Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

***Pope in hot water

by PeWi Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 06:30:59 AM EST

Pope Benedict quotes an 600 year old document and gets into trouble.

I don't know why I want to defend this pope, but hey - I don't even know if I succeed.

***from the front page - Jerome


His reflections can be found here (in German) and here in their english translation. But contrary to what is written in the Herald Tribune as summary

On Tuesday, Benedict delivered what some church experts said was a defining speech of his pontificate, saying that the West, and specifically Europe, had become so beholden to reason that it had closed God out of public life, science and academia.
He began his speech at Regensburg University with what he conceded were "brusque" words about Islam: He quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor as having said: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The pope then used the word jihad, or holy war, saying that violence was contrary to God's nature and to reason.

and reaction of its by Muslim critiques like this one:

I don't think the church should point a finger at extremist activities in other religions," Aiman Mazyek, president of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, told the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, pointedly recalling the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and the Vatican's relations with Nazi Germany.

are both off the mark. The tribune does not provide a proper context (they obiviously did not read the speech either) and put word into the Pope's mouth, where he is obviously quoting and providing a summary of the emperors thoughts on the matter

The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".

and Aiman Mayzek might have only been given the quote and nothing about the context as well.

So here is how I see the whole thing:
While the Pope was thinking about what to say about Faith and Reason he happened to read a book about something completely different.

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both...It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole - which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

He is using this dialog as a starting point to discuss the relationship between Faith and Reason and how this changed over the centuries. Could he have used a different example? Most probably, should he not have used this, possible.

There are further indications that he is not interested in bashing Islam:

For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy

That's what is important to the pope, the relationship between the emperors faith and his thinking that is being shaped by Greek philosophy. And this "state of mind" leads him to make this statement about Islam. Does that mean the Pope agrees with him? No, it does NOT! He uses this as an example as to how rational thinking and your philosophical tradition influences your perspective on faith.
And it is this philosophical tradition that then interests the pope in the rest of his reflection. Where he then spends more time to look at the relationship between both

In a way it is funny and ironic, a reflection on belief and reason, that is not being lead reasonably...

Oh, and what he really wants to say?

The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvellous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is .... the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which belongs to the essential decisions of the Christian spirit. The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. ... as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.

(all the bold text is my emphasis)

Display:
The real question for me in this context is - who first missread the context and put words from a quote into the mouth of the pope as his own words and opinions.

Who is interested in antagonising the Pope and the Islamic world?

by PeWi on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:08:21 PM EST
Juan Cole attacks the substance of Ratzinger's statements about Islam thus:
...

The address is more complex and subtle than the press on it represents. But let me just signal that what is most troubling of all is that the Pope gets several things about Islam wrong, just as a matter of fact.

He notes that the text he discusses, a polemic against Islam by a Byzantine emperor, cites Qur'an 2:256: "There is no compulsion in religion." Benedict maintains that this is an early verse, when Muhammad was without power.

His allegation is incorrect. Surah 2 is a Medinan surah revealed when Muhammad was already established as the leader of the city of Yathrib (later known as Medina or "the city" of the Prophet). The pope imagines that a young Muhammad in Mecca before 622 (lacking power) permitted freedom of conscience, but later in life ordered that his religion be spread by the sword. But since Surah 2 is in fact from the Medina period when Muhammad was in power, that theory does not hold water.

...

The pope was trying to make the point that coercion of conscience is incompatible with genuine, reasoned faith. He used Islam as a symbol of the coercive demand for unreasoned faith.

But he has been misled by the medieval polemic on which he depended.

In fact, the Quran also urges reasoned faith and also forbids coercion in religion. The only violence urged in the Quran is in self-defense of the Muslim community against the attempts of the pagan Meccans to wipe it out.

The pope says that in Islam, God is so transcendant that he is beyond reason and therefore cannot be expected to act reasonably. He contrasts this conception of God with that of the Gospel of John, where God is the Logos, the Reason inherent in the universe.

...

As for the Quran, it constantly appeals to reason in knowing God, and in refuting idolatry and paganism, and asks, "do you not reason?" "do you not understand?" (a fala ta`qilun?)

...

Another irony is that reasoned, scholastic Christianity has an important heritage drom Islam itself. In the 10th century, there was little scholasticism in Christian theology. The influence of Muslim thinkers such as Averroes and Ibn Rushd reemphasized the use of Aristotle and Plato in Christian theology. Indeed, there was a point where Christian theologians in Paris had divided into partisans of Averroes or of Ibn Rushd, and they conducted vigorous polemics with one another.

...

