Saturday, February 14, 2015

Two kinds of science

http://afterall.net/papers/duhemian-and-augustinian-science-and-the-crisis-in-non-empirical-knowledge/

Crippled delusions of grandeur

http://godawa.com/movieblog/oscar-watch-•-theory-everything-unintentional-tragedy-crippled-atheist-mind/

Russell Moore on Roy Moore

Russell Moore thinks Roy Moore should resign. I think Russell is half right: Moore should definitely resign–only Roy is not the Moore who ought to resign. That should be the other Moore:

http://godfatherpolitics.com/20398/southern-baptist-leader-says-roy-moore-comply-judges-order-resign/

Panning Paul and the Faithfulness of God

http://dro.dur.ac.uk/14230/1/14230.pdf?DDD32+dth0jmb+d700tmt

Where are they now?


The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors held its first full plenary session in Rome last week under the direction of Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley. They told journalists at a briefing on Saturday they were formulating suggestions for how Pope Francis should make bishops accountable for implementing protection guidelines. As expected, certain survivors’ groups and other critics of the Vatican dismissed this as yet more empty words. That’s unfortunate. But it’s also understandable, especially given the Vatican’s lack of transparency when it comes to dealing with such bishops. The head of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, offered a rare public display (at least for him) of how defensive church officials can be when pressed for more openness. Visibly irritated, he snapped back at an Italian TV journalist who attempted to ask why there was a delay in the trial of Jozef Wesolowski, the defrocked bishop and former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic who has been charged with sexual abuse of young boys. “It has nothing to do [with this briefing],” the priest said curtly. When she pressed him an aide took the microphone from her and Fr. Lombardi said, “Enough! Let’s move on.” This, too, was unfortunate. The Holy See has publicly dealt with at least four bishops for either committing abuse or trying to cover it up. But there has been no transparency regarding their whereabouts or their status. In addition to Wesolowski, there is also Belgian Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who “resigned” in 2010 after admitting to molesting his young nephews. Where is he now? Has he been laicized? The Vatican has not said. Then there is Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who also “resigned,” just before the conclave of 2013 after being accused of sexual harassment by a number of seminarians and priests. Where is he? The Vatican will not say. And, of course, there’s the case of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, who was given a two-year suspended sentence after being criminally convicted for failing to report sexual abuse of minors. The Vatican supposedly carried out an investigation last September and two months later in a TV interview Cardinal O’Malley had this to say about the Finn case: “It’s a question the Holy See must address urgently.” Is it cynical to wonder what in the world transparency and urgency mean in the Vatican? 
https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/letter-rome-17

Alone in the dark


I watch the candle burn bright,
I watch it flicker and flame;

I watch the candle burn low,
I watch it sputter and smoke;

I watch the candle burn out,
And I'm left alone in the dark.

The anchor of hope


Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end (Jn 13:1).
One question is what John means by the "end"? Is he using that word in a quantitative sense or qualitative sense? By quantitative, does he mean in a temporal sense? Jesus loved them right up to the final moment of death. He loved them to his last dying breath.
That makes sense in context. After all, his death is imminent. 
By qualitative, does he mean he loved them to the utmost? To the limit? 
That makes sense in context. After all, he's dying for their sake. There is no greater love (cf. 15:13).
Given John's fondness for double entendres, and the fact that both meanings suit the context, both are probably intended. Indeed, they are inextricably linked: he loves them to the point of death. True love follows through to the bitter end. 
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain (Heb 6:19).
As one commentator explains:
The image, then, is that the anchor (we must picture a rope attached) is entering within the inner place of the temple (the holy of holies), as if it were a grappling hook to which the souls of believers were connected. Once it has secured a place, they can follow after. L. T. Johnson, Hebrews: A Commentary (WJK 2006), 173.
Here, the inner sanctum is a metaphor for heaven.  The Christian afterlife. 
Imagine you and your brother paddle upriver one summer afternoon. As dusk approaches, you turn the boat around. But your brother falls overboard. You throw him a lifeline. But the current is too strong for you to reel him in. 
As darkness falls, you lose sight of your brother, although the rope is still taut. You can't see him, but you can feel him–at the end of the line. 
Your muscles become unbearably sore holding onto the rope. Your hands go numb in the chilly air. 
He no longer responds when you call to him. Perhaps he lost consciousness. Perhaps he succumbed to hypothermia. Perhaps he drowned. Only the swift current keeps him afloat. Maybe you're hanging onto a lifeless body. 
But maybe he's still alive. If you let go now, you will lose him forever. He will be swept downstream. Swallowed up in darkness. Receding into the night. 
If you let go now, all hope is lost. You must redouble your aching grip. Wait until dawning light to see if he survived. To see if it was worth it. Hoping against hope. Will he be restored to you? 
Letting go is an inevitable part of life. But let go of what? What should we hang onto? And what should we relinquish?  
Which end of the rope should we release? The end that's tied to this life–or the end that's tied to the afterlife? 
Wisdom is not only, or mainly, a matter of knowing when to let go but what to let go. An unbeliever will relinquish everything to save his own life. A believer will relinquish everything to save his own soul. 
What do we have to look forward to? Does it begin and end in this life? Or does it begin where this life ends? 

Relating to God

http://wincorduan.bravejournal.com/entry/145224/

Friday, February 13, 2015

Naos


i) This is a postscript to my previous reply to Alan. Both in his post ("Yes, There is a Corpus Fallacy, and It is Committed Frequently") and his podcast ("Why the Bible Teaches a Literal, Physical Temple (Naos) in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Not a Figurative, Spiritual Temple – Ep. 23) he oscillates between what naos means and what it refers to, as if these are interchangeable categories. I find that a bit odd inasmuch as he talks about Bible scholars trained in linguistics, yet–to my knowledge–sense and reference are not equivalent. 
ii) From what I've read, "naos" doesn't mean or denote a "physical temple." That's not the definition or intension of the word. Consulting three standard reference works, it is not defined in those terms by BDAG, L&N, or EDNT.
At best, that's one of the word's extensions. And even that's inaccurate (see below).  
Perhaps "physical temple" represents Alan's interpretive summary. If so, that's apparently based on concrete examples. Problem is, that conflates sense and reference. 
iii) Apropos (ii), Alan seems to be reducing the sense of naos to a generic abstraction. Since the word often refers to physical temples, he generalizes from that fact to the conclusion that naos means a physical temple.
However, the extension of the word doesn't refer to a generic physical temple, but to many particular temples (or shrines). The concrete referent has greater specificity. It can refer to a pagan shrine (e.g. the temple of Artemis), or Solomon's temple, or the inner sanctum of Solomon's temple, or the Second Temple, or the Herodian temple, &c. 
On the one  hand, it's a semantic fallacy to suggest that it means a "physical temple." 
On the other hand, the vast number of documented (and undocumented) referents would be contrary to Alan's particular identification. In the nature of the case, specific examples select, not for a generic physical temple, but a shrine or temple at a particular place and time. 
I think his procedure–no doubt unintentionally–puts a thumb on the scales. Since he's stressing lexical semantics and semantic fallacies, it is not inappropriate, I think, to bring greater linguistic precision to the analysis. 

The "corpus fallacy" redux


I'm going to reply to Alan's post, as well as his podcast:

Imagine if someone took a three-page high school history paper of yours and claimed, "Your entire vocabulary is contained in that paper." Out of the millions of words in your written and oral discourse over the course of your lifetime, your entire terminology is limited to that high school paper.
That sort of application happens with many interpreters of the Bible. Have you read statements such as: "Matthew tends to have X vocabulary, therefore his theology is Y." Or, worse, "Paul does not use the term X in Y sense, therefore he was not aware of another commonly used sense." Or "Matthew uses X in Y sense, but Mark does not, therefore, Mark is not aware or would use its sense." You get the picture.

I don't know whose windmills Alan is tilting at. That wasn't my argument. But I guess Rocinante can use the exercise.

I have heard this type of reasoning for many years. And no linguistic Bible scholar (actually trained in linguistics) would ever use such a naive argument, at least these days.

So long as Alan is attacking a caricature. But that's irrelevant to my stated argument.

However, since he brought it up, let's consider some illustrations:

i) Protestant Pauline scholars typically include word-studies of the dikaioo word-group when attempting to ascertain Paul's usage. And although they don't confine themselves to Pauline usage, they center their discussion on Pauline usage. That's a starting-point. The primary frame of reference. How does Paul use that word-group? 

Catholics, by contrast, appeal to James. Now, is Alan taking the position that it commits the "corpus fallacy" to begin with Pauline usage in determining what Paul means by his own terminology vis-a-vis "justification"? Should we take into account all the thousands of times Paul may have used that word-group without that particular nuance? 

ii) Calvinists say proegno in some NT passages means "to choose beforehand." Arminians counter that the word usually means "to know beforehand."

Moreover, they could appeal to the thousands of times that Peter and Paul may have used that word in the sense of foreknowledge or prescience rather than prior choice. Does Alan think that's a valid tactic?

lii) Arminians appeal to cosmos in Jn 3:16 to prooftext unlimited atonement. Some Calvinists (and even some non-Calvinists) counter by pointing out that in Johannine usage, cosmos often has a qualitative rather than quantitative connotation. Moreover, they note that John often uses cosmos in contrast to Christians. 

But is that a "corpus" fallacy? Should we appeal to all the thousands of times that John may have used cosmos as a synonym for "everyone"? 

I agree, but I am addressing the claim (or the implication) by some who reject that Paul intends a literal sense of naos (temple) in 2 Thess 2:4, and some who think that Paul never would had used (or even been aware!) of the sense of a literal temple with the term naos. To claim that Paul uses the term in a spiritual sense in other contexts therefore it must mean this in 2 Thess 2:4 is ridiculous and sloppy linguistics (not saying this is Steve's position, but others make this deduction). I demonstrated that absurdity in my program in the link in the blog post.

Once again, Alan is shadowboxing with nameless opponents rather than responding to my own argument. 

In addition, yes, we should start with the target context, but I have seen not a few times from historicists to begin outside of Thessalonians and then import a spiritual meaning to naos in 2 Thess 2:4.

Alan also says that in his podcast. I find the oft-repeated accusation that "historicists" have to go outside the text to derive their interpretation ironic considering the fact that in his podcast, Alan said the naos is a makeshift shrine which Orthodox Jews will build, without divine sanction, before the midpoint of the 7-year period, to reinstate Levitical sacrifices, &c. Where did he get any of those crucial details from 2 Thes 2? 

Beale strains the text when his point is grasping at some connection between the apostasy and the temple representing the "covenant community." The exegetical connection is not there. 

Unfortunately, Alan fails to explain, either here or in the podcast, why that's the case. He simply asserts that these are unrelated.

i) Now, I can't speak for Beale, but if I were fleshing out the connection, I think the argument would go like this:

Beale is offering a unified interpretation. These are aspects of the same event. 

Alan himself admits that the apostasy concerns the professing church. He also admits that it will be instigated by the Antichrist. So the apostasy centers on the church, while the action of the Antichrist is directed at the church. 

In that context, it's logical to see the naos as a figurative synonym for the church. 

ii) Moreover, that meaning has linguistic precedent in Pauline usage. 

iii) Furthermore, this has historical precedent in the Antiochean crisis, where the same religious community and same religious institutions lie in view throughout. Antiochus was persecuting faithful Jews as well as desecrating the Jewish temple. 

By contrast, Alan separates the naos from the church–both in time and place. He treats that as something which happens in Jerusalem. Something that's undertaken by Orthodox Jews. And the action of the Antichrist has reference to that.

On the face of it, Alan is the one who's isolating these elements to produce a compartmentalized interpretation of each, resulting in a disjointed interpretation of the passage as a whole. 

It would be incorrect to claim that therefore he would not be able to draw from a literal sense of naos in the 101 instance, just as any Greek-speaking Jew in the first century would have had in his or her semantic range of this term.

I don't know why Alan is fixated on attacking an argument I never used. 

The linguistic skepticism is not warranted, and would reduce us to only make linguistic observations on single authors! and not on the body of Greek language. 
We have an abundance of documentation in the NT and outside of it. We cannot assume that Greek semantic ranges of words are dependent upon not only a single author, but on a very small sampling of that author. The NT has frequent instances of naos in a literal sense. Paul certainly was aware of this sense and easily could draw from it—which bring us back to the contextual question of 2 Thess 2:4

For some odd reason, Alan is absolutely obsessed with refuting an argument I never made. It's like trying to correct a computerized misbilling. No matter how often you call the company and patiently explain to them that the bill is wrong, they never purge the system. The computer keeps spitting out the same erroneous bill. 

