Monday, May 2, 2011

New Testament Abortion. Simple. Paul. ἔκτρωμα. There.

New Testament Abortion.  What do Biblical Texts say.
Not extrapolation, not opinion, not ideology, not dogma:  
The texts, as best we find them
Meaning of Paul as an abortion (this was his literal reference to himself, his idea)
1.  Backdrop on any exegesis.  Which authority on any NT issue comes first.
A.  New Testament:
That would be Jesus.  Jesus, as the speaker himself, the one there.  Obviously, what he said is the primary source for Christianity in any form - Western, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, all the rest.  Jesus' words would be dispositive on any issue.  Did those who remembered or tried to, and then wrote them down - in Aramaic or another language get it right?  Were they all included?  Cross-text references try to sort that out.  We just take the traditional translations for now, in the canon.
B.  But Jesus said nothing about abortion, nothing about premature expelling of a dead entity, what its nature was or is, or whether intentional steps to bring that about are culpable in any way.  Whatever the status quo was on abortion, he let it be. No comment, no suggestions, no judgments.

C.  Early theologians also avoided the issue completely, and properly.  Life and breath -- the duality of the human.  All that hath life and breath, come now, etc. Nphsh. Wise, leave the moral decision to the one with location, location, location, as intended by that location, location, location.  Is that so, and can it bridge ideologies?

2.  Is there other authority, secondary authorities, on any NT issue?

a.  For earliest days, just Paul.  

Bottom line as to Paulian Christianity: There are more words in the New Testament said to be Paul's, than there are words in the New Testament said  to be Jesus'.  Paulianity, if you will.

What Paul says adds to the admonitions to preach and exemplify in order to spread the word.  Paul picks up from there and runs with it: embellishes, extrapolates, reduces, reemphasizes, spins and boxes Jesus' words so it fits an institutional evangelical box, suitable for spreading.

b.  So what does this second-in-command authority Paul say?  

That Jesus appeared to him as though Paul were an abortion.

With Paul, there is one entry.  I the entire New Testament canon, there is only Paul's one reference to abortion.  Paul lists all people to whom Jesus appeared after the time in the tomb, and then Paul says that Jesus also appeared to him

Earliest source we can find:  Go to a transliteration site, from the Greek, with the Greek in Greek font as well as the phonetic for us to read easier.  Each word or set in English corresponds to a Greek word, as shown.Scripture4all,org, Online Interlinear Greek NT 1st Cor.1:8

I Corinthians 15:8

"LAST  YET   OF-ALL    AS-EVEN-IF   to-THE    abortion    He WAS-VIEWED    AND-to-ME"

In the Greek phonetically at that site (you can see it at the site):
"eschaton    de    pantOn    hOsperei    tO    ektrOmati *    Ophthe    kamoi."

I Corinthians 15:9 -- he continues

"I    for    AM     THE INFERIOR-most   OF    THE    commissioners   WHO     NOT    AM     enough    TO   BE  be-ING   CALLED     commissioner    THRU-that     I-CHASE     THE     OUT-CALLED    OF-THE   God"
He was imperfect, the one not perfected yet, because he persecuted the Christians, so he is unworthy.  Is that the sense?  The analogy used so suggests.

* The "ektrOmati," or "abortion," or "abortive birth," in Greek is   ἔκτρωμα    How do ordinary people know that?  You and your neighbor can find each Greek word (and each Hebrew word) numbered by a man named Strong.  Strong looked up each time it was used, and compares usage in a Lexicon. And the number itself is given here for "ektrOmati" at the Scripture4all interlinear site:  right there, below the "ektrOmati" is the number G1626, or the Greek word number 1626.  So, ἔκτρωμα or "abortion" is Strong's number G1626, G for Greek.  That is your key.