The Pope was wrong on the facts. He should apologize to the Muslims and get better advisers on Christian-Muslim relations.



Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:33:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I should probably have made this a reply to the thread initiated by Colman...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:34:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
unfortunately, Juan Coles hasn't gotten my comment up yet, and I did not make a copy...

But basically all the things Cole quotes are summaries made by Ratzinger of positions of other people. "The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes", "According to the experts".

he uses "us" (as we, including himself) only to mark his critizism of the brusque words he quotes and "I" only when he draws his own conclusion about what he speaks about. And what is that: "I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God."
Where does this give a personal criticism of Islam, especially if the line of thought then only deals with the relationship of Hellenism and Christianity?

Two more things. The whole speech has also to been seen in the context of the ongoing discussion in Germany, namely the place of Theology in the University. There are many voices, both on the secular and on the christian front, that do not want Theology being tought inside a "scientific" institute. The Pope is very much in favour. He does not want to go back before modernity. He seeks the (intellectual) confrontation with the scientific community.

by PeWi on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:30:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why shouldn't Theology be taught in universities?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:33:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, it must!
From a simplified secular point: State pays for the education of missionaries.
From a simplified christian point: "They are thinking to much, they should belief more. All this historical critical stuff makes my head spin. God verbally inspired both contradictory creation stories in Gen 1 and 2  and anybody that tells me differently is not strong of faith."

while I have some sympathy with the first I have none with the second...

by PeWi on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Question: if you study theology at a public university are you authomatically ordained?

I am not sure that theology must be taught at universities, but I don't see why it should be abolished as an academic discipline where it does exist.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in Germany. Your final exams are also taken by a group consisting of members of your regional church  (where you will later want to work) and university staff. You will then also have to have two more years of "Seminary, in job education" have a second exam now purely consisting of Churchy types, before they will consider your ordination.
But in order to be eligible for your first exam you have to have spend at least 2 years at a University (average! education of a German Theologian before first degree is 7  1/2 years)
You can also sit your universities exam, but then you will not be eligible  (or only under difficulties) to join the "Seminary" or in its propper word, Vikariat, which would lead you to the second exam.

Regionality is important as each region in Germany has its own little quircks (lutheran, calvinistic and so on tendencies) which means that a move from one town to the next can be very difficult, if this town is in a different "Landeskirche" You will always need a special dispensation from your Bishop (this has to do with your pension as well as with their tradition...)
This is of course different, if you are a Catholic.

by PeWi on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:06:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Afaik, it is similar in UK universities. A Theology degree doesn't automatically qualify you for the orders.

I'm surprised (see this UCAS search result) to see how many courses in Theology are still offered in UK universities.

You can do Theology and Gaelic at Aberdeen, PeWi (Colman will envy you ;)). Or Theology in Welsh at Lampeter (perhaps ceebs would be interested...)

Oxford says in this booklet (pdf) that, of 80 Theology graduates in a year, about 6 "eventually" end up in the Church. Here's their chart of what Theology grads do:

Those who go into orders are probably in the first group or more likely "Other Study".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 08:37:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and to make this really clear. It is the way the emporer draws the conclusion, not the conclusion itself that is importent for the further development of the thought. Because in the way the emporer draws the conclusion he displays reason. Ratzinger might also agree that violence is not the right way to convince someone, but that is not why he brings this problem up.
by PeWi on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:35:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Ratzinger realize that he speaks to a global audience and not to a seminar of academic theologians?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:39:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure that I subscribe to the criticism implied by Migeru's reply, but I have another quibble: if there is a tendency in what is quoted from others, one unrelated to the structure of the argument, then the quoter is culpable.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:17:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To large extent. To me it looks like the classic problem of not what you say, but the way how you say it. Heaven knows (sorry, pun) I've been guilty of that so often.

The pope would have been walking a fine line past two pitfalls if Pewi's explanation was indeed Ratzinger's motivation. On one hand criticizing the blindness of Enlightenment & Reason (but he has done that before on a plenty of occassions so nothing really new there), and on one hand the tender issue of Islam today. Guess he fell into the Islam pitfall (kettle?) today.

by Nomad on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:39:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, it's not what the emperor said but how he formulated it. Mr. Ratzinger could just as easily have explained what the quote was meant to illustrate in clear, concrete language. He is a very smart man. Can you believe it: a fifteenth century BYZANTINE emperor! He knows that as 'the representative of god on earth' his every word is examined. He also knows that by hiding behind a distant political figure he can make a statement which appeals to the basest instincts of his base while not being directly responsible for it. He throws up balloon: will it float? Evidently it does. Ratzinger very cheekily excuses himself for such a 'brusque' remark which he has very carefully considered and weighed for content and effect. Make no mistake about it, he says nothing lightly and casually. This man has always walked away from the light at the end of the tunnel.
by Quentin on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:44:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Christian-Themed Cartoons Draw Ire

Two cartoons that ran in a University of Virginia student newspaper recently have sparked thousands of e-mails to the school and the paper with complaints that they are offensive and blasphemous.

Third-year student Grant Woolard drew the comics for the Cavalier Daily, one of which is called "Christ on a Cartesian Coordinate Plane," with a drawing of the X and Y axes over his figure on the cross. The other, "A Nativity Ob-scene," is of Joseph and the Virgin Mary talking about a bumpy rash she has, with her saying, "I swear, it was immaculately transmitted!"

Members of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights -- among others -- were not amused.

Form e-mails from members across the country have pelted the U-Va. president's office and the Cavalier Daily.
[...]

by MarekNYC on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 01:42:42 AM EST
So what paper will be first to reprint the cartoons to defend the freedom of the press?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 07:53:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Morgenavisen Jyllandsposten, certainly!

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 07:56:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've seen lots of this stuff in the American press so I 'm not sure who is writing him. My guess: it's not the public but a band of fundies. They'll protest anything.

I have one qualm with the cartoon guy though. if you're going to lampoon a religion, at least learn a little about that religion, because otherwise you look like a dunce.

The Immaculate Conception does not refer to the conception of Jesus in Mary's womb. Besides, Jesus had a brother, James.

by Upstate NY on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:39:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just a little surprised that neither the Pope nor his advisors didn't foresee that a certain type of quote was easy to take out of context.

Ratzinger may write his own speeches, but they're surely vetted by members of his staff. How could it have escaped the Pope and his close collaborators that he was about to open his mouth and put his foot in it?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 02:44:05 AM EST
It must be about oil.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 06:47:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pope Gets it Wrong on Islam  
Pope Benedict's speech at Regensburg University, which mentioned Islam and jihad, has provoked a firestorm of controversy.  

The address is more complex and subtle than the press on it represents.  But let me just signal that what is most troubling of all is that the Pope gets several things about Islam wrong, just as a matter of fact.


The Pope was wrong on the facts.  He should apologize to the Muslims and get better advisers on Christian-Muslim relations. [Informed Comment]
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 03:09:29 AM EST
As I said in the Diary, he should not have used the quote, but as I read it, he uses the quote as an illustration of a way of thinking typical at that time, not as a statement of fact on Islam.
Quoting someone, does not necessarily mean one agrees with all aspects of what is transmitted on the literal level.
When I quote Bush and use this as an example of Neo-Con thinking and to put it into historical context, that does not mean that I agree with his overall statement.
Especially if I make a derogatory statement about it in the introduction to the quote.
wendet er sich in erstaunlich schroffer, uns überraschend schroffer Form ganz einfach mit der zentralen Frage nach dem Verhältnis von Religion und Gewalt überhaupt an seinen Gesprächspartner

"startling brusque, a us surprisingly brusque form"

the English translation provided:

he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general,

It removed the inclusive, "us", that is clearly used (to me), to show that he makes a disaproving value statement that includes his thinking on this. He (the pope) would never (I suggest) use those quoted words as an expression of his own thinking on the verbal, descriptive level of the quote.

by PeWi on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 03:49:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't buy it simply because even the context is a crude reduction which absolutely has no logic and reason behind it (which I guess is the point). So Paleologos erred in his thinking about Muhammad because he was using reason? Was that the argument? It just doesn't make sense.

That would be like blaming the crusades and the holocaust solely on Christian theology (emphasis on the "solely").

A century later the last Byzantine emperor uttered these words, "Better the Sultan's turban than the Pope's tiara." And thus the Ottoman Empire was born.

I wonder how Benedict would explain the crusades?

by Upstate NY on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:34:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i can't read the title of this without thinking of the guy in a bath.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:39:37 AM EST
...couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

This guy has preached against the tolerance necessary for the maintenance of the liberal democratic state for a long time. Now it's just becoming clearer to yet another group just how small minded and bigoted he actually is.

by gradinski chai on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:56:00 AM EST
Hmmm...
The Holy Father intends to supply a subsequent version of this text, complete with footnotes. The present text must therefore be considered provisional.
Hopefully that will clarify points such as this
The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat
which Juan Cole criticises while also misquoting Ratzinger:
He notes that the text he discusses, a polemic against Islam by a Byzantine emperor, cites Qur'an 2:256: "There is no compulsion in religion." Benedict maintains that this is an early verse, when Muhammad was without power.

