Monday, May 05, 2014


It's revealing to see the quality of reasoning on display by Feser groupies. 

Nathanael said...As a young Reformed guy who reads your blog regularly I'd just like to say, keep up the good work. 
Nathanael said...So I went over to Triablogue (my first visit there) and saw that the author recommended getting my theology from Turretin and my philosophy from Plantinga and Swinburne. Because apparently the best way to support Reformed theology is to follow guys who reject divine simplicity, divine aseity, and predestination. Oh, and who have a "social" view of the Trinity. Because I guess he never bothered to actually read Turretin (who was as scholastic as they come).
Compare that with what I actually said:
But because he usually writes at a popular level, there's not a lot of depth or detail. And it lacks technical rigor. Plantinga raised the bar for how to do Christian philosopher. The same holds true, in a different way, for Swinburne. 
I expect many young Calvinists of a philosophical bent may still get their theology from Warfield and Turretin, or Schreiner and Beale, or Frame, but their philosophical role models are more in the vein of Pruss, Plantinga, the McGrews, van Inwagen, &c. 

i) Notice that I didn't "recommend" Plantinga or Swinburne. Is Nathanael unable to distinguish between a description and a recommendation?

ii) Moreover, I was distinguishing between theological content and philosophical method. Is Nathanael unable to draw that elementary distinction? 

iii) Also observe how undiscriminating he is. If, say, Plantinga or Swinburne reject divine simplicity, does that render them useless in other respects?  

Being a regular reader of Feser hasn't done much to hone Nathanael's analytical skills. 

Daniel said...I think it is ridiculous that anyone should say that you ignore Frege when you frequently mention how great an influence his article ‘The Thought’ was in turning you away from any physicalist philosophy of mind.
Except for the awkward little fact that I didn't accuse Feser of ignoring Frege. Where did Daniel come up with that?
Anonymous said...Hmm, I'm betting rockingwithhawking = Steve.
Since that speculation is wrong, where do I go to collect on the bet?

Jacob Steiner said...Dr. Feser. First off, I have to give you a certain gratitude of thanks. During my reversion to Catholicism I too discovered St. Thomas Aquinas. I wanted to learn from the great Saint and his philosophical/theological system. Reading Mortimer books on Aristotle and then your book on Aquinas has really shaped me into a better defending of the faith and ultimately the the truth.
Not exactly surprising that a revert to Roman Catholicism would side with Feser. 

Scott said...@"steve":
Your latest rant is unlikely to draw anything but laughter from those of us who are—unlike (by your own admission) you—"qualified to offer an informed opinion of Feser."
This is a pretty good example of the depths of silliness to which you descend:
"[U]nless you have a vested interest in the truth of Thomism, it's philosophically unenlightening to judge ID theory by that yardstick."
That is utter nonsense on several levels.
First of all, if being rationally persuaded that a particular philosophy is true amounts to having a "vested interest" in it, I must have missed that day of logic class.
Yes, I'd say he skipped logic class that day.

Second, pointing out the incompatibilities between two philosophical outlooks is not the same thing as judging one by the yardstick of the other.

I never said that was generally the case. Rather, I said that's what Feser is doing. I guess Scott missed a week of logic class.

Third, even if Ed's sole purpose were to evaluate ID theory by the yardstick of Thomism, that wouldn't make it philosophically uninteresting to everyone who didn't have a "vested interest" in Thomism.

Unless you think Thomism is true, why is it philosophically informative to use Thomism as the benchmark to evaluate ID theory? 

I'm not going to go through your entire post and pick it apart, but the rest is of similar quality. Not only are you a mouse nipping at the heels of an elephant, but you haven't even got the right elephant.
You mean, like this?

I appreciate Scott's suggestion that I have Feser running scared, although I doubt Feser would be as enthusiastic about the comparison.

Scott said...@Tom:
"@Scott: If you don't mind my asking, what are you, if not Catholic?"
Non-denominational classical theist and mostly Thomist, not terribly far from Mortimer Adler before his final conversion to Catholicism. I won't be the least bit surprised if I end up doing the same.
So it comes as no surprise that he's so defensive of Feser. 

