“Find a Friend”; God’s Representative Under Limits; Relativism and Education; The New Concealed; Hiding Knowledge

1.  Zosia Zaks, Life and Love: Positive Strategies for Autistic Adults, page 263:

Make a list of Buddies you can trust.  If you don’t really have any friends, you can ask your parents or siblings to help you locate one or two classmates or neighbors who would be willing to do the Buddy System with you.  Carry a list of the phone numbers of your Buddies.  If you are all alone and somebody asks you to do something you aren’t sure about, you can always say, “Let me call my friend Tina and see if she wants to join us!”  Usually if the person has bad intentions, he won’t want Tina to come and that’s a clue to get away.

According to Zosia, people with Asperger’s need some sort of social support network for their safety and growth, and they also should try to stretch their social skills (i.e., they need to learn how to ask for help).  But the problem is that people with Asperger’s have difficulty creating that social support network.  I feel that I don’t always see that understanding in the Aspergian community.  Granted, I also don’t see it in the evangelical community, whose answer nowadays is often, “Consult a friend or accountability partner.”  But I’d expect to see it in the Aspergian community. 

2.  Sara Japhet, The Ideology of the Book of Chronicles and Its Place in Biblical Thought, pages 427-428:

It has been suggested that the equation of Israel’s monarchy with the kingship of YHWH must entail the monarch’s deification and apotheosis.  In fact, we see quite clearly that no such development occurs in Chronicles.  The book constantly emphasizes that the king is human: he is mortal, an Israelite bound by the covenant, and one of the people.  In comparison with the Former Prophets, Chronicles limits the monarch’s exclusive representative function and, at the same time, expands the role of the people so that they make an independent, significant contribution to the course of history.

God’s government by the consent of the governed.  Armstrongites should study Chronicles for church government ideas!

3.  R. Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship, page 15:

It was the so-called Sophistic movement which—in Aristophanes’ [(fifth century B.C.E.)] opinion—endangered the whole structure of the traditional Greek education.

The Sophists were relativists.  They didn’t believe in absolute truth, but they tried to teach students how to navigate their way through their culture.  I guess we see this sort of concept today in tendencies to treat education as preparation for a vocation, rather than as a form of character development, or as instruction in truth.  Does relativism undermine education?  Should the purpose of education be to find the truth?  If there is no truth, then what is the purpose of learning?  Is it to understand the world around us, with its different ways of doing things, and to develop tolerance and understanding?  And what happens if we assume that education should instruct students in absolute truth?  Could that lead to indoctrination of controversial ideas, such as socialism, Marxism, etc.?  I’ve had plenty of professors who had their dogmatic view of “the truth.”

4.  R.P.C. Hanson, Allegory and Event, page 199:

For [Origen], now that Christ has come, all the Scriptures are evangelical: ‘Before Christ’s coming, the law and prophets, since he who elucidates the mysteries they contain had not yet come, did not possess that promise which was contained in our definition of the Gospel.  But when the Saviour came and caused the gospel to become incarnate, by the gospel he made everything, so to speak, a gospel.’

How much did the Old Testament saints understand God’s plan?  There are texts that suggest that they knew God would send Jesus Christ, as well as what specifically God would do through him.  John 8:56 says that Abraham saw Jesus’ day and was glad.  Galatians 3:8 says that Abraham received the Gospel that the Gentiles would be justified by faith.  Hebrews 11 says that Moses suffered for Christ.

Yet, there are also indications that people in the Old Testament did not know God’s plan.  Ephesians 3:3-9 says that the notion that the Gentiles would be fellow-heirs with the Israelites was unknown from the beginning of the world, until it was revealed by the Spirit, perhaps in the time of Paul.  Colossians 1:26-27 refers to another mystery that was previously unknown: Christ in you, the hope of glory.

In my post, Eclectic Exodus 21:22-25, Julian’s Law, Known and Unknown, Mystical Cycle, I refer to Origen’s belief that only a select few in Old Testament times knew about God’s plan, while most of Israel was ignorant of it.

The whole issue of the “mystery” is a subject that’s debated between dispensationalists and non-dispensationalists.  Dispensationalists take seriously Paul’s claim that the Gentiles’ inclusion into the people of God and “Christ in you” were unknown before New Testament times.  But doesn’t James in Acts 15:16-17 quote Amos 9:11-12 to show that God planned for Gentiles to enter God’s church as Gentiles, without becoming Jews?  Doesn’t Paul in Romans 15 quote Old Testament passages to make the same sort of point: that Gentiles will worship the God of Israel?  How do dispensationalists handle that? 

My impression is that they say that Israelites in Old Testament times did not understand how these predictions would play out.  Sure, they may have acknowledged that Gentiles will one day worship the God of Israel, but they did not conceive that Gentiles would be included with Jews as equals in a body of God’s people, the church.  And while they realized that God would put his laws on Israelites’ hearts (Jeremiah 31:33), or imbue them with his Spirit so that they’d obey him (Ezekiel 36:27), they had no idea that the Messiah, the Son of David, would dwell in people’s hearts.  

A point about Origen: Origen believed that the spirit led the creators of the Septuagint to add things that were not in the Hebrew version.  Did he see this as a heads-up to the Jews that their Messiah was about to come, and so God made the hidden a little more explicit?

5.  N.F. Marcos, The Septuagint in Context, page 206:

M. Harl has noted how Origen comments on all the difficult passages of the Bible without relinquishing the Greek system and without resorting to all the possible Hebraisms or Aramaisms of translation Greek.  The fact that he does not use Hebrew to explain these passages does not mean that he does not know it, but shows that he respects the obscurity of the text, probably because it favored his tendency for allegorical and not literal explanation.

Hanson also discusses whether or not Origen knew Hebrew.  He concludes that Origen knew some stuff about it, but he was far from being fluent.  But Marcos seems to be saying that Origen knew more that he was letting on, because of how he saw the biblical text!

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.
This entry was posted in Asperger's, Autism, Bible, Greco-Roman, Origen, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “Find a Friend”; God’s Representative Under Limits; Relativism and Education; The New Concealed; Hiding Knowledge

  1. Yvette says:

    James, I am really enjoying and learning from your posts from Positive Strategies for Autistic Adults. I do not have Asperger’s, but I do struggle with social skills and social situations. These have been extremely useful to me. I’m not good with small talk or body language and facial cues. I often unintentionally do something rude or offensive with no idea what I did or said that was wrong.

    If you don’t mind sharing, which autism/Asperger’s books do you recommend for social skills? I realize this might be hard to state because you do not know my needs, but anything you offer will be appreciated.

    Again, these entries have been very helpful. Thank you.


  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Hi Yvette. Thanks for writing! I think this book by Zosia is good. I have one book called Conversationally Speaking, but I haven’t disciplined myself enough to read it. I’m thinking of reading Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, since that has stood the test of time. There’s another book by Temple Grandon and Sean Barron—The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships. I read most of that, but didn’t finish it. But it has some good points.


  3. Yvette says:

    LOL! Guest what? I was going to order Conversationally Speaking, and then I checked my shelf to see if I had already bought it because it sounded familiar. I have it, and I also have not been disciplined enough to read it. Thanks. I’ve pulled it off my shelf to read. The user reviews on Amazon are pretty high. I ordered the Zosia Zaks book, and I should get it early next week. Peace.


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