Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Regret To Inform You

It is with my sincere apologies that I must inform you all that, as cute as you think your own child is, mine is just that much cuter and more adorable. For proof of this claim, please observe the following:


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To Name or Not To Name

I've been agonizing over a particularly sticky issue regarding my own morning "quiet time" with God lately. Namely (to pardon the pun): naming Him.

I'm currently reading through the Bible in haphazard fashion via the English Standard Version, which does a reasonable job of combining the formal equivalence of the NASB (my old standard) that I love so well with the more lyrical qualities of, say, the KJV. Anywho, like virtually all modern, widely-read English Biblical translations, the word "LORD", in all caps, typically in a different font, appears very often when God is referred to in the Old Testament. Whenever LORD appears in that manner, it means that the original Hebrew indicates the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, the name of God. Turns out, even in their oldest scriptures, the most the ancient Israelites could bring themselves to do was spell out the consonants, always omitting the vowels of that particular word. As a result, there is some debate as to how the name of God should be pronounced, although the vast majority of scholarship has settled on "Yahweh" (for which Wikipedia has a very enlightening article, as it happens).

The best reason I can determine for this YHWH --> LORD substitution is deference to traditional Jewish sensibilities. Apparently, naming God, even in Scripture, runs the risk of breaking the third commandment (second for the bloody Papists in the audience), taking the Lord's name in vain. And frankly, and with all due respect to any Jewish readers (let's face it, my lackluster recent blogging has probably reduced my audience to me, Sam, and a coupla Mazurs, so I'm probably not offending anyone), this is simply not a good enough reason to quite literally deface the entirety of Old Testament scriptures. As a result, I've been training myself to reflexively say "Yahweh" whenever I see "LORD" in the text. As a practice, it's one I recommend, as it has helped me to gain a better feel for God as a specific and personal God, not some nebulous all-powerful Force or something equally undefined.

But I'm not sure if I'm fully justified in this practice. The New Testament, written in Greek, makes heavy use of quotations from the OT, most typically taken directly from the Greek Septuagint version thereof. As a result, neither YHWH or any Greek equivalent ever appears in the NT -- rather, what we see whenever the corresponding passages containing YHWH in the OT are quoted is rendered in the Greek as κυριος, kurios, or Lord. Believing as I do that the NT was as equally inspired by God as the OT, it must be the case then that this construction itself, too, was inspired by God. What I am forced to question, then, is whether God Himself, rather than the Jewish scribes, felt that His name was too sacred to be further rendered and/or pronounced in Scripture.

I do not believe that to be the case, although I cannot rationalize this belief. After all, if He did not want His name known, He would not have inspired the authors of the OT to write it so frequently. So until God shows me otherwise, I will continue to read Yahweh where others read LORD.

Incidentally, of all the various Bible translations in my house (can't have too many!), only one, in which I have spent virtually no time at all, ever renders the Hebrew YHWH as Yahweh -- the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Not exactly a "big league" translation. But useful, although it only does so in scant few places, primarily in Exodus.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Here I am. The youngster has been begging me to come here for a while now. After joining his 'serious' blog, he has had this bromantic notion that a brotherly blogging buddy, a fraternal philosophy friend, even a sanguinary supposing someone would embiggen his spirit. Hopefully I will make that happen. If not, he will change my password, which he chose in the first place.

I am really not like the boy. I am not into sci-fi. I do not study Greek for fun. I have to experience things to believe them and learn them. I suck at math (although I made an A in Diff-E the first time through). I will approach postings and subject matter in a different way.

First: I will not research or cite things that I have heard and am commenting upon if it turns out to be too difficult to do so. If it is in my imagination, but logical, it must be true. I will try to back things up with intellectual truths if not research.

Second: I will get to that some other time. I tend to run out of energy and give up on thoughts. Anyway, one of my goals in posting things is to get my brother on some type of Washington watch list.


New Things a-Brewin'!

"Last Post October 1st"? Really? That's gotta be a typo. I'll have to have a word with the Google/Blogger people about that.

But seriously, folks, I've had a rather overlong, political-funk-induced blogging drought. I hope I still have a reader or two, but if not, I'll just have to garner a bunch of new ones with unparalleled productivity and rapier wit!

OR, I can do what my dear friends and fellow bloggers over at Mazurland have done, twice now, and bring in some fresh meat new blood to stimulate the blogging atmosphere (how well's that workin' out for ya, guys? Ok, seriously, I'm gonna get my backside in gear over there too, I promise!)! And at long last, my dear, globe-trotting big brother Sam has finally relented against the neverending onslaught of my shrill whining and begging, and agreed to grace this place with his presence! So very soon, we shall see the first of what I hope are many posts from Brother Sam (and me, of course...)!