At the time I wrote this essay, a great many emails flooded in demanding to know the particulars of my religious beliefs. A lot of them said that although they liked what I had written, they were going to hinge acceptance on whether I declared myself to be a Christian. Aside from being a really awful form of genetive requirement, and representative of close-mindedness, I was still (and always have been) eager to please everyone. So I insisted on being evasive. It was pointed out to me, however, that the way I phrased that sentence went beyond evasivess and right through into abrasiveness. As a bandage, I offer this explanation instead. And to answer the principle question: I am an uncompromising materialist. Myths are metaphors. As Joseph Campbell succinctly explained, it's a dire error to take metaphors literally.
First, Greek and Hebrews words (called lexemes), like words in any language, seldom have a single, all-encompassing meaning, but rather a range of potential senses. This range of senses is called the lexeme’s semantic range. The context and co-text in which the lexeme is used determines which sense is intended by the author. Most words do not have a single literal (core, basic) meaning, but rather a semantic range — a range of potential senses which are actualized by the utterance in which they appear. Second, words normally have only one sense in any particular context. … While there may be some interplay between senses in various contexts, these senses do not necessarily force their meanings on one other. James Barr speaks of “illegitimate totality transfer,” the fallacy of assuming that the whole of a lexeme’s semantic range is somehow contained in any single occurrence.
Human Knowledge: Foundations and Limits
This process of maximizing the context is fully in accord with the soundest principles of communication science. As has been clearly demonstrated by mathematical techniques in decoding, the correct meaning of any term is that which contributes least to the total context, or in other terms, that which fits the context most perfectly. In contrast to this, many biblical scholars want to read into every word in each of its occurrences all that can possibly be derived from all of its occurrences, and as a result they violate one of the fundamental principles of information theory. Perhaps this error is in some measure related to the false notion that when words are put together they always add their meanings one to another. The very opposite is generally the case. For example, may denote a color, a lack of experience (), and unripe (); and may indicate a dwelling, a construction for storing objects (), a lineage (), a legislative body and a business establishment; but in the combination the meanings of both and are restricted to only one each of these meanings. On the other hand, in the compound the meanings of both and are somewhat different from what they are in . But in neither instance does one add all the meanings of to all the meanings of house. In such instances there is a mutual restriction of meaning. Moreover, in combinations such as and one must not attempt to see implied in the component parts all the related meanings which these terms have in other combinations. That is to say, words do not carry with them all the meanings which they may have in other sets of co-occurrences. Unfortunately, however, this is precisely what some students of the Bible would seem to imply by their treatments of meaning. For example, some persons would like to think that in every occurrence of the root , in such forms as , and , all of the diverse meanings are in some way or other implicit. This would amount to saying that essentially there are no differences between the Matthean and Pauline uses, or that despite the differences all the related meanings are still to be found embedded in each usage. For the Greek root one might possibly argue for such a position, but surely with the Hebrew root , which in different contexts may carry such widely diverse meanings as “heavy, much, many, slow, dull, grievous, difficult, burdensome, wealth, riches, prestige, glory, honor,” it would be folly to support such a “syncretistic” view of semantic structure.
Divine Roles Across Culture Matrix - Term Paper
We do not deny that the word has this range of meaning. Our point is, when the word is rendered in so many different ways, the reader cannot perceive how these things are and sometimes even in the Greek language. With regard to two of them Herman Ridderbos observes that it is an “indication of the universality of sin, in that on the one hand is a description of all that is man, and on the other of the sinful in man.” We might also observe that the same word is used for corruptibility, sinful tendencies, and , which suggests not only the universality but also the inheritability of the sinful nature. The whole matrix of semantic connections and connotations is destroyed when different words are used for the different aspects of this complex concept.
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Much of the hypotaxis of the original Greek is eliminated here, by splitting up the long and complex Greek sentence and converting several of its relative clauses into short and grammatically simple sentences. We may suppose this was done because the version’s editors believed that ordinary readers are not able to take in all the thoughts of the author when they are expressed in such a long and complex sentence as we have in the original. And so we are given this series of disjointed sentences instead. But the problem here is not just that “short sentences can make for choppy reading,” as one writer says. The CEB rendering is not only inferior in point of style; it also falls short as an expression of the thinking of the author, because it eliminates the subordinating and coordinating connections that indicate what relationship those thoughts have in the mind of the author. Leland Ryken explains: