(urth) Questions . . .

Matthew King automatthew at gmail.com
Tue Nov 27 13:06:27 PST 2007

On Nov 27, 2007, at 2:26 PM, Chris wrote:

> If it's the Word of God then anything essential to know that's in  
> it can be "understood" in any language.

Yikes.  I can smell the brimstone fuming from Brunians's next missive  

I can agree with this statement insofar as it parallels the idea of  
Turing-completeness in programming languages.  Anything you can do in  
one Turing complete language can be done in another.  But some things  
that are easy to do in one language are extremely difficult in  
others.  Greenspun's Tenth Rule is the classic expression of this idea*.

Back to human languages, Modern English is ill-suited for discussions  
hinging on the Greek words phileo, eros, and agape.  This is an old  
trope in the churches I've attended, but its hoariness doesn't  
completely obscure my point, I think.  The word "charity" used to be  
a good analogue of agape, but we've somehow managed to conflate  
charity with alms.

Another way I could agree with Chris's statement is to interpret it  
as saying that God has caused the scriptures to be so constituted  
that the important bits, what we humans need to know to get along  
with Him, will survive the poorest honest translations.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenspun's_Tenth_Rule

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