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3 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 1:25PM #11
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Oct 4, 2011 -- 12:30AM, mountain_man wrote:


Sep 26, 2011 -- 10:33PM, DotNotInOz wrote:

...So, how that phrase ought to be understood is more like, "Spare the careful guidance and spoil the child."


The problem with that guys revisionism is that they used that shepherd crook to BEAT the child with. If that society thought it was OK to stone a child to death I sincerely doubt they had any problem beating a child with a large staff.



I only alluded to this professor's opinion that it was a misunderstanding based upon mistranslation. I thought it was interesting if that is indeed how the passage was originally intended and only mentioned it as a curiosity.


 

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3 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 2:43PM #12
mountain_man
Posts: 39,638

Oct 4, 2011 -- 1:25PM, DotNotInOz wrote:

I only alluded to this professor's opinion that it was a misunderstanding based upon mistranslation.


That's not what the professor's opinion was. It was nothing but revisionism; taking all the bad stuff that's in the bible and changing it through "reinterpretation" to good.


I thought it was interesting if that is indeed how the passage was originally intended and only mentioned it as a curiosity.


The passage was just repeating the thought back then that if you don't beat your child that it will turn out to be a spoiled brat. Many still believe that today.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 05, 2011 - 2:56AM #13
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Oct 4, 2011 -- 2:43PM, mountain_man wrote:


Oct 4, 2011 -- 1:25PM, DotNotInOz wrote:

I only alluded to this professor's opinion that it was a misunderstanding based upon mistranslation.


That's not what the professor's opinion was. It was nothing but revisionism; taking all the bad stuff that's in the bible and changing it through "reinterpretation" to good.



All the more remarkable that you know what his opinion consisted of since you weren't there.


Incidentally, that was the only remotely positive thing he had to say about the passages we were examining that evening. Otherwise, his overall view was that most of the Bible's statements, particularly in the OT books on law and punishment, represent a primitive people's understanding of sociology and psychology, an understanding that we've long since rejected as reflecting a painfully limited knowledge of human behavior.


If I recall correctly, he added that about the only reason he could see for examining what the Bible says is to assess how very much progress humankind has made since then.

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3 years ago  ::  Oct 11, 2011 - 12:16AM #14
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,207

Sep 26, 2011 -- 10:33PM, DotNotInOz wrote:

Interestingly, I once learned in a religion seminar that "spare the rod" interpreted as advocating corporal punishment is a mistranslation. The instructor gave a detailed explanation of the confusion between a couple of Hebrew words that results in rod being thought to be a switch or stick used to smack a child when what the word actually refers to is a shepherd's staff, used to snatch sheep from harm and to direct them to safety.


So, how that phrase ought to be understood is more like, "Spare the careful guidance and spoil the child."


Mormon leader, Brigham Young, is often thought of as a very stern character, someone you'd almost expect to interpret such a passage in a stereotypically punitive way.  His approach, however, made me laugh because it's more progressive than a lot of the methods I've come across.  I thought I'd share the following, not as a tribute to religion so much as evidence of what the human mind can come up with through the exercise of reason.


We are very well aware that it is but little use to whip "Mormon" children. You undertake to thrash anything into them, and you will most surely thrash it out of them. It was never any use to undertake to drive or coerce Latter-day Saints, they never could be coerced in their religious faith or practice. It is not their nature, and the mountain air our children breathe inspires them with the idea that they are not to be whipped like dogs to make them learn. The manner in which it must be done is by moral suasion, superior intellect, wisdom, prudence and good straightforward management in forming the judgment of the pupil by cultivating his manly qualities. This principle should be carried out in all our schools.


In my boyhood discipline was enforced by the application of the blue beech switch. The blue beech does not grow in this country, but many school-masters in former times in New York and New England were provided with these tough limber switches, and I have seen them used among the scholars with fearful effect, and in cases where I am satisfied tire pupil was less at fault than the preceptor.



I know they say Solomon declared if you spare the rod you will spoil the child. My opinion is that the use of the rod is very frequently the result of a want of understanding on the part of a spoiled parent or teacher in guiding, directing and controlling the feelings and "affections of children, though of course the use of the rod in some cases might be necessary; but I have seen children abused when they ought not to have been, because King Solomon is believed to have made that remark, which, if he did, in nine cases out of ten referred to mental rather than physical correction.


I will, however, allow other men who have taught school, as a profession, to offer their suggestions on these subjects; but I will say that I have known Professor Dusenberry teach a hundred scholars—the wildest, roughest boys we had in a frontier town, and never lay a stick on one of them. He has done it term after term, and the children liked and respected him and would mind him, and there was nothing on the face of the earth that seemed to hurt their feelings more than to feel that they had lost the confidence of their preceptor. This was simply the result of cultivating reasoning powers in the minds of the children, and I am happy to say there are many such teachers now in Utah.



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3 years ago  ::  Oct 11, 2011 - 10:33PM #15
mountain_man
Posts: 39,638

Oct 5, 2011 -- 2:56AM, DotNotInOz wrote:

All the more remarkable that you know what his opinion consisted of since you weren't there.


Didn't have to be. What he said is nothing but the usual BS spewed by biblical revisionists.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 15, 2011 - 2:54PM #16
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,207

I think the passage speaks for itself.


And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.  Exodus 21:20


I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 2 Samuel 7:14


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalms 23:4


Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.  Psalms 89:32


He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.  Proverbs 13:24


In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod [is] for the back of him that is void of understanding.  Proverbs 10:13


Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15


Withhold not correction from the child: for [if] thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Proverbs 23:13


Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:14


The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left [to himself] bringeth his mother to shame. Proverbs 29:15


In all of the above passages, the word translated as rod is shebet, which refers to a tree branch, stick or rod, which was used to beat something or someone.  There are contexts and extensions of meaning that could be used to speak of a scepter, a measuring stick, a shepherd's crook or even a spear - but let's not go out of our way to ignore the obvious.  


There are 42 references to the word "staff" in the Old Testament or makkel.  Occasionally, it's used to denote a stick or rod, as in:


And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.  Numbers 22:27


Most of the time, however, there's no mixing of rod and staff.  While a makkel, or walking stick, can be used to club someone, a rod or shebet has an obvious purpose, which is to whack someone or something.  What's more, the context of the passages speaks for itself.  If you smite someone with a rod, if you're leaving stripes, if you have a rod and a staff, if you're using it to address transgression and iniquity, if you're using it to chasten someone, if you're using it to literally beat someone, it's obvious you're not talking about a staff.


The religiously liberal, who wave away the clear meaning of scripture - because they don't like to be reminded that their religion is steeped in violence and brutality - are just washing their brains with a sweet-scented detergent.  There are times when the conservatives, for all of their nastiness, prove themselves to be more accurate in their Bible readings, if only because they see nothing wrong with taking direction from the writings and norms that dominated what Hitchens has called "the infancy of the race."

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