Thats not an intellectual virtue. You need to update the objection (or else withdraw the objection) to take into account the actual state of the argument.

If there were another instance in his letters where he clearly talks about a temple in a spiritual-church sense associated with the Antichrist figure that is a different matter.

Does Alan think the sense of a word depends on carrying over the entire context? Isn't that a semantic fallacy? It confuses the meaning of a particular word with the meaning of a sentence, pericope, or argument. 

I'll end with saying that I gave about seven reasons why the context in 2 Thess 2:4 indicates a literal temple, not a spiritual temple. These are arguments that historicists need to contend with. 

Let's run through these:

1. The action of the Antichrist would be a conspicuous, concrete, observable event, to correct the false eschatology of 2:2c.

i) Given the parallel with the other precursive sign, we shouldn't expect that to be more or less conspicuous than the apostasy. The apostasy of the professing church is a bit vague. Throughout church history we have examples of that. The apostasy of the professing church is a matter of degree–unless you deny anything faithful remnant.

ii) Moreover, Alan seems to treat these as independent events. The apostasy of the professing church is clearly different from Ultraorthodox Jews erecting a shrine on the Temple Mount. 

If, by contrast, these are conjoined, then the sign is less ambiguous. 

2. "Taking his seat" suggests a literal physical temple.

That simply begs the question. Where's the supporting argument?

If the naos is figurative, then "taking his seat" is part of the same picturesque metaphor. A consistent word-picture. 

3. The definite article implies a particular temple of the true God.

i) But Alan doesn't think the construction of this shrine is authorized by God. At least he's noncommittal. But absent divine sanction, how is that any different than schismatic or sectarian "Jewish" shrines like the rival shrine in Samaria? 

ii) Furthermore, this overlooks the "heavenly temple" interpretation. 

4. The "object of worship" (2:4) implies a material temple rather than a church.

I find that argument peculiar. Isn't a sanctuary a place of worship rather than an object of worship? And in that respect, a church is a place of worship. 

5. Alan cites an article by Dan Wallace:
My Accordance/Gramcord search revealed altogether ten places in which ναὸς θεοῦ occurred (Matt 26:61; 1 Cor 3:16, 17 [bis]; 2 Cor 6:16 [bis]; 2 Thess 2:4; Rev 3:12; 11:1, 19).As well, there are another six instances of οἶκος θεοῦ, and here again a similar development occurs: The gospels refer to the literal temple (Mark 2:26 and pars. in Matt 12:4 and Luke 6:4), while the referential value of the expression has been transferred to the church by the 60s (1 Tim 3:15;5 Heb 6:21; 1 Pet 4:17).6What are we to make of these data? It seems that by 63 CE (the date I would assign to 1 Timothy),7 the idiom had shifted in Christian usage sufficiently that a metaphorical nuance had become the norm. However, it is equally significant that all of the references in the Corinthian correspondence seem to require an explanation (readily supplied by Paul) in order to make the metaphorical sense clear.

But doesn't that commit the "corpus" fallacy which Alan spends so much time attacking? Why does this little sampling suddenly become representative when Alan says no scholar trained in linguistics would use such a naive argument? 

6. Quoting Green:
The orientation of the divine claims of the "man of lawlessness" is toward the world at large and not the church."

Unfortunately, Green doesn't bother to defend his contention.  

i) What is it about the orientation of the divine claims in 2 Thes 2 that's directed at the world rather than the church? Where's the supporting argument?

ii) If, as Alan admits, the apostasy has reference to the professing church, and the Antichrist is the instigator of the apostasy, then isn't that oriented at the church rather than the world?

iii) What does it mean for the Antichrist to proclaim himself to be God? Hard to say for sure, but here's one possibility:

What if the Antichrist claims to be the Second Coming of Christ? That would make him God Incarnate. 

Moreover, it makes sense that the Antichrist might have a Messiah complex. He's a pretender. A usurper. 

And if he gained a sizable following in the professing church, that would certainly qualify as mass apostasy. His claim to be the Second Coming of Christ would be "a conspicuous, concrete, observable event." So would having a huge entourage in the professing church. 

Hyper-Dispensationalist Doug Stauffer

Typically, hyper-dispenationalists invest ultimate authority into an early 17th century Anglican English translation of the Bible (aka KJV 1611).

But if you have never been exposed to what hyper-dispensationlists believe, here is a flavor:
According to Stauffer, Paul is THE spokesman for the church age (p. 17); the general epistles of Hebrews to Revelation, while containing some church age applications, are actually written for Great Tribulation saints (pp. 20, 27); salvation is obtained by works during the Tribulation (p. 23); Hebrews and James do not teach eternal security (pp. 23, 29); Peter did not preach the gospel of the grace of God (p. 26); the seven churches of Revelation 1-3 are not the body of Christ (p. 29); the epistle of first John teaches that salvation is through works (p. 56); the book of Acts was not given “to show how to establish the local church or its functions” (p. 72), Abraham had to keep his salvation through works (p. 175).
 http://www.wayoflife.org/index_files/beware_of_hyper_dispensatinalism.html

Basically Doug Stauffer believes less than 40% (or 35%) of the NT applies to Christians: Minus the Gospels, Acts, Hebrews and other epistles, and the book of Revelation.

Marcion anyone?



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rumors of miracles

http://goodnewsmag.org/2014/12/rumors-of-miracles/

Libertarian Reformed Baptists?

"Libertarian Reformed Baptists?" by Prof. James Anderson.

Why is the number of the beast 666?

Greg Beale responds.

College dropouts

The left is attacking Scott Walker as a college dropout. Here's a list of other losers:

http://www.businessinsider.com/most-successful-college-droputs-2013-9?op=1


Sympathetic magic


Bnonn has an interesting interpretation of the 2nd commandment:


The gist of his argument is that pagans used idols as a form of sympathetic magic. 

Aside from the merits of that interpretation in its own right, it's striking to compare that interpretation with a related interpretation of the 3rd commandment:

There is a third way someone in the ancient world might have taken God's name in vain: by using it as a magical term to make a spell or incantation more potent. The Egyptians thought that there was great power in knowing a god's secret name; the goddess Isis in on myth gains power over Re by learning his secret name. Something like this may be occurring in Acts 19:13-16, where Jewish exorcists use the name of Jesus to try to gain control over demons. D. Garrett, A Commentary on Exodus (Kregel 2014), 477. 

That would offer a unified interpretation of both commandments, based on a common principle: prohibiting various forms of witchcraft.  

In the same vein, notice the link between sorcerers and idolaters in Rev 21:8.

Pumpkinification


I'm going to comment on Richard C. Miller's Resurrection and Reception in Early Christianity (Routledge 2014).

i) I admit that I haven't read much past the introductory chapter. That's so bad that I'm disinclined to deepen my acquaintance with the book. The first chapter gives you the gist of what follows. 

It might be objected that by failing to read the whole book, I'm missing out on the supporting material which substantiates his thesis. When, however, Miller compares the Resurrection accounts with Seneca the Younger's satirical Pumpkinification of the Divine Claudius (to take a typical example), I doubt I'm missing much. Comparisons like that succeed, not in discrediting the Gospels, but in discrediting Miller.

ii) Miller is much like Robert Price, except that Miller has fancier credentials and a starchy style. Miller's approach is a throwback to the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule of Bultmann, Bousset and Reitzenstein.

Justin Martyr's 1 Apology presented the framing contours of the Gospel narrative as having resided within a mythic mode of hero fabulation….Central to the earliest great apology of the Christian tradition, this grand concession casts a profound light on the nature of earth Christian narrative production (2).

I think that's a misinterpretation of Justin's statement. I think Justin simply deploys an ad hominem argument. Pagans shouldn't find the Gospel narratives incredible, for by their own lights, there are similar events in pagan literature. He proposes this comparison for the sake of argument. 

Could the apology indeed, have admitted that the earliest Christians had composed Jesus' divine birth, dramatically tragic death, resurrection, and ascension within the earliest Christian Gospel tradition as fictive embellishments following the stock structural conventions of Greek and Roman mythology, specifically the narrative traditions of the fabled antique Mediterranean demigod? (2)

i) Not only does that rest on a misinterpretation of Justin's statement, but we need to consider how Justin got his name. He was martyred for the faith. But according to Miller, that would mean Justin died for what he himself deemed to be a fictional Savior. How likely is that?

ii) Moreover, even if we grant Miller's implausible interpretation of Justin, that creates no presumption that Justin's interpretation of the Gospels is correct. Justin didn't author one of the canonical Gospels. And he was writing generations after they were written. 

In addition, his own background is very different from the Gospel writers. By birth and breeding, Justin was a pagan Greek, trained in Greek philosophy and literature. Even if he thought the Gospels writers were adapting a translation fable, there's no reason to think his understanding mirrors the understanding of the Gospel writers. He moves in a different conceptual world than they do. 

The text becomes all the more disturbing when considering that the argument did not even qualify as an "admission" per se but merely arose as a statement in passing, as though commonly acknowledged both within and without Christian society. Indeed, the implied author even included himself, as well as all Christians, as complicit in this mythopoeic enterprise. Did this earliest defense of Christianity deliver a candid assessment when stating that there was "nothing unique" or sui generis about these dominant framing contours of the Jesus narrative? (2)

Once again, this would mean many Christians chose martyrdom rather than recant their faith, even though, according to Miller, they thought the Gospels were fictional. 

The apology's at times overt rejection of antecedent iconic figures of classical antiquity, however, further complicates the matter. In 1 Apology 5, for instance, the apology asserted that the classical pantheon was, in truth, a cast of demons. (2)

This reinforces my contention that Justin's statement reflects an apologetic strategy. He accommodates his pagan audience by responding to them on their own grounds. But that doesn't reflect his own position. 

As previously understood in Greek philosophical tradition, this supreme reason existed as universally accessible to all peoples throughout time. The apology merely made explicit that which the prologue of John's Gospel had already implied (Jn 1:1-14). (3)

i) The syntax of Jn 1:9 is ambiguous: does it refer to Christ coming into the world or everyone coming into the world?

ii) John is using logos as a Septuagintal carryover for God's creative speech. That's further borne out by the conspicuous allusion to Gen 1. Logos doesn't mean "reason" in Jn 1. The background lies in OT usage rather than Greek philosophy. 

Accordingly, Justin's works provided no historical argument supporting the resurrection…Indeed, scanning the multitude of documents, one finds that the early Christians apparently never did make such a claim or attempt such an argument, unlike modern Christian apologists, because that was not their perspective nor was this the story's conventional function (8).

It's unclear what Justin would have to add. By the time of writing, the eyewitnesses to the Resurrection were dead. Justin is writing well over a century after the Resurrection. So there's nothing more to say, above and beyond the testimonial evidence recorded in the NT. 

In the cultural expression in the Hellenistic Orient, this process of syncretism typically meant the appropriation of Hellenic forms under significant indigenous names…Thus, Philo of Alexandria… (9).

i) Mentioning Philo is counterproductive, for that draws attention to the dramatic contrast between a Hellenistic Jew like Philo and the NT writers. 

ii) But there's another basic problem with Miller's analysis. There's no one way in which a religious minority group reacts to the dominant culture. There are at least two opposing responses:

a) One is assimilation with the dominant culture. This can range from wholesale apostasy to subtle syncretism. 

b) Conversely, members of a religious minority group may double down on their religious distinctives to preserve their hereditary identity. Diaspora Jews can be more conservative, more traditional, than Jews in a Jewish state, or Jews where Jews are in the majority. For instance, Hasidic communities in NYC may be far more observant than many or most Jews in Tel-Aviv. 

Likewise, Muslim communities in Europe or the UK may be more uncompromising than Muslims in Muslim countries. If you're in the religious majority, you can simply follow the path of least resistance. It doesn't take any particular effort to have or retain your sense of identity. That's constantly reinforced by the society you live in. That's the dominant culture to begin with. As a result, religiosity may be quite lax. 

It's clear from Acts and the Pauline epistles that Paul was the kind of Diaspora Jew who resisted assimilation. Likewise, Palestinian Jews (who wrote Matthew, Mark, and John) resented the Roman subjugation of the Holy Land. These weren't Quislings. They were proudly, stubbornly Jewish. 

Of particular importance to the present study, one notes that the other works of a more reserved Jewish character known from earliest Christian writing (e.g., Matthew's logia tradition or "Q," Hebrews, James, and the Didache) give no trace of the Hellenistic, theopoetic themes outlined in 1 Apology 21 (i.e., divine birth, translation, and ascension). Such themes of Hellenistic exaltatio in Paul, the Gospels, and Acts of the Apostles survive as the celebrated textual products of these early Christian movements of the urban Greek East (12).

It's ironic that by his own admission, Hebrews doesn't conform to his translation fable trope. For, apart from Stephen's speech in Acts 7, Hebrews is the closest expression of Hellenistic Judaism that you will find in the NT. And even then, the outlook is far removed from Philo. 

How was it that Paul, for all his Judaic training, appeared at the core more to resemble an itinerate Stoic philosopher than any known rabbi of the Roman Levant? (12). 

That assumes what he needs to prove. Consider, moreover, what Paul had to lose by becoming a Christian. He was a rising star in Judaism. Had a brilliant career in the making. Was well connected with the Jewish establishment in Jerusalem. A star student of the greatest rabbi of his generation.

By becoming a Christian, he was ostracized by his social circle. Yet Miller would have us believe that Paul destroyed his career for the sake of a fictional Messiah. Not that Paul believed this was real, but we know better. Rather, Miller thinks Paul knew better. 

Indeed, the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles belie any effort at contextualizing their language or composition in Jewish Palestine. Knowledge of the literary context inscribed within the documents themselves presents not the markings or signs of a mundane, local familiarity with with Galilee, Samaria, or Judea, but general, wayfaring descriptions more typical of festival pilgrims of the Jewish Diaspora, returning Roman troops, and disposed emigrants romanticizing the setting of a distant homeland. First composed, signified, and sacralized in the Hellenistic urban world of Roman Syria, Anatolia, Macedonia, and Greece, these works typically reflected and played on crudely stereotypical myths of Jewish Palestine (12-13).

Let's consider a few counterexamples:

Richard Bauckham’s lecture "Mark’s Topography: The Cognitive Map of a Capernaum Fisherman."
The geographical information in Mark’s Gospel, especially about Galilee, has often been thought to be confused and certainly presents some problems. The lecture uses the idea of a ‘mental map.’ The way we construct our spatial environment in our minds is very different from the maps we see on paper or on screen. A close look at Mark’s geography shows that it makes very good sense if it reflects the mental map of a Galilean fisherman based in Capernaum. 
http://davidbcapes.com/2013/08/11/a-o-collins-lecture-featuring-dr-richard-bauckham/
The fourth Gospel actually presents a much more consistently chronological account of Jesus' ministry, even though that emerges not as a primary intention but as a "fringe benefit" of its desire to include material from Jesus attending the various Jerusalem festivals (which can be dated).  And the claims Jesus makes for himself at each of those festivals dovetail closely with the significance of the festivals-Bread of Life at Passover time, working as the Father does on the Sabbath, Light of the World and living water at Tabernacles, the Good Shepherd at Hanukah, and so on.  John likewise contains more details of geography and topography than any of the Synoptics and, where he can be tested, he has consistently been shown to be accurate. 
http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbbible.aspx?pageid=8589952783
In a recent lecture in Jerusalem, James H. Charlesworth, Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and Editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project at Princeton Theological Seminary, outlined some of the new archeological finds in the environs of Jerusalem that are challenging the detractors of the Apostle John being the author of the book by his name. Charlesworth contended that recent finds demonstrate convincingly that the Gospel of John was probably written much earlier than often suggested and is, therefore, valuable for the study of the historical Jesus — in recreating his time, place and social environment, and in helping us understand his life, actions, teachings and agenda.
For instance, John chapter 5 records the story of the healing of an invalid man at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. The pool is said to have consisted of five porticoes, or porches.
For hundreds of years, people believing the pool did not exist read this text symbolically and theologically. ‘Bethesda’ means ‘house of mercy’ and was interpreted to be a symbol for the mercy Jesus showed the disabled man. ‘Five porticoes’ symbolized the Pentateuch (Five Books of Moses), since there has not been found a pentagon (5-sided structure) in antiquity. And what the Pentateuch could not do, Jesus will do. Verse 8 reads, “Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up!’” – providing a beautiful explanation of what Jesus does. Spiritually speaking, he makes people upright!
Beginning in the late 1800s and continuing in stages since then, archaeological excavations have been carried out in a location in the northeast quadrant of Jerusalem’s Old City based upon literary evidence in Josephus (War 2.15.5 §328) and Eusebius (Onomasticon 58.21–26). The Copper Scroll text discovered in 1947 at Qumran also describes a hidden treasure “in the Bet ‘Eshdatayin (pool precinct) in the pool at the entrance to its smaller basin” (3Q15 11.12).
Bet ‘Eshdatayin is in the dual Aramaic form and refers to two basins for the pool. Excavations have revealed sections of two massive pools, covered colonnades and a segment of Herodian steps in the general area described in John 5 and in Josephus’ writings. Rather than a pentagon shape, the five porticoes mentioned in John 5 surrounded the pools on the north, south, east and west, with the fifth portico dividing the 2 pools east to west (as seen in the photograph).
The Herodian steps in the Pool of Bethesda (see photo) can be seen today and are believed to extend for the length of the southern pool, or approximately 100 meters. It is a massive pool that is mostly covered by a parking lot today. The repetition of steps-landing-steps-landing can be easily seen and is typical of a mikvah, a pool or bath used to perform purification rites in Judaism.
In order to enter the courts of the Temple, located a little over 100 meters from the Pool of Bethesda, one had to be pure. In order to be pure, one had to be fully immersed in ‘living water.’ Thus a host of scholars today believe that the Pool of Bethesda was a first-century mikvah that served this purpose for tens of thousands of Jerusalem residents and for the thousands more that visited Jerusalem during the three annual pilgrimage feasts.
It has been estimated by some that over 100,000 Jews were in Jerusalem during the feasts. That is a lot of ‘living water’ needed for purification. It is likely the massive Pool of Bethesda helped to serve this purpose, along with other ritual baths surrounding the Temple. The requirement was that the worshipper must dip himself or herself in a mikvah before entering the courts of the Lord.
Re-reading John 5 with the pools, colonnades and steps in view, one can now easily envision the disabled man lying on his mat on the landing trying, with great difficulty, to immerse himself in the water just below. One can also envision another individual racing past him as the water is stirred up.
Now we can begin to understand that what the Gospel of John describes is precisely what had happened. The surviving literary records, such as the Copper Scroll, Josephus, Tacitus and the New Testament, refer to the water systems of Jerusalem, but none except John specifically mentions the Pool of Bethesda. That is to say, no other literary record but John and the Copper Scroll appear to have been aware of the pools which were likely destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
This is especially important because the Gospel of John is the only gospel that claims to have an eyewitness. Luke interviews the eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4), but John actually claims to have been an eyewitness to the miracles of Jesus (John 1:14; 19:35; 21:24-25).
Therefore, the story in John 5 was not a later creation of Christology (explaining the divinity of Jesus), but a real historical event that took place in a real time at a real place. That is how he knew the details about the pool, its name, its function, the age of the disabled man and the fact he was lying on a mat. All of these incredible details of the account attest to the eyewitness testimony of John, thereby adding to the credibility of its author and the early date of its authorship.
Visitors to Jerusalem today can enter the premises of St. Anne’s Church in the Muslim Quarter and see the real place where Jesus healed the invalid, perhaps on the very steps that you can observe today.
Meanwhile, John 9 tells the story of Jesus healing a blind man by smearing mud on his eyes and telling him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. The old paradigm in Jesus Research interpreted this passage on a very Christological basis, since they concluded there was no Pool of Siloam nor a relationship between the Gospel of John and actual history. The invented story simply shows how Jesus is the “light of the world” (verse 5) by showing the progression from first receiving physical eyesight followed eventually by receiving spiritual eyesight.
But in 2004, archaeologists discovered an ancient pool in the southern portion of the City of David excavations, south of the Temple Mount, which had been hidden since 70 A.D. The 50-meter northern edge and part of the eastern edge of the pool have been excavated while the remaining pool is on property owned by the Greek Orthodox Church.
Like the Pool of Bethesda, one can easily see the pattern of steps and platforms allowing pilgrims to easily enter the pool for full immersion in preparation for entering the Temple located 700 meters to the north. That is to say, like the Pool of Bethesda, the Pool of Siloam was also likely a mikvah, according to many archaeologists. These two pools represent the largest mikvaot (plural form) that have been discovered to date in the Land of Israel. Also, like the Pool of Bethesda, it is conceivable that Jesus immersed himself at this pool before entering the Temple. 
http://int.icej.org/news/special-reports/jerusalem-finds-validating-gospel-john
For additional corroboration, cf.
Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of John's Gospel: Issues & Commentary (IVP 2002). 
Craig Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Hendrickson 2003).
Could any fresh, third-party observer not immediately perceive the pattern: A Judeo-Christian version of Zeus-Jupiter, with his own storied demigod son born of a mortal woman? (13).

That papers over categorical differences:

i) Zeus sired demigods by copulating with human women. By contrast, the Virgin Birth involves the agency of an incorporeal God. Moreover, the imagery of "overshadowing" Mary probably evokes the Shekinah filling the tabernacle (Exod 40:35). So the conceptual background lies in the OT, not Greco-Roman mythology.

ii) In Greco-Roman mythology, gods and men range along a common continuum. God's are scaled up humans. Humans with greatly enhanced abilities. 

iii) Demigods are hybrid beings. Humans with superhuman athletic abilities. 

iv) By contrast, Jesus is Yahweh Incarnate. He is more powerful than Hercules. He is more powerful than Zeus. He is more knowledgeable than Zeus. 

He power isn't physical, like Hercules. To the contrary, Jesus can act at a distance. By word or by touch. Likewise, the NT teaches the preexistence of the Son. It's a fundamentally different theological paradigm. 

Plainly stated, this book explores the ancient conventionality and significance of the "resurrection" and "ascension" narratives of Jesus in the New Testament. The investigation, more specifically, seeks to discern any semiotic-linguistic relationship between what Plutarch described as a Mediterranean "translation fable" tradition in classical antiquity (Vita Romuli 2.:3-28.6) and the postmortem accounts of the New Testament Gospels and Acts of the Apostles (14).

i) The NT Gospels are not in a class apart from the OT. Both the Gospels and the OT share the same worldview. God, angels, evil spirits, miracles, prophecies. The NT is continuous with the OT. It's the OT, not Greco-Roman literature, that supplies the literary and conceptual background.

ii) The Resurrection accounts are not the apotheosis of a demigod into full godhood. In the Gospels, Jesus is divine from the outset. He is not admitted into the pantheon by virtue of the Resurrection. Rather, he returns to the Father. He originally came from heaven. 

Classicists have long been (self)trained not expressly to disrupt the sacred tenets of the Christian West and thus have leveled veiled criticism, albeit at times most thinly, within the relative privacy of their privileged society (15).

Classicists like John Lightfoot, F. F. Bruce, Bruce Metzger, and Colin Hemer were conversant with the same material that Miller cites. Yet they defended the historicity of the NT. 

…the tradition functioned in an honorific capacity; the convention had become a protocol for honoring numerous heroes, kings, and philosophers, those whose bodies were not recovered at death (16).
The strongest conventional signals of the translation fable operate under a subtext of distinction, namely, in demonstrating one or more of the signature divine feats of the translated corpus. Most typically this mean a "vanished body"… (30).

It's not like Jesus died on a foreign field, or died at sea. There was a chain-of-custody. The fact that the tomb was empty on Easter doesn't mean his body went missing. To the contrary, is body is very much on display throughout the Resurrection narratives. 

To what extent did the Romulean translation narratives provide a mimetic backdrop for the Gospel narratives? (16).

i) Of course, that's political propaganda. A backstory written to retroactively legitimate the pretensions of imperial Rome. 

ii) Miller is comparing a purely fictional, mythological figure (Romulus) with a historical figure (Jesus) whom contemporaries wrote about. There's no comparison. 

…the book also tacitly delivers a rather forceful critique of standing theories regarding the likely antecedents of the early Christian "resurrection" accounts. These tend to fall into two large pools: early Jewish resurrection tradition or the denial of any antecedent, thus positing a sui generis status, a perspective typically arising out of faith-based discourse (16).

i) Miller is blind to his own plausibility structure. Is he an atheist? Does he believe in miracles? 

If you take a secular outlook for granted, then that precommits you to believing that the Resurrection accounts are fictional. 

ii) Likewise, if you deny the existence of ghosts, then you assume that all accounts of postmortem apparitions are fictional, fraudulent, or hallucinatory.

If, however, ghosts are real, then Greco-Roman stories about dead relatives visiting the living may have a basis in fact. Even if the specific stories are fictional, they are inspired by genuine anecdotes or real-life experience. 

Postmortem apparitions and haunted houses are well-attested and widely-attested. Moreover, in a pagan culture steeped in the occult, or necromancy, these encounters would be expected. 

To take a comparison: many films about WWII, the Vietnam War, and the Civil War have fictional plots, fictional characters, and fictional dialogue. Yet a real event frames and underlies these movies. 

My point is not that the Resurrection narratives are ghost stories. Indeed, Luke and John go out of their way to quash that misinterpretation.

I'm just responding to Miller on his own terms. I'm merely pointing out that the kind of literature he cites (e.g. postmortem apparitions) may sometimes be true to life.  

The bodies of the gods were more physical, more perfect than those of mere transient mortals. They possessed super-human traits, that is, bodies without the limitations of the quotidian human condition. They remained durable, imperishable, immortal, powerful, perfect, beautiful, robust, immune to disease and debilitation, and were physically able to travel through the air, to transform (undergo metamorphoses or adopt an incognito form), to appear and to vanish, to teleport, even multilocate. Also, unlike the shades, the immortals were fully capable of interacting with the physical world in all human respects to the extent of fighting in battles, eating mundane foods, and even having intimacy and offspring with mortals (29-30).

i) Yes, the Greco-Roman gods were corporeal. That's the antithesis of Yahweh, who is incorporeal. Yet Yahweh is the frame of reference for NT theism and NT Christology.

ii) There's no indication in the Gospels that Jesus had the Olympian physique of Steve Reeves in Hercules. There's no indication that he had the athletic physique of Apollo in Classical Greek statuary.

iii) Greek gods could be injured. In the Iliad, Ares is wounded by Diomedes. 

Did Hephaestus have a "beautiful," "perfect" body? Wasn't he a cripple? 

iv) Even before the Resurrection, Jesus had an uncanny ability to elude lynch mobs. Not to mention his body becoming supernaturally luminous at the Transfiguration. 

v) Conversely, even after the Resurrection, he was scarred from the Crucifixion. 

vi) There's evidence for bilocation in the paranormal literature. You can't just assume that's fictional or mythological.  

vii) Even before the Resurrection, the miracles of Jesus aren't due to his having a special kind of body. 

These works, in turn, inspired the homonymous Metamorphoses of Ovid, Apuleius, and Atoninus Liberalis in Roman antiquity, not to mention the mythographic thematic plays of such writers as Lucian of Syria (30). 

Miller fails to distinguish between authors who consciously write fiction; careless, gullible authors who pass along legendary stories; and serious writers who report events based on firsthand observation or firsthand information. 

Urban II

Since Obama has dusted off the chestnut of the Crusades, here's the primary source that got the ball rolling:

http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/source/urban2-5vers.html

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yes, There is a Corpus Fallacy, and It is Committed Frequently

Imagine if someone took a three-page high school history paper of yours and claimed, "Your entire vocabulary is contained in that paper." Out of the millions of words in your written and oral discourse over the course of your lifetime, your entire terminology is limited to that high school paper.

That sort of application happens with many interpreters of the Bible. Have you read statements such as: "Matthew tends to have X vocabulary, therefore his theology is Y." Or, worse, "Paul does not use the term X in Y sense, therefore he was not aware of another commonly used sense." Or "Matthew uses X in Y sense, but Mark does not, therefore, Mark is not aware or would use its sense." You get the picture.

I have heard this type of reasoning for many years. And no linguistic Bible scholar (actually trained in linguistics) would ever use such a naive argument, at least these days.  (Incidentally, liberals are notorious with the corpus fallacy because it allows them to play with so-called "stylistics" of an author concluding often with pseudonymous authors; i.e. "2 Peter's vocab is very different than 1 Peter, therefore..."

The corpus fallacy is related to one of the most common lexical fallacies, the word-concept fallacy, which James Barr obliterated in his pioneering linguistic work in 1961 The Semantics of Biblical Language (a work that every seminarian should be required to read before they graduate).

Back to the corpus fallacy.

http://www.alankurschner.com/2015/02/11/why-the-bible-teaches-a-literal-physical-temple-naos-in-2-thessalonians-24-not-a-figurative-spiritual-temple-ep-23/

I want to briefly respond to Steve's comments in the previous post, "Is There a Corpus Fallacy?"

i) No doubt we're not stuck with Pauline usage or even NT usage when it comes to Koine Greek lexicography. I have no problem with casting a wider net." However, I think it's a question of concentric priorities. It's best to start with a writer's own usage. Especially in theology, not to mention a deep, original thinker like Paul, the usage may be specialized. His theological idiolect.

I agree, but I am addressing the claim (or the implication) by some who reject that Paul intends a literal sense of naos (temple) in 2 Thess 2:4, and some who think that Paul never would had used (or even been aware!) of the sense of a literal temple with the term naos. To claim that Paul uses the term in a spiritual sense in other contexts therefore it must mean this in 2 Thess 2:4 is ridiculous and sloppy linguistics (not saying this is Steve's position, but others make this deduction). I demonstrated that absurdity in my program in the link in the blog post.

In addition, yes, we should start with the target context, but I have seen not a few times from historicists to begin outside of Thessalonians and then import a spiritual meaning to naos in 2 Thess 2:4.

And at the end of the day it comes down to context of 2 Thess 2:4, which I have given many reasons in my program to convey a literal sense of a temple. Beale strains the text when his point is grasping at some connection between the apostasy and the temple representing the "covenant community." The exegetical connection is not there.

Now, in some cases, the occurrences of a word in Scripture are so few that we have no choice but to look elsewhere. And in some cases–especially in Hebrew–it may be a hapax legomenon, which forces us to ransack cognate languages. However, that's not an ideal procedure."

Again, the issue here is not so much whether he uses the term a few or many instances. For the sake of the argument let's say Paul uses naos 100 times (let alone five times!, excluding 2 Th. 2:4) in his letters in a spiritual sense because the contexts requires this. It would be incorrect to claim that therefore he would not be able to draw from a literal sense of naos in the 101 instance, just as any Greek-speaking Jew in the first century would have had in his or her semantic range of this term.
iii) Sure, Paul likely used that word in speech and writing more often than our sampling of his extant correspondence. But as Jacob Neusner is wont to say, what you can't show you don't know.

Neusner's statement is a misapplication to our linguistic point. There is no doubt that Paul would had referred to the temple and its sanctuary in Greek in his lifetime using naos. We are not talking about a rare word, but one of the most common Greek words for the Jewish temple cult. The linguistic skepticism is not warranted, and would reduce us to only make linguistic observations on single authors! and not on the body of Greek language. Further, as I mentioned in the program naos in a literal sense is found in Paul's sermon in Acts 17, albeit in Luke's summary.

And, of course, how he used it on other occasions would depend on the context of his speaking or writing on those undocumented occasions–which we can't assess.

We have an abundance of documentation in the NT and outside of it. We cannot assume that Greek semantic ranges of words are dependent upon not only a single author, but on a very small sampling of that author. The NT has frequent instances of naos in a literal sense. Paul certainly was aware of this sense and easily could draw from it—which bring us back to the contextual question of 2 Thess 2:4.

The point is that is so subjective and limited for interpreters to be making statements such as "Luke has this vocabulary" and "Paul has this vocabulary." Nevermind the different contexts and genres and purposes of writing. Luke,  Paul's, and most other Greek-speaking Jews would had easily possessed basically the same vocabulary, especially containing a common term such as naos.

iv) I haven't taken the position that Paul must be using naos figuratively in 2 Thes 2 because he uses it figuratively elsewhere. Rather, given the fact that he uses it figuratively elsewhere, it's valid to consider that when we come to 2 Thes 2. Of course, in cases where a word has multiple meanings or connotations, context selects for or narrows the range of operative meanings or connotations.

If there were another instance in his letters where he clearly talks about a temple in a spiritual-church sense associated with the Antichrist figure that is a different matter. But he does not. This is why the context of 2 Thess 2:4 is so important.

v) I, for one, never suggested that Paul is unaware of a more common or most common meaning.

That's fine, but I have read and heard over the years historicists claim or imply that since Paul uses naos spiritually elsewhere therefore Paul must be using it in this way in 2 Thess 2:3.
vi) Appealing to Paul's wider, undocumented usage cuts both ways. For by that logic, Paul might well have occasion to use naos in a figurative sense more often than the few documented examples in the extant Pauline corpus.
Paul certainly would had used naos in a figurative sense in his writings and oral discourse outside of the NT. But not sure how that fact is relevant to the point that he as a Greek-speaking Jew would had used naos frequently to refer to the Jerusalem temple.

vii) If we consider the totality of Greek usage, including undocumented usage–since most Greeks were pagans, it would most commonly denote a pagan shrine. But that would favor Green's identification.

That is irrelevant since the context is Paul a Greek-speaking religious Jew. Further, even within the NT documents naos is used in a literal sense frequently. 

In terms of Paul's undocumented usage, what are the situations in which he most likely had occasion to use that word? Well, when debating Jews or indoctrinating Jewish converts to Christianity, I assume it would most often denote the Second Temple/Herodian Temple. But in that case your appeal would favor preterism.

First, I would argue there are two documented cases: 2 Thess 2:4 as the context indicates and in Luke's account of his sermon in Acts 17.

Second, the situations would had been many.  To name one would be in Greek-speaking synagogues as he passed down the Jesus tradition, see BDAG for some of these other instances. Any Greek-speaking situation where Paul is talking about the temple naos would had been a common go-to term.  

I'll end with saying that I gave about seven reasons why the context in 2 Thess 2:4 indicates a literal temple, not a spiritual temple. These are arguments that historicists need to contend with.



Is there a corpus fallacy?


This forms the backdrop for an email exchange that Alan and I had last night:


Here's what I said:

i) No doubt we're not stuck with Pauline usage or even NT usage when it comes to Koine Greek lexicography. I have no problem with casting a wider net.

However, I think it's a question of concentric priorities. It's best to start with a writer's own usage. Especially in theology, not to mention a deep, original thinker like Paul, the usage may be specialized. His theological idiolect. 

Now, in some cases, the occurrences of a word in Scripture are so few that we have no choice but to look elsewhere. And in some cases–especially in Hebrew–it may be a hapax legomenon, which forces us to ransack cognate languages. However, that's not an ideal procedure. 

ii) Likewise, as you know, LXX usage is often quite germane to NT usage. So, again, it's not as if I'm forbidding usage outside the NT. 

iii) Sure, Paul likely used that word in speech and writing more often than our sampling of his extant correspondence. But as Jacob Neusner is wont to say, what you can't show you don't know. 

And, of course, how he used it on other occasions would depend on the context of his speaking or writing on those undocumented occasions–which we can't assess. 

iv) I haven't taken the position that Paul must be using naos figuratively in 2 Thes 2 because he uses it figuratively elsewhere. Rather, given the fact that he uses it figuratively elsewhere, it's valid to consider that when we come to 2 Thes 2. Of course, in cases where a word has multiple meanings or connotations, context selects for or narrows the range of operative meanings or connotations. 

v) I, for one, never suggested that Paul is unaware of a more common or most common meaning. 

vi) Appealing to Paul's wider, undocumented usage cuts both ways. For by that logic, Paul might well have occasion to use naos in a figurative sense more often than the few documented examples in the extant Pauline corpus. 

vii) If we consider the totality of Greek usage, including undocumented usage–since most Greeks were pagans, it would most commonly denote a pagan shrine. But that would favor Green's identification. 

viii) On a related note, some words have a default meaning. For instance, the default meaning of Paris is Paris, France–not Paris, Texas. An exception would be a resident of Paris TX talking to a fellow resident of Paris TX about their town.

In terms of Paul's undocumented usage, what are the situations in which he most likely had occasion to use that word? Well, when debating Jews or indoctrinating Jewish converts to Christianity, I assume it would most often denote the Second Temple/Herodian Temple. But in that case your appeal would favor preterism.

Likewise, he might well have some occasion to discuss the Solomonic temple.

In both cases, the word would have a more specific connotation than "physical temple." 

ix) We could, of course, distinguish between sense and reference, but I'm not sure how that would aid your argument.