Author Archives: sestir

The “Christian country”

With this article, the older article 16 causes of Sweden’s migration crisis will drop out from the front page. A 17th cause would be: an attempt by Atheists, Humanists and Socialists to provoke a war between Christians and Muslims. If successful, they would be able to say “Look how much trouble religion causes! Let’s do away with it.” I am happy to observe that so far, neither Christians or Muslims have swallowed the bait, in Sweden.

An article by a Lawrence W Reed in the Washington Examiner, arguing that Jesus was not a socialist generated some debate. Socialism has many definitions. Reed focuses on the distribution and ownership of property.

I would like to add that another characteristic is Socialists are social. They have what they call “social competence” which makes them able to benefit from the presence of people around them. To the contrary, many Christians become ascetics, because if they are together with other people, it is usually the other people who benefit whereas the Christian him-/herself gets exhausted.

Men, of whom the world was not worthy, became as wanderers in the desert, and in mountains, and in dens, and in caverns of the earth. — Hebrews 11:38, Etheridge.

So then, given the undisputable subjective opinion that Christianity is almost diametrically opposite to Socialism, which some people claim is a “leftist” ideology, does that mean Christianity is right? Sure. Is it rightist? Not so sure.

Truth is holy. If you try to approach it you might become holey, because our adversaries often arrange ideological trenches on either side of truth, shooting at everyone who comes near. One arrangement of trenches is the division of people into leftists and rightists. It is very important for them that you learn and appreciate the fact that this division came about in the French parliament in 1789 because persons with the one extreme view were seated to the left and persons with the other extreme view were seated to the right. Otherwise, you might get weird ideas when you read Ecclesiastes 10:2:

A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.

Actually “hand” is supplied by the translator, whether from Hebrew, Syriac or Greek. If the left-right political dimension existed back then, then perhaps this is about it. However, we also have Jonah 4:11…

and shall not I spare Nineve, the great city, in which dwell more than twelve times 10,000 human beings, who don’t know their right hand or their left hand; and also much cattle?

They don’t know their hands. Um’kay. But if Nineve didn’t have the left-right division in its political establishment, that would actually be a pretty good reason for God to send a prophet and to protect the city for yet a little while. (It is reasonable to supply the word hand in these two passages, however compare the Greek text of Luke 6:6 where a hand is explicitly involved.)

Coincidentally, where I live, the left-right split is most vehementally defended by people who absolutely hate the Christian god. Why? It might be unsettling to a socialist if there are a lot of honest workers moving around in society who think for them selves and draw their own conclusions. The solution then, is to provide these people with a leader and with spiritual guides so that they act in predictable ways. Give them a little victory here and a little victory there, but maintain a society where the selfish liars will always come out on top.

But thou, when thou art doing thy alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall recompense thee in openness. — Matthew 6:3 .. again ‘hand’ is supplied.

In Socialist societies alms are handled by the state and the people cannot afford to give anything beyond what they pay in taxes.

Love is a Limited Resource

I overheard, recently, a Christian sister arguing that we should not judge others but love everyone, try to save everybody, and pray for everyone. This in response to a brother quoting John 17:9.

“I make request concerning them; I make request, not concerning the world, but concerning those you have given me; because they are yours.”

She was somewhat mistaken of course — pearls before swine and all that — and somewhat right — some fell on stony ground, some fell among thorns.

But is there a tendency among churches to deviate in the love-whoever-scares-you-most direction?

Look at this delicious beechnut in the Swedish State-made Bibel2000 — Daniel 2:18:

Och han uppmanade dem att bönfalla himlens Gud att visa barmhärtighet och låta dem veta hemligheten, så att inte han och hans kamrater och alla andra visa i Babylon skulle mista livet.

Translation from the Swedish above by me:

And he called upon them to suplicate the God of Heaven to show mercy and let them know the secret, so that he and his comrades and all the other wise in Babylon wouldn’t lose their lives.

Did Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah really pray for the sake of the other wise men in Babylon?

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Organizations and their u-turns

U-turn chart

This chart may be useful since many people seem to make the mistake of assuming that an organization’s opinion, doctrine, stance, position, reasoned consensus or whatever they might call it, will forever remain constant. Not so!

