Friday, October 05, 2018

'Bokoreri Obuya Nkorw' Asore: Ekegusii hymn

The Music Teacher from Lutheran Theological Seminary-Nyamira, Kenya with his family singing the first two verses of hymn 70 from the Ekegusii hymnal Moterere Omonene.

'Bokoreri Obuya Nkorw' Asore, 
lyrics by Enock Kalembo




1. Omo:
'Bokoreri obuya nkorw' asore,
Omonene bw'obonene.
Ring'ana rigiy' erieta riao.

Bonsi:
/:Yeso nomochakano bw'emeremo,
na nechinguru ase obokoreri bwaito.:/

2. Omo:
Abakoreri mogondo oo,
obae ososemeria.
Ne chinguru kobr' emeremo.

Bonsi:
/: Bakore yonsi ase obwegenwa,
bab' abarendi eri' emeremo tesareka. :/

Enock Kalembo's Kiswahili version is #71 in Mwimbiene Bwana

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Kiswahili Te Deum Wewe Mungu Twakukiri-Draft

This is for the proof-readers, a draft engraving of the first setting of the Te Deum (p. 383-384) in the Kiswahili hymnal Mwimbieni Bwana: msifuni Mungu, mfalme wa mbingu na nchi! This hymnal was produced in 2000 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. 




Wewe Mungu Twakukiri (Te Deum)


Ki: Wewe, Mungu twakukiri
Wewe, Bwana wa Milele,
Ush: Ulimwengu wote unakuabudu.


Ki: Malaika wote wakusujudia Wewe.
Ush: Nazo Mbingu na Nguvu zote;


Ki: Nao makerubi na maserafi wakuimbia hawakomi:
Ush: Mtakatifu, Mtakatifu, Mtakatifu, BWANA
Mungu wa majeshi,


Ki: Mbingu na nchi zimejaa utukufu wako.
Ush: Jamii tukufu ya Mitume wakusifu Wewe;


Ki: Shirika lenye sifa la manabii wakusifu Wewe.
Ush: Jeshi la Mashahidi waliovaa mavazi muepe wakusifu wewe;


Ki: Kanisa takatifu katika nchi zote lakukiri Wewe;
Ush: Baba mwenye enzi zote; Mwana wako pekee,
na wa kweli, wa kuabudiwa; Mfariji Roho Mtakatifu.


Ki: Wewe Kristo ndiwe Mfalme wa Utukufu,
Wewe Mwana wa milele wa Baba.
Ush: Hata ulipowadia utimilifu wa wakati wa kuwaokoa binadamu,
Ulichukua mwili huu wetu katika tumbo la Bikira Mariamu.


Ki: Wewe ulipoushinda uchungu wa mauti,
Uliwafungulia waaminio Ufalme wa Mbinguni.
Ush: Wewe unakaa mkono wa kuume wa Mungu katika utukufu wake Baba.


Ki: Tunaamini na kungojea kurudi kwako kuwa mwamuzi wetu.
Ush: Kwa hiyo twakuomba uwasaidie watumishi wako.


Ki: Watumishi hawa uliowakomboa kwa damu yako ya thamani,
Ush: Uwajalie pamoja na watakatifu wako
Thawabu ya utukufu wa milele. Amen.


Uwaokoe watu wako, Bwana: uubarikie urithi wako.
Uwatawale: uwainue hata makao ya milele.
Sisi kila siku: twakutukuza.
Twalisifu Jina lako: zamani hizi na za tnilele.
Ukubali, Bwana, kutulinda leo: tusipate dhambi.
Uturchemu, Bwana: umrehemu sisi.
Utuonee huruma, Bwana: kwani sisi twakutumaini wewe.
Nirnekutumaini wewe, Bwana: nisipotee milele.

The last 8 lines are reproduced from: INJIA Y A IBADA. Swahili: Book of Worship SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. LONDON: p. 3-4]

https://docplayer.net/53409897-Njia-y-a-ibada-swahili-book-of-worship-society-for-promoting-christian-knowledge-njla-ya-ibada-book-of-worship-london.html]

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Kiswahili Invocation -- Draft

This is for the proof-readers, a draft engraving of the first setting of the Invocation in the Kiswahili hymnal Mwimbieni Bwana: msifuni Mungu, mfalme wa mbingu na nchi! This hymnal was produced in 2000 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.


