Processing; Where’s Manasseh?; Clarity Produces Force; I Must Be a “Simpler Churchman”; Sexta

1.  Zosia Zaks, Life and Love: Positive Strategies for Autistic Adults, page 222:

Using index cards and magic markers, both partners can make flash cards to address each other’s concerns during regular conversations.  The flash cards explain what is happening for each of you and validate each partner’s needs.  For example, when your partner asks a question and does not receive an immediate answer, she may feel ignored or disrespected.  Similarly, you may feel rushed to answer.  You could flash a card that says, “Processing.”  This indicates to your partner that you have heard her question and that you are paying attention but that you need time to process and gather a response.  Your partner may feel awkward the first time you flash your “Processing” card.  But at least she’ll know that she is not being ignored and that she will receive your answer in due time.

2.  Sara Japhet, The Ideology of the Book of Chronicles and Its Place in Biblical Thought, page 375:

Manasseh—1 Chr 7:14ff.: “The sons of Manasseh: Asriel, whom his Aramean concubine bore; she bore Machir the father of Gilead…And Ma’acah the wife of Machir bore a son…”

The text of the verse appears to be corrupt, but, for our purposes, their meaning is clear enough.  Joseph’s son, Manasseh, had an Aramean concubine who bore him a son, Machir…These facts link Manasseh, Joseph’s son, to the Aramean region in which the tribe of Manasseh had its territory—the northern section of the east bank of the Jordan.  Thus, Manasseh’s son, Machir, was born east of the Jordan.  A genealogy of this sort represents a blatant contradiction of the accepted Pentateuchal tradition that Manasseh, Manasseh’s son, Machir, and Manasseh’s grandsons were all born in Egypt…(Gen. 50:23).  According to the standard tradition, Manasseh never left Egypt or lived in the land of Israel.

Japhet’s argument is that, for the Chronicler, the Israelites have had a long connection with the Promised Land.  That’s why the Chronicler tries to minimize any tradition that says the Israelites were in another country (Egypt) for a few centuries.  And the Chronicler also attempts to show that the Assyrians and the Babylonians may have shaken Israel up a little bit, but they did not disrupt Israelite occupancy of the Promised Land.  The connection is that deep!  Manasseh and Machir living in Canaan coincides with this view of the Chronicler that there was a strong tie between the Israelites and their land, even though another tradition states that Manasseh and Machir were born, lived, and died in Egypt.

3.  D.A. Russell, Criticism in Antiquity, page 174:

This is from Agatharchides’ (second century B.C.E.) criticism of Hegesias (c. 300 B.C.E.): [Hegesias says] ‘We left a city and took a name.’  Now consider.  This causes no emotional impact; it makes us concentrate on the special emphasis of the words and makes us wonder what he means.  When one produces intellectual uncertainty, one instantly loses emotional force.  Why?  Because sympathy comes from clearly understanding what is said; a writer who fails to achieve clarity also loses vigour…

4.  R.P.C. Hanson, Allegory and Event, page 150:

Origen calls them ‘the simpler type of churchmen’…who in face of Marcionite attacks on the Scriptures refuse to separate the supreme God and the demiurge, but naively attribute cruelty and justice to this supreme God.  When faced with the locus vexatus in Exodus about the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, they simply say that many other meanings of the Scripture are hidden from them, and that one of the hidden things is the right explanation about this passage.  But they cling obstinately to the literal meaning when they can.

I have to respect these “simpler churchmen” because at least they acknowledge that they don’t know how to explain biblical passages in which God appears unfair or cruel, but they trust God anyway.  There are many Christians and Jews (maybe even Muslims) who are like that.  Even some theologians in academia embrace uncertainty as opposed to dogmatism.  But I also admire those who, like Origen, search for answers—who toss out ideas for our consideration (though Origen would probably claim he’s doing something deeper and more authoritative than that).  My problem is that I don’t always find their solutions convincing, and so I find myself in Group 1: what Origen terms the “simpler churchmen.”

5.  N.F. Marcos, The Septuagint in Context, pages 155-156:

Eusebius (third-fourth centuries C.E.) says the following about Origen, in Ecclesiastical History 6:16: So meticulous was Origen’s research on the divine Scriptures that he even learned Hebrew and made his own the original Scriptures which the Jews present with their own signs of the Hebrews and studied the editions of other translators of the Sacred Scriptures as well as the LXX; and he found others still which differed, apart from the well-known translations of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion; he published them tracking them down in I know not which hiding-places, for they had been hidden since ancient times…In the Hexapla of the psalms, after the four known editions, after placing to the side not only the quinta but also the versions sexta and septima, of one it is also indicated that it was found in Jericho in a jar in the time of Antonius, son of Severus.

On page 159, Marcos talks some about the Sexta.  Jerome says it’s Jewish, but its translation of Habakkuk 3:13 as “You went out to save your people by means of Jesus, your Christ” leads some to suspect the Sexta’s Christian origin.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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2 Responses to Processing; Where’s Manasseh?; Clarity Produces Force; I Must Be a “Simpler Churchman”; Sexta

  1. I definitely feel like a “simpler churcman” most of the time. Thanks for sharing this, I had never heard the term before!


  2. James Pate says:

    Thanks for commenting, Josiah!


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