Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Opus 2024-126: Secrets

I am fascinated with the concept of the oral Torah.  I just became aware of this recently, although evidence of it has been in front of me for a long time.

First, a bit of background.  Christians believe in the Bible as the word of God.  I always assumed that Jews looked at what we called the Old Testament as the Bible and believed that it was inspired by God similar to Gentile believers.  I believed they accepted the end of Malachi as the end of God’s revealed word.  That might’ve been true at some point but it was not true at the time of Jesus.  Somewhere in between they became infatuated with this idea of the oral law.  I have not seen any evidence for this in the Old Testament.  Maybe I have just not looked hard enough.

We see reference to this when Jesus was dealing with the Pharisees, and accusing them of following the traditions of men, rather than the commands of God.  Paul refers to the traditions of his elders.  As I read non-Biblcal sources, I come across this idea of the oral law, which I had not noticed before.  Different sources I have seen say that it was looked at as being more authoritative than the written law.

With that in mind, I turn to the Jewish rabbi Philo.  He lived, I believe, about 200 years before Christ during the intertestamental period.  He was known to be a gnostic.  He allowed this to influence his theology, writings and the direction of his teaching.  I don’t think he’s stood alone.  I think he was just the salient voice of a movement.  It is also during this time that I believe the oral tradition emerged.  One of the sources I read, talked about how Jews of Jesus’ time looked upon the oral tradition as their secret knowledge which was not available to the Christians.  I see the Christians had adopted the Jewish Old Testament as their scriptures and were using them.  To protect themselves, the Jews were quite willing to consider the oral tradition as superior to the written tradition and kept it hidden from the rest of the world.  Thus it became a secret knowledge.

Notice the parallel here between Gnosticism with a secret knowledge and what was happening in Judaism.  I will submit that the Jews of Jesus day had already lost touch with the God of the Bible, and were very much into the wisdom of man.  The sad part is that they still seemed locked into that source of authority.

I will take my authority in the open access form, thank you.

homo unius libri


Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.