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Tuesday, February 02, 2021

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Dr. BV,

I've seen you refer to the God of the OT as tribal or sectarian before. I think I understand why you say this. It is peculiar that such a unique and absolute being would concern himself so intimately with one people group. But of course, the standard reply will be that Israel's prominence is merely instrumental for the salvation of mankind in general. Nevertheless, referring to God as tribal rubs me the wrong way since it seems like a 'character flaw' of some sort. And I've also just never thought of God in those terms.

But maybe you don't intend 'tribal' to be a flaw on God's part? Someone might say, "So what if the God of the OT acts like a tribal God? It's God's prerogative to favour whomever he wishes and to bring to prominence whomever he wants in order to further his ends". That certain aspects of the bible offend our modern-day egalitarian sensibilities matters very little to God.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this matter.

I refer all and sundry to Prof. Jerry Dell Ehrlich's book, Plato's Gift to Christianity where he lays out that Plato laid the intellectual groundwork and ideas for Christianity. Plato is really the Intellectual founder of Christianity.

A second witness is my teacher Archimandrite Boniface Luykx who said "Christianity Hellenized". This before Ehrlich produced his book. Fr. Luykx was first a Norbertine priest who became a Catholic Ukranian uniate.

And I have a paper that shows the linkage between Plato and Christ, "Christ the Logos, Font of Greek Philosophy"
https://www.academia.edu/1619469/

Philosophy is derived from Nature---and the Cosmos was made thru Jesus Christ. (all references are in the paper.)

Plato's teacher was Socrates and Socrates was an adherent, disciple and admirer of the Spartans. It is not Athens that is the home of Greek philosophy---but Sparta. Socrates said so in the Protagoras. Why was Socrates barefoot for which was a Spartan custom---not Ionian? Platonic philosophy is really Doric philosophy. I see Aristotle as a philosopher---but as a Technician of Metaphysics. He was a doctor. Sparta not Athens is where Plato came to have philosophy. Philosophy is a Doric thing.

Did Jesus know that God is simple?

Bro Dave,

No, he wasn't a philosopher. That great intellect, G. W. Bush, was manifestly mistaken on this point.

Tom,

My point wasn't that God is tribal, but that our conception of God ought not be tribal. Now the Psalms are very rich and very deep; I've read them with Benedictine monks at a monastery of theirs in the high desert of New Mexico. But I get the distinct impression from many of the Psalms that the god of the Jews is a projection of their tribalism who serves an immanent function and whom they invoke to smite their enemies, etc. The impression of God conveyed at EX 3, 14 is what get me to sit up and take notice. HE WHO IS is no tribal god.

Dr. BV,

Understood. So, you would say that the Jewish conception of God is, at times, tribal. But God himself is not tribal. I would agree. But in so far as the OT is the inspired word of God (let's assume), how do we pry apart the Jewish conception from the truth about what God actually is? In other words, if we accept the OT as inspired then how do we reject the tribalistic aspects of it? That is the issue I'm struggling with.

Tom,

This may help: https://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2018/12/is-everything-in-the-bible-literally-true.html

Great, thanks!

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