Archive for the ‘Studies’ Category

New semester, a month or so later

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Taking classical mythology this semester. I love the subject. I love it a lot more than I love all the work that’s involved in getting these theogonies, aetiologies, characters, stories, events, art history, etc. jammed into my cranium however.

I think it didn’t help that I was in the grips of a crippling Diablo 2 addiction when the semester started (had to do something between Summer and Fall semester!), and that I misread the first week’s reading assignment and got behind and have been behind up until now. I took the first test this past Monday. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I failed to follow the instructions properly on my take-home essay which counts for 27% (or so) of the total grade of the test. I have no idea how the professor will handle this. I think my work shows that I had a good familiarity with the reading I omitted from the paper, but he could just as easily (and rightfully) ding me for the whole thing for not following the instructions well…something that’s becoming a theme for me here.

What do you want? I’m still a freshman. O yeah, and that reminds me. I’m still a freshman. That means I have like 15 years left before I finish this degree, given my blistering 1-2 class-per-semester pace.

At least the D2 addiction seems to have subsided some. My l33t hammerdin, smiter, barb and zons languish unplayed in like a week. Now when I avoid homework, I work at improving the guitar playing that’s fallen into disuetude the last several months –that or I watch crappy movies I don’t even want to watch from my Netflix queue (which was depleted of movies I actually wanted to see within about 2-3 months of signing up for Netflix several years ago).

20110627 Update: I got an A in that class. It wasn’t an easy class by any stretch, but I loved studying that material. I wish I could study it some more (and in the original languages!) Mad props shout out to the teacher, David Califf, who did a great job teaching the course.

Lecture Notes from Theology 1050 (04/27/2009)

Monday, April 27th, 2009

THL-1050 – Professor Ruscil

04/27/2009 – 16:30

2 Quizes Wednesday – Regular Quiz on The Search for the Historical Jesus (10 Questions) and one on the research project (10 Questions)

Finish research project – re-read paper on requirements- Learn more about the Qumran community

Finish Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time – Find 4 Portraits of Jesus


· Ruscil’s Summary on Christology

· Jesus as Lord


· Dialectical Theism, Panentheism, Dualism – Pick 1 for essay

· Quest for H.J., or Gospels – Pick 1 for essay

Today’s Lecture – Christology Cont’d

High / descending Christology – The starting point: A pre-existent, divine being comes down from heaven to perform a blood sacrifice. This category doesn’t exist for this language today. This is based on Greek philosophy/metaphysics.

The defining event: Incarnation (Christmas), the embodiment of the divine in the person of Jesus

In the earliest church, the one thing that was given was that he was a human being (mostly recognized around Easter). The Greeks however left out the human aspect of Jesus.


1) Over-literalize the mythic language of high Christology

· Jesus becomes extra terrestrial, alien, superhuman

2) Jesus is pre-packaged with a human identity with full knowledge of his death (but what of self-actualization, his own freedom?)

· Jesus becomes an actor with a script

3) High Christology sets up an equation of equal identity – God = Jesus and Jesus = God (The church condemns this as a heresy)

· Monophysitism – One nature (and that is divine, — a heresy)

4) Resurrection loses its significance under H/C (because it becomes proof of the starting point)

Low / ascending Christology – The starting point: Jesus was fully human like any human

How Christian interpretation of Jesus ascends to “divine language”?

The defining event: resurrection (Easter) – performs a function, it transforms Jesus – transformed physicality

Only through the resurrection that Jesus now shares/participates in the life of God

This Jesus whom you’ve crucified has become lord and Christ through resurrection of the dead. Beforehand, you would not consider him those things.

St. Paul: Just as through Adam all died, through Jesus all will be reborn (paraphrase)

Divinity of the pre-Easter Jesus:

1) Points to a radical relationship between Jesus and God; God’s self-giving (said earlier that this is the whole point of revelation) was so complete that it transformed Jesus on every level.

2) As a human person Jesus doesn’t possess divinity in and of himself

· Only in virtue of his relationship with God is Jesus divine

3) Jesus’ divinity points to the capacity of all human beings to share fully in God’s life

· Jesus is the focus of the locus – inclusive of all people

· Grace/Holy Spirit – divinizes us

· Jesus recreates the new human person by breathing on them (as God breathed Adam to life)

Lecture Notes from Theology 1050 (04/22/2009)

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

THL-1050 – Professor Ruscil

04/22/2009 – 16:30


1) Low Christology/High Christology

2) A low ascending approach to Christology (has no title page)

3) Theme handout (by Ruscil) about the gospels

Response paper due Monday:

The quest for the hist. Jesus

Or The Gospels

Final Exam: Tuesday May 05 11:45AM – 1:15 (or so)

2 out of 3-4 essay questions (your choice)

Gospels as Literature

Apologetical reasons for why the 4 titles were given to the gospels. They were chosen to give an air of legitimacy to the gospels.

Authorship, here’s what we can say:

· We know for a fact they’re 2nd generation x-tians, not eye witnesses

· Greek, gentile communities

· Well educated (93%-95% illiteracy back in that time)

The formation process of the gospels

Gospels: snapshots of a developing tradition:

3 distinct layers to the gospel

1) The life setting of the Historical Jesus – 27-30CE The historical words and actions of Jesus himself)

2) The life setting of the early church – 30-70CE The oral tradition, the first major development

5 needs of the early church

a) Apologetics – justify or defend faith in an executed/crucified criminal

b) Faith crises in the community had to be addressed – stories get developed and shaped according to the contemporary issues taking place in the church

c) Catachesis and paranesis – stories have to be told in such a way that they automatically teach people (catechetical). Stories exhort faithful to lifestyles.

d) Liturgical needs of the early church (ritual & worship) – ritual shapes the stories (last supper)

e) Proclamatory needs – stories had to supply the confession of faith

3) Life setting of the evangelists – 70ce-110ce – writing down the gospels

Evangelists – selecting, arranging, redacting, editing, omitting, adding to the stories from stage 2.

John sees Jesus as the lamb of God, used the timing of his sentencing and death to parallel the Passover sacrificing of the lamb, but leaves in a historical truth about the breaking of the legs of the 2 thieves that were crucified with Jesus (Jesus was already dead, so they pierced him with the spear).

So in short, these 3 stages are important b/c you can see how the gospels have been changed from stage to stage, lending further credence to the gospels as literature and to the contemporary view of the gospels

Anti-semitism is more a reflection of the early church than it is of Jesus’s/x-tianity’s view points.

(Aside, for catholics: 1963 – Pontifical Bible Commission: “The Historical Truth of the Gospels”

· 3 stages of development comprise our Gospels

The Synoptic Problem

Synopsis, Greek, “having similar perspective”

Literary interdependence between Mt, Mk, & Lk

Mark’s gospel is most likely the first to have been written (it is widely believed today) and the other two were heavily influenced by (or plagiarized from) Mark.

This is where the Q document comes in (It’s a theory), stands for German Quelle = source. It only has saying of Jesus. (The document is not known to actually exist, or at least it isn’t known to be in anyone’s possession) Earliest strands of teaching (Jesus as wisdom teacher, eschatological coloring). The Our Father is supposed to be here, as are ideas from the Sermon on the Mount

2 Source theory regarding the synoptic problem:

Mark and the Q Document

4 source theory adds 2 more sources:

Luke had his own private source, unknown. Particular Lukan material

And Matthew’s private source

Lecture Notes from Theology 1050 (04/20/2009)

Monday, April 20th, 2009

THL-1050 – Professor Ruscil

04/20/2009 – 16:30

Dead Sea Scrolls Quiz: Next Wednesday, 04/29

The last topic that will be due next Monday: Historical Jesus and the way we approach the gospels: What do you think of the search for the historical Jesus? Or pick a stage of the research, 2 parts, 3 pages typed. 1st Page summation, next 2-3 pages, explain the topic.

