"Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

StevenD
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Re: "Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

Post by StevenD » Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:55 am

Although this is not directly related to the title of the thread, it seems worth addressing here in light of the previous message as pertains to #2.
As I understand citing of Hosea 11:1 by Matthew, it appears to be well within the range of Hosea's reasonable intention.

Believing that Hosea had a Pentateuch to review in his day (I trust that the Torah was accessible to him), it follows that he would have been drawing from the record of "Balaam's oracles" for quotables, among other familiar scripture for his context (is that what they call intertextuality?). The similar quote in Numbers 23:22 says "God brought them out of Egypt" - this appears to be speaking about the nation of Israel, but the nearly identical mention in the following chapter (24:8) "God brought him forth out of Egypt" (distinctive in his use of the 3 ms suffix [vav]) looks like it's speaking about the anticipated king - then yet to come.

The notion about the king isn't imposed upon the text, but follows from the previous verse (24:7) "his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted." Evidently this king would be exalted over the Amalekites - maybe the writer of Samuel (among others) was also conscious of the prospects of such a king reign. [It makes sense that Hosea would have recognized the Numbers 23 account as a recounting of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, at the hand of Moses, while the chapter 24 oracle anticipated the prophet greater than Moses - Hosea appears to offer such clues.]

Another hint to both Hosea and Matthew is in 24:9 (the verse following the verse that I think Hosea quoted) "He crouched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion" - so forth. The verse offers a textual link to Genesis 49:9 speaking of Judah "he crouched as a lion", the following verse stating "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come". This appears to highlight the promised king from Judah.

The mention of Hosea in 12:11 "I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes" coupled with the fact that "the spirit of God came upon" Balaam (Numbers 24:2) prior to his recorded utterance may serve to accent the point.

Matthew's inclusion of the guiding 'star' within his composition suggests that his strategy in quoting Hosea was probably connected to the Numbers 24 narrative as well - v17 presents the passage misappropriated by 'r' Akiba referring to Bar-Kosiba (aka "kochva") in the 2nd century: "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel"...etc. [It might be worth highlighting the fact that in v14 the use of the phrase 'latter days' {aharit hayyamim} precludes this oracle, a phrase that appears to frequently (if not always) point(s) forward to the future reign of this special king/Messiah. Though I have never investigated many of David Kimchi's ideas, I may have seen him quoted as having understood this phrase within the Tanakh to point to the Messiah - without exception.]

Happy in Jesus...
Steven D.

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kaufmannphillips
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Re: "Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

Post by kaufmannphillips » Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:02 pm

Steven,

Thank you for your posting.

Your work is admirable. However, from context, the natural reading of Hosea 11:1 is not as a prophecy of the future, but a discussion of the past. If Hosea is referencing the Pentateuch, wouldn't Occam's Razor suggest Exodus 4:22?
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StevenD
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Re: "Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

Post by StevenD » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:23 am

Thanks for the encouraging response, though nothing here is original on my part. It appears that Matthew did the work, and I simply tuned in, mostly by way of the instruction of other Christians.

As you pointed out, Hosea 11:1 presents a difficulty in its usage of the perfect tense. Furthermore, a natural connection with Exodus 4:22 appears likely to me.

I don’t know how to get around the past tense in Hosea apart from wondering if Hosea presents a synthesis of his understanding of both the Exodus 4 passage merged with the Numbers 24:8 oracle. The verse from Numbers is using a participle, so (unless I’m mistaken) the tense might better be reflected in matching the participle with the momentum of the imperfect tense of the verbs within verse 7 – “his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted”.

Moreover, the verb of the statement which follows in v8 is also imperfect. Even if one prefers to interpret the participle as a description of the past tense event of deliverance, context suggests that the oracle is referring to an individual who is a king – I suppose one could demand that the individual addressed signifies Israel, but the focus appears to ultimately be directed toward a king – Israel’s king. The textual strata of the Torah serves to heighten the resolution of the material which follows. It might be counterintuitive to demand an either/or view of what Hosea understood. I see no reason to do so, why diminish the weight of the author’s intent?

Having said that, scripture makes plain that Israel had no king during the period of the Pentateuch (Judges later makes clear that there was no king in Israel – evidently, this was a real problem.)

Possibly ‘my son’ from the verse you mentioned in Exodus 4:22 had been included/blended with the oracle of Numbers 24:8 as an editorial strategy that would reasonably catch the eye of those Israelites anticipating the king of the 'latter days'. I don’t know why kings are mentioned with respect to Israel within the Pentateuch apart from pointing to the future.