To the contrary, there seems to be a trend where the leadership of an organization narrows down the opinions that members may express, to just a few (we say that it converges and becomes a converged organization), and then changes them. The point of doing so is to get rid of honest members, because a honest person will have trouble defending opinion A, and then switch to defending not A.
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Wheat and etiquette

Don’t tell anyone, but in an effort to find the most humble facts about weeds, I dived into a container and found a short writing which mentions a weed whose Scanian name had a prefix which might match the Hebrew קפא kʷafa as found in Zephaniah 1:12:

והיה בעת ההיא אחפש את ירושלם בנרות ופקדתי על האנשים הקפאים על שמעריהם

(And) it-will-happen in-time that I-search Jerusalem with-lamps and I-appoint over people the petrified [ones] upon dregs (lees – a rest of the fermentation of wines)
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The older layer of the Gothic version

This concludes a series of articles exploring places where the use of synonyms could indicate that the biblical text was translated into Gothic at two different times or by two different translators. The main attraction of this article is the table where we compare the conclusions of my vocabulary study of Gothic Luke with Dieter T Roth’s reconstruction of Marcion’s version of Luke.

It is colour-coded according to how strongly it indicates the presence or not of the text in the respective early version.
Blue = maximum certainty of presence.
Green = probably present.
Yellow = hard to say.
Orange = probably absent.
Red = maximum certainty of absence.
Roth doesn’t use colours to designate levels of certainty, but I allowed myself to interpret from descriptions like “[…] attested but no insight into wording can be gained.” to the colour displayed for Luke 18:12, and so on.
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Gothic synonyms: Sunno and sauil

Where the Greek text typically has ἥλιος, Gothic has:

1. sunno (f) ‘sun’ – Matthew 5:45; Luke 4:40; Ephesians 4:26; Nehemiah 7:3.
2. sunno (n) ‘sunshine weather’ – Mark 4:6; 16:2.
3. sauil (n) ‘sun’ – Mark 1:32; 13:24.

Sunno has connections with Old English sunne and OHG sunna, according to Balg’s dictionary. Sauil has similar forms in Old English, Old Norse and Latin sol. It is difficult to say from etymology which form is more likely original and which would be later, however since sunno appears rather often, 6 times versus 2 for sauil, if one form is later it is probably the rarer one.

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The effort to turn trucks into a problem

Certain parties and ideologies hold that it would be good for society and the environment if more people traveled collectively, that is by bus or train. They rarely mention goods.

Think about it!

If it is preferable to the environment if people journey together, then certainly it is preferable if goods do. It takes less fuel. There will be fewer vehicles.

So, in socialist countries in Scandinavia, there are lanes that only busses may use. On the contrary, there are signs saying trucks may not pass certain streets. Bus good. Truck bad. Nonsense.
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Gothic synonyms: Biuhti and sidus

I attempted to write an article on orthographic variants involving the words for devil and apostle that the Gothic version received transcribed from Greek. However the possible explanations for the rather few variants branched out too much and I found I don’t have access to the variants from Codices Ambrosianus because the transcription at Project Wulfila, that of Streitberg, is somewhat normalized so that some orthographic variants have been removed and some have remained in the text. I leave it to my dear readers from the next generation as I guess digital facsimiles will be made and released some day. Anyway, here is an illustration with two of the words: apaustauluns and unhulþom from Luke 10:1 in Codex Argenteus:

Luke 9:1 in Codex Argenteus

Biuhti and sidus can both be translated with ‘custom’, ‘manner’ or ‘habit’ in English. Biuhti is the more commonly used word in the Gothic version, and so is unquestionably original. In Peshitta it sometimes correspond to the similarly sounding ܒܥܝܕܐ bayādā ‘by habit’. But usually, it is matched by ܕܡܥܕ damād. In the Greek, we have mostly ἔθος ‘custom’ and εἰώθει from εἴωθα ‘be accustomed’ or ‘make into a custom’. So both the Greek tradition and the Syriac tradition deviate from the Gothic. The usual Latin word is a form of consue-, such as consuetudo.

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