[Heh, I slipped into a rant against mega-churches and prosperity gospel, but I quite enjoyed myself and am leaving it!]
I have had the digital copy for this for a couple of months and I have read the first couple of chapters. The problem was I find it really hard to study in the digital format. Nothing beats being able to shuffle quickly between pages. I also have his more advanced Theology and Sanity. I read a couple of chapters of that last year but felt I needed a primer first. I was really impressed with the scope of his thought, the logical clarity of it.
It was not what passes for “theology” nowadays
You can get Tony Robbins
for that and skip the God stuff if you are going to do something about getting that good life NOW that you know you deserve because… you know… you’re you… and you’re special because… you’re you…cuz’… ah hell, maybe your mother told you you were special, but maybe Dr. Spock told your mother to say that – and where does that leave you?
Note, I said Dr. Spock,
Not Mr. Spock,
But why, you may ask, the hate on Joel Osteen and his ilk? Because I have read enough of the Bible and tradition to know that it does not all boil down to Tony Robbins with a dash of feel good theology. I think, if I remember correctly, Robbins does indeed give a smattering of feel good God-speak. Just the right amount to get you out the door to make that money, but not enough to get in the way of what you want, the fulfillment of your dreams and desires.
Because it is about you and the life you want, achieving the best for #1.
Do I have an outdated Bible or something?
Anyway, yeah, I have a big disdain for popular American religion, the Mega-church, the generic, non-denominational. If you’re going to be an atheist, be an atheist, if not, then not.
I am against the prosperity gospel. One, it is unsupported by anything but American preachers trying to gain members (and money). Two, it actively goes against the New Testament. What was the earthly reward for Paul? For Peter? What about the numerous Christian martyrs? What was their earthly reward? And how does that ring with prosperity gospel?
Do they imagine the beatitudes were blesses of dough? Drachma? Dinero? Love and fame from one’s fellow man?
Do they think they can get what Jesus could not in Gethsemane?
My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
That is why, when he taught his disciples to pray, the important line went like this:
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Thy will, not my will. Thy is He, God, it is not an old way of saying my. Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane is the Our Father prayer. It is a petition.
This stuff isn’t too hard. I’ve barely covered 0.01% of it and that is the easiest to grasp.
I like my theology serious, just like my philosophy.
I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I first started on theology because I was expecting a branch of study that was a little abstracted from the particular faiths. I suppose that was a little naive of me because that would be, I suppose, philosophy that would abstract from all theologies and talk about the phenomena of God(s) itself. That as a concept is also problematic because the question would arise: what notions of God(s) does the philosopher already bring to the table?
I just didn’t think theology was the study of Grace, or the Trinity, etc. There is, obviously, different religions and they have their own theologies, I just didn’t think it was so concretely in the specific religions themselves. Perhaps, since I was already reading a number of apologetic books, I was expecting something radically different when I ventured into books that were titled, or referenced, as theology. I suppose it was a confusion of understanding purposes. Theology takes the truth of God as a given, its job is to explain dogmas, concepts and truths; apologetics does not take these things as a given but tries to defend them against outsiders or to convince outsiders.
That was what threw me off when I first started on theological books. I was mistaken in the intent of such material. For instance a seminarian will study a lot of theology because he wants a deeper understanding of that which is already dedicated to and will need such knowledge for his vocation. He may also take classes on apologetics to be able to counter counter arguments, his “opposition”.
At least this is my understanding of the two.
My second acquisition is:
This is a line for line, verse for verse English/Latin Bible or, The Holy Bible (Douay-Rheims) and Biblia Sacra (Juxta Vulgatam Clementinam – Clementine Vulgate).
I seem to have a taste for Bible collection. I saw it at Half-priced Books (this was certainly not half-priced!) in their locked cabinet section and had to have it. That makes three hard copy texts, The Catholic Family Bible (NAB), the Navarre Bible (RSV) and now this one; digitally I have the Cambridge Paragraph Bible (KJV), New American Bible (NABRE), New Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition (NRSVCE), the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition (RSVCE), and a digital copy of Douay-Rheims.
What I’d really love to have is a few copies that looked like these:
There is something “Raiders of the Lost Ark-ish” about them. Craftsmanship.
Naturally the best source material for Bibles would be Hebrew and Koine Greek since, as far as I’ve read, Jerome made his translation from both of these sources. However I think the KJV is the best sounding of the Bibles in English. For instance, most modern English versions of the Bible have 1 Peter 4:3-5 end as follows:
Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the living and the dead.
Instead of the KJV that uses “…the quick and the dead.”
Obviously the KJV is superior. I used to write lyrics when I was in a band as a teenage. I know about fitting syllables into spaces about how words go together. Phonetically, quick goes with dead better than living goes with dead. While “the living and the dead.” is not bad, it is not an improvement over the original.
And there are all the modern inclusive language difficulties that I avoid like the plague. I like mine in old English with thou’s and thy’s etc.