His allegation is incorrect. Surah 2 is a Medinan surah revealed when Muhammad was already established as the leader of the city of Yathrib (later known as Medina or "the city" of the Prophet). The pope imagines that a young Muhammad in Mecca before 622 (lacking power) permitted freedom of conscience, but later in life ordered that his religion be spread by the sword. But since Surah 2 is in fact from the Medina period when Muhammad was in power, that theory does not hold water.

This is going to degenerate into a textual criticism exercise...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:30:16 AM EST
This is a catastrophical trainwreck in the making... Good grief. It does show Homo Sapiens isn't trained to communicate for all that long, doesn't it?
by Nomad on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:43:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note the subtle point that Ratzinger implies that the Sura 2 was composed by Mohammed and influenced by his political situation, while Juan Cole calls it "revealed". So, was the Bible composed or revealed?

That's what happens when you do exegesis of the Quran through medieval Christian polemics.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 07:18:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, the bible is revealed, but that's the word of God. The Koran is the work of a man. Don't you know anything?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 07:29:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am reminded of my review of The Cross and the Crescent:
it puts the emphasis on the mutual attitudes between the existing peoples and cultures and the expanding Muslim empire. However, I want to highlight what the attitude of the Byzantine empire towards Arabs was before the birth of Mohammed, because those attitudes are with us still today and have nothing to do with Islam
And the Ratzinger goes and quotes a late Byzantine Emperor's polemic with a Persian. As Quentin points out, it is unlikely that a man of Ratzinger's intelligence hasn't chosen his words carefully for calculated effect.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 07:33:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, even Fletcher's is a gross overgeneralization about the attitudes of the Byzantines towards Muslims. If he says it's the Byzantine root in Western thought that makes us intolerant of the Muslim world, how does he explain the Byzantine rejection of Rome? In fact, when the Ottoman Empire was collapsing, one of the last remnants of the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern Orthodox church in Istanbul, fought tooth and nail against the collapse precisely because of the age-old antagonism against Rome and European secularism.
by Upstate NY on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am quoting myself in that comment.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:49:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh, sorry. I thought that was a quote from him. But you deducted that from Fletcher's book, correct?
by Upstate NY on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 10:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct. Fletcher starts by surveying Byzantine writings on the Arabs before Islam even existed, which differe little from later writings about muslims. Then he argues that the principal attitudes between Islam and Christianity were indifference (by Muslims towards Christians) and ignorance (by Christians towards Muslims). He also claims that at the time on the Islamic expansion, Islam only could only fit within Christian worldview as a heresy (and Mohammed as a false prophet).

I don't think the East/West split or even the Schism play a role in Fletcher's narrative. Can you expand on that?

Also, while Byzantium (and Spain) were border regions with Islam (and Fletcher spends a lot of effort studying the frontier dynamics), Western Europe (organised around the Pope and the Emperor) had little contact with Islam. In addition, the Crusades were a Western phenomenon having to do with religious-secular power conflicts, and Byzantium suffered a lot of collateral damage.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 10:39:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was referencing the fact that the Ottomans--gradually though not initially--used religion as a means of governance. Under the millet system, the political hierarchy was determined by each ethnic group's religious leaders. In this way, each religion became an intergral part of the Ottoman state. So, any Byzantine bias against Arabs/Muslims was surely converted over the course of 400 Ottoman years to the point that religious leaders in the Ottoman empire sided with the state and against the revolutionary interests of a number of their subjects.

When we talk about the political ideology of one religious group through the eyes of another, we have to also acknowledge one tendency in all religious groups: they all like to remain in power, to demand fealty from their subjects. And that's why Christian leaders under the Ottomans were much more disposed toward an Islamic political regime than they were a Western or European one. Essentially, power is power, no matter the religion and ideology. I'm sure Benedict feels emboldened by the so-called clash of civilizations. He never would have uttered his words in an earlier era.

