Friday, January 21, 2005

Sci-fi adoption and ancient grammars

I've made a few comments before about the adoption process that my wife and I are working though (she better than I), and we got another interesting piece of news today. We've run into some snags because we live in a house with a couple of other Iliff students and a preofessional social worker. Apparently some countries don't think that anything other than a single family dwelling is safe for children. Anyway, we found out today that in addition to the fingerprints, criminal background check, and individual interview that each of our housemates will have to go through, they will also have to submit to a retinal scan. I'm all for protecting children, but seriously, a retina scan. Whatever... got to love the post-9-11 world.... ugh!

Read something interesting the other day in my Matthew class with Rev. Dr. Richard Valentasis. It was an ancient Greek guide for writing used by elementary school students in the time of the writing of the Bible. It lists the exact forms to be used for several types of writings and arguments. One of them is characterization. In this form, one tells a narrative about someone, usually a historical person. The intersting thing is that according to this ancient manuel, it doesn't have to be true, in the way we would think of true. It's perfectly okay to tell of an event "as it might have happened" based on general knowledge of the person's character. In other words, according to the standards of the day, gospel writers would have been completely in bounds if they wrote a totally made up story about Jesus so long as it was consistent with what was known about Jesus character and how he might have responded in a similar situation. What do you think? Interesting information or dangerous herasy?

5 Comments:

Blogger Brian said...

A retinal scan? That's nuts! I don't think even people that are getting a FBI background check have to do that. A rectal scan maybe...

That's an interesting thought about how the writers of the gospel might have approached writing about Jesus. It makes sense, especially if think about John which mentions Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, but if I remember right, that story doesn't appear in any of the other gospels. But we already know I'm a heretic.

8:19 AM  
Blogger david said...

Yes, you're right, it does not appear in any other Gospel. In fact, Lazarus the character doesn't even appear in any other Gospel. My personal feeling about John is that it's almost completely spiritualized and has very little relation to the historical Jesus. It does, however, have a very strong relation to the post-resurrection Jesus that John's community knew (through prayer, mystical experience, etc.). They knew Jesus as a transcenant and eternal wisdom-entity, and so that's how they wrote about the Jesus story.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mary Ann here.

Sheeyun got his clearance renewed for the job he took in May-- no retinal scan.

And we haven't heard anything about retinal scans in the context of adopting from Korea or China....

12:13 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I talked to a couple of the cops that I work with (who have both been through the full FBI background check) and they didn't receive retinal scans. The interesting thing they told me is that it is really pretty pointless and a waste of money because even if you have this retinal scan of someone, there aren't any databases to compare it to, like there are with DNA and fingerprints.

Seems pretty crazy to me, but after four years of John "Call me J. Edgar Hoover" Ashcroft running the DOJ and a white house counsel who believes in torture soon to be the new head of DOJ, nothing really surprises me.

You might be able to make a real career for yourself if you came up with some good Christian, biblical justifications for torture. Maybe you should write an article called, "Why Jesus says its ok to put lighted cigarettes in the ears of prisoners" or "How pain helps heathen islamists find Jesus." Maybe publish some bumper stickers - "Jesus loves torture!" But I digress...

12:48 PM  
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1:37 PM  

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