Linguistics and Grammarians

Some miscellaneous notes of my own:

Grammarians love their dictionaries – they have favourites – words have meanings!

Nomenclature – a set or system of names of terms . . . an attempt to nail down definitions leading to a professional use of language. But language is living and evolves . . .

People generally use words and assume that they have a certain meaning – they use what they think it means. Are we really interested in what it should mean?

Consider how words are redefined by denominations as part of the official definitions – saint – hope – repentance – faith – words we have grown up with and rarely stop to think what they mean – preconceived ideas based on what we have always heard – false assumptions of what they really mean? Meanings get negotiated and renegotiated – sometimes sliding in a new direction.

Koine Greek (of NT) – 300BC – 320AD – what sort of changes went on in that time? Not spoken in Greece! Meaning of words today can change quickly – but words used in official documents are more stable. When the Roman Empire rose up the entire empire already spoke Greek. But could there have been regional differences?

When Jesus came there was no standardised theology – there was no professional language for transfigurationrepentpropitiationatonementsovereignty of Godchurch . . . Most Christians won’t have a clue how words have changed in meaning. What did Paul mean?

Bear in mind that much study of Greek has been sponsored by denominations! There is an unknown lack of clarity in the Bible. Beware of professional definitions. Did Paul write so that his own audience would understand? Was any of it ‘tongue in cheek’ – mocking?

By the time of the Latin Vulgate the church was full of professional terminology. The church was often anti-Semitic – meanings of words moved further and further away from Jewish roots and deeper into a Greek philosophical background – describing what the world looks like and what it is. In Hebrew there was the use of analogies so that people could relate to it as if that’s what it is. The focus of language was very different. “These are the attributes of God” – but the words were not originally being used to nail down accurate descriptions!

Philosophy – v – Theology
The more we know about psychology the better we can deal with issues and the dynamics of what is going on inside us. But the more we like ourselves and feel adequate the less we need to know about all that stuff. Acceptance of self and others leads to a successful life.

Theology = trying to grasp the concepts of God – but if we believe that God is with us as a child of God – a meaningful relationship with self, neighbour and God founded on love . . .

Theist = belief in a god – Atheist = without God
Agnosticism – nothing to do with belief but with knowledge.

An ongoing sense of the presence of God – believing without knowing?

The knowledge is not available – comfortable believing this is the presence of God? It’s easy to understand why others might not believe!

Did Paul believe in God? Did he when killing Christians? Paul met God on the Road to Damascus but he didn’t have a clue about Jesus?

Did Peter believe in God? He eventually realises who Jesus is – it wasn’t forced on him – not something he clearly understood.

Paul and Peter were not clear on who Jesus was.

Do we need a professional faith? Good enough when we have a faith where we relate to God?

Christianity was never intended by Jesus to be another religion!

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