måndag, augusti 04, 2008

The Structure of the 10 Commandments

This structure – not counting the possibility that there were 12 originally (think 12 Tribes, 12 Apostles), for 10 is the “perfect” number in Hellenism and must consequently represent a later re-working – is really 1 + 3 + 3 + 3.

The Great Commandment: Ego Kúrios, o Theós sou, o eksagagån se ek gäs Aigúptou; eks Oikou douleías; I AM the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the House of slavery, followed by the 3 Cultic Commandments (the relationship of the Husband /pater familias to his God), the 3 Collective Commandments (the relationship of the Husband/pater familias to his Household), and the 3 Social Commandments (the relationship of the Husband/pater familias to his to his Neighbour and the next House).

The 10 Commandments are written in the 2nd person singular imperative masculine to the Husband/pater familias. They are about his relationships, for instance the 7th Honour your Father and Mother means in their old age, it’s not about telling little children to eat their porridge long gone cold and stale...

The Commandments changed with Time, became less centred on the Husband himself. Ezraism c:a 398 was increasingly interested in the Collective; the Congregation, the Ethnic People, living as they were as a preferred Minority in Persian Babylonia.

The 10 Commandments became a law unto (almost) all men.

Jesus is somewhere on this road from collectivistic to individualistic; in the 10 Commandments the Husband is above his House, in Matt 5-7 he is still not part of the Household proper, whereas by Paul in 1st Cor 6:9-11 he is included as a member of the new Household, God’s eukemenä, the not biological but elect Congregation of the Holy.

Each tradition divides the Commandments differently, yet all count them as 10, even as they discard some. Only the Jewish Tradition still starts with the Great Commandment, the one immediately preceding the Christian 10, in Deuteronomy 5:6 and Exodus 20:2.

All (Calvinists excepted) disregard the part of the 2nd Commandment about Images/Idols (cf Icons, Saints, Crucifixes, & c.).

Most ignore the 3dr Commandment about mis-using God’s Name for farmakía; Black magic, and the 4th Commandment about the Sabbath, the founding principle of Judaism as Luther noted in What’s the use of Moses for the Christian? his booklet on the Civil Wars in 1525. It is linked to the Egyptian Slavery in Exodus 20:10-11 and to Creation itself in Deut 5:14.

However Black Magic (think Witches) and Sabbath are still important to Calvinists – the first action of the Absolutist State church was His Royal Majesty’s Renewed Edict on Oaths (bad language) and Sabbath-breakings in 1687

For to Luther all days are equally holy and every lay profession is God’s holy calling.

Interestingly Dr Martin in his Greater Catechism followed the Leviticus 19 changes to the 8th Commandment Ou pseudomarturäseis katà toû Pläsíon sou marturían pseudä; Don’t give false witness about your Neighbour, witnessing falsely, from a Court of Justice situation (the Elders in the Gate) to everyday gossip, separating the Court of Justice situations in Lev 19:10-15 from gossip and vengeance situations in Lev 19:16-18.

There is a lot about everyday gossip in his Catechism, less about Courts of Justice.

Dr Martin also in his Catechisms forsook Deuteronomium 5:21 for Exodus 20:17, exalting the Neighbour’s House into a separate 9th Commandment, thereby reaching the magic number of 10 ; = )
About the same time the 7th Commandment was replaced by his Gnesio-Lutheran followers by the new 1579 Haustafel, because the important Household Commandment had been emptied in Carolingian times through having its focus (and its Gender) changed, via the Latin translation moixoì = adultera (both masc. plur.), from the Social into the Sexual; from Loyalty of the Husband towards his House into the sexual infidelity of the additional/superfluous Exogamous 2nd Wife (adaltrach in contemporary Irish law) cheating on her Endogamous Rival, the Spouse of their shared polygamous Husband…

This Socio-Political attack against the traditional customs of the Clans was lead by Emperor Louis the Pious (the Neo Platonist) in his 829 Council of Paris, claiming Leviticus 18 as Biblical justification against Endogamy; a command forbidding 7 Degrees of Kinship (modified to 4 by Lateran IV in 1215).

Emperor Louis’s Forbidden Degrees were preached to the Yeomanry, but not to the Princes: it would have barred all genteel marriages well into the 20th century ; = ) As to secondary marriages, there are still some around in German Princely Hausgesetz...

Not to mention that novelties like Registered Partnerships form a new secondary entity, unequal in law, because secondary...

According to Laterans I to IV and the 1238 Canon Law of Rome, the legally married adaltrach was a mere concubine/whore – together with the equally superfluous wives of Priests – and the Gender-bender manipulation moixoì (masc. plur.) => adultera (masc. plur.) => adaltrach (fem. sing,) of the 7th Commandment was instrumental in the process.

However this policy failed in some distant Church Provinces; Sweden & Finland, and Iceland. The early 14th century laws regulate the inheritance of not only Priests but Bishops as a matter of course.

The “canonical” testament never caught on. From the 15th century several married Priests and Bishops (some divorced) are known. The Provincial council of 1537 finally admonished Swedish Priests to get married to their wives, making them honourable women, not Roman concubines ; = )

The 1579 Haustafel defended the age-old societal notions of Patriarchy, Clan and Household well into the 20th century, though gradually and in part abolished, in 1858 (disciplining all employees), 1908 (disciplining wives), 1929 (disciplining employees under 16), 1954 (disciplining schoolchildren), 1965 (disciplining one's own children, forbidden in 1979) but vestiges of the ancient rights of the pater familias are still around in Swedish Industrial/Employment law.

To be continued.

söndag, augusti 03, 2008

A de-sexualised reading

As my Blog is suddenly functioning again, I think I will do what I intended from the beginning, make a coherent presentation the 10 Commandments and their importance in the Bible and in Theology generally: for they, not the laws of men, are God’s Law.

Much of the Bible, even the Sermon on the Mount in Matt 5-7, Mark 7 and the so called “Catalogues of Sin”, is structured according to the order of the 10 Commandments, the chiefest of them being 1 Cor 6:9-11 (because authentic).

What I am aiming at is a de-sexualized reading as if the Platonizing and Neo Platonist Academy hadn’t been, beyond Ancient Gnosticist teachings on the Sanctity of Sperm and Modern distortions.

For I believe that the Greek of the Bible (the Septuagint and the New Testament) is different from its accustomed readings, namely material, contrasting the later sexualization of the Scholastics, and later still, Modern Dynamic Equivalence.

This sexualization started pretty early in the first Millennium, Academics like the (later so called) Church “Fathers” quite naturally reading Bible Greek (Koíne) as their own Academic, but Bible Greek was a derivation/translation from Hebrew Theological Concepts (think active verbs) not Academic ones (abstract nouns).

In short it was material and above all specific – which also meant fewer meanings to a word. The traditional error of theology is to Generalise, but there is also in Academia a tendency to create congregational discipline; crowd control. Generalisations and Sexualizations are useful in that regard.

The best example to my mind is epithumía. Theologically it is about selfish Greed, disregarding Social, Collective, and even Cultic considerations. It is always Sexualized as “Covet”. But in Academic Greek it means simply “desire”; a n y desire, also sexual desire. However “Sex” is not a separate category in the Bible, distinct from ordinary Life; Lechaim, as it has become in especially Modern translations – maybe because sex is a Modern or late modern Concept... “Sex” was still un-heard of when and where I was a child (Sex meant “Gender” – and there was only one! ;=)

In Bible Greek epithumía speaks of material desire, the 10th Commandment is an instance of this theological/technical/material approach.

Oux epithumäseis tän gunaîka tou pläsíon sou, ouk epithumeseis tän Oikían tou pläsíon sou, oúte tòn agròn autoû, oúte tòn paîda autoû, oúte tän paidískän autoû, oúte toù Boòs autoû, oúte toû Upåzugíou autoû, oúte pantòs ktänous autoû, oúte pánta ósa tå pläsíon sou estí.

“Don’t want the Wife of your Neighbour; don’t want the House of your Neighbour; or his Field; or his Boys/Servants; or his Girl/Servant; or his Ox; or his Donkey; or any of his animals, or anything which belongs to your Neighbour.”

“The Wife of your Neighbour” refers to her Dowry and her Connections. Not to the unfortunate woman herself. It’s Material.

You may also notice that epithumeseis is a Verb. These words generally are in the OT, but nearly always become first Nouns, and then (2nd century) abstract (the influence of Philosophy?).

What I will be trying to do is a de-sexualized reading of the 3 central Commandments – the Cultic 2nd, the Collective 7th and the Social 10th – the 3 most frequent in the NT (some are declared no longer currant, such as part b. of the 2nd Commandment about Images (the Church declaring that God became visible in the Incarnation and that Christ accordingly may be pictured); or barely mentioned such as the 1st, the Great Commandment (Deuteronomium 5:6, quite forgotten in later traditions); some are only criticised “the Sabbath is made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath”).

In the de-sexualizing process I also restitute 6 Greek words as specific, theological/technical Concepts:

2nd Commandment porneía; sacral prostitution, 7th Commandment moixeía; deceit, unfaithfulness, 10th Commandment epithumía; regardless selfish Greed.

To this comes the words of the so called Catalogues of Sin akatharsía; cultic impurity, asélgeia; “ravings” i.d. taking part in Bacchanals, and finally koítän; the Bed – the only Bed there was to a House in Antiquity, often rendered by medical macaroni Latin coitus), and finally 6 infamous “clobber”-verses (Genesis 19:5, Judges 19:22, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, the Letter of “Jude”, verse 7) – some of them traditionally mis-taken (Academy), some of them quite new (after 1970).

To be continued.


I have found it! how to re-activate my blog, that is. I haven't been able to reach it since November 2006.

Somebody on a Blog somehwere gave a link to Blogger Help Group the other day. Happily it worked!

Expect new post in a few days...

(but I don't know yet how to up date the Links :-/

Nor does this new Password work for making Comments, I have to use my Blogglink for that ;=)