Greg said...It's kind of like how I find Kant's evaluation of Hume to be unenlightening; I am not a Kantian, so anything Kant had to say is clearly valueless to me.
Unless he thinks Kant's evaluation of Hume is true, why would that be valuable?
Jonathan Garcia said...It is hillarious that the post is called "Doubting Thomist", yet he doesn't gives a single reason why we should doubt thomism.
Perhaps it's hilarious that he can't spell hilarious.
The post is called "Doubting Thomist" because that's a pun on Doubting Thomas. Sorry if that's too subtle for Garcia. 

Anonymous said...@Steve:
The first rule of holes is to stop digging. You just dug yourself even deeper, and you now proceed to advertise the fact in this combox.

Since you Triablogers love to quote scripture as though it were some kind of moral weapon, try this one on for size:
Because loving to quote Scripture is such an indictment. 

Mark Thomas said...Well said, Dr. Feser. There's a lot of "bright" fools on the web that dismiss something simply because "others disagree". 
Which wasn't the argument. The point, rather, is that since Feser's views on Thomism and ID theory have been challenged, his views are not a given. 
Further, there are more objection to intelligent design theory that are also independent of your metaphysics. For instance, check out Tim and Lydia McGrew's thoughts on the matter.
My post specifically mentioned that. Is he paying attention?

Greg said...
Perhaps I'm just siding with Feser out of my "Catholic partisanship," but this exchange strikes me as manifestly uncharitable on Steve's part.

Just what I'd expect a Catholic partisan to say. What a coincidence. 

The argument that Feser is making is clearly that ID is incompatible with classical theism. Not just Thomism, which is the subset of classical theism that Feser endorses. The issue with ID from the classical theistic perspective is that it portrays God as an artificer who acts on preexisting matter with its own quasi-mechanistic tendencies. That view of God is incompatible not just with Thomism but with other varieties of classical theism.
i) That's a ridiculous caricature of ID theory, as if ID theory views the Designer as a Demiurge who used preexisting matter to create the universe. 
ii) Why, moreover, is ID theory (allegedly) incompatible with classical theism, but theistic evolution (which most contemporary Catholic intellectuals espouse) not incompatible with classical theism? 
Nick said...Steve forgets apparently that a number of us fans of Feser are Protestants who happen to think Aquinas's metaphysics is right on a number of points. He can argue against Catholicism all day and not touch Feser's arguments. It's a straw man and for his audience, a way of poisoning the well.
Can Nick quote where I argued against Feser by arguing against Catholicism? Where did Nick come up with that? 

Nick said...Well that's amusing. I've been a fan of Feser for sometime, long before Steve went after him. It's why I hope to have him on my show sometime.
Steve's problem was that he kept equating classical theism with Thomism…
Can Nick quote me on that? I focus on Thomism because Feser is…a Thomist. Isn't that self-explanatory? 

 and made too many comments about Catholicism.
I compared Feser to other Catholic philosophers. What's wrong with that? 

 The debate over Catholicism for me is neither here nor there. It's one of the issues I don't look into and have no desire to. My time is limited.
I'd say that's the reductio ad absurdum of Resurrection apologists. Nick has no desire to have correct views on the scope of the canon, Biblical hermeneutics, Pauline justification, the sufficiency of the atonement, salvation by grace, the afterlife (i.e. Purgatory), the cult of the saints, Marian dogmas, &c. 

Ismael said...I think you made "Steve" cry... I hope he does not rust.
Isn't that clever?

Anonymous said...As a scientist and a former staunch Calvinist (now an "almost Catholic") who left the movement in part because of the unavoidable association with young-Earth creationists and ID proponents, I've heard a lot of "Steves" in my day. 
So a "now almost Catholic" sides with Feser. What a surprise.

Everything you've said about "Steve" is true, but unfortunately you are likely spitting into the wind. He and his ilk take "challenges" of their position as confirmation (Jesus said you'd be persecuted, after all), and yet they clearly perceive mere challenges of other positions as tantamount to disproof.

Nothing like armchair psychology as a substitute for reason and evidence.

Gary Black said...--Sorry, I keep moderating myself and have to delete previous comments--
Divine Frenzy,
I found your link very useful. I read the entire exchange and it was one of the things that spurred my first remark. During that exchange it was quite obvious that Steve will interpret Prejean in whatever light is most beneficial for Steve. It casts serious doubt on Steve's ability to do impartial exegesis. [This would be relevant to anyone looking at Steve as any authority on Biblical interpretation.]
Why frame Biblical interpretation in terms of "authorities" rather than who has the best exegetical argument?

My favorite part of the exchange is when Steve says "the purpose and practice of the GHM is widely attested in Scripture itself." Steve's argument is that we should use grammatico-historical method (GHM) and never allegory in our interpretation of Scripture. He states, "Incidentally, there is no such thing as 'moderate' allegorization ... Once you cut the text free from its historical moorings, you’re at sea without a map, compass, or coastline."
I found this hilarious because the New Testament quotes the Old in a way we know contradicts the original meaning of the OT author.

That's a stock allegation which many careful NT scholars have refuted. Gary suffers from self-reinforcing ignorance. 

Greg said...Indeed he does. Take him where TimL quoted him. Feser's critique of the philosophy of nature behind ID does not rely on Thomism. His series of posts on Nagel are themselves a critique of that mechanistic philosophy of nature.
Feser regards the weakness of naturalism (explicit in full-blown naturalism and implicit in ID) as a reason to adopt Thomism, but his critique of it does not rely on Thomism.

It doesn't? Then why is his critique of ID theory couched in explicit reliance on Thomist assumptions? For instance:

Steve knows none of this, having by his own admission not read enough of Feser to know better (though he nevertheless insists that he shouldn't have to read Feser).

Perhaps Greg hasn't read (or remembered or understood) enough of Feser. to know better. 

Charles said...I have to say that after reading Steve's blog, I agree there is little there, other than name dropping and more name dropping. I am sure the guy is well read. So, I think that was the mission, rather than to critically examine Feser. In fact, he falls prey to his own critique of Feser, with regard to being more of a follower than a thinker. Most intellectually driven Reformed thinkers tend to do that. "Is it Van Tillian? Ok. Then I'm for it. Is it Schaefferian presuppositionalism? Then I am against it." That's nice to know how you feel, Mr. Reformed guy...but do us a favor and embellish a bit more on what you're saying.
Can Charles quote me on that? "Is it Van Tilian? Ok." Where do I say that?

Alyosha said...So, let me get this straight. The same guy ("Steve") who said this:
//A misunderstanding can be more philosophically fruitful than a correct understanding (of a philosopher's actual position). For what ultimately matters in philosophy is the truth or falsity of the idea, not the truth or falsity of the attribution. //
...also says that the only reason to be interested in the compatibility of Thomism and ID is "vested interest in Thomism"?
I thought what ultimately mattered in philosophy was the truth or falsity of the idea as opposed to the attribution. Shouldn't anyone interested in ID be interested in the arguments that have been made against it? And, shouldn't any Christian interested in ID be interested in whether it is compatible with Classical Theism (the historically dominant position among Christian thinkers)?
This Steve guy seems like a joke...
It's because what ultimately matters in philosophy is the truth or falsity of the idea that the only reason to judge ID theory by Thomism is if you grant the truth of Thomism. So the joke is on Alyosha. 
Finally, we're treated to an intelligent comment:

Mr. Green said...
Jeremy Taylor: I do think it incorrect though that ID is incompatible with Classical Theism. Maybe this is because I'm not sure what is being referred to as ID.

Since it's not a trademarked term, it is typically abused as much as "evolution" or "creation" in such arguments, and hence many discussions that employ the phrase are worthless from the get-go (well, Internet discussions, certainly... but then Sturgeon's Law surely applies here).

Does ID have to refer to a well-developed and mechanistic philosophical position, or can it just refer to scientific and mathematical critiques of the science of Darwinism?

I'd say neither, if we go by a reasonable definition that takes it primarily to have something to do with "intelligence" and "design". (Also, it depends on what we mean by "darwinism"... did I mention how badly terms get abused in any discussions about special evolution?)

It seems clear to me that the central point of interest in ID is that notion that some things clearly demonstrate their deliberate design (as opposed to being merely accidentally ordered, or showing "as-if" intentionality). And I take it as obvious that this is so: for example, if you found a pile of papers printed with Hamlet on the floor of a printers' shop, it wouldn't violate any law of physics to suppose that tray after tray of type accidentally fell over and marked up some pages, but nobody would actually believe that a complete and accurate copy of Hamlet "just happened" to tip over. And if ID is taken to mean a scientific claim, we can certainly be more precise and calculate how many possible possible positions a tray of type could fall into, etc., and come up with an empirically-based (un)likelihood. All of which is obviously compatible with classical theism. (Questions about biological evolution are of course a particular application of this principle — what the answer turns out to be when we ask ID questions about biology is something for biologists to figure out.)


  1. Somehow, I doubt Thomas Aquinas would be a "Feserette" "Thomist" when it comes to ID theory. Per the article you posted (at least, I believe it was Steve) where Lydia McGrew defends ID theory against Feser's objections, the same objections that he raises could be raised against miracles themselves.

  2. I like how in one sentence you criticize me for framing "Biblical interpretation in terms of 'authorities'", but then very next sentence you make your argument by claiming "many careful NT scholars" have refuted my position. I don't know Steve, I'm skeptical of anyone who would frame Biblical interpretation in terms of "authorities". Or was it that I'm skeptical of hypocrites?

    Matthew 2:15
    "And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son."
    Tell me, what prophecy is this in reference to?

    Isaiah 40:3
    "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
    Was Isaiah meaning to reference Elijah?

    Matthew 13:35
    "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."
    Which prophecy is this in reference to?

    1. Gary Black:

      "I like how in one sentence you criticize me for framing "Biblical interpretation in terms of 'authorities'", but then very next sentence you make your argument by claiming 'many careful NT scholars' have refuted my position. I don't know Steve, I'm skeptical of anyone who would frame Biblical interpretation in terms of 'authorities'. Or was it that I'm skeptical of hypocrites?"

      At least you're consistently illogical. I didn't appeal to "careful NT scholars" as "authorities." Why do you draw that fallacious inference?

      I was unspecific because you were unspecific. As for your examples, I will address them later.

    2. I drew the inference just because my original use of authority was as "an accepted source of information." Either you did or did not interpret me in a way that was convenient for you [with regards to my usage of the word authority]. If you did misinterpret me, that goes about proving my original point. If you didn't, then the inference to NT scholars is clear.

      You either do or do not consider "careful NT scholars" acceptable sources of information. If you don't, you are a hypocrite for referencing them. If you do, you are a hypocrite for criticizing my "framing of Biblical interpretation in terms of 'authorities'".

      I lean toward you reading whatever you like instead of what is written (my original charge). Only you can tell us for sure. Since it is a defense of yourself, I'll let you have the last word on whether you misinterpreted me or are a hypocrite. I'd prefer to move onto your exegesis. Since you'll be using GHM, I'm sure your interpretation will be clear and uncontroversial.

    3. PS I won't be able to answer until much later tonight (more likely tomorrow).

    4. Your inference is fallacious. There are careful NT scholars who demonstrate that NT writers don't quote the OT in ways that contradict the original meaning of the OT author. That's not an appeal to "authority." Rather, that's an appeal to their exegetical arguments.

      I spoke in general terms because you spoke in general terms. You need to stop acting so paranoid.

    5. Matthew 2:15
"And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son."
[Gary Black] Tell me, what prophecy is this in reference to?

      i) Matthew is quoting Hos 11:1.

      ii) That doesn't contradict Hosea's meaning. Hosea himself has a typological understanding of redemptive history. He recast the threatened Assyrian deportation in terms of second Egyptian bondage followed by a second Exodus. That's in play in the very chapter Matthew quotes (Hos 11:5,11), as well as other passages in Hosea (cf. 2:14-15; 7:16; 8:13; 9:3,6).

      Therefore, Hosea already understood that the same past event can foreshadow an analogous future event(s).

      Likewise, "divine sonship" in OT usage can have both a collective referent (Israel) and an individual referent (David or David's heir). Furthermore, in covenant theology, an individual can represent others. So the individual and collective aspects can (and often do) merge.

      iii) Matthew is operating with the same typological principle as Hosea. A past event (the Exodus) foreshadowed an analogous future event (the childhood of Christ). Likewise, Christ is the Davidic son who embodies Israel.

    6. Isaiah 40:3
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."

      [Gary Black] Was Isaiah meaning to reference Elijah?

      i) Isaiah didn't intend to pick out any particular individual, be it Elijah, John the Baptist, or both. Isaiah didn't have a specific individual in mind. He didn't know who was going to fulfill that prediction. He lacks detailed knowledge of the future.

      In the case of short-term predictions, a prophet might have something more specific in mind, but not in the case of long-term predictions. And a prophet didn't necessarily (or even usually) know if his prediction was short-term or long-term.

      ii) Rather, Isaiah is describing a distinctive role which that individual will play. The role itself selects for the referent.

      iii) In addition, more than one individual can play or reprise the same role under analogous circumstances.

      iv) Keep in mind that, like Hosea, Isaiah also has a typological understanding of redemptive history, as can be seen in his new Exodus motif.

      So the NT appeal to this verse doesn't contradict Isaiah's "meaning."

      v) Apropos (iv), you need to distinguish between sense and reference. What it "means" and what it "refers" to are not interchangeable concepts.

    7. Matthew 13:35
"That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."

      [Gary Black] Which prophecy is this in reference to?

      i) Matthew is quoting Ps 78:2.

      ii) Minimally, Matthew is seizing on the introductory formula. What Jesus does at this point is analogous to what Asaph did under similar circumstances, making Jesus a counterpart to Asaph in that respect.

      iii) It's also possible that Matthew is making a larger point. Just as, according to Asaph, well-known events in Israel's history can have a latent significance that only becomes evident or more evident with the passage of time, the same principle holds true at this juncture in the life and ministry of Christ–which is an extension (and culmination) of Israel's history.

      Matthew's appeal doesn't contradict what the Psalmist "meant."

    8. On Matthew 2:15, I'm glad we agree that Matthew is referencing Hosea 11:1. I believe typology is a type of analogy and I understand this doesn’t undermine your point – as long as the typology was intended by the author. I don’t think that because the author uses typology (or metaphor or any other type of analogy) it is open to a thousand different interpretations. GHM should look to see what the author meant within the historical context that he is writing. I think it is clear that Hosea is talking about Assyrian deportation (as you stated). You believe that the author also intends any number of future analogous events. I find this doubtful but I think the context of the quote clears any room for misunderstanding.

      Hosea 11:1-2
      “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols.”

      Whatever future analogous events the author might intend this apply to, the coming messiah certainly would not be one of them. This would be a case of Matthew using the text in a typological or analogous sense contrary to what the original author’s intent was. I don’t believe that GHM could come to the conclusion that Matthew’s interpretation was a possible intention of the original author. Unless Hosea expects every sentence to be picked apart outside of the context of the text – or that he expects the messiah to sacrifice to idols.

      On Isaiah 40:3, I concede the point.

      On Matthew 13:35, once again we agree on the reference (Ps 78:2). I’m not sure how your point in ii) does not merely concede my point. I don’t think GHM could cash out that Psalm 78 was meant to be prophecy in the first place. Any prophetical interpretation is already analogous to the author’s intent. iii) is the same type of thing anyone who claims an analogous interpretation does – claiming that the significance of the text is larger than what the original author foresaw. And this significance can only be appreciated after some passage of time. But I’m not sure I understand exactly what you’re saying here; please clear up where I am misunderstanding you.

      Maybe we can find some common ground. Can we interpret something analogically if we have reason to believe the author intends for us to?

    9. First of all, let's recall how you originally framed the issue: "the New Testament quotes the Old in a way we know contradicts the original meaning of the OT author."

      In your responses to me, you are conflating two distinct issues:

      i) What did the author/prophet intend?

      ii) What did the author/prophet not intend?

