Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: Christianity influenced much by unknown theologian Philo’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 23 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Diligent Dave
Logan, UT

And hence, the truth of Hugh Nibley's observation, that evidence does not necessarily "speak for itself". But rather, the observer sees what he WANTS to see, rather than what is there, according to preconditioning.

An example in the (LDS) Church I observed just last Sunday is on the commandment regarding keeping the Sabbath day holy. We have been taught what to think and hence, what to say, from Sunday School teachers, Seminary teachers, Gospel Doctrine teachers, etc. The 4th commandment given by God through Moses to us on Mount Sinai reads as follows—

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

(Old Testament | Exodus 20:8 - 11)

sharrona
layton, UT

Re: Another doctrine associated with Philo is that of the "Logos," or (as it's commonly but inadequately translated) the "Word."???(This same term appears in the first chapter of the gospel of John.)
Also found in:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the ”Word”(Logos, G.3056) of life”;(1John 1:1 KJV & JST).

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the “Word”(Logos G,3056), and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.(1 John 5:7 KJV & JST). The inspired version and the KJV disagree.
No mis-translation the Greek word(rhema,4487)is the literal word uttered by a living voice,spoken,word.

“But the word(rhema) of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you”.(Peter 1:25).

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

"The ancient Hebrew prophets, it turned out, were really Middle Platonic philosophers."

Most of what we know of Judaism in the centuries before Christ comes from the Old Testament and the Apocrypha. Because so much of antiquity went unrecorded or has been lost, we don’t appreciate how the Mediterranean world was more fluid than we might imagine.

A growing number of Mormon scholars are studying antiquity, some drawn to it out of a youthful exuberance to find proof that Mormonism truly is the restored gospel exactly as Jesus intended it. And like other scholars of different faiths and persuasions who came to the field bringing with them their own preconceived notions, they are discovering a past much richer and more complex than they ever dreamed. To me, it’s exciting.

pmccombs
Orem, UT

A clarification on "negative" theology: Sometimes called "apophactic" theology, it essentially means we can't say what God is, only what He is not. In Radical Orthodoxy, which borrows heavily from Thomistic theology, the a scholastic-era idea known as "univocity of being" is treated critically. This means that Thomistic theology denies that God exists in the same way that we exist; that he He exists beyond the familiar ontology of the known universe. The Flatlander asks, "who painted the painter?" and the response comes back that He was not painted but exists in some other way that the Flatlander cannot comprehend, being themselves creatures of limited dimensions.

So this theology admits the role of Greek thought in the same way that we Mormons admit that our understanding is evolving and being perfected over time. The Greek thought was a refining instrument used by God to eliminate the old tendency to cast the deity in the simpler, materialistic terms as His creations, thus paving the way for such ideas to be debunked and disproven as we became increasingly sophisticate--leading ultimately to nihilism and atheism (which is where we are headed today).

skeptic
Phoenix, AZ

Mr. Peterson has a subtle way of playing to his audience naivety by only telling the part of the story that promotes supports for what he wants others to believe. The rest of the story that he fails to tell is that Philo of Alexandria (BC 20- AD 50) was a contemporary of Jesus who visited Israel and the Temple during the time of Jesus, and Philo makes no mention of Jesus in his writings even though the Bible tells of Jesus being so much in the news at that time. All the others who wrote about Jesus from Josephus to Mark, Mathew , Paul ,etc, never knew Jesus. All that they wrote was hearsay. The one great historian who would have known of Jesus in person (Philo) makes no mention of Jesus. Why doesn't Mr. Peterson explain why that is.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

I get the impression that Philo was really arguing that Plato and other Greek philosophers had a spark of the same inspiration that the Old Testament Prophets had. I've always felt he was trying to reconcile a world dominated by Greco/Roman culture with ancient Judaism. I'm not sure to what degree he was writing to the Jewish population versus the Roman ruling class.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: Henry Drummond I've always felt he was trying to reconcile a world dominated by Greco/Roman culture with ancient Judaism. Right on,

In the beginning, was the Word.(John 1:1) Greeks used this term not only of the spoken word but also as the unspoken word still in the mind, the reason. When they applied it to the universe they meant the rational principle that governs all things. Jews on the other hand , used it as a way of referring to God. John used a term that was meaningful to both Jews and Gentiles.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…(John 1:14 KJV, see JST).
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who don't confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the Antichrist. (2 John 1:7)The Apostles response to Gnostics,Philo and his ilk. God becomes man not man becomes God.

He(Jesus) is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.(Rev 19:13 NIV) See (Is 63:2-3)

Diligent Dave
Logan, UT

My point on my first post following this story is this. Working six days is every bit as much part of the commandment regarding sabbath day observance as resting on the seventh is. In other words, the commandment is not one just only commanding us to rest on the 7th, but just as much to work the previous 6 days, and "do all (our) work". Doing this allows us to rest (because we got our work done in 6 days). This commandment, then, is also about accomplishing more in less time. And, it is also about getting things done.

Hence, our emphasis on just one day in regards to this one of the 10 commandments is not complete. Getting work accomplish in one fewer days than we would, otherwise, is a benefit to us (or is, if we do it), in more ways than one. To be sure, resting the 7th day is of great importance, and is, if we work the other 7, something truly deserved!

Looking at scripture afresh can help all of us in our study of it.

lds4gaymarriage
Salt Lake City, UT

We know that Pagan Greek philosophers defined the "Word" as the physical embodiment of the will and mind of God. He was a demiurge. John, upon seeing the Church flooded with Gentile converts referred to Christ as "the Word" to help their transition to Christianity.

The Greek converts brought many of their pagan ideas with them and that lead to the adoption of many aspects of Greek philosophy and terminology. The ideas of "essence" and "nature" which are found in the confusing Creeds are prime examples. Ideas like Christ being begotten, not created, likewise add to the confusion.

Thank Heaven for the restoration.

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