I Maandalio: Ungamo na Ondoleo la Dhambi (MB p. 267)

Invocation

Ki: Kwa Jina la Mungu Baba na la Mwana na la Roho Mtakatifu.

Ush: Amen.



WIMBO


Ki: Bwana Mungu wetu yupo hapa, yu pamoja nasi. Tumsujudie, tumche. Na tumsikie jinsi anavyotufundisha katika Neno lake:

ama: Mpende Bwana Mngu wako kwa moyo wako wote, na wka roho yako yote, na kwa akili zako zote; Mpende na jirani yako kama nafisi yako.

au: Mimi ni Bwana Mungu wako, usiwe na miungu mingine ila mimi. Usilitaje bure Jina la Bwana Mungu wako, maana Bwana hatamhesabia kuwa hana hatia mtu alitajaye jina lake bure. Ikumbuke siku ya Bwana, uitakase. Waheshimu Baba yako na Mama yako. Usiue. Usizini. Usibe. Usimshuhudie jirani yako uongo. Usiitamani nyumba ya jirani yako. Usitamani mke wa jirani yako, wala mtumishi wake, wala ng’ombe wake, wala chochote alicho nacho.

Ki: Msaada wetu ni katika Jina la Bwana,
Ush: Aliyeziumba mbingu na dunia.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Kiswahili Gloria In Excelsis Second Version -- Draft

This is for the proof-readers, a draft engraving of the first setting of the Gloria in Excelsis in the Kiswahili hymnal Mwimbieni Bwana: msifuni Mungu, mfalme wa mbingu na nchi! This hymnal was produced  in 2000 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.



Twakusifu (Gloria in Excelsis) Njia ya pili [Second Version] 





Thursday, September 27, 2018

Kiswahili Gloria In Excelsis First Version -- Draft

This is for the proof-readers, a draft engraving of the first setting of the Gloria in Excelsis in the Kiswahili hymnal Mwimbieni Bwana: msifuni Mungu, mfalme wa mbingu na nchi! This hymnal was produced  in 2000 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.


UTUKUFU NI WA MUNGU (Gloria in Excelsis)



Ekegusii Kyrie, Second Setting -- Draft

This is for the proof-readers, a draft engraving of the first setting of the Kyrie in the Ekegusii hymnal Moterere Omonene: motogie Nyasae, omoruoti o igoro na ense! Edited by Anssi Simojoki and published by Kiarurwe na Ekanisa y'Ekeinchili Ekelutheri Kenya. This hymnal was produced in 2010, and does not contain musical settings for the liturgy.


Ekegusii Kyrie, First Setting -- Draft

This is for the proof-readers, a draft engraving of the first setting of the Kyrie in the Ekegusii hymnal Moterere Omonene: motogie Nyasae, omoruoti o igoro na ense! Edited by Anssi Simojoki and published by Kiarurwe na Ekanisa y'Ekeinchili Ekelutheri Kenya. This hymnal was produced  in 2010, and does not contain musical settings for the liturgy.



Kiswahili Kyrie Version 3 -- Draft

This is for the proof-readers, a draft engraving of the first setting of the Kyrie in the Kiswahili hymnal Mwimbieni Bwana: msifuni Mungu, mfalme wa mbingu na nchi! This hymnal was produced  in 2000 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.


Kiswahili Kyrie Version 2 -- Draft

This is for the proof-readers, a draft engraving of the first setting of the Kyrie in the Kiswahili hymnal Mwimbieni Bwana: msifuni Mungu, mfalme wa mbingu na nchi! This hymnal was produced  in 2000 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.


Kiswahili Kyrie Version 1--Draft

This is for the proof-readers, a draft engraving of the first setting of the Kyrie in the Kiswahili hymnal Mwimbieni Bwana: msifuni Mungu, mfalme wa mbingu na nchi! This hymnal was produced  in 2000 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.

BWANA UTUREHEMU (KYRIE)





Monday, September 24, 2018

The Sanctus: Ekegusii and Kiswahili-Draft Setting

The following is an Ekegusii setting for the Sanctus based on the Kiswahili version found in Mwimbieni Bwana (2000, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania)

This is an image of a work in progress. Chords will be added.

The Ekegusii translation is first:
Omochenu, Omochenu, Omochenu,
OMONENE Nyasae
bw'Emeganda,
Igoro na Ense yiachoirwe
n'Obonene bwao.
Hosiana Igoro! Nasesenirie
oy'ogocha ase Erieta ri'Omonene,
Hosiana!

Followed by the Kiswahili translation:
Mtakatifu, Mtakatifu, Mtakatifu,
Bwana Mungu
wa Majeshi mbingu na nchi
zimejaa utukufu wako.
Hosiana mbinguni.
Heri anayekuja kwa
jina la Bwana.
Hosiana!



Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Gerhard Forde 1972 Where God Meets Man: Notes on Chapter 2

Where God Meets Man: Luther’s Down-to-Earth Approach to the Gospel, Published by Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis.
https://archive.org/details/wheregodmeetsman00ford
 
Forde’s second chapter is titled “The ‘Down to Earth’ God.”

Forde continues with his theme of the Ladder. Mankind wrongly tries to climb the ladder to God. Here, Forde insists that we should learn from Luther:
“[T]he way he attempted to solve those problems gives us some guidance in our discussions today.”(18)
In his summary of Luther Forde leaves out the basic formal principle of Luther’s presentation: the discussion of Scriptural authority and clarity, along with careful contextual reading of the passages of Scripture. Forde also obscures and contradicts key points of Luther’s material principle: the doctrine of Justification, Scripture’s teaching on sin and evil, and the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ. 

Forde produced a fourteen page summary of Luther’s De servo arbitrio (“The Bondage of the Will”), a document that in the American Edition of Luther’s Works runs to 295 pages. Of course, the reader should expect that Forde was capturing only what he thought was significant of Luther’s argumentation. Indeed, Forde does capture the sentiment of some of Luther’s arguments. But by omitting any real discussion or presentation of Luther’s treatment of Scripture the reader is not directed to the clear words of Scripture as the foundation and only source for knowledge of God’s will. 

At the beginning of the next chapter Forde said of this chapter (2):
“We dealt with the question of where to look to find the will of God revealed.” (p. 32)
When Forde wrote of where this will of God is found he avoids going to the written Word of God. At times Forde resorts to using the term actual where this term can imply looking at the Scriptures, but that is not Forde’s meaning with the term. 
“Our opinions about what God is like ‘up in heaven’ do not matter. It is rather a question of the way things actually are; it is a question of what God himself has actually said and done down here on earth.” (21, emphasis original)
Those who are unaware of Forde’s use of this language are often left with the impression that he is referring to the Bible. And when Forde’s meaning is explained his admirers often become defensive. But an honest evaluation of Forde will let Forde say what Forde means by his words. He has dealt with his meaning of this terminology most thoroughly in his formal presentation of the Doctrine of Christ in 1984, where he wrote:
The earliest layers of the New Testament Gospel sources, the sayings sources such as Q, indicate no particular reflection on or view of Jesus’ work or his fate. Jesus’ death was no doubt a mighty schock, but it seems mostly to have been understood in terms of the usual fate of God’s prophets: they were rejected and came to a bad end. Such rejection, of course, unmasks the unrepentant, unbelieving, and guilty stance of God’s people. This early view of the life and death of Jesus is reflected also in some of the speeches in Acts, such as Peter’s speech in Acts 2, and even in some of Paul’s earlier writings (see, e.g., 1 Thess. 2:14ff.). Jesus himself, though he might have and quite possibly did reckon with a violent death at the hands of his adversaries, seems not to have understood or interpreted his own death as a sacrifice for others or ransom for sin. Such interpretation apparently came as the result of later reflection. (Forde’s 1984 “The Work of Christ” pp. 12-13, in Braaten and Jenson Christian Dogmatics volume 2, emphasis added)
What Forde means is that his historical-critical reconstruction of the words and work of Christ have to be extracted from the layers of interpretation by His first hearers, the hypothetical writer of the Q source, the Gospel writers, the hypothetical editors of the Gospels, the hypothetical apocalyptic theologians. Forde thought all these different sources had modified the actual words and works of Christ. He also maintained that there were layers of reinterpretations of Paul and the hypothetical editors of the Pauline epistles shaping the Pauline epistles as we have received them. Forde continued:
Even in their final redaction the synoptic Gospels contain little direct or explicit interpretation of Jesus’ work. Mark 10:45 has Jesus say that the Son of Man came to give his life ‘as a ransom for many,’ and the accounts of the Last Supper speak of Jesus’ blood as his ‘blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many’ (Mark 14:24) and ‘my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’ (Matt. 26:28). Such passages, in their present form at least, are usually regarded as having come not from Jesus himself but from later interpretive traditions. The same is true of the instances where Jesus predicts his own death and resurrection, such as Mark 8:31ff. And 9:31, and parallels in the other Synoptics. They are interpretations attributed to Jesus after the fact. But aside from such scanty references, the Synoptics even in their final form afford little explicit interpretation of Jesus’ work. (Forde’s 1984 “The Work of Christ” p. 13, Braaten and Jenson Christian Dogmatics volume 2, emphasis added)
Forde’s higher-critical stance on the Scriptures is especially important to keep in mind when Forde does use the term Scripture in his argument. 

In the chapter of Where God Meets Man that we are examining, under his sub-heading “The attempt to escape from God” Forde contrasts the liberation expressed in the “question of what God himself has actually said and done down here on earth” with the bondage the reader receives from reading Scripture. The term Scripture is used only with reference to the threat of bondage.
It [the threat] hounds us through the inescapable logic of the arguments; it hounds us through the clear and unmistakable passages of scripture.
One cannot escape it even by arguing that there are certain other passages of scripture which seem to support the idea of freedom. For it is not a question of argument, not even a question of marshalling one set of scripture passages against another. All one would accomplish by that would be to try to establish that scripture is unclear— precisely what Luther attacked Erasmus for and what he would not in any circumstance allow. Scripture is not a book that can be dealt with by tallying up numbers of passages. Even if there were only one passage of scripture which refuted man’s freedom, Luther says, in effect, that would be enough. Why? Because that would be all it takes to destroy our confidence in the opposite arguments; that would be all it takes for the ‘voice’ of doubt to insinuate itself into ‘the heart.’ For it is not a question of such arguments. It is a question of the way things actually are, the way what God says in his Word actually strikes us. (22-23 emphasis original)
It should be pointed out that the aim of Luther’s writing the Bondage of the Will is to demonstrate that Erasmus was in error by asserting that Scripture and reason allow for some kind of freedom with regard to man’s status before God. Most of Luther’s book is addressing the proper use of Scripture shows that man’s will is in its natural sinful state captive entirely to Satan, sin, and death— that the only thing sinful man wills is to sin, rebel against God, and serve his own sinful flesh. 

But it is interesting that in contrast, when Forde speaks of what changes us from this bondage to the liberty of the Gospel Forde does not refer to Scripture with the word Scripture. Forde again uses his special terminology:
For the problem is not the abstract one of what God might or might not be like up there ‘in heaven,’ not what he might or might not have willed in the secret of his own counsel, but what he has actually willed and done for you here on earth. He has sent his Son to die and conquer the grave; he has baptized you and given you the sacrament of his body and blood and that is the revelation of his almighty will! (25, emphasis original)
Beside avoiding referring directly to Scripture as the source for this teaching Forde does a couple other things in this paragraph. First, he states what God has done in a way that avoids reference to the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. Second, he presents a historical-critical position wanting to embrace something it calls Christianity and adopting historically Christian terminology and forms. As we noted previously, Forde used historical Lutheran terminology, but he used this terminology with meanings already re-framed in writings from the Neo-Orthodoxy of Karl Barth and Reinhold Niebuhr as well as the Lundensian theology of Anders Nygren, Gustaf Aulén and Ragnar Bring. In the above quotation from chapter 2, Forde, the historical-critic, took a position that is structurally and functionally equivalent to the old Grundtvigian error. 

