Search This Blog

Thursday, August 02, 2012

How To Create New Theological Concepts

Rule 1:   refuse to see what is before your eyes;
Rule 2:   insert the word "real", or "true", or "essential";
Rule 3:  push the philosophy or theology button.

St. Paul
Phillipians Chapter 3  Verses 2-3
Beware of dogs, of evildoers, of the concision. For it is we who are the circumcision,

Barnes' Notes on the Bible
Beware of the concision - Referring, doubtless, also to the Jewish teachers. The word rendered "concision" - κατατομή katatomē - means properly a cutting off, a mutilation. It is used here contemptuously for the Jewish circumcision in contrast with the true circumcision.

I cannot agree with Barnes. There is an obvious parallel between "concision" and "cirucmcision" in the Latin and in the Greek. "Concision" is a mutilation, and not just any mutilation,  but it is as specific as the word "circumcision" (a cutting around the perimeter) is, and probably deals with the rituals of Cybele and the extremes of self-mutilation among the male devotees.

Barnes merely subscribes to the new conceptual scheme of "true/false circumcision" by way of misinterpreting the passage. One can not only bowdlerize the letter of Paul, one can establish a whole new branch of theological investigation.

No comments: