Monday, July 16, 2012

Quote of the Day: Hebraic vs. Greek mindsets

"Have you ever heard of abandoning a "Greek" mindset for a "Hebraic" one. One word: IMPOSSIBLE.
First if you are a protestant, you don't think like a Greek(at least theologically) you think like a Roman(i.e. you are Augustine's theological descendant).

Second to that, you are trying to take on a supposed world-view that has been absent for over 2000yrs. Two guys laid down the basic rules of Jewish interpretation that they have followed for over 2000yrs, they were Yossi HaGalili and Yishmael the High Priest. Both of them cribbed Socratic didatic, in fact their rules for interpretation were Socrates rules for didactic logic.

The next major Jewish thinker, Rambam was a neoplatonist.

So if you want to look at the Bible like a Jew, perhaps you should start thinking like a Greek."


Rods Bobavich said...

Perhaps etomology isn't the best way to look at though processes. What does it mean to think like a Roman anyway?

The real test is whether we approach things like a theologian or a practitioner. The difference between sheep and goat is in what they do not the cultural bias which invigorates their thinking or the mantra that fuels their beliefs. Life is for living not philosophisizing.

This is the point of contrasting the two language. Hebrew is a verb rich language. Greek is noun based with rich adjectives. While it is frustrating to see buzz word polute communication it is important to seek out the nature of their meaning.

The problem is not that we lack people who think in Hebrew. The real problem is a lack of submissive obedience poised to act at the first hint of an infered command. Let's stop bantering over words and seek rather to let God order our steps.

Choose life. Do something!!!

Lev David said...

Rod as the originator of the quote I think you missed the point. Essentially the idea of interpreting the Bible with a "Hebraic" mindset is a logical fallacy that people hold up to defend their personal theological bias while attempting to claim that it is somehow more original and thus authentic.
However, it ignores the inherent issue of cultural bias, and the difficulties of acculturation. Sociologists will say that it takes a minimum of 5yrs of immersion in a foreign culture in order to begin to think in a way that is somewhat native to that culture. However there has not been a purely Hebraic culture in over 2500yrs.
Even attempting to contrast the two languages, in a sense you have to admit that one, being a verb based language is simply a characteristic of Semitic languages in general, which would include roughly twenty different languages including Phoenician which at the very least influenced Greek(especially Koine).

Now as far as what it means to think like a Roman... That means for the majority of people living in the West, their theological perspective is indelibly stamped by the writings and thought of Augustine, who became the primary thinker upon which the Latin Patriarchate, which later evolved into the Roman Catholic Church, based it's theology. As opposed to say Basil of Caesarea, Gregory the theologian and(to a lesser extent) John Chrysostom.
Those theological differences, by 900CE caused a rift extreme enough to bring about the Great Schism and set the Eastern(Greek) and Western(Latin) sides of Christianity, and their respective off-spring(Messianic Judaism being one of them in the West) on very divergent courses...

Yahnatan said...

I got this comment from a friend:

*I'm pretty sure Maimonides was 'an Aristotellian'...

I agree that the idea of trying to separate between Jewish thinking and Greek thinking and Christian thinking and Western thinking and Eastern thinking and Middle Eastern thinking etc, is quite impossible. (that's such a greek thing to say!)(and calling all these different types of "thinking" is also greek, because to think is greek)

Would you say that the teacher/rabbi-disciple/pupil setting is the inheritance of greek philosophy? From Hellenism to Israel and the Pharisees, including to Jesus...

I learned in class an interesting point: systematic commentaries on classic texts (like the Bible) in Judaism in Israel began with חז"ל following middle-platonism such as Philo, who did systemtaic comprehensive textual commentaries on Plato's writings.