In mid-19th century Denmark a theologian and political activist named Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig promoted a teaching that the 
“Word heard in the church through the ages, especially the Apostles' Creed, rather than written Scripture, was the ‘Living Word’ given to the church by Christ Himself. By this Word and in the sacraments God meets the individual in the church.”
 [summary in the Lutheran Cyclopedia,
http://cyclopedia.lcms.org/display.asp?t1=G&word=GRUNDTVIG.NIKOLAIFREDERIKSEVERIN ]
Grundtvig sought in the spoken Word and in the sacraments the clear and unchanging expression of true and pure Christianity as it had come down from Christ Himself through the centuries. In reaction against small Bible reading groups he held that the Bible was a “dead word” over against the “living word” of the Apostles' Creed. He influenced the Danish Church especially by his view of life, hymns, emphasis on congregational life and singing, and the effect of his message especially in rural areas. His great love for Denmark and his vision of its historical destiny gave his movement a national spirit. Christian, national, political, and cultural subjects were discussed in great folk mass meetings. As a result, Grundtvigianism became the most liberal of the 3 main groups in the Danish Church.
[the Lutheran Cyclopedia
http://cyclopedia.lcms.org/display.asp?t1=d&word=DENMARK.LUTHERANISMIN number 8]
Grundtvig sought “the clear and unchanging expression of true and pure Christianity as it had come down from Christ Himself through the centuries.” Forde sought “what God himself has actually said and done down here on earth.”(21) Grundtvig’s lens was oral tradition, the Apostles’ Creed, and the liturgical heritage of the Church. Forde’s lens was the historical-critical scholarship which would extract what Jesus actually said and did from the “interpretations attributed to Jesus after the fact.” (1984, p. 13) Both sought to be unbound from the Bible as it is written. Both sought a higher authority than Scripture in a carefully selected subset of what they each held as authentic Christian teaching. Both directed their readers to the historic outward participation in the liturgical rituals of the Church. And in both cases the congregations were led to trust authorities with special insight or training over and above what was plainly written in their Bibles.

Luther spent the majority of the pages in his Bondage of the Will showing how Scripture is clear and sufficient in teaching the will of God, the captivity of the human will to sin. Most of the pages are dedicated to clear exposition of the passages which Erasmus incorrectly used to assert that there is some aspect of the human will, perhaps pre-conditioned by grace, that is able to choose God. Those passages, Luther demonstrated, most certainly and clearly show that mankind is captive either to sin, death, and the will of Satan; or he is captive to the will of God. If man is captive to the will of God it is only through faith in the penal substitutionary life, sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. An essential aspect of Luther’s presentation is that any claim to free will in spiritual matters denigrates the value of Christ’s suffering and death for our sins in His penal substitutionary atonement. Just a few examples from Luther:
“For in the New Testament the gospel is preached, which is nothing else but a message in which the Spirit and grace are offered with a view to the remission of sins, which has been obtained for us by Christ crucified; and all this freely, and by the sole mercy of God the Father, whereby faver is shown to us, unworthy as we are and deserving of damnation rather than anything else.” (BOW AE 33:150, emphasis added)
“For if what is most excellent in man is not ungodly and lost or damned, but only the flesh, or the lower and grosser desires, what sort of redeemer do you think we shall make Christ out to be? Are we to rate the price of his blood so low as to say that it has redeemed only what is lowest in man, and that what is most excellent in man can take care of itself and has no need of Christ?” (BOW 227, emphasis added)
“If Christ is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world [John 1:29], then it follows that the whole world is subject to sin, damnation, and the devil, and the distinction between principal and nonprincipal parts is of no use at all. For ‘world’ means men, who savor of worldly things in all their parts.” (BOW 228, emphasis added)
“For show me any one of the whole race of mortals, even if he is the holiest and most righteous of them all, to whom it has ever occurred that the way to righteousness and salvation is the way of faith in one who is both God and man, who for the sins of men both died and rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father; or show me any who has even dreamed of this wrath of God which Paul here says is revealed from heaven.” (concerning Romans 1: 18, BOW 250, emphasis added)
“Where is now the endeavor of free choice by which grace is obtained? John says here [1:16], not only that grace is not received by any effort of ours, but that it is received through another’s grace or another’s merit, namely, that of the one man Jesus Christ. It is therefore either false that we receive our grace in return for another’s grace, or else it is evident that free choice counts for nothing. For we cannot have it both ways; the grace of God cannot be both so cheap as to be obtainable anywhere and everywhere by man’s puny endeavor, and at the same time so dear as to be given us only in and through the grace of one Man and so great a Man.” (BOW 279, emphasis added)
They do not believe that Christ is their advocate with God, and obtains grace for them by his own blood as it says here, “grace for grace” [John 1:16]. And as they believe, so it is with the. Christ is truly and deservedly an inexorable Judge to them, inasmuch as they abandon him as a Mediator and most merciful Savior, and count his blood and his grace of less value than the efforts and endeavors of free choice. (BOW 280, emphasis added)
If we believe that Christ has redeemed men by his blood, we are bound to confess that the whole man was lost; otherwise, we should make Christ either superfluous or the redeemer of only the lowest part of man, which would be blasphemy and sacrilege. (BOW 293, emphasis added)
In contrast with what Luther actually wrote, Forde discusses how people try to shape God into their own image to make it easier to approach, to climb the ladder. He wrote:
Today the God-remodelers are a dime a dozen. Everyone, it seems, wants to do God the favor of making him less objectionable. … Some even say he has obliged us all by dying!”(31)
This is consistent with his denial of the penal substitutionary atonement evident in the first chapter, the introduction and many other of Forde’s writings. Recall his mischaracterization of Luther in chapter 1:
“Luther understood the gospel as something more than a theory about how God might or might not have been ‘bought off’ up there in heaven.” (17 see the previous discussion on chapter 1)
Very clearly Forde’s presentation of Luther’s position differs foundationally from what Luther himself wrote, both with respect to the formal principle of Scripture as the source and norm of true doctrine and with regard to Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement. 

What really is the nature of our captivity or bondage?

Throughout this chapter when Forde discusses the bondage of the will he never mentions sin in any way. Forde mentions “the problem of evil” as something left unexplained with reference to:
“where it came from or how it started or how exactly it is related to God’s omnipotence. Luther has no better answers to those question than anyone else: the problem of evil remains for him a deep mystery.”(30)
Such a statement from Forde, claiming to teach what Luther taught in Bondage of the Will, is dumbfounding. Especially when Forde fails to mention sin at all in this chapter.

Compare Luther:
“If we are unaware of the sin in which we were born, in which we live, move, and have our being, or rather, which lives, moves, and reigns in us, how should we be aware of the righteousness that reigns outside of us in heaven?” (BOW 263)
In fact, the nature of sin and evil, its source, cause, effects, and humankind’s captivity to Satan, sin, and death are found throughout Luther’s Bondage of the Will. What is very clear is that Luther is very different from Forde’s version of Luther in all essential respects. Luther wrote in his summary:
“[I]f we believe that Satan is the ruler of this world, who is forever plotting and fighting against the Kingdom of Christ with all his powers, and that he will not let men go who are his captives unless he is forst to do so by the divine power of the Spirit, then again it is evident that there can be no such thing as free choice.
“Similarly, if we believe that original sin has so ruined us that even in those who are led by the Spirit it causes a great deal of trouble by struggling against the good, it is clear that in a man devoid of the Spirit there is nothing left that can turn toward the good, but only toward evil.” (BOW 293)
There is a particular statement Luther made in Bondage of the Will that aptly describes Forde’s re-interpretation of Luther:
“[It is] as if you think that Christian godliness can exist without Christ so long as God is worshiped with all one’s powers as being by nature most merciful.” (Luther to Erasmus in Bondage of the Will LW 33:29)
Forde has presented Luther’s Bondage of the Will excluding any reference to: sin, captivity to Satan, sin and death. He neglected to touch upon Luther’s focus on Scripture as the sole source and norm for doctrine. With this Forde failed to cover the need for clear understanding of Scripture and the passages of Scripture that speak to the issue of whether humans have a bound or free will with respect to the things of God, the origin of evil, ignoring that Luther teaches human will is bound either to Satan by normal human birth or else to Christ through faith in His vicarious atonement. What is left in Forde is a term “Bondage of the Will” that signifies an intellectual philosophical moral state without reference to sin or salvation from sin through Christ. This is a position far from “the way that he [Luther] attempted to solve those problems.”(p 18)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Reading the Bible: Prose and Poetry

By Pastor Joseph Abrahamson

In this article we are going to look at how to discern the differences between two main styles of writing: Prose and Poetry.

So what is Prose?
   Prose can be described as typical or un-ornamented use of a language.

What is Poetry?
   Poetry can be described as playing with or ornamenting a language in ways that deliberately differ from the typical ways people normally use their language.

The distinction between prose and poetry is not always clearcut.

In poetry phrases and sentences are often much more compact; though the same account may be told in a much longer narrative than in prose. For example, compare the death of Sisera in the prose of Judges 4:16-23 with the poetry of Deborah’s song where she sings of the same events in Judges 5:19-31.

The previous example also shows that poetry may also be more picturesque in description than in prose. Another example of this is found in the description of the death of the Egyptians in the Sea. The narrative is at Exodus 14:19-30. Compare this with the Song of Moses Exodus 15:1-18.

Each language or language group will have different ways to make distinctions between prose and poetry. Some of these ways of marking poetry might be shared by a number of languages, but we will generalize to say that poetry is intentionally different from the normal formal way people structure their words in their language. These methods of making poetry different from prose are called poetic techniques or poetic devices.

These poetic devices can make use of:
  • The semantics or meanings of words. Psalm 1:1 is an example of the play of meaning moving from “walk” to “stand” to “sit.”
  • The sounds and rhythm of the words. Ecclesiastes 7:1 has such a play on sound and arrangement. The Hebrew sounds like “Tov Shem Mi-Shemen Tov.” Say that out loud to get the rhythm and sound of it. English can not capture this structure well. It translates as “A good name is better than good oil.” The oil may be a reference either to perfume or to anointing to high position. While English cannot capture the poetic device of the Hebrew, translators will often arrange the text to look like poetry in English in order to help the reader read this line as a line of poetry.
  • The syntax or grammar. For example Isaiah 45:9 places the main verb of the question at the beginning of two questions. But the verb is not repeated for the second question. Visual layout in English translation helps to ensure the reader rightly understands.
    Shall it say,
         the clay to its shaper, ‘What are you making?’
         Or the thing you made, ‘He has no hands’?
         Often English translations will simply repeat the verb to keep the meaning clear.
    Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
    Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’? (NKJV)
  • Or the graphical representation of the language. Visual and graphic layout of the text is another device that could be used to mark poetry as distinct from prose. Unfortunately we lack early manuscript evidence of the use of such layout. What evidence we do have suggests that the inspired authors of the Scripture wrote without using this kind of device in the times of Moses, David, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Visual layout is such a strong feature of how poetry is marked in English, that in modern English Bible translations the poetry of the Hebrew Bible is almost always marked by means of visual layout.
Poetry is also often deliberately structured in ways which set it apart from the normal formal way prose is structured. Structuring could be visual, as mentioned above. But it could also be made through:
  • Rhythmic cadence or meter. In Hebrew the verses of the book of Lamentations often follow a 3:2 rhythm.

    Bum-Bum-Bum….Bum-Bum
    .
    Bum-Bum-Bum….Bum-Bum.

    This rhythm is called Qinah (‘Lamentation’). This kind of metrical or rhythmic device cannot really be transferred into English. Sometimes a translator can find a way. But very often it is not possible to do so without somehow changing the meaning of the original Hebrew text.
  • Syllable counts. Isaiah 28:10 and 13 give us an example of reversing syllable counts. The count is 
1:2, 1:2;
1:2, 1:2;
2:1, 2:1.
Tzav latzav, Tzav latzav.
Qav laqav, Qav laqav.
Ze`ir sham, Ze`ir sham.
Law by law, Law by law.
Line by line, Line by line.
A bit here, A bit there.
  • Line counts or lists; Proverbs 30 contains a handful of counting poems. For example here is the one from verses 15b to 16:
There are three things that are never satisfied,
Four never say, “Enough!”:
   The grave,
   The barren womb,
   The earth that is not satisfied with water—
   And the fire never says, “Enough!”
  • The position of semantic, grammatical, auditory or other features. There are, for instance, several alphabetical poems in the Hebrew Old Testament. These alphabetical poems are called acrostics. The first four chapters of Lamentations are alphabetic poems, chapter 5 has 22 lines. This is the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, but it is not alphabetical. The poem for the Noble Wife in Proverbs 31:10-31 and Several Psalms are alphabetical poems: 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119 and 145. Psalms 9 and 10 together form an almost alphabetical poem.
Poetic devices that depend on playing with the features of the original languages can be difficult or sometimes impossible to represent in English. Alphabetical poems are a good example of this. Modern English translations often indicate the alphabetical nature of the poems in some way. But there are other poetic devices that simply cannot come into English translation.

Parallelism

The Hebrew poetry of the Old Testament has been the object of a great deal of study. One of the main features discussed is called parallelism. Parallelism is a term covering a number of techniques using types of repetition. Parallelism is also used in Hebrew prose. In fact every language uses forms of repetition that could be called parallelism in both poetic and prose forms. So it is not necessarily the principle identifying characteristic of Hebrew poetry. But we should note that Hebrew poetry does make extensive and creative use of the various types of repetition grouped together under the term parallelism.

We hope to discuss some poetic devices like parallelism in future articles.