      You're acting as though, if the author/prophet did not intend the oracle to have multiple referents, that he intended the oracle not to have multiple referents. But those are not convertible propositions.

      An unintended consequence can be consistent with original intent.

      Likewise, as I've noted, OT prophets already understood some past creative/redemptive events as paradigmatic models for future events. So the fulfillment was, to that degree, open-ended. The prophetic significance of a paradigmatic event lacks an automatic cutoff. For it sets a precedent for similar divine actions.

      By the same token, the significance of a long-range prophecy can't be exhausted by the prospective viewpoint of the author/prophet, for the simple reason that he lacks the detailed foreknowledge to intend a precise set of historical circumstances which fulfill the oracle. To a great extent, the who, when, and how are opaque looking forward. The significance of long-range prophecy has to be completed by a retrospective viewpoint. For it's only by looking back on the outcome that a reader is in a position to fully discern the paired relationship between the prophetic description and the concrete event.

      That doesn't contradict original intent, for that's the nature of long-range prophecy (or paradigmatic events which have prophetic value).

    10. I imagine we can consider "intent" narrowly or broadly. I could say Hosea's intent was to communicate a prophecy that Assyria would conquer Israel. I could also say Hosea's intent was to communicate prophetic revelation. Matthew is consistent with the latter but not the former. My first comment was about "meaning" or "intent" in that more narrowly constructed way. That was my meaning and I hope it has been clarified now.

      You don't have to convince me that Matthew's interpretation of Hosea is legitimate - I already agree with you on that point. My only point is that Matthew's interpretation is patently not an application of GHM. Matthew's interpretation ignores the grammar (by ignoring the context of the sentence) and it ignores the history (by not accounting for how the prophecy is relevant to the Jews of Hosea's time period). It is an analogical interpretation based on the light of that Scripture in Matthew's time period.

      Personally, I don't think Hosea referencing Egypt makes the argument that Hosea personally expects his prophecy of Assyria to be a "long-range" prophecy that will also have other referents. That might be God's intent but it's hard to see it as Hosea's. However, I will grant you that proposition on its face and your argument will still fall apart.

      If Hosea was intending to establish or use a previous paradigm, Israel still cannot be construed to be the Savior. For both in Egypt and Assyria, it is abundantly clear from the text that Israel refers to the people getting saved, not the savior. Matthew's interpretation cannot be construed to use the same paradigm Hosea is establishing/using. Asking me to think of Israel in a way that contradicts the plain meaning of the text is asking me to think of Israel in an analogical way. One of us agrees that this is what Matthew is doing. I am fine with it because my personal theology does not hinge on the success of a particular interpretive method.

    11. Messiah is the One True Israelite, an Israel of One, he is Israel, everything Israel stood for, everything Israel even existed in order to bring about. This is why he can say to the disciples on Emmaus Road that the OT was about him.

      This is why he said to the Pharisees that they were looking in the right place for eternal life (Holy Scripture); but despite all the description of him that filled the page in anticipation of his arrival, they failed to see him when he was standing right in front of them.

      You seem to be suggesting that the Pharisees were right, and the disciples weren't "slow of heart." It's Jesus who calls for the analogical interpretation. Sorry, but he's not (nor is Matthew and the others whom he taught) contradicting the "plain meaning," of the text. If we or the Twelve or the Pharisees weren't seeing the Coming One everywhere in Moses, Psalms, and Prophets, the failure was not in the texts to speak plainly enough; but in us.

      Matthew, Paul, Jesus himself--they aren't reinventing the religion of the old faithful.

    12. Bruce,
      I have already made clear "...Matthew's interpretation of Hosea is legitimate." Nowhere did I say or imply that Christ cannot be considered the One True Israelite or any other honorific you give Him. I was saying that it is not a paradigmatic use of Hosea's text. Let me just use your own words: "It's Jesus who calls for the analogical interpretation." Great! We are in agreeance - the usage is analogical. I appreciate your support.

    13. A fixture of the GHM is making allowance for differences in genre. In that respect, you're failing to draw another crucial distinction. Original intent has a narrower scope in prophetic literature than, say, epistolary literature or historical narration.

      When, say, Paul writes Galatians, authorial intent determines both sense and reference. He chooses words to express what he wants to convey. And he also determines the identity of the referents. And that's because the identity of the referents is under his control.

      But in the case of prophecy, that's only about half true. Authorial intent still determines the meaning of prophetic discourse (i.e. the meaning of a sentence).

      However, the identity of the referent is independent of the prophet's intent. The referent concerns future events. That's out of his hands. That's up to God. In many cases, a prophet doesn't even know what the referent will be. His knowledge of the future is still quite limited. Compartmentalized.

      A prophet is a recipient of knowledge about the future. He is privy to genuine, albeit limited knowledge of the future. He's basically a reporter. Take a seer. He describes what God showed him. Whether the referent lies in the near future or far future, whether the referent denotes one or multiple events, is not something he is even in a position to intend unless God's revelation is more specific on that point.

      I didn't suggest "Hosea referencing Egypt makes the argument that Hosea personally expects his prophecy of Assyria to be a 'long-range' prophecy that will also have other referents."

      You're repeating the same mistake you made before. Not expecting something to happen isn't equivalent to expecting something not to happen.

      Why, moreover, are you assuming that Hosea even had expectations about how often the Exodus would have future analogues? Once an OT prophet accepts the principle that past events may anticipate future events, there's no intrinsic limitation on how repeatable that is. That's something to be discovered.

    14. Gary Black


"If Hosea was intending to establish or use a previous paradigm, Israel still cannot be construed to be the Savior. For both in Egypt and Assyria, it is abundantly clear from the text that Israel refers to the people getting saved, not the savior. Matthew's interpretation cannot be construed to use the same paradigm Hosea is establishing/using. Asking me to think of Israel in a way that contradicts the plain meaning of the text is asking me to think of Israel in an analogical way."

      i) That's not how Matthew is using Hosea. You equivocate on "salvation." "Save" can mean to redeem sinners or it can mean to deliver and/or protect from harm. The paradigm connotes divine protection. Just as Yahweh protects his "son" Israel from a murderous ruler (Pharaoh), God protects his Son Jesus from a murderous ruler (Herod). The Father is "saving" the Christchild in that sense, which is consonant with Christ (as an adult) being a Savior.

      ii) In addition, you chronically collapse sense and reference. But what a word or sentence means and what it references are two different things.

      Take "beagle." That means a particular dog breed. One kind of dog.

      But that has multiple referents. All the beagles of the world.

    15. No, Gary. Clearly, we're not on the same page. I wondered whether to use your term, "analogical," since it had potential to be equivocal. Analogy, as I used the word, is Hosea's paradigm prior (historically) to it being Jesus' in the flesh. Far more could be said, but this exchange is simply distracting from the main one. --out--

    16. Bruce,
      No one would argue that Hosea doesn't use analogy, but he is also talking about a specific revelation - and something we know happens. Some parts of that revelation are relevant to Matthew's circumstance, other parts are not relevant (like the example I gave). Finding the likeness in the different circumstances is what an analogy is.

      Although I disagree I collapsed sense and referent, I agree I didn’t clearly make the distinction. It makes my usage of terms like “expect” and “intent” confusing. I will try to minimize the confusion by using the terms as you emphasized I must.

      My argument was that given the context of Hosea 11:2, Jesus is only a somewhat fitting referent for Israel in Hosea 11:1. Because it is not wholly fitting, it is only “somewhat” or “like” or “analogical to” the author’s original sense. I don’t believe you ever addressed this discrepancy which is the main substance of my argument.

      I think I have made the case that Matthew's interpretation of Hosea 11 is analogical. At this point we are splitting hairs about how much like Matthew 2:15 is to Hosea’s paradigm. I agree that your point in i) shows how it can broadly fit into that paradigm. Let me be clear what I mean by “broadly.” I mean some elements fit, others do not. In other words, it fits analogically.

      What is the point of GHM if not to consider the grammatical context, historical context, and genre in order to better understand the author’s sense (and referent if univocal)? I think Matthew ignoring the grammatical context shows clearly he is not using GHM. In summary, in applying GHM to Hosea 11 and Matthew 2, we find that Matthew is interpreting the text analogically.

    17. i) One of the factors you fail to appreciate is that both Hos 11:1 and Mat 2:15 are special cases of a general principle. Hosea himself regards the impending Assyrian deportation and subsequent restoration as an exemplification of the Exodus motif.

      It is therefore artificial for you to single out a specific application to the detriment of underlying exemplar which Hosea himself recognizes.

      ii) In addition, if Mt 2:15 alludes to Hos 11:1, Hos 11:1 alludes to Pentateuchal passages. The "sonship" motif comes from Exod 4:22-23 while the "out of Egypt" motif comes from Num 23:22 and 24:8. In Num 23:22, the referent is plural (i.e. corporate Israel), but 24:8 is singular, highlighting a future king who will arise to defeat Israel's enemies (symbolized by Agag). So there's already a dialectical interplay between singular and collective referents, with a Messianic motif.

      iii) Your final paragraph ignores my discussion of the prophetic genre. Additionally, you create a false dichotomy between the GHM and analogous events, even though Hosea himself relies on that principle.

    18. On iiia), I thought I addressed your distinction of the genre. Going back you said, "Original intent has a narrower scope in prophetic literature..." You then went on to explain how in prophetic literature the author is not necessary privy to the full scope of the referent. I took that to be an explanation of what you meant by "narrower". By not assuming Hosea knew some univocal referent, I addressed the issue of genre as you presented it.

      On i) I would only say that my singling it out wasn't artificial - I singled it out because of Matthew's wording. On ii) I would say that generally agree that there is a motif at work. We seem to disagree about whether this makes Matthew 2:15 analogous or identical with the predecessor's prophecy. On iiib) I would say I have consistently said that you and I agree Hosea uses analogy.

      The dichotomy is not GHM vs analogy; it is GHM vs analogical interpretation. You use this dichotomy yourself considering in the past you have rejected the latter and accepted the former. If Hosea said his prophecy is a fulfillment of some prophecy concerning Exodus, I would [likely, depending on the context] say Hosea is interpreting that prophecy analogically. Precisely because he [likely] would have important details that differ.

      That being said, I find your interpretation and elaboration of the motif to be interesting if not conclusive with regards to the point you are trying to make. Naturally, I still think understanding Matthew 2:15 as an analogical interpretation makes more sense. I don't think I have anything more constructive to add. Unless you have some specific query, I'll have to leave it at that. Please feel free to summarize and have the last word.

    19. i) You need to distinguish between analogical "interpretation" and analogical events. It's not that Matthew is interpreting Hosea analogically. Rather, the underlying events (i.e. the Egyptian bondage/Exodus; the Assyrian deportation/restoration; the Holy Family taking refuge in Egypt) are analogous. Hosea is an OT witness to that recurrent pattern.

      ii) Moreover, the Exodus established a divine precedent, which–in turn–fosters the expectation God will do similar things in the future.

  3. This might help or hurt. According to some Messianic Jews there are:

    Four categories of quotations in the New Testment of the Old Testament. Using a common Jewish hermeneutical approach called Pardes/PaRDeS.

    Arnold Fruchtenbaum argues (e.g. HERE) the following four ways.

    Literal Prophecy Plus Literal Fulfillment: Pshat
    The first category is known as “literal prophecy plus literal fulfillment,” reflecting the rabbinic pshat, which refers to the simple meaning of the text. The example of this first category is found in Matthew 2:5 6.

    Literal Plus Typical: Remez
    The second category of quotations can be labeled “literal plus typical.” In rabbinic theology it was known are remez or “hint.” An example of this category is found in Matthew 2:15.

    Literal Plus Application: Drash
    The third category is “literal plus application,” correlating with the rabbinic drash. The example of this category is Matthew 2:17 18.

    Summation: Sod
    The fourth category is “summation” or “summary.” The meaning of sod is “secret” or “mystery” or “something unknown.” The example of the fourth category is found in Matthew 2:23.

    (cf. this article Here)