ebonics of his day? It just reminds me of people who believe some great inventor made the Shroud of Turin, or that Life just created itself out of nothing. The stuff some folks come up with to challenge the gospel always take more faith to believe than the gospel itself.
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