vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
[personal profile] vaecrius
NIV: If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

This is what I grew up with and has been burned into my mind. The fire is bad, and you escape it by the skin of your teeth.

So imagine my surprise when I see Fr. Stephen quote it: If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. and then come up with the following?
First, it is clear that he is speaking specifically about the Judgment, for he calls it “the Day.” And what fire is this that reveals on Judgment Day? Is it not the eternal fire? And, how is someone saved by fire? For clearly, some are. Who is not saved by fire?

This verse should rightly puzzle us. Particularly that “but he himself will be saved…”

Of course, there are many who will say, “He’s only writing here to Christians.” This fire that burns and saves – is it the same fire that the “wicked” enter? If it doesn’t save everyone it burns, why not?
Emphasis mine. We are not saved from the destruction of the fire, but rather the fire in destroying saves us.

I went and looked at some other translations:

King James: If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Young's Literal: if of any the work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; and himself shall be saved, but so as through fire.

Darby: If the work of any one shall be consumed, he shall suffer loss, but *he* shall be saved, but so as through [the] fire.

KJ21: If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as fire. ("Why not become pure flame?")

Most of the more reliable names on BibleGateway say "as through fire" or "as by fire". I'm assuming the Greek has whatever the Greek for ablative is and no explicit preposition.

I am wrong. It is "dia pyros": εἴ τινος τὸ ἔργον κατακαήσεται, ζημιωθήσεται, αὐτὸς δὲ σωθήσεται, οὕτως δὲ ὡς διὰ πυρός.

"saved as through fire"... it *can* mean someone escaping the flames, but what pre-existing pagan myth of passing through fire could Paul be referring to if not?
After death, the gods transformed him into an immortal, or alternatively, the fire burned away the mortal part of the demigod, so that only the god remained.
Thetis attempted to render her son Achilles invulnerable. In the well-known version, she dipped him in the River Styx, holding him by one heel, which remained vulnerable. In an early and less popular version of the story, Thetis anointed the boy in ambrosia and put him on top of a fire to burn away the mortal parts of his body. She was interrupted by Peleus and she abandoned both father and son in a rage, leaving his heel vulnerable. A nearly identical story is told by Plutarch, in his On Isis and Osiris, of the goddess Isis burning away the mortality of Prince Maneros of Byblos, son of Queen Astarte, and being likewise interrupted before completing the process.
(I was under the impression that there were two heroes and only one of these happened to Achilles. Nope, it's both.)

Meanwhile, the entire first page of Google for {ancient greek rituals passing through fire} is about child sacrifice, which I was certainly not expecting!

But it doesn't change the fundamental type-and-shadow theory, even if the first result is an expressly Scripturally-proscribed example:
Early modern scholarship tended to accept the Biblical and Greco-Roman accounts of child sacrifice at face value, although there were early suggestions that the biblical account might refer to a symbolic practice, among them an essay by John Selden of 1617 with the suggestion that the phrase h'byr b'sh lmlk "making to pass over the fire to Molek" might have entailed a februation (purification ritual) rather than human sacrifice.
(tangential interesting point: In 1841, both Georg Friedrich Daumer and Friedrich Wilhelm Ghillany published influential works on the topic. These authors came to the conclusion that the Biblical text reflect an original identity of Molek and Yahweh, and that the cult of Yahweh grew out of that of Molek by the abolishing of human sacrifice. The authors find numerous instances of vestigial references to human sacrifice, most notably the law that all firstborns must be "consecrated" or "given" to Yahweh (Exodus 13:2, 22:28). Relatedly, I can't help but notice how little time Jesus spent rebuking the Sadducees rather than the Pharisees - it seems close-but-not-quite is worse than not close at all.)
Firewalking has been practiced by many people and cultures in all parts of the world, with the earliest known reference dating back to Iron Age India – c. 1200 BCE. It