Read Borg book by a week from this Wednesday.

Cont’d from last week (Stage 2, after Bultman):

You can’t start with a reconstructed, purely objective Jesus because no such thing exists. The first stage seekers of the hist. Jesus thought it was possible. The 2nd stagers say you can’t, you have to start with the gospel and the interpretations.

2nd Stage:

A) Bultman – No quest simply b/c there are no resources to come up with the quest. The gospels are not historical, eye witness, accounts.

· The gospels simply don’t allow for the historical reconstruction.

· Existential Jesus, if the Jesus spoken about in the gospels or by ministers affects you in some way, that’s all you need.

· Fideism

Problem with his approach is that he goes too far in cutting the tie between history and faith. If you really believe in Jesus and have authentic faith, there should be no unwillingness to learn about Jesus. It shouldn’t adversely affect your faith.

B) Albert Schweitzer (early 1900s) – Historical reconstructions are no good.

· Book: Quest for the Historical Jesus

· Previous researchers were missing an authentic context for Jesus

· The Historical Jesus is irrelevant for today (because contexts are so determinative)

· The identity of Jesus should be understood not as a revolutionary, but as THE eschatological prophet of the 1st century – preaching the arrival of the End of Times, the arrival of the Eschaton.

· Tragic hero, terrible miscalculation

· Schweitzer believed Jesus got into trouble on purpose, with the belief that God would intervene and bring about the End of Time before he was killed.

· In 300 years, Jesus’ religion is accepted as the state religion of the Roman empire that killed him, thus Jesus affects all of Western civilization

Stage 3 – Characterized as a complete turnaround from Stage 2. (1950s – present)

· Renews the quest

· We can get “snapshots” of the historical Jesus from the gospels, but never a complete picture

· Accepts the discontinuity (of the hist. Jesus & Ch. Of faith) that the 1st stage talked about

· The Christian interpretation is grounded in the historical words and deeds of Jesus himself

· There is enough history in the gospels (implicit Christology)

· Whenever Jesus mentions God, he uses the Aramaic word “Abba” (tr. As Dada, or Daddy)

Ernest Kasëmann and Joachim Jeremias – X-tian interpretation is based historically in Jesus

1) Eschatological prophet preaching a “coming Kingdom”, which had a political meaning. If God’s breaking into history with God’s Kingdom, what would become of Caesar? (Rome eliminated/crucified all Messianic pretenders)

· The proclaimer became the proclaimed.

2) The gospels portray an interpreted Christ, not simply a historically factual Christ (the gospels as literature). These are faith interpretations/illustrations of what Jesus is all about.

Eschatological Age of Salvation:

· Outpouring of a “New Breath”

· A restoration of all the broken relationships (abba experience, hanging around with sinners, prostitutes, tax man, etc. )

· A new Israel, a new covenant made between God and the chosen people (“this is the cup of a new covenant.” 12 apostles, like the 12 tribes of Israel)

· A healing of humanity (from sickness, disease, even death) – Jesus’ ministry to the sick (bodies being healed was symbolic for the Jewish people, who were not like the Greek dualists. The broken body being healed is significant to them). Exorcisms

· The resurrection to new life – resurrection

· The battle of Armageddon, the final battle between good & evil

Baptized in the Jordan: political, when the Jews take the promised land, they go in through the Jordan. The sky opens up and immediately The Spirit is upon him. He then goes into the desert, a battle with the Devil (good vs. evil), Jesus wins (and makes it to Burning Man).

The Gospels:

As literature, their function. The word itself is derived from the Greek euaggelion, Latin euangelium. Eu = good. “The good message”, “the good news”. Has been made Lord and Christ.