An important note:

It should be clear that a particular use of the term poetry by those who disbelieve the Bible is not part of what we are discussing in this article. Often one hears or reads someone say ”It's poetical!” The term is used to imply that what is written is not literally true. Those who use the term that way about the Biblical text are playing the hypocrite, they do not really believe that Biblical prose is true simply because it is prose and not poetry. This kind of attack on the Bible is a false appeal to authority— an appeal to erudition. But it is the same old lie: ”Did God really say....” (Gn 3)

Friday, August 24, 2018

Reading the Bible: Narrative and Dialogue

By Pastor Joseph Abrahamson

Some of the Bible is written as sermons or preaching. Some is written in poetry. Some are epistles, or letters. Some is written in a more conversational or even storytelling way— typically this last way of writing is called prose. We will look at the differences between these styles of writing in other articles. In sermons and in poetry there can be both action and speech. Speech can contain other stories with action and quoted speech. In this article we will focus on the forms of prose found in the Bible which consist of narration and people talking. This is contrasted by the terms narrative and dialog. Starting with non-technical definitions

Narrative=All the text that isn't people talking.

Dialog=All the talking.

Narrative can contain descriptions of places and time, motivation, and events. A large portion of the book is given to describing the events and surroundings for the words spoken by the persons in those books. These are books like Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Jonah, the Gospels, and Acts.

What we are calling Dialog are the words spoken by the people during a Narrative. In the practice of 21st century American English the words the people speak are usually set apart by narrative verbs of speaking or thinking and by quotation marks. In the Bible, all the narrative sections use third-person pronouns and verbs: “He ran,” “she prayed,” “it fell,” “they will see,” etc. In dialog the speaker can use first-person ( I, my, we, our), second-person (thee, thou, thy, you, yours, ye), or third-person pronouns and verbs. Sometimes the speaker tells a story. This means that there is another smaller narrative within the dialog.

An example in English is taken from the New King James Version Gospel of Mark 15:34-39. In this little section of the Passion Narrative we see examples of how Narrative text can be used to set the stage for understanding the words spoken by the persons. Here is the text laid out according to current American English conventions:

34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!” 36 Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.”
37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”
When we look at the example above we can see that the Narrative consists of a sequence of events.

Jesus cried out.
He said.
Which is translated.
People heard.
They said.
One person got a drink for Jesus.
He said.
Jesus cried out.
Jesus breathed His last breath.
The veil was torn.
The centurion saw Jesus.
He said.

Attached to these basic Narrative events are points of information. Each narrative event says Who did What. The additional details add information on When, Where, How, and Why.

And at the ninth hour When
Jesus Who
cried out What
with a loud voice, How
saying, What

This Narrative event with the extra information sets the immediate context for the words of Christ, the Dialog:

“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”

This Dialog, however, is not in the same language as the Narrative. The Narrative explains the purpose for the next Dialog.

which is translated

This sets the context for understanding that the next bit of Dialog is the same event and content as the previous bit, but made clear in the language of the Narrative.

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

There are some stretches of Narrative that are longer without Dialog. But one of the main functions of the Narrative is to provide a sequence of narrative events and relevant information to provide a context for the Dialog.

A way that might be able to show more clearly how the Narrative serves the Dialog in this short section is to use a chart. In the following table the left-hand column are labels of function. In the right-hand column is the narrative. It is broken down into shorter phrases. The phrases are indented to show subordinate relationships. The order of the words is the same as the paragraphs above.

When, Who
How
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus
cried out with a loud voice,
What
saying,
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”
which is translated,
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Who
Where
When/Why
35 Some of those
who stood by,
when they heard that,
What
said,
“Look, He is calling for Elijah!”
When, Who
Where, How
How
Why
36 Then someone
ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine,
put it on a reed,
and offered it to Him to drink,
What
saying,
“Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.”
Who
How
What
37 And Jesus
cried out with a loud voice,
and breathed His last.
  When/Why
What, How
38 Then
  the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
When, Who,
Where
What

Why


What
39 So when the centurion,
who stood opposite Him,
saw
that
He cried out like this
and breathed His last,
he said,
“Truly this Man was the Son of God!”


The above example does not cover all kinds of uses of Narrative and Dialog. It is a discussion of a very common use in the Bible. The conventions discussed are based on contemporary English usage. While the conventions of the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic of the Bible have common features there are some significant differences in the structuring of Narrative and Dialog in those languages.

Perhaps some examples of those can be explored here in future articles.

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