Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Definition of Blessed and Holy: Comprehension Scores on my Blogs over Time

Yesterday I did some teaching in our public schools.  While I was doing that I happened across a great tool for scoring my post or entry values.  It is a method of scoring comprehension before and after certain times.  I am going to score my entries for this blog and previously by decade leading up to August and September 2014.  That is when my comprehension scores again jumped noticeably in a decade.

  1. In 1984, I had no idea what the definition of holy was nor how it applied to my understanding of God.  I found the word to be without either clarity (what Pastors were saying) and without real meaning because the word flew over my head or over the cuckoo's nest perhaps.  I would give myself a 1 out of 4 for my score during this time - since I at least knew it had no clarity and no meaning for me.  I wasn't oblivious to that fact.  
  2. In approximately 1994, the beginning of my first decade of real work on the definition of holy (I really was only working on it and not blessed regularly), I realized that the traditional definition of holy needed to be questioned.  I learned this from Dr. Daniel Payton Fuller at Fuller Theological Seminary.  His own proposal at that time had ties to the meaning of "worth".  What I learned most at the time was that there was the threat of an error here and an opportunity for correction from Scripture.  Dr. Fuller, though his own definition was not a great substitute, at least made me aware of a different SWOT analysis - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Beginning with 1994, I would get a 2 out of 4 score due to moving up to a specific awareness of searching the Scriptures and going beyond the translation in English in front of me.
  3. In November 2004, the beginning of my second decade of definitive work on the definition of holy, I realized the usefulness of the clarity given to the meaning of holy by the use of Eugene Nida's TEAR or semantic domain analysis in a more simplified form.  The problem was that I did not also tie to this the aspect of the meaning level from his dynamic equivalence translation theory.  So I missed out on an opportunity to move up to a higher score.  The two major developments now was by better knowledge of both a traditional definition ("set apart") and a classical definition ("morally whole").  So I would give myself a 3 out of 4 on most of what appears in my blog.  It is clarifying in distinguishing two major candidates for defining holy naturally and Scripturally. 
  4. In September 2014, I completed my first manuscript for Mental Health for Everbody: A Field Guide (the title at that time).  Since that time, using the pictures or diagrams in that book I was able to figure out that blessed better fit the classical definition for holy and that holy fit with a more meaningful understanding of levels - 1/4 full, 1/2 full, 3/4 full, 4/4 full.  The kind of holy being defined by holy fit with the 4/4 idea.  So now I can score myself as barely inside 4/4 - maybe a 4-.  After I finish my work on mental health, I may achieve a 4.  After that and with the completion of a paper specifically on the definitions of blessed and holy in the effort to earn a full Ph.D., then I could maybe get a 4+.  The point is that there is always a little more to do in the next race you run. 

How well I can persuade others is not yet part of this score. This only scores how well I am persuaded myself.  It is my self-score.  That is a great beginning but it is not the ending.

Feedback like scores in seminary will come later, as I work on getting my ideas out there and before professors.  I am persuaded, though, that the definition I have arrived at is the one that in essence will stick with me for the long haul.

That fact is what will make my Ph.D. work so worth pursuing further. Having a good idea when you start a race of where you are going is a good thing and not a bad thing. Take care.



Blessed and Holy: A Quick Exciting Update

There was a saying I used to hear that never made much sense to me, when I was very young.  Maybe now this saying has some meaning - "You will know, when you know".  I sort of feel that way now about the meaning of holy (and blessed).  Things have come full circle for me after a lot of study, but the key study has been for my book Mental Health for Everyone: In Captivating, Motivating, Inspiring, Meaningful Pictures.  (That book is the main reason you have not seen me posting here regularly in this last year.)  So I now am convinced that holy does in fact mean whole, but in a different sense than the materials that I have presented previously in this blog.

Let me explain this in short version today, because my ultimate goal is to write as my final Ph.D. paper on the topic of the definitions for both blessed and holy.  The paper could end up with a title something like this: Blessed and Holy is Yahweh and His Followers.

Let me give you a glimpse first into my start into the race of knowing the meaning of these two key biblical words - blessed and holy.  Let me define what I mean by a classical and traditional definition of holy before I talk about the history of the definition of holy.

When I speak of the classical definition of holy, I am talking about its definition beginning no later than the 1500s (16th ct.) and extending into the 1900s (20th ct.).   During this time, beginning from the Reformation, scholars relied heavily on the renaissance (renewal) of classical thinking.

The traditional definition refers to a definition that began in the late 1800s to gain a real foothold among scholars and it extends into the 1900s (20th ct.).  It is a movement that primarily tries to remove the errors of classical thinking, dating back to the Greeks and Romans and including the Renaissance.

Each of these has a longer history, I am sure.  What I am doing here is limiting it to the scholarship of these times.  The evidence outside of these time periods is much more susceptible to different interpretations.  The emergence of another renewal of science in the late 1800s removed some of the mist surrounding the meanings that biblical scholars were expressing.  This made the separation of the two definitions much more clear and meaningful.  A little book on holy, by Andrew Murray, a pastor and not a scholar technically, summaries the benefits of the work of scholarship in the late 1800s (19th ct.).

With those imposed limits, the history of the definition of holy can be boiled down to this:

  • Classical definition of holy (16th - 20th ct.) - whole as in righteous, just, true, loving, and good.  Whole as perfect; whole as the summation of God's character, etc.  

  • Traditional (19th-20th ct.) definition of holy - set apart; separate; relational separation; moral separation; object separation; etc.  

These were the two competing views, when I started my best efforts to settle the issue of the definition of holy.

I have now arrived at a definition for holy that uses the insights from the classical definition of holy, but also applies a corrective.  I likewise am convinced that elements of the traditional view are helpful here, though its helpfulness varies from scholar to scholar.

My goal is to arrive at a definition for blessed and holy that is both natural (fits with all of nature) and Scriptural (fits with all of Scripture).  That is a very tall order, but I think a worth finish line.

I am not at all interested in classical view or traditional views unless they first meet those criteria.  In some ways they do not.  That is the main reason why I depart from their views.  I find good among the efforts under each umbrella, but where I find unnatural things I remove them.  I do the same, when I find un-scriptural things as well.  I eliminate them.

So here are my preliminary definitions:

blessed . blessed as in righteous, true, loving, and good.  (ex. Abraham has many sons)

holy - whole as in wholly just, wholly humble, wholly perfect, wholly great.  (ex. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy - the whole of the day)

The proof of all this will be mainly in my first book to be published soon, Mental Health for Everyone and it will be further supported by my final paper for my S.T.M. Degree (a 2 year doctoral program).  It too will be titled Mental Health for Everyone, but it will have a different subtitle like - The Evidence from the Original Languages of Scripture.

The reason for the proof being separate is that my advisers in seminary recognized that I had two projects going in my thesis proposal.  These two projects are each big enough alone to merit individual treatment.  So I am doing my mind-related work first, because the mind is the natural thing to address when we are working on definitions.  Without first thinking well, it will be very hard to define blessed and holy well.  It will end up very sloppy.  Mental health eliminates the basic errors in definition that we otherwise make.

I am very excited about the definitions that I give.  My mental health material which addresses the mind more naturally also addresses the mind more scripturally or biblically.  Those two sources furnish a ton of evidence for those willing to give up being classical and traditional when it contradicts nature or Scripture.  I am willing.

So I am now speaking from the finish line of my first race on the definition of blessed and holy. I will enter another race soon after I am done writing on mental health for seminary.

That race will then be run for a minimum of 2 years.  I can't wait to start the next leg of my journey.  I know that I know at the first finish line, if you know what I mean!  May God truly bless you and make you holy even as he is blessed and holy.

In Christ,