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  • Paul Hurst 4:51 pm on October 31, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cancer, christ, christianity, , eulogy, faith, imac, , , , , mona, simpson, , words, wow   

    In Medias Res… 

    “Some boat builders in the Netherlands have a gorgeous stainless steel hull ready to be covered with the finishing wood. His three daughters remain unmarried, his two youngest still girls, and he’d wanted to walk them down the aisle as he’d walked me the day of my wedding.We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories.”

    These moving words were spoken by Mona Simpson as part of her Eulogy for her Brother, Steve Jobs.  Steve Jobs designed, pioneered and invented many products that people use all around the world, the iPad, iPhone and iMac all products from his company, Apple.

    Steve found out that he had Cancer in 2003 and although his health obviously deteriorated, to his credit, he still died ‘In the middle of something’.  Some reports say that before his death, he worked hard to help create a product ‘roadmap’ for Apple that will see out the next five years.  No matter what his legacy, it’s still easy to see the tragedy in his passing at the age of 56, a life with much more to give, cut short.

    Mona Simpson’s words are very true.  None of us live for the purpose of dying although we all will.  Death may be inevitable, but it isn’t the benchmark or defining moment of our lives.  We don’t see it as our finest hour and even for those who are unwell, it is seldom welcome.

    There is an exception to the this though.  In Jesus Christ, we find a man who’s entire purpose was to die. Christianity teaches that the victory of Christ’s death and Resurrection brings hope to all mankind, a hope that while we may pass ‘in medias res’, we only pass on to something new. Something we can’t claim as our own but that is given to anyone who will receive.

    Steve Jobs once said that he was 50/50 on whether there was an afterlife or not.  He couldn’t be sure but he wanted to acknowledge that there could be something else.  He pointed out that many of his products don’t have ‘off switches’, they are always ready for us, they go on and on.  He went on to say that his instincts similarly told him that life itself doesn’t have an ‘off switch’ either.

    The teachings of Jesus before his death on the cross also point out that although we may be destined to die ‘in medias res’, we are still only partway through a journey which stretches on into eternity.  Steve Jobs died on October 5th, 2011.  According to Mona, his last words as he looked into the distance were “Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!”.

  • Paul Hurst 11:16 pm on July 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , christianity, code, codex, criticism, da, error, , , resurrection, siniaticus, textural, vinci   

    ‘Christ died for our sins’ Despite what the BBC says… 

    Christ's resurrection *IS* mentioned in Codex Sinaiticus

    The earliest account of the resurrection in Codex Sinaiticus

    Great news for religious conspiracy theorists the world over.  The oldest near-complete version of the Bible can now be browsed online.

    Codex Siniaticus was written between 400-450AD and is the oldest version of the Bible in existence but what does it tell us about the Bibles we read today?

    There is no doubt there are lots of ‘differences’ Especially in the Old Testament.  This is largely due to how the oldest books (like Genesis) were written.  In this Codex, they were written in ‘ye-olde-Greek’ which has presented challenges to readers, much like those who try to read old English versions today.  It’s a different story for the New Testament though.

    Some stories are omitted and some extra ones are included but bearing in mind, these scriptures are by no means a recent find, the modern translations already point out these differences in the margins.  Unfortunately with Da Vinci Code mania stull running high,  lots of people are looking for controversy where there really isn’t any and it seems to be quite fashionable to try to discredit the Bible rather than the Qur’an or other Holy writings were fundamentalists don’t quite share such scholarly love.

    The BBC haven’t helped by writing a web article which only really tells half of the story.  Readers may be forgiven for thinking its all over bar the (hymn) singing after reading that the Codex misses out vast swathes of text including accounts of Christ’s resurrection and ascension.  It isn’t quite like that at all.

    Via the science of ‘textural criticism‘ its possible to form a relatively accurate date for the writings and events of the letters of St Paul and the Acts of the Apostles.  Paul’s ‘conversion’ happened approximately four years after Jesus’s public execution.  Acts 9:19 tells us that after his Damascus road experience, Paul spent time with the Disciples in Jerusalem.  Textural criticism really kicks in here…

    1 Cor 15:3 offers what seems like a simple-almost throw-away comment.

    3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

    This now sounds quite ‘normal’ as far as Christian tradition goes but at the time of writing, these words were mind blowing.  Paul wrote this around 50AD.  A mere thirty years after Jesus’ execution many of the witnesses to the events were still alive, in fact Paul makes mention of this himself.  But why is this so important?

    Well, some historians, theologians and novel writers would like us to believe that Jesus’ Divinity and resurrection were only ‘invented’ hundreds of years and thousands of miles away from how things actually were.  However through textural criticism it’s easy to see that they were not.  Christians were preaching, reading and writing about the resurrection within 5 years of Christ’s execution (remember: Paul says he is passing on that which he was given, presumably from the Disciples in Jerusalem).

    Unsurprisingly and contrary to what the BBC may have us believe, these texts can all be found (easily) in Codex Siniaticus with a few simple clicks of the mouse.  They aren’t missing at all!

    I’m not sure why Christianity comes in for so much stick.  Now I know some of the bad-press is well deserved with religious crackpots doing far more damage than good but surely a tambourine image crisis shouldn’t affect what is historically accurate or not.

    Alas! It doesn’t seem to be that way.  So many assumptions are made, reports and documentaries broadcast without some of the evidence being presented properly.  Not only does this exhibit very poor journalism, it misrepresents some of the most famous and prevalent ancient texts in existence.

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