A Bit of A Blogging Crisis of Confidence

Nothing to do with the post, but I see this when I cycle to work.A couple of days ago, while I was cycling to work, I found myself musing on the translation of the world ‘God’ (as you do). By the time I arrived at the office (I’m a slow cyclist) I had composed a brilliant blog post in my head that would explore this fascinating subject in great detail.

Later that afternoon, I wrote and published this post. It wasn’t the complex and detailed exploration of the issue that I had originally thought about; but I reckoned that it made one simple point and made it clearly. Then I got some feedback on Facebook:

  • Wasn’t Theos first used in the Septuagint predating the New Testament writers or is it not used there?
  • Yes and also the adoption of κύριος

To which I replied:

  • Yes,  theos does occur in the Septuagint, but the aim of the post was to illustrate a complex issue in a straightforward way. Adding all of the possible details would have detracted from the main point.

Which elicited this:

  • But doesn’t your first commentor really have a point? The apostles found Theos already in their Greek Bible with its own Jewish connotations and when they began preaching to Gentiles they faced a people with the same word but different context which needed to be reinterpreted as Paul did in Acts 17. This happens with the word Allah in Indonesia in two ways. Christians often pronounce it differently – much less guttural – and also often define it immediately with words like “Allah the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. 
    The LXX usage is also interesting in that the translators knew that there were other foreign language words for YHWH Elohim that they were not allowed to use like Baal.

At which point someone else weighed in with:

  • “Elohim” isn’t that the plural of ‘El. And wasn’t he Ba’al’s dad as well as being the generic name for any god? I Corinthians 8:5-6 clarifies a lot for me.

I have a clever bunch of friends on Facebook.

The problem is, that this whole thing has left me rather confused and a tad discouraged. I had originally envisaged a longer post that would have covered most of the issues that the commenters raised, but I settled for something simpler – and some people didn’t seem to appreciate that.

There are a couple of reasons why opted for the simpler post; firstly I just don’t have the time to write and research everything I would like to do. This blog is fun – a hobby – and though it relates to my work, I have to squeeze it into such spare time as I can find. Secondly, I believe that I do have a gift of communicating complex issues in a way that non-specialists can follow and as my blog is aimed (primarily) at non-specialists, I don’t concentrate on crossing every i and dotting every t.

So dear reader, I find myself asking for a bit of advice. Would you prefer me to write more complete posts; thought through, cross-referenced and spelled correctly even if this meant I only blogged infrequently? Or are you happy with my current approach, with it’s foibles, inconsistencies and posts which raise questions without exploring every possible avenue they could lead to?

Please don’t suggest I keep two blogs!

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.

13 replies on “A Bit of A Blogging Crisis of Confidence”

My personal approach, FWIW, is to blog daily – most of which are short blurbs, some of which are longer and more detailed. Sometimes I have to put a post aside because I feel it deserves more detail and attention than I can presently give it, so I just save it for later and develop it over time. I think a more frequent posting rhythm gets me into the stream of conversation, of sharing, of give-and-take, and provides a platform of interaction which inspires posts or at leasts tells me what people are thinking about. Besides, Seth Godin posts daily. So, shouldn’t I? 🙂

I was actually quite inspired and challenged by one thing he said in an interview once – that he takes time every day to blog what he is thinking. That this is one of his main functions: to reflect and share on experiences, ideas, etc. I think that’s very valuable, even if there are some foibles to it.

Eddie – as a complete non-scholar and lay-person, I read the original post the day it went up and really enjoyed it. I read your (and other people’s) blogs for fun, not for scholarly, research purposes. For me, personally, it was just the right balance of “oh, that’s interesting” with “read it quickly, Andy, your lunch break ends in a minute”.

Eddie, I’d much rather you blogged in the way that you find most enjoyable – your writing will be better, the posts will be more fun to read, you’ll get more out of it and hopefully will keep blogging for longer.

There will be times when more serious posts will be required, but you can still do that. But, in the main, I’d prefer it if you would write short, reasonably entertaining articles where you say what you mean and explain some of the more challenging theological discussions in English.

Besides, if your writing gets too complex you’re going to be asked to rewrite it in English anyway.

Hi Eddie, I have to say I was rather distressed reading the above post…I have always found everything you and Sue write both here and on facebook, clear, concise and helpful. The one time I personally heard you talk, at CBC in Cranleigh, I was so taken with what you said I immediately requested fb friendship and never, from that day, have I had the slightest issue with how you write or what you write, on the contrary. Further, this is YOUR blog, and if people have issue with what you write then they don’t have to read it! We appreciate you….enormously.

Eddie, Eddie, Eddie,
You carry something in your heart and in your intellect. So give it! Whether we agree or disagree I think your blogs are great. Why? Because they make me think. You say things not commonly said simply because you think things not commonly thought. I love reading your stuff. Some of it is a bit to highbrow for me, but I still love to read them. They stretch me. In all the blogs I write I get lots of comments, mostly on FB and only once have I edited a blog because of somebodies comment. However, I am not as eloquent, academic or as intellectual as you. Write what possesses you and whether Joe Public agrees, approves or rubbishes it, learn from your critics by all means but leave you blogs.

So! Eddie Arthur I challenge you to keep them coming from the heart and spirit that is filled within you. Your blogs are great. I’d like to meet you one day and pick your brains.

Hi Eddie – from my perspective, please keep doing what you already do so well. From this grateful reader.

I am a bit puzzled by the “corrections” with regard to theos. At a minimum, the Apostle’s lent their authority to the Septuagint’s use of the word when they adopted it. Even if the translators of the Septuagint used it because it was in common use among Hellenistic Jews, that still means that somewhere, sometime, someone or some group of Hellenistic Jews took the Greek word and gave it new meaning – which is the point of your post. With regard to that criticism, then, I’ll use a phrase US courts are fond of – a distinction without a difference.

Hi, I find your blogs incredibly helpful since introduced to them by a member of the Wycliffe family. If they became academic I’d be lost. Please keep on doing what you are doing.

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