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I just caught a plane to Geraldton, rather than driving over kangaroos again 😀

  

Next week in class, I’ll be looking at the Sermon on the Mount. Here’s my sense of what’s going on…Sermon on the Mount

Remember Jesus’ parable of the broad and narrow paths?

Plato (Laws, book 4, 718d-719a) reports a similar saying from Hesiod:

Most [people] only go to prove the wisdom of Hesiod’s remark that the road to vice is smooth and can be travelled without sweating, because it is very short; but ‘as the price of virtue,’ he says,

‘The gods have imposed the sweat of our brows, And long and steep is the ascent that you have to make; And rough, at first; but when you get to the top, Then the rugged road is easy to endure’ (Cooper’s edition of Plato’s Works, 1404-5, citing Hesiod, Works and Days 287-92)

Compare with Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV):

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

And compare to this parable of the later Rabbis: Mek. on Exod 14:5 (R. Simeon bar Yohai, ca. 140 C.E):

‘It compares to one who was sitting at a crossroads; and there were two paths before him. One started smoothly and ended with thorns. One started with thorns and ended smoothly. And he informed the passersby and the travellers. And he was saying to them: “Do you see this path which starts smoothly? For two or three steps you will walk easily, but it ends with thorns. And do you see this path that starts with thorns? For two or three steps you will walk through thorns, but it ends smoothly.”’

It makes one wonder whether Hesiod’s parable became (or already was) proverbial, being taken up and adapted in all sorts of contexts.

I remember when my mum crushed a serpent’s head near my primary school, with the heel of her shoe. Yuhuh, that’s the stock I’m made of!

Tomorrow in NT class, I’ll be looking at Luke 10, in which Jesus gives his disciples ‘authority to tread on snakes and scorpions.’ It is worth noting that the rest of the sentence in verse 19 clarifies the way in which Jesus wants this authority to be understood: ‘…and authority over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you.’ The issue is not that the disciples will be able to crush dugites with a well-aimed heel – even if disciples sometimes do that! – rather, the issue is that Jesus has come to crush the serpent’s head, to reverse the curse, to bring the protection of God to those who were living under the power of the enemy… and he has delegated authority to his disciples to be a part of that. So they cast out demons and make Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

As James says: ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee!

As the poet William Cowper wrote:

And Satan trembles when he sees

The weakest saint upon his knees.

Theatrocracy

Theatrocracy: An awesome word I came across in Plato (Laws book 3), pejoratively describing democratic judgment by ignorant spectators, as opposed to ‘meritocracy’ (701a)

I’ll be doing a five or six hour drive up to Geraldton at the end of this week, and it’s got me wondering whether I’ll hit a roo again. The only other time it’s happened, I was driving up north on my own, past midnight, at 110km/hr. Out of nowhere, a stupid kangaroo bounded onto the road, and I had no time to act. It slammed into the front of the car, and it was jammed into the radiator, with its head bobbing up and down on top of the front of the car. I didn’t dare to stop in case, in that deserted place with no streetlights, it attacked me – so I kept on driving for half an hour until I reached a streetlight. I then pulled over and found that the roo was well and truly dead. In fact, I had to break a branch off a tree and peel it off the front of the car. Then I drove my mangled car to my destination, couldn’t find the house I was supposed to be staying at, and eventually fell asleep in my car.

Geraldton, here I come!… I hope…

I have my reservations about Christian-Atheist debates, and I have my reservations about evidentialist apologetics… but this event looks intriguing – not least because of the participation of Professor Edwin Judge. I’m quite curious about attending…

Register now

Thu May 21st, 7pm-10pm
Jesus on trial

Did Jesus rise from the dead?

For 2000 years Christians have laid claim to an historical event. This mock trial will examine Jesus’ reported resurrection using the standards and procedures applied in contemporary secular courts.

Ian Davidson SC will argue the case for the resurrection with reference to ancient documents and by calling historian Professor Edwin Judge. A second barrister, Martin Hadley, Treasurer of Australian Skeptics Inc., will cross examine Professor Judge and call an expert witness of his own. Justice Kenneth Martin of the Supreme Court will instruct you, the audience, on how to assess the case.

When: 7-10pm, Thursday 21st May
Where: Riverside Theatre, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
Cost: $30pp
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