1. Hmmm . . .
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    12 Mar '07 14:501 edit
    Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek [praeis], for they will inherit the earth.” (New Revised Standard Version)

    Matthieu 5:5 Heureux les débonnaires, car ils hériteront la terre! (La Sainte Bible - Louis Segond de 1910)

    Praeis—adj pron nom masc pl; from praos as a mild and friendly disposition gentle, kind, considerate, meek (in the older sense of strong but accommodating); subst. oi praeis gentle, unassuming people (MT 5.5). (Friberg Lexicon)

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    I have also seen praos translated as easy-going, light, humble, gracious...

    Debonair—(1) [archaic] pleasant and friendly in a cheerful way; genial. (2) easy and carefree in manner; jaunty; sprightly. (3) elegant and gracious; urbane.

    Meek—(1) patient and mild; not inclined to anger or resentment. (2) too submissive; easily imposed on; spineless and spiritless. (3) [obsolete] gentle or kind.

    —Webster’s New World College Dictionary

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    The point is not what might’ve been a good translation of praos at any given time. The question is about English words that change their conventional meanings over time, and whether those changes affect how we read and understand the NT, and the Christian religious expression.

    Growing up, “meek” seemed to define something between a dormouse and a door-mat. It always meant submissive, or at least unobtrusive, in everyday discourse.

    Praos is not exactly a theologically “hot” word. However, “belief” is; and I think the conventional notions of belief as a conclusion, or a supposition, or an opinion, or an assent to a proposition—basically having to do with what one thinks—may have changed how modern people interpret pistis (“faith;” verb pisteo) in the NT sense. The dictionary still includes some of the meaning of trust or confidence; but when someone says, “This is what I believe...”—what do they really mean? How do you interpret what they’re saying?

    I don’t treat pistis as what one thinks, but as an attitude of openness to possibility, assurance and confidence (and maybe debonair), especially under conditions of uncertainty—such as an athlete attempting a difficult play with perhaps long odds.... This seems to be much more in line with what I find in Greek lexicons (although, since it is still the conventional translation, “belief” is found there too).

    Again, it is not so much that belief/believe was a bad translation at one time—but would it be a good translation today?

    And, more to the point, do you think evolutionary changes in how we use the language can change how people understand their religion? (I am not a sola scripturist, so arguments from the tradition are welcome as well.)

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    NOTE: We have had a number of discussions on here about the understanding of “faith” in a secular sense versus a religious sense—I am not attempting to revisit that subject; I am addressing strictly NT usage here. (I can hear the argument already: “You aren’t being open to the possibility of (a) the existence of a God / (b) a scientific explanation.” 🙁 Again, that is not the kind of thing I am getting at here...)
  2. CA, USA
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    12 Mar '07 15:48
    "The question is about English words that change their conventional meanings over time, and whether those changes affect how we read and understand the NT, and the Christian religious expression."

    ....................
    On the internet; in this forum, words are pretty much all we have to work with .. well, words and all those cute smiley thingys.
    Words have meaning. Some have several and some have changed over time.
    The NT is very old and has been interpreted, RE-interpreted, translated, revised, "updated" and twisted many many times over.
    If "the word" is in there, it's hidden and will require some digging to find.
    One thing it's not is clear.
    I read it like a poem that I like and return to time after time.
    The Jesus Christ character is the most inspiirational teacher of life that i've come across.

    If clarity was the goal of the NT, it failed badly IMO.
    ...................

    "And, more to the point, do you think evolutionary changes in how we use the language can change how people understand their religion?"

    .......................
    Absolutely.
  3. Standard memberPalynka
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    12 Mar '07 16:27
    Originally posted by jammer
    If clarity was the goal of the NT, it failed badly IMO.
    Hence, for a believer, that could not have been the goal. This, by itself, would be enough to argue against any literal interpretation of the New and Old Testaments or even that there is one true and unique meaning to them.
  4. CA, USA
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    12 Mar '07 17:56
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Hence, for a believer, that could not have been the goal. This, by itself, would be enough to argue against any literal interpretation of the New and Old Testaments or even that there is one true and unique meaning to them.
    Can't disagree with that. I'd like to (it's my nature), but I can't.
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    12 Mar '07 18:08
    i was tempted to make a spin-off thread called "Meek or I-don't-care"
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    12 Mar '07 22:48
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the [b]meek [praeis], for they will inherit the earth.” (New Revised Standard Version)

    Matthieu 5:5 Heureux les débonnaires, car ils hériteront la terre! (La Sainte Bible - Louis Segond de 1910)

    Praeis—adj pron nom masc pl; from praos as a mild and friendly disposition gentle, kind, cons ...[text shortened]... ) a scientific explanation.” 🙁 Again, that is not the kind of thing I am getting at here...)[/b]
    To me belief, faith, and trust are the same thing even though they are used inter changeably in different contexts.
    In regards to the bible the meanings remain the same, because truth is absolute, even though their usage changes in the culture.
    Biblically speaking the words are important, but the spiritual meanings are what's at the heart of what God intends for us to understand.

    I had to read your post several times to be sure I know what it is you are talking about. Just a tad over my head. I hope I'm not far off from what you're looking for in a response.
    I'll probably not get back here again until tomorrow. To much to do!
  7. Donationkirksey957
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    12 Mar '07 23:27
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the [b]meek [praeis], for they will inherit the earth.” (New Revised Standard Version)

    Matthieu 5:5 Heureux les débonnaires, car ils hériteront la terre! (La Sainte Bible - Louis Segond de 1910)

    Praeis—adj pron nom masc pl; from praos as a mild and friendly disposition gentle, kind, cons ...[text shortened]... ) a scientific explanation.” 🙁 Again, that is not the kind of thing I am getting at here...)[/b]
    I tend to think the word "believe" has taken on a "password" identity in Christianity. If you "believe", you are a true Christian. When I hear people say "just believe in the Lord Jesus" I'm not sure what they mean. I only know that it feels like special code language for joining the club.
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    13 Mar '07 00:14
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    I tend to think the word "believe" has taken on a "password" identity in Christianity. If you "believe", you are a true Christian. When I hear people say "just believe in the Lord Jesus" I'm not sure what they mean. I only know that it feels like special code language for joining the club.
    In a way it is. Jesus is the way....
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    13 Mar '07 00:38
    Originally posted by josephw
    To me belief, faith, and trust are the same thing even though they are used inter changeably in different contexts.
    In regards to the bible the meanings remain the same, because truth is absolute, even though their usage changes in the culture.
    Biblically speaking the words are important, but the spiritual meanings are what's at the heart of what God inten ...[text shortened]... ing for in a response.
    I'll probably not get back here again until tomorrow. To much to do!
    No, you’re not off point. Though I tend to agree more with jammer and Palynka.

    I am convinced, after reading in church doctrinal history (not an expert, just a continuing self-study student!) and the doctrinal differences of various Christian denominations, that a great deal of what is taken as correct today would’ve been quite surprising to a Christian of, say, the 4th or 5th centuries—or even the 1st century.

    But I really want to get some more responses before I go too far—I’m really testing my own thinking here, on this one particular question. So I probably won’t respond again for awhile, till I have enough thoughts from others to sift through...
  10. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    13 Mar '07 08:54
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Matthieu 5:5 Heureux les [b]débonnaires, car ils hériteront la terre! (La Sainte Bible - Louis Segond de 1910)[/b]
    Approach Jerusalem with a certain jauntiness.
  11. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    13 Mar '07 13:00
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Praeis—adj pron nom masc pl; from praos as a mild and friendly disposition gentle, kind, considerate, meek (in the older sense of strong but accommodating); subst. oi praeis gentle, unassuming people (MT 5.5). (Friberg Lexicon)
    That "strong but accomodating" reminds me of Lao Tzu.
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