Then key that into Blue Letter Bible, or Biblos, at click to Blue Letter Bible, Strong's Abortion G1626; and Thayer  FN 1

FN  1  Joseph Henry Thayer:  he is a researcher and also lexicographer who built on an earlier work by Grimm (both he and Strong's work date from the late 1800's but their scholarship is still The Thing  -- but note for Thayer that there is a "help" to click on.  That will tell you that his lexicon definitions are not governed by doctrine. There may be "doctrinal error" because the institution prefers its view.  He gives the meaning without regard to whether it fits the institution's ideology on the topic.


 c.  What did Paul mean, that Jesus appeared to Paul as if Paul were an abortion.

(1)  The literal is accurate, but it takes thinking about.

Saint Jerome, doing the first translation of the New Testament into Latin, uses "abortivo." Fine. Abortion. See a site with multiple parallel translations at Click on the book and the verse you want, and end up at Greek New Testament I Corinth.15:8

Corresponding to "extrOmati" and find  ektrwmati and find the Latin "abortivo."

A not-pretty idea.

(2)  Scholarship about the literal "abortion" image

Scholarship.  How does that enlighten what Paul meant.

a.  Go back to Blue Letter Bible, Strong's and Thayer:  Blue Letter Bible Lexicon, Strong's G1626, abortion, Paulian reference  Thayer:  Gives the words with variations that mean to cause or suffer abortion, an abortion, an abortive birth, an untimely birth, and then gets to verses 8 and 9 as well.

" *** that he is as inferior to the rest of the apostles as an immature birth comes short of a mature one, and is no more worthy of the name of an apostle than an abortion is of the name of a child."
And he goes on to list the other places in the Old Testament and among ancient Greeks where the concept of abortion is used.  You can list them all out, and look them up at Scripture4all and Hebrew Old Testament dot com -- Hebrew as the language from which the Latin was translated by Jerome as to the Old Testament, and Greek as the language from which the Latin was translated by Jerome as to the New Testament.  See FN 1 where we have looked them all up.

So:  Paul.  An abortion, a non-breathing one, is not worthy of the name of "child" -- and there the Bible lets it go. There may well be social and other reasons for regulation of human behavior, but it cannot be called originally religious as in textual support.

(2)  But then see the fog take over. Fiddle around with euphemisms, anything but what Paul said.  Use "untimely birth."  Spin is better than truth for institutions, is that so?

There are nine (9) other translations, all in English, and all use the euphemism of being born untimely, except for Darby's English Translation that says "abortion."

Is this true also at Scripture4all? Check back at Scripture4all, I Cor.15, find this wording for the ἔκτρωμα
"And last of all he was seen of me also as of one born out of due time."
Again?  Even at the site with the transliteration as "abortion?"  Born?  Out of due time?
  • Born is used for breathing entities, alive.  
  • Out of due time can mean merely premature.  
  • That is not "abortion."
Just premature, not quite fully developed, but doing fine, thank you, just be careful. Please, just one lump, not two. Such a lovely day. Thank you so much.

(3)  The Secondary Authority of Institutional Leaders, Tradition

After Jesus came more secondary authorities than Paul.

Some believers put those secondary authorities on a par with primary Jesus, perhaps, as themselves directly "inspired" or having received "divine intervention" messages.  Those may be saints, popes, others. Is what they say about what we have written as Jesus' own words -- even by those removed from Jesus, and some expunged -- still, something to go on?

Here, we stay with what was written about what Jesus actually said, if that is so; and leave extrapolations, explanations, applications, all that, to taking its own leap of faith.  Here, stay with what was original, if it was. 

So:  all these other voices.  Institutional officials and saints, canonical processes weeding out those who disagreed with the dogma and the canon finally emerged with the parts that were wanted. See what hinges on whether the words as written by Paul were so. That takes believing in his inspiration, divine revelation, all that.  So the disputes continue. Should the "rejects" be re-vetted to see if merit was excluded for human reasons?  Ask.  See Vetting Biblical Rejects. Time for a Recount

Regardless, after Jesus, however, we only have people:  people who claim their own divine intervention, revelation, visions, ecstasies, fits, something through centuries of carrying on the same rituals.

