Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Did Jesus pass Saturn on the way up?

This is treated here. 

9 comments:

B. Prokop said...

C.S. Lewis dealt with these infantile misconceptions about the Ascension in Chapter 16 of his book Miracles. His absolutely devastating rebuttal of all such objections takes seven pages (pp. 254-60 in my copy), so I will not attempt to reproduce it here. Go read the book. You can buy a used copy from Amazon for as little as $1.12, so no one should complain about having to buy it.

B. Prokop said...

By the way, it might be of some interest to note that the classical notion of the universe (Earth at center, surrounded by concentric spheres containing the sun, moon, planets and stars, all encompassed by the non-spatial Empyrium) is actually mentioned in the New Testament, and not in regards to the Ascension, but by St. Paul in an entirely different context: "Scio hominem in Christo ante annos quatuordecim, sive in corpore nescio, sive extra corpus nescio, Deus scit, raptum hujusmodi usque ad tertium caelum."

Now this is extremely interesting. According to the Ancients' understanding of the Solar System, the successive spheres about the Earth were, in order: the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, then Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and finally the Stars. Since at least circa 300 B.C., learned people were well aware that the Sun was larger than the Earth, meaning that the Earth's shadow would be cone-shaped. The point of that shadow was thought to rest on the Sphere of Venus (i.e., the "Third Heaven"), beyond which no imperfection could be found. Thus, St. Paul's ascent to the Third Heaven signified that he had attained a vision of Final Perfection.

The only other mention of classical astronomy in the New Testament that I am aware of (and I've looked!) is in Matthew. Revelation does not reference it at all.

Chris W said...

That may be, but quoting the Vulgate is still pretentious.

B. Prokop said...

Chris,

It's not meant to be pretentious. I have my reasons for doing so.

If I give the quotation in English, 99% of those reading it will just give it a glance and immediately forget it. Quoting in Latin forces anyone who wants to know what I am referencing to pay attention to the words, discover their context, and maybe give more than a nanosecond's thought to what they might be saying.

ingx24 said...

Or just put it into Google Translator :p

B. Prokop said...

Easier to just google it. But that still requires more effort than just skimming your eyes over the words.

But as an aside here, as I get older (just had another birthday yesterday), I find myself becoming more and more "traditional" in my practices. I've always prayed daily - I now do it in Latin. (My favorite prayer: "Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace.", which I pray for my wife as often as I think of her - which is a lot.) My "go to" translation of The Bible used to be the RSV/CE - after two years of studying the language, it's now the Vulgate (forces me to think about, and consider the real meaning of, every word). I'm considering taking up the Rosary. How's that for an aging hippie?!

Chris W said...

Shucks, I was just ribbing ya.

B. Prokop said...

No harm, no foul.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"But as an aside here, as I get older (just had another birthday yesterday), ........"

Many happy returns for the day. But your comments make me terribly sad.