The phrase ‘in the end of days’ בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים seems worth highlighting by nature of its use in both Numbers 24 (albeit later – v14 prior to the “I shall see him”/’star’ oracle – which appears to be hinted at within the context of Matthew 2) and also in Genesis 49:1 prior to Jacob’s prophetic words to the tribes – including Judah’s scepter/crouching lion.

To state the point again, I wonder if Hosea had intentionally fused a couple scriptures together in his statement that Matthew picked up on. Even if Hosea had not these things in mind, it does appear that Matthew was conscious of these cues in preparing his text. As previously suggested, Matthew’s mention of the star and the birth of a king disclose a link to Numbers and Genesis 49 (scepter), both narratives linking the end of days. At this point, it might be superfluous to recount the apparent correspondence between Matthew and the Exodus narrative.

Hope this didn't turn to mush as I typed it out.
Peace in the King,
-sd

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Re: "Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

Post by kaufmannphillips » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:50 am

Hi, Steve,
I don’t know how to get around the past tense in Hosea apart from wondering if Hosea presents a synthesis of his understanding of both the Exodus 4 passage merged with the Numbers 24:8 oracle. The verse from Numbers is using a participle, so (unless I’m mistaken) the tense might better be reflected in matching the participle with the momentum of the imperfect tense of the verbs within verse 7 – “his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted”.
I suppose the participle in Numbers 24 could be supplemental to verse 7 (a la imperfect = future), or supplemental to what follows it (a la imperfect = future or ongoing action), or I suppose it could be construed as present tense.
Even if one prefers to interpret the participle as a description of the past tense event of deliverance, context suggests that the oracle is referring to an individual who is a king – I suppose one could demand that the individual addressed signifies Israel, but the focus appears to ultimately be directed toward a king – Israel’s king.
By comparison to Genesis 49, I will suggest that Numbers 24:8-9 is referring to the nation, in 3rd-person-singular as in 24:7a. In Genesis 49, the lion segment is plainly about the tribe, coming as it does prior to the mention of the kingship. Both blessings are primarily about the people-group involved, with the royal figure being mentioned secondarily as a matter of prestige to the people-group. Cf. also Numbers 23:24.
Possibly ‘my son’ from the verse you mentioned in Exodus 4:22 had been included/blended with the oracle of Numbers 24:8 as an editorial strategy that would reasonably catch the eye of those Israelites anticipating the king of the 'latter days'.
(a) Does this hypothetical allusion really suit the context - the flow of discussion in Hosea 11?

(b) Elsewhere, we find Hosea willing to invoke a messianic hope in overt terms, q.v., Hosea 1:11; 3:5. Why would the text have been subtle in this instance? We should be cautious about getting too "daVinci-code."

Which is not to say that later interpreters, such as those behind the Matthew tradition, might not have been more creative in their engagement of scripture. But Matthew exists at a later stage of religious development, after the ascendancy of scripture in the national life of Israel. Note that the "Old Testament" prophets almost never cite scripture; they exist in a time with a living prophetic tradition, and probably without a widespread scriptural tradition [cf. Hosea 4:6; 8:12]. It is likely that few persons had scriptures in their possession in the time of Hosea; for most people who turned to a religious authority, it would have been personal - priestly and/or prophetic. By Matthew's time, there had been a long post-prophetic interval, and an increased focus of the nation's religious attention toward the sacred text. Interpreters were then better poised, materially and philosophically, to play connect-the-dots within sacred literature.
Even if Hosea had not these things in mind, it does appear that Matthew was conscious of these cues in preparing his text.
"Cues" - or toeholds. When an interpreter wants to get somewhere with a text, they can superimpose their own sense of rational order upon it. Though, granted, the source(s) behind Matthew may have felt they were dealing with cues, and not toeholds that happened to afford them traction in pursuing their agenda.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
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StevenD
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Re: "Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

Post by StevenD » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:02 am

Hi Emmet,

My apologies for the hang-time on this response.
By comparison to Genesis 49, I will suggest that Numbers 24:8-9 is referring to the nation, in 3rd-person-singular as in 24:7a. In Genesis 49, the lion segment is plainly about the tribe, coming as it does prior to the mention of the kingship. Both blessings are primarily about the people-group involved, with the royal figure being mentioned secondarily as a matter of prestige to the people-group. Cf. also Numbers 23:24.
Interesting suggestion. Agreeably, both the Genesis 49:9 and Numbers 24:9 segments place the tribe of Judah in the spotlight as is expressed through their corresponding symbolic references to a lion. This appears to establish a solid textual link between the two passages.

The text in Genesis adds definition by way of the subsequent verse (v10) “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” I don’t suspect that it’s presumptuous to understand the sceptre as signifying some measure of royal authority/dignity – even a king. It’s unlikely you’d be surprised by the fact that these sentiments concur with the same material as understood by the Targums. Onkelos reads: “He who exerciseth dominion shall not pass away from the house of Jehuda, nor the saphra from his children's children for ever, until the Meshiha come, whose is the kingdom, and unto whom shall be the obedience of the nations.” (translated by J.W. Ethridge)
http://targum.info//pj/pjgen47-50.htm

For what it may avail, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan (also translated by Ethridge, located online at the same address) amplifies this description – at more than one point honoring ‘Meshiha’ as ‘the King’.

It appears noteworthy that the image of a ‘sceptre’ was also included within both the arrangements of Genesis 49 and Numbers 24 (within the Numbers passage it occurs in the next and final of Balaam’s recorded oracles). Thus the royal imagery of a ‘king’ marks another point of cohesion between the narratives. I do understand the anticipation of the king/kingdom addressed within Numbers 24:7b and the expectations of Genesis 49:10 to be describing essentially the same person and the same kingly reign.

Do you agree with this? Gauging by your responses, I suspect that you prefer to understand these passages differently. If so, what critical distinction would you make between the two?

Again, I underscore the mention of a king within the Torah before Israel even had a king. The compiler of the book of Judges appears to have also considered this a point worth calling attention to (17:6; 18:1; 19:1). The book is brought to an end with the closing statement, “In those days, there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” [בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם אֵין מֶלֶךְ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל] (21:25). The author appears to have arranged the text in such a way to draw attention to the grievous condition of the nation and thus effectively communicate the need for a king.

The phrase ‘in those days’ [בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם] which is repeated within each of the 4 verses above appears to be used in contrast to the phrase ‘in the end of days’ mentioned in the two previous posts.

The text within Judges dedicates considerable attention to the fact that ‘there was no king in Israel’ – ‘in those days’; whereas, I am suggesting that the phrase ‘in the end of days’ is a signal within the text drawing attention to the future king.

For the sake of clarity, the phrase ‘in the end of days’ appears in Genesis 49:1 prior to the conferring of the blessings of the tribes, within Numbers 24:14 during Balaam’s final oracle (star/sceptre), and also within Hosea 3:5 (a verse you cited). This verse appears to import much of the hope conveyed through Hosea’s prophesy, namely, that Israel would return to seek the Almighty and ‘David their king’ in the end of days. Hosea’s usage here suggests that if he hadn’t read 2 Samuel 7, he was at least familiar with the material recorded there.
I suggested: Possibly ‘my son’ from the verse you mentioned in Exodus 4:22 had been included/blended with the oracle of Numbers 24:8 as an editorial strategy that would reasonably catch the eye of those Israelites anticipating the king of the 'latter days'.
(a) Does this hypothetical allusion really suit the context - the flow of discussion in Hosea 11?
It appears that Hosea recognized the king of the latter days to be connected to David’s seed. Although Matthew had the advantage of studying “the Chronicler’s” inspired commentary (including the inspired arrangement of history recorded in Kings – and everything else within the Tanakh), Hosea seems to have been familiar enough with the material to have given significant mention to the key points of emphasis relating to the future king (Hosea 3:5, 13:10).

The fact that Hosea recognized the need for such a king – coupled with the nature of his responsibilities as a prophet suggest to me that he was not ignorant of the contents within the Pentateuch. Verse 11:1 doesn’t appear to have been an independent development apart from such information.

Chapter 12:9-10 affirm the point – as Hosea prophetically forecasts a future when the Almighty ‘from the land of Egypt will yet make’ someone (probably penitent->faithful Ephraim/Israelites) ‘to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.’ My guess is this would be referring to the feast of booths, possibly coupled with some awareness of Passover. This implies some Torah consciousness happening with Hosea, suggesting he was privy to its content in some measure.

The following verse provides what appears to be a Divine editorial comment that may explain this, “I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.” Note that the prophets and visions are in the plural, it is not beyond reason that the said visions and similitudes may include the oracle of Balaam – as is elucidated by Matthew in chapter 2 first with reference to the star from the end of days (Balaam’s final vision), the quotation from Hosea 11:1 (deliverance which may collate Numbers 23 and 24 insights gleaned from Balaam’s oracles), and finally the future king from the latter days (again fusing the Numbers 24:7 ‘king’ with verse 17 ‘sceptre’ of the latter days, Gen 49, Psalm 45:8 (sceptre/king), you get the picture).

Although one might advance a case by which to plead relative ignorance of future things on Hosea’s part (1 Peter 1:10-12), the nature of his responsibilities as a prophet would reasonably afford him some measure of grounded insight connected to the revelation the Almighty gave to Moses. As stated earlier within the thread with respect to the source of his statement in Hosea 11:1 (solely from Exodus 4, or coupling with Balaam's oracle - particularly in light of Numbers 23-24)-
The textual strata of the Torah serves to heighten the resolution of the material which follows. It might be counterintuitive to demand an either/or view of what Hosea understood. I see no reason to do so, why diminish the weight of the author’s intent?

Mercy rejoices...
-sd
Last edited by StevenD on Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

Post by kaufmannphillips » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:08 am

Hi, Steve,
StevenD wrote:
My apologies for the hang-time on this response.
No worry. I'm actually going to have some hang-time here getting back to you. I have some outstanding work from a fall class that I need to tidy up this next week. But hopefully next weekend I can respond properly.

Thank you for your thoughtful engagement -
Emmet
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Re: "Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

Post by kaufmannphillips » Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:33 am

Hello, Steven,

Thank you again for your thoughtful posting.
Interesting suggestion. Agreeably, both the Genesis 49:9 and Numbers 24:9 segments place the tribe of Judah in the spotlight as is expressed through their corresponding symbolic references to a lion. This appears to establish a solid textual link between the two passages.
I would not argue against the possibility of a later interpreter correlating the two passages on such a basis.

In their own context, I can imagine the texts to be independent from one another. It is possible, yes, that the two texts were intended to correlate. On the other hand, the two texts might simply be drawing upon stock language in their milieu. In our own society, of course, we have stock patriotic imagery and language that different parties can draw upon freely: e.g., an intrepid eagle; "the land of the free and the home of the brave." So the two passages may draw upon the same iconography without being intentionally linked to one another.

One's assessment of the relative likelihood of these possibilities will depend upon other opinions about the two oracles themselves: their authorship(s); their relative dating; their purpose; the extent of their inspiration. But at a basic level, it seems viable for the parallel to exist either intentionally or not.
The text in Genesis adds definition by way of the subsequent verse (v10) “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” I don’t suspect that it’s presumptuous to understand the sceptre as signifying some measure of royal authority/dignity – even a king. It’s unlikely you’d be surprised by the fact that these sentiments concur with the same material as understood by the Targums. Onkelos reads: “He who exerciseth dominion shall not pass away from the house of Jehuda, nor the saphra from his children's children for ever, until the Meshiha come, whose is the kingdom, and unto whom shall be the obedience of the nations.” (translated by J.W. Ethridge)
http://targum.info//pj/pjgen47-50.htm

For what it may avail, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan (also translated by Ethridge, located online at the same address) amplifies this description – at more than one point honoring ‘Meshiha’ as ‘the King’.

It appears noteworthy that the image of a ‘sceptre’ was also included within both the arrangements of Genesis 49 and Numbers 24 (within the Numbers passage it occurs in the next and final of Balaam’s recorded oracles). Thus the royal imagery of a ‘king’ marks another point of cohesion between the narratives. I do understand the anticipation of the king/kingdom addressed within Numbers 24:7b and the expectations of Genesis 49:10 to be describing essentially the same person and the same kingly reign.

Do you agree with this? Gauging by your responses, I suspect that you prefer to understand these passages differently. If so, what critical distinction would you make between the two?
(a) The targumic references are nice, but they inform our understanding of later Jewish ideas more than they do our understanding of the oracles in their original context(s). We may use them as a resource for engaging the New Testament, but depending upon when they are dated, they may be some centuries removed from even that context.

(b) In your treatment of the royal material in the oracles, you conclude with an understanding that it addresses a single person. However, the oracles may not be addressing a single holder of the throne, so much as the kingship itself. One might gauge the likelihood of this differently depending upon the date(s) hypothesized for the oracles, and the date hypothesized for the emergence of later messianic concepts that focused on a single individual (as opposed to earlier generic messianic concepts that could be applied to any anointed king). Then again, the oracles may have had a specific king in mind, but not the figure of the Messiah; once again, dating might play a role in gauging likelihood.
Again, I underscore the mention of a king within the Torah before Israel even had a king. The compiler of the book of Judges appears to have also considered this a point worth calling attention to (17:6; 18:1; 19:1). The book is brought to an end with the closing statement, “In those days, there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” [בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם אֵין מֶלֶךְ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל] (21:25). The author appears to have arranged the text in such a way to draw attention to the grievous condition of the nation and thus effectively communicate the need for a king.