Of those, the biggest authority for the Western Christian overlay on what Jesus said, and also did not say, is Paul.

For later days, followers of the institution added saints, popes, etc. to the list of weighty view makers. Popes finally became infallible in 1870, and the doctrine was made retroactive at that time, to include everybody in that category back from and up to that point as well, see, Faith, Papal Infallibility

All doctinally extrapolative, claiming from "inspiration," filling in blanks, deciding for cultural reasons who shall decide, and by all means, let no woman decide.

FN 2.   Researching abortion and intentional dislodging.  What, if any, culpability that is originally textual and not cultural. And as to texts, what changes occurred over time between telling, and somebody centuries later writing. Do agendas change?

In summary: check this against our research below:  Abortion is used as a descriptive term for something worth nothing.  It just happens.

If we go to outside  structures and legal systems for what happens if there is an intentional dislodging of a pregnancy (there is nothing about that in the Old Testament) or to opinions excluded from the canon, Early Christian Writings on Abortion,  note that nobody saw fit to include any of that at all in the religious aspects of the day.  The foetus may be property -- a woman who dislodges the foetus disturbs the property right of the man to it -- child, but note this is not a moral "life" issue.  The man may well remain authorized to expose or dispose of the child after the birth if he likes -- no moral issue of "life" or "soul", just  who gets to decide this property matter.

Soul?  All creatures are created with a soul, as was the first Human - see Scripture4all: Breathe - Get Soul. Nphsh. Scripture4all Gen.1:19-21;  Human also has hphsh upon breathing, same word as the flyers in the heavens and the beasts and the fish, see Scripture4all, Nphsh, soul, in human, Gen 2:7.

Hierarchy in life forms:  the one not breathing, appears to have a lesser value than the breathing one.  Even Paul differentiates.

Review old laws,  in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, at The History of Legal Medicine, by Cyril H. Wecht, MD, JD .  If an in-utero child could be saved, there were requirements for the woman who died in confinement, for example, to be opened. There was not disregard. 


1.  For reverent persons of inspecific dogma. Subjective. Weigh your principles, including consideration of a common good, against your known facts. 

2.  For irreverent persons.  You will follow your own course without regard to any overarching principles. Ok.

3.  For reverent persons of specific dogma. Objective.  What does your chosen authority say.  Follow.

4.  For irreverent persons of specific dogma.  Subjective.  What does your chosen authority say, with the added permission to take those chosen laws in your own hands.

So:  Jesus said nothing about abortion, or its other terminologies, including and by that, untimely birth, meaning dead. On arrival.  Jesus says nothing about intentionality in abortion:  whose business is it if the woman Usually, the primary or direct source is considered more credible than a secondary or indirect source of information.  secondary source Paul is more an authority than primary source Jesus.  Paul gets the airtime (more words in the Bible), and it was his ability to garner the media of the day and organize and focus people on how to be an institutionand the words of Jesus or views of him that did not fit the emerging ideology were expunged and discredited (heresy),

Ideology -- needed for larger group cohesion and survival, differentiation.  It is a group-forging and group-forcing of a political or religious belief system, to entrench the chosen opinion about the fact on a culture.  Ideology shapes that culture, secures the position of some in power, some not.  Those with this belief are in, those with that belief are out.  Politics in religion and culture. But ideology may or may not relate to original facts and truths, is that so?

Why does ideology get such a hole?  Perhaps people were vulnerable to an authority takeover takeover because they were kept illiterate for a thousand years, had no power, and had to rely on a party line about what was going on.  Perhaps the information was kept out of their language.  More forced reliance on a few who had access to texts, and could shape it at will. 

This forcing of opinion by expanding it into an ideology system ort is directed at people who may well have been barred from reviewing original sources, by being kept illiterate, and reliant on "authority," or by being refused information in their own language in a reliable full way, look up the original fact, as best it can be found.

No comments: