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Old July 5th, 2018, 09:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by stevev View Post
I think teaching the Bible to slaves in the American South would be a contradiction on the part of slave owners. It would presume slaves had souls
As it says in post 4, I still don't think the Bible teaches that people have souls.
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Old July 5th, 2018, 11:49 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Code Blue View Post
Maybe those who taught their slaves the Bible wanted to save them from eternal damnation.

And BTW, I am not sure where the Bible argues that there is a separate "soul."
"The traditional concept of an immaterial and immortal soul distinct from the body was not found in Judaism before the Babylonian exile,[1] but developed as a result of interaction with Persian and Hellenistic philosophies.[2]"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_in_the_Bible
I think you are misunderstanding the wiki article. What it is saying is that the original text of the Bible does not speak of a separate soul distinct from the body. That idea was added later in the Hellenistic era.

The Wiki article doesn't mention it, but Augustine (c.400) blended Neoplatonism with the early Christian texts and argued for a separate soul. The idea went into Catholic theology then and stayed in Protestant theology after the Reformation.

The Bible antebellum slave owners would have used spoke of a soul separate from the body. One example...

Matthew 10:28 in the King James version...

“And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage...10&version=KJV
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Old July 10th, 2018, 07:52 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax Historian View Post
I think you are misunderstanding the wiki article. What it is saying is that the original text of the Bible does not speak of a separate soul distinct from the body. That idea was added later in the Hellenistic era.

The Wiki article doesn't mention it, but Augustine (c.400) blended Neoplatonism with the early Christian texts and argued for a separate soul. The idea went into Catholic theology then and stayed in Protestant theology after the Reformation.
Some Protestant theology.

I am not misunderstanding Wiki. I agree, especially the idea that it is a man-made idea. My argument is that the Bible does not teach "soul" as a third entity. There is a person (like a consciousness) and there is a body (sometimes called "the flesh"). A soul is another term for a person.
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Old July 10th, 2018, 08:55 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Code Blue View Post
Some Protestant theology.

I am not misunderstanding Wiki. I agree, especially the idea that it is a man-made idea. My argument is that the Bible does not teach "soul" as a third entity. There is a person (like a consciousness) and there is a body (sometimes called "the flesh").
I am not following you. Here is what you said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Code Blue View Post
... I still don't think the Bible teaches that people have souls.
And the quote from Mathew I posted says that people have "souls" using that
exact word.

Quote:
Matthew 10:28 in the King James version...

“And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
It says nothing about "consciousness." It says "body" and "soul."

Now does the Bible say that men have souls, or not?
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Old July 10th, 2018, 11:06 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Jax Historian View Post
Now does the Bible say that men have souls, or not?
I answered that already. It depends on how you define it.

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And the quote from Mathew I posted says that people have "souls" using that exact word.
Not so exact. The word that has multiple meanings, and it is a translation.

The Bible does not say is that some people have a soul and some people don't, which is the point I addressed.
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Old July 10th, 2018, 01:12 PM   #26
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I answered that already. It depends on how you define it.

Not so exact. The word that has multiple meanings, and it is a translation.

The Bible does not say is that some people have a soul and some people don't, which is the point I addressed.
Well, those are certainly some vague, unsubstantiated claims about supposed various meanings and translations of the word "soul" in the Bible.

But the issue of the thread is about what the majority of antebellum slave owners would have 'defined" the word "soul" to mean and what they might have taught the slaves.

Since the vast majority of slave owners were English speaking Protestants, and since the King James version of the Bible was by far the most common English-Protestant version of the Bible in use in the 19th century, I doubt your points about other translations/meanings are at all relevant to the discussion. It seems to me that almost all English speaking Protestants in the 19th century (and beyond) would have defined "soul" in a religious context just as the example I posted from Mathew says; a spirit or consciousness that can outlive the physical body.

I also can't see that anyone brought up the point you say you were addressing; that the Bible says that some people have souls and others don't.
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Old July 10th, 2018, 03:25 PM   #27

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Religion has never been about defining how one should structure and live life yet it is exactly what every one uses it for. Now that is a contradiction worth discussing.

For me the Bible is a "book about life", and like life itself it is full of contradictions. How could it otherwise? It is not a set of instructions, not even a "moral tale", but it is a collection of stories about situations people faced, what they thought of it, what options they had, what they did and what the outcomes were - intended and unintended. It's more drama, more myth. Take your message as you wish. It is not about conforming to some principles but about managing your life and advancing your standing in it. You cannot take a couple of lines on their own, but you must read it in the context of the whole, of the stories that became before and the stories that came after.

The best lines for me are:
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself - Matthew 22:9;
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven..... - Ecclesiastes 3;
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun - Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Religion is good for political systems as it allows political leaders to entwine their objective, rational methods and goals with the emotive and psychological personal dimension that results in people supporting their leaders, or being enslaved, by their own ideas.

The North American slave owners had an interest in keeping their slaves happy, productive and, politically and economically compliant. Religion could play a role here, particularly those passages that uphold established orders and slaves being faithful to their masters. More damaging to the slave owners' cause was those pesky northerners who treated the negro as a political and economic equal.

Last edited by motorbike; July 10th, 2018 at 03:35 PM.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 04:20 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Jax Historian View Post
I also can't see that anyone brought up the point you say you were addressing; that the Bible says that some people have souls and others don't.
The op asked question why owners would teach slaves scriptue. Posts 3 and 17 seemed to answer the opposite – why people would NOT have taught their slaves, and that answer was, because such people would have believed slaves have no souls.

First, I am skeptical that such was a widely held belief. I may have missed it, but I don't recall any “no soul” hypothesis, for example, in the usual defense-of-slavery literature: Dabney, Calhoun, Stephens. And such message surely didn't take root with the likes of Stonewall Jackson.

Secondarily, I wonder if such opinions may be scarce, because there is no reason for people relying on the KJV (which you identify as their prime source) or some other “reformation” Bible to come by such opinions. That is, the Bible-believing slave owner can't say – Gee, I was going to teach my slaves some scripture, but then I remembered Bible says slaves have no souls in Chapter______ Verse______; because it isn't there.

Quote:
Since the vast majority of slave owners were English speaking Protestants, and since the King James version of the Bible was by far the most common English-Protestant version of the Bible in use in the 19th century, I doubt your points about other translations/meanings are at all relevant to the discussion.
That's some serious misconstruing.

I am not referring translations in the abstract, or other Bibles. I am referring to the exact word in the underlying Greek text, in the exact verse you cited in the exact Bible you quoted. That word is translated to soul for that verse, but is translated to person elsewhere. I though the Wiki material already clarified that.
"The only Hebrew word traditionally translated "soul" (nephesh) in English language Bibles refers to a living, breathing conscious body, rather than to an immortal soul.[6]*In the New Testament, the Greek word traditionally translated "soul" (ψυχή) "psyche", has substantially the same meaning as the Hebrew, without reference to an immortal soul. In the Greek Septuagent psyche is used to translate each instance of nephesh.
The Wiki passage shows that if one looks at the context of all the uses of the key underlying Greek (and Hebrew), the predominant context is that a person IS a soul, not that a person HAS a soul.

Last edited by Code Blue; July 11th, 2018 at 04:24 AM.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 04:28 AM   #29
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More damaging to the slave owners' cause was those pesky northerners who treated the negro as a political and economic equal.
Maybe you should start a thread on that. I'd love to learn which states enacted black equality.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 04:39 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Code Blue View Post
The op asked question why owners would teach slaves scriptue. Posts 3 and 17 seemed to answer the opposite – why people would NOT have taught their slaves, and that answer was, because such people would have believed slaves have no souls.

First, I am skeptical that such was a widely held belief. I may have missed it, but I don't recall any “no soul” hypothesis, for example, in the usual defense-of-slavery literature: Dabney, Calhoun, Stephens. And such message surely didn't take root with the likes of Stonewall Jackson.

Secondarily, I wonder if such opinions may be scarce, because there is no reason for people relying on the KJV (which you identify as their prime source) or some other “reformation” Bible to come by such opinions. That is, the Bible-believing slave owner can't say – Gee, I was going to teach my slaves some scripture, but then I remembered Bible says slaves have no souls in Chapter______ Verse______; because it isn't there.
As I pointed out, the poster did not say the idea that slaves didn't have souls came from the Bible. He just heard that some believed slaves had no souls because they saw them as animals. So this whole discussion is not speaking to anything in the thread. You are trying to refute something that was never said.

Quote:
That's some serious misconstruing.

I am not referring translations in the abstract, or other Bibles. I am referring to the exact word in the underlying Greek text, in the exact verse you cited in the exact Bible you quoted. That word is translated to soul for that verse, but is translated to person elsewhere. I though the Wiki material already clarified that.
"The only Hebrew word traditionally translated "soul" (nephesh) in English language Bibles refers to a living, breathing conscious body, rather than to an immortal soul.[6]*In the New Testament, the Greek word traditionally translated "soul" (ψυχή) "psyche", has substantially the same meaning as the Hebrew, without reference to an immortal soul. In the Greek Septuagent psyche is used to translate each instance of nephesh.
The Wiki passage shows that if one looks at the context of all the uses of the key underlying Greek (and Hebrew), the predominant context is that a person IS a soul, not that a person HAS a soul.
Again, this has nothing to do with the thread unless you can show the slave owners were reading the ancient Greek texts. You are having a conversation with yourself.
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