The literary genre of the gospels – technically are sui generis, but fundamentally they should be understood as “faith proclamations”. They are meant to be understood as tools of evangelization. There is a spin, the spin is faith. By believers for believers.

The lense: post-resurrectional lense. X-tian faith as we know it didn’t start until his resurrection, after Easter. Post-Easter/Retrojected faith into the gospels.

Authorship of the gospels, through textual criticism (textually), the authors never identify themselves, the gospels should be considered anonymous pieces of literature.

Lecture Notes from Theology 1050 (04/15/2009)

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

THL-1050 – Professor Ruscil

04/15/2009 – 16:30

Final topics deal with Jesus and the gospels.

2nd model of revelation, scripture and gospels are no longer taken literally. Through history, through scientific inquiry, we can find out who Jesus was. Revelation is seeing/hearing about God through the mediator, through his/her language, voice, world view, etc. Same applies to Jesus in learning about him through his (contemporary) followers.

The Jesus of History vs. The Christ of Faith (started in the Enlightenment)


· Jewish, Galilean peasant, carpenter

· Flesh and blood person

· Finite, mortal

· Person of history: 6BCE-30CD; dead and gone


· Son of God, Messiah, Lord, 2nd person of trinity

· Pre-existent divine being (most attributable to the Greek world/philosophy)

· (homoousious – “same substance”)

· Still present today

The quest for the historical Jesus, a movement that bypasses the church for historical, critical inquiry

3 Stages:

Stage 1

1. Devoted to tying to disprove the continuity (last 1700s) [Hermann Reimarus]

· Emphasis: discontinuity betw. The historical Jesus and the Christ of faith.

· Reimarus said of Jesus: he was a political revolutionary (who failed)

· Isolates the message: the “Kingdom of God”, he was not preaching himself (the proclaimer became the proclaimed)

· Christ or the Hebrew messiah are the same term (Gk Christos). Christ means literally “the anointed one”

· Gospels: are unreliable documents of Jesus because they were products of deceit, a deliberate hoax that Jesus’ defeated followers perpetrated to continue his failed religion

Strength of this phase: contemporary scholars believe in discontinuity

Kingdom of God

The political message from Jesus was radical, which has been “whitewashed”

2. In response to Reimarus, D. F. Strauss (1800s)

· Jesus’s identity: a humble rabbi teaching the Jewish faith

· The Gospels: Mythic interpretations of Jesus (fictional stories narrated as history/truth to convey religious truth about Jesus

3. Adolph Harnack (1900s)

· Jesus: a teacher of ethics

· Gospels: “supernatural histories”

· Must be de-mythologized

· Rationalize all the miraculous

· Walking on water: a foggy night, the disciples didn’t know where they were, Jesus is actually on the shore and they are not far from the shore (but think they are).

Stage 2 (1900s)

Emphasis: Futility of “Quest”

A. Rudolf Bultman (father of Form Criticism)

· Jesus’ identity is unknown

· The reason why: The Gospels are not to be understood as historical accounts of the man Jesus, they are not history as we know it. They were standardized over the years, like the annunciation of Mary.

· Existential Jesus: when Christians hear Jesus preached in church (or elsewhere) and it effects their lives, that is all you need to know.


Stage 3

To be cont’d


1. Is there continuity between the historical Jesus and the Christ of Faith?

2. Judgments about Gospel literature – what is the purpose/function of the Gospels?

3. Re-interpretations of Jesus’ ministry & life

4. Reconstructions of the life of Christ

Lecture Notes from Theology 1050 (04/01/2009)

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

THL-1050 – Professor Ruscil

04/01/2009 – 16:30

Test (Mon – 20 Questions – 10 T/F & 10 Mult Choice + Bonus):

Foundational myth handout, all the *tologies (There is a lot of material in this category!)

Reforming our imagination

Science and Original Sin

Evolution Evil & Original Sin (something like that)


Christians in the know


Mystery of Suffering Evil

Thinking about God

Dead Sea Scrolls, Q Document, Gospel of Thomas

Redaction criticism, “what is unique about the document in comparison to others?”

source criticism

Resources & Authors, introductions to gospels, introductions to the new testament, dictionaries of the bible, etc.

See the back of the 1-pg handout for a list of authors to check out, make sure the dates are as late as possible, since many of the sources from the ‘50s and ‘60s are outdate now.


Traditional Approach

· Since the Enlightenment, miracles are based on causality –

· Criteria: cause and effect (all unexplainable events must be a miracle, wherever science can’t give an explanation, it must be miraculous).


· Based on causality; knowledge of science

1. Sets up an either/or scenario – God becomes little more than a physical cause – God’s direct intervention

2. An unexplained event does not/shouldn’t warrant the conclusion of God’s intervention (Creates a “God of the Gaps”)

3. Miraculous cannot be statements of fact but rather statements of faith

Contemporary Approach:

Panentheism – God is omnipresent

· Miraculous events are concrete, historical manifestations of the self-giving of God, which is always already intrinsic to the world

· Miracles are like getting a very minor glimpse of what God’s already doing, kind of analogous to radio waves which are always there, but not heard until a radio tunes into them

· The criteria for a miracle: Not about the empirical, is more about the religious meaning of an event

· God’s actions are always mediated (I can only work through you) – God’s actions take place through people, through events, even through things. The physical is permeated with the transcendent

· Rather than either/or scenario, this sets up a both/and scenario – God works through the natural, physical processes

· Two simultaneous causes

1. God is always primary cause

2. But works through secondary causality (what we refer to as the laws of nature, physics)

· God’s actions are going to have the appearance, on the empirical level, of common, ordinary events.

Lecture Notes from Theology 1050 (03/30/2009)

Monday, March 30th, 2009

THL-1050 – Professor Ruscil

03/30/2009 – 16:30

Next Monday – 2nd Quiz, same format (T/F & Mult. Choice), next Wed. we’re not going to meet.

Final quiz, end of April, finish reading Borg book by then.

Start thinking of a topic for the research project, from 7 topics. 1 of the gospels (matthew, mark, luke or John), outside the bible, the gospel of Thomas, or the Dead Sea Scrolls (a general outline), or the Q document. Type of research is more or less the background information, not about the document itself. Form criticism, redaction criticism, authorship, dating, historical circumstances behind the document.

Today: Dialectical Theism, how Trinitarian theism ties in

DT is trying to move away from supernatural, classical, theism, which is influenced by Greek philosophy. DT = if we can let go of the idea that God is the miraculous, superstitious, god that intervenes in man’s affairs. DT = A god who is very present to creation, but is not in complete control, actually powerless, defenseless in the face of evil. God granted full freedom/autonomy to his creation, which created his self-limitation. God can’t be in control, otherwise freedom wouldn’t be real.

Process Theology

A God who in the beginning is not yet God but is in the process of becoming (a different type) God (than he was in the beginning). A trinitarian God.

· A God that needs to self-actualize, self-actualization of the trinitarian dimension.

· The 2nd dimension of God (acc. to x-tianity) (“person”) à”God’s capacity to relate with & co-exist with “another”. (We’re not talking about Jesus here)

1. Creation becomes the “condition for the possibility” for an authentic relationship with another.

2. Freedom & full autonomy is a pre-requisite for relationships

3. God becomes vulnerable, defenseless, & limited in relationship to creation.

4. God’s dependence on creation for self-actualization means that the creation/human beings become co-creators, therefore there is RISK involved for God.

5. God’s self-limitation creates the opening for evil – many free agents alongside God in creation – consequences of freedom results in evil.

6. Jesus is the first, concrete manifestation of God’s goal for creation

7. Creation is a continuous activity of God – God creates in order to redeem (or in order to come into union with that creation). Redemption is the crown of creation. Creation continues until the final goal is met.

If God doesn’t have this power but is subject to the freedom of the material world, how do you talk about God’s involvement in the world, and should people be praying for God to accomplish things in the world (if he’s vulnerable)?

Pan entheism

Greek, pan = “everything”, theos = “god”, + en = “within” = Everything is within God, God is within all things, working through, with, and in, always in the context of freedom.

God is not separate from creation, he is within.

God within everything (immanence)

· But always more than created reality (transcendence).

· Connecting to sacraments, the created has the capacity to manifest the sacred

· God’s mode of acting/presence in the world is incarnation

· Connecting to Christology – Jesus is the climax of God’s incarnation activity

Lecture Notes from Theology 1050 (03/25/2009)

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

THL-1050 – Professor Ruscil

03/25/2009 – 16:30

New Topic: A Contemporary Image of God
A synthesis of all previously covered topics

Two poles

Transcendence <—————– God —————–> Immanence


– Classical Theism (AKA Supernatural Theism) [theism = belief in God, the opposite of atheism]: This model always emphasizes God’s distinctness, God’s separateness (aloofness) from the world (Greek origin)
– Of the attributes attributed to God, omnipotence is the one most often emphasized here, the puppeteer, God is pulling all the strings/in total control
– Also God’s immutability is also emphasized
– God’s impassibility (the etymological root is “passion”, suffering) – God cannot suffer or be affected in any meaningful way by anything outside God. Therefore, God cannot be affected by creation.
– The unmoved mover
– Comes from Greek philosophy, the ideal of perfection, metaphysics

Evil in this view = (if God is all-powerful) God IS able to prevent evil; yet evil does exist. Therefore for some reason God is unwilling to prevent/thwart evil.

Critiques of this view:

– Cancer, famine, war, etc. are of God
– Evolution does not support the view that God is in total control. Matter is self-structuring, the molecular world is self-engineering, randomness in nature, a great deal of chance, a great deal of molecular self-actualization.
– Survival of the fittest
– Freedom: If God really is in total control, does freedom make any difference? Predestination, the plan of God, is freedom just an illusion? If so, what of hell? Would nuclear destruction of the earth be stopped by God if it wasn’t his will, or if it happens, would it be his will?

Strength of this view:

– the providence of God -> God has the capacity to influence the outcome of human history.


– no real acceptance of human freedom


– Biblical Theism (Hebrew origin)
– Emphasizes God’s presence (in the world) struggling with humanity against evil
– (Our) Experience of God in history (as a liberator, as a savior, Egypt, etc.) God’s saving power lies in historical events

– God is compassionate, merciful, and loving; God is actively involved in the world.

Weakness (in this view):
– If God is loving and compassionate,
– God is willing to prevent evil; but evil exists (nevertheless). Could it be possible that God is unable to prevent evil?
– What happens to God’ power b/c he seems so vulnerable and limited

accepts (human) freedom

God (the center of these two poles, a contemporary view)

– Dialectical Theism:
– offers an image of God where God IS unable to prevent evil
– God creates to enter into a relationship, but freedom and autonomy are requirements in/demanded by an authentic relationship
– evil is the exercise of freedom/autonomy
– freedom is God’s limitation in relation to this world
– God depends on creation for its acceptance of God.

If there is a goal to creation, it has to take place in the context of freedom. If God brings creation to a specific goal; God MUST be involved.
God acts through human freedom, humans are co-creators with God.
God acts not through force, but through inspiration, through allurement, or through persuasion.

Lecture Notes from Theology 1050 (03/23/2009)

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

THL-1050 – Professor Ruscil

03/23/2009 – 16:30

Reading handout on Gnosticism, a particular form of dualism that x-tianity battled with in the early (post-1st-c.) church (after the diaspora to Greece). Bart Ehrman, Lost Christianities, ch 06

Next quiz: Mon. of “Holy Week” (Wed. class may be canceled that week). Covers all material covered since the mid-term. Review next Wed. (read all articles, more content than the first quiz)

2nd response paper assignment will be assigned then too.

Tonight: Compare and contrast biblical x-tianity to a type of dualistic, platonic x-tianity that x-tians inherited after moving to the Greek world.

To understand the message of what Jesus was about, the Jewish side must/should be understood.

The body has no understanding of categorical parts of itself. There is no dichotomy. Not a Jewish concept, this came from the Greeks.

Lord’s prayer, un-Greek. Asking for heaven to come down to earth (not for earth to go up to heaven)

If God grants life for either of these two groups, it will mean greatly different things. For Jews “something we can experience”, for the Greeks, “afterlife”.

The assumption of Mary, the feast is about Mary being assumed bodily, the symbol of x-tian discipleship, see #9 under Hebrew Spirituality below.

Hebrew Spirituality:

1. Make-up of humanity:

· Embodied persons (synthetic)

· Hebrew “bashar” –> difficult to translate, but “flesh” might be a way to approach it. “All flesh will see the salvation of God”. “Though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God”. Not really in the “meat” sense, but emphasizes our common, objective dimension that we share together. –> Human attributes like weakness, corruptibility (physical and moral), mortality, etc.

· Hebrew “nephesh” –> Again difficult to translate, but “personal self”, or “living beings”. “Self” – emphasizes the subjective dimension, not psychological, not an inner quality. –highlights relational dimension; emphasizes life. Both these (bashar and nephesh) refer to the totality of a person. They are inseparable, there is no dichotomy, one cannot be without the other.

2. Motto: I AM my body

3. Approach to life: living life to the fullest; embracing bodily life (Braveheart reference again given, eveyone’s going to die but not everyone lives).

· Quality = blessings of God (pleasures)

4. Human vocation –> to become fully human through your relationships / any diminishment of life = evil. (The glory of God is the human person fully alive.)

5. Sin = based on our behavior within relationships/alienation, etc.

6. Main human attribute –> heart, desire of the human person, or the will St. Bernard “What you love is what you will become”

7. The enemy of humanity: death (and any type of physical, emotional, or spiritual handicap that lessens human living)

8. Major Conflict: life vs. death –> Salvation must be an embodied reality.

9. Salvation/Redemption –> focus is on the totality of the embodied person –> “resurrection”/transformation of life, a completely transformed physical totality.

· Emphasize the sanctity of the body

Greek Platonic Spirituality:

1. Make-up of humanity: dichotomy of body to soul

· Body –> temporal, provisional, a shell

· Soul = The “real” you, the center of consciousness, the subject of a person, immortal (Socrates, don’t worry about my body, my soul will transcend. Kind of a cavalier attitude about death, as opposed to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, much more grave (though hemlock vs. crucifixion is something to ponder)

2. Motto: I have a body

3. Subjugating bodily desires; needs; passions to the spirit;

· “Asceticism” –> denial of bodily need

4. To rise above & transcend physical, bodily life > soul is imperiled through body –> “apatheia” –> ideal of life > total detachment

5. Sin = what we do with our bodily life/ bodily life is context for sin

6. Main attribute –> knowledge or intellect. Salvation & knowledge go together.

7. Physical existence is the enemy; death is positive –> the release of the human soul from its prison of earthly life

8. Conflict: body vs. soul –> world is static, no chance of change, no hope, nothing new is going to happen in the world. –> Salvation is escaping.

9. Salvation –> emphasizes the the immortal/disembodied soul

· Focus is on the eternal (after-)life of the “other world”.

The student’s life… pre-mid-term

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

I’m up to my neck in OO concepts like polymorphism and Java interfaces. I bombed out big time on my last two quizes in my Java class. I got behind in my studies (for that class) by about two brisk weeks. Catching up sucks. But today I have an inkling what the hell polymorphism is. A little more than a day or two ago you could have hit me over the head with a polymorphic array and I wouldn’t have known what the fuck it was. But having an inkling and being able to whip one out on command are two different things, so I have at least a couple hours of coding every day to do until our (early) mid-term on Thursday. So of course rather than code, I’ll update my blog. 😉

O yeah, the books. Book one, Lewis & Loftus “Java Software Solutions” 5th edition (now in 6th ed, but no way I’m giving those guys any more money). The book starts out good with lots of the mechanics of the procedural aspects of Java programming. But I feel the book has seriously let me down on helping me (a student with some but very little high level programming experience) to learn some of these concepts. I mean, they hinge your whole concept of understanding the creation of Java classes on this silly Dice program that lets you reach in and change the face value of the dice (among other things). This program has some cool aspects in it, but they need to flesh these concepts out with some more examples. And who needs to set the face value of the dice? Same goes for the chapter on polymorphism. There’s a pretty good employee app that has many of these concepts contained in it. But I’ve read the sucker a couple times now and I didn’t start getting it at all until I read the chapters in O’Reilly’s Head First Java about inheritance and polymorphism.

The 2nd book in this course is “Algorithms and Data Structures in Java” by Joyce, Weems, et. al. I am positive this book is only used because Daniel Joyce works at Villanova. The book is dry, written by academics, not by people in real world (read: production for money) coding jobs. I’m sure it’s tough for any one book to be all things to all people of all levels, but when I’ve fallen short on a couple of key concepts (mostly when tests or projects were staring me in the face and it was too late) I can’t help but feel the book has also fallen short on some level. Also, to be fair, it’s hard to know what catalyzed the proverbial coin drop of understanding an non-intuitive concept when you’re taking a class, reading out of 2 books for the class, and out of as many other books as you can find when you’re not getting it. It’s possible that the concept becomes clear for any number of reasons (lecture, reading, breaking and fixing your own code, etc.) But some of these books that students are forced to pay upwards of $100. for should kick the shit out of the $30. books from the aforementioned publishers. Alas, they are written by academicians who are good at writing theses, not at working in a crazy business with insane deadlines, bad co-workers, and PHBs breathing down their necks.

Latin class is going well. I got 118% on our last test (she gives extra credit questions, which put me 18% over). That too has proven to be quite a demanding course of study. To get that grade I had to study my ass off (during a really nice weekend in the Poconos with my wife). We’ve learned 10 tenses (indicative & subjunctive active), 1st and 2nd noun declensions, First-second adjective declensions, macrons, pronunciation, and a few other things I would probably rather forget. Putting all that together has been rough. I’ve been disciplined about flash cards, but I’m starting to have so many that it’s getting hard to cover them all in a day.

O yeah, BTW, if you haven’t thought of this already, you can take standard 3″x5″ flash cards and get a hold of one of those guillotine paper cutters and cut them into quarters, which make for excellent one-word vocabulary cards. One side the Latin word, the other the English meaning, shuffle them, go through them by translating one side, then the same for the other side. I tried to buy a guillotine paper cutter for home so I didn’t have to use the crusty, dull one at work. But the good ones are at least $60. and I see industrial ones in the range of $7500. I enquired about getting Kinkos or Staples to cut them for me. But they want $1.50 and $2.00 respectively for one cut of about 50 cards. How can they ask this much? What is their maintenance cost on the blade? The labor can’t be so bad. Shit, a deck of 50 index cards is about $1.04. I can’t justify $3.00 dollars for a clean cut. Anyway, cutting them down is a good way to study without wasting so much paper. One word per 3×5 card is a total waste. The quarters are even big enough for smaller grammatical concepts as well.

Post scriptum, hey wordpress, WTF is up with paragraph formatting? I had to go into HTML mode to make paragraphs that were clearly delimited in the WYSIWYG view show up in the final post. I’ve noticed this before too. I don’t dick around with fruity mods and skins, so it’s not like my wordpress install’s all b0rked up or anything.