The phrase ‘in those days’ [בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם] which is repeated within each of the 4 verses above appears to be used in contrast to the phrase ‘in the end of days’ mentioned in the two previous posts.

The text within Judges dedicates considerable attention to the fact that ‘there was no king in Israel’ – ‘in those days’; whereas, I am suggesting that the phrase ‘in the end of days’ is a signal within the text drawing attention to the future king.

For the sake of clarity, the phrase ‘in the end of days’ appears in Genesis 49:1 prior to the conferring of the blessings of the tribes, within Numbers 24:14 during Balaam’s final oracle (star/sceptre), and also within Hosea 3:5 (a verse you cited). This verse appears to import much of the hope conveyed through Hosea’s prophesy, namely, that Israel would return to seek the Almighty and ‘David their king’ in the end of days. Hosea’s usage here suggests that if he hadn’t read 2 Samuel 7, he was at least familiar with the material recorded there.
(a) Though Israel may not have had a king at the points we are looking at in the narrative of the Pentateuch, Israel may have had a king at the time these oracles were composed. But if we were to imagine the oracles as originating in a time prior to kingship in Israel, we would still not have to correlate the anticipation of a king with Messianic ideas in their later form. They may have been referring to a king like David, not a king like the Messiah.

(b) Regarding b'chrit hymym ("in the ends of the days"), this phrase could be understood in different ways. Genesis 49:7b does not require a time later than Hosea itself, necessarily. Instead of understanding the term eschatologically, it may be understood as referring to the end of a period of time (cf. Deuteronomy 4:30; 31:29). Thus, the king(s)/kingship(s) intended may not have dated so late as Hosea, and need not be correlated with an eschatological king or kingship.

(c) For Hosea to employ certain concepts, and even certain word choice, does not necessarily mean that Hosea was familiar with scriptures that we have received or the specific materials found therein. So you did hedge your comment about 2 Samuel 7. But I would extend further; Hosea can appeal to Davidic iconography without knowing of even the general idea found the 2 Samuel pericope.
It appears that Hosea recognized the king of the latter days to be connected to David’s seed. Although Matthew had the advantage of studying “the Chronicler’s” inspired commentary (including the inspired arrangement of history recorded in Kings – and everything else within the Tanakh), Hosea seems to have been familiar enough with the material to have given significant mention to the key points of emphasis relating to the future king (Hosea 3:5, 13:10).
I am not seeing especially specific points of emphasis in the verses you cited. Would you enumerate for me?
The fact that Hosea recognized the need for such a king – coupled with the nature of his responsibilities as a prophet suggest to me that he was not ignorant of the contents within the Pentateuch. Verse 11:1 doesn’t appear to have been an independent development apart from such information.

Chapter 12:9-10 affirm the point – as Hosea prophetically forecasts a future when the Almighty ‘from the land of Egypt will yet make’ someone (probably penitent->faithful Ephraim/Israelites) ‘to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.’ My guess is this would be referring to the feast of booths, possibly coupled with some awareness of Passover. This implies some Torah consciousness happening with Hosea, suggesting he was privy to its content in some measure.
(a) Acquaintance with aspects of the law or the covenant do not necessarily correspond to acquaintance with the Pentateuch. Hosea could have known of legal code and covenant without it having been placed yet into the literary setting that we are familiar with. This tacks into questions of the origins of the Pentateuch. Not all of the constituent parts of the Pentateuch are necessarily of the same age, and some may have had independent existence - in oral and/or written form(s) - before being incorporated into the documents that we have.

(b) Even if Hosea's acquaintance with all of these possible allusions, etc., were to be granted, this still does not address the thrust of my point - namely, do these allusions suit the context, the discussion taking place at 11:1? The verse does not stand alone, a prophetic atoll in the sea; the calling in verse one is played upon repeatedly later in the chapter (vv. 2 & 7). The comment is made in the course of a discussion. Does the context suit a Messianic construal?

Our answer should also take into account the structure of the oracle. Conventional Hebrew parallelism would suggest that the the two halves of verse one are mutually referential - viz., the boy Israel and "my son." And in verse five, who is it that is indicated to have come out of Egypt?
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Re: "Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

Post by StevenD » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:17 am

Hi Emmet,

Though I have read your response, I haven't had much time online as of recent. As I'm afforded opportunity to do so, I plan to post another response - thanks for bearing with me.

-sd

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Re: "Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

Post by kaufmannphillips » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:06 pm

No problem :) . My spring classes start today, so my own response time is likely to be less than prompt. And good dialogue on a slower pace is better than rapid shots with low quality.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
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