I should also say that I'm using the term "ethnic" in a much different sense than we use it today. The term ethnic under the Ottomans mainly applies to language use, although even there it's a bit fuzzy as a categorical term. Most Ottoman subjects identified themselves in terms of their religion. You were either Christian, Muslim or Jew. A secondary form of identification was the language you spoke. This second form was malleable however because under the Empire, there were all sorts of incentives to switch religions. Thus, you had Greek-speaking Muslims, and Ladino-speaking Muslims, but you also had Turkish-speaking Christians (the Karamans, crypto-Christians who had simply adopted Turkish as a mother tongue) as well. And I'm not talking about multilingual subjects. They spoke one language exclusively though they did not ascribe to the religion of their dominant language group. At most, the people who are known as Greeks today referred to themselves as Romans. But that distinction began to fall away during the Ottoman period. Hellenism didn't begin until the 17th century.

by Upstate NY on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 12:00:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where was it hiding?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:32:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I liked that bit as well (also that he is only refering to protestant theology and no catholic after the reformation, mentioning Harnack in particular.)
No, the Bible is of course composed. (We cannot go back before modernity means that as well)

The fact that the holy spirit guided the composers, is a different matter. But part of the reason, why your theology degree is so long in Germany is because you are supposed to learn greek and hebrew, and you have to look at the different levels of textual formation of the scripture (words that don't fit, events that don't make sense). There is Q, which is a source for Matthew and Luke.

No, the Bible only works as a composition. Anybody that thinks differently should look at what is really there. (and that includes original fragments and transcripts, translations and soforth)

by PeWi on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 08:18:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're contaminated by having studied theology in a scientific institution. Recant!

Snark aside, I should butt out of this. Like I said, this is going to degenerate into textual criticism, and that is an even stranger source for inter-civilisational casus belli than editorial cartoon drawing.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 08:23:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So instead of saying Islam was evil and inhuman, he was saying that relying on traditional reason (the empirically verifiable) will enivitably lead you to this conclusion.

Hm.  I'm going to pass on this little false dichotomy of his.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 08:44:26 AM EST
And he's infallible, too!

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 08:45:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Couldn't have happened to a nicer Inquistioner.  

Ratzinger has spent his life taking what people have written, misquoting them, and using the misquote against them.  

Break-out the popcorn.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:42:18 AM EST
Paraphrasing Dalrymple in an environment where every fact is malleable, every interpretation politicized, where empreror of the West, burning Bush, can go away with numerous daily lies it is no wonder that His Holyness was misquoted and misunderstood.

I do agree with thougths expressed in his speech especially about science and human sciences.
Mathematicians still have no proper definition of number, many basic theorems of scientific world have no proof, they have been just accepted and used.
Human sciences tried to emulate natural sciences with very mixed results - when they try to apply such methods to humanity many important things, like faith, drop out in approximation of used methods, like cutting exponential curves in their most important but indefinite part. But many scientists and parrots from ordinary public do not say about faults of their theories and methods and THEY JUDGE.

 

by FarEasterner on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 07:48:49 AM EST
Mathematicians still have no proper definition of number

And you say this on the basis of what?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 07:56:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you read Bertrand Russell who devoted his life for search of proper definitions of basic terms of science you would know. He could not find them - his definition of number boiled down to so-called paradox of Russell - description of object is called normal when one don't use this object as its element.
Take defintion of number - it is multitude of multitudes which is equivalent to some exemplary multitude (Sorry for bad English, it is in back translation). But one cannot define this exemplary multitude. So it means mathematicians have no definition of number without using tautology.
by FarEasterner on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 08:23:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bertrand Russell is 100 years out of date in mathematical logic.

I suggest Naive Set Theory by Paul Halmos and On Numbers and Games by John Conway.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 08:26:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Surprise - they found something revolutionary?
Like perpetual engine? They could break chains of tautology?
by FarEasterner on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 09:13:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, this is like telling me that Set Theory doesn't work and bringing up Frege as an example.

As you know, the internal consistency of a logical system complex enough to contain the arithmetic of natural numbers [without tautology] cannot be proved from within the system. That is, the internal consistency of any theory of the logic of numbers cannot be proved without appeal to external principles.

Russel and Whitehead did their work on the definition of number 30 years before this fact was discoverd by Gödel. Not only Russell's philosophical approach to the logic of Mathematics, but also David Hilbert's were shattered by Gödel, Turing, Post [hey, I can even quote a Russian mathematician here] and others in teh 1930's and 40's.

I don't know what you mean by tautology.

Now, if you think that the fact that mathematics is based on unproven principles is a new insight, I suggest you take a look at Euclid and Aristotle, for whom it was clear already 2000+ years ago that axioms and postulates were accepted without proof and were not ashamed of it.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 09:25:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me that the concern here is that from the viewpoint of the Muslim world, Europe (and America) a Christian part of the world, and the Pope "speaks" for it. While plenty of Europeans claim to be agnostic or atheistic, that might not be the way things are interpreted by someone who is deeply religious.

The Pope's comments, and the reaction to them, appear to be a significant step towards the cultural war that we have been fearing.

by asdf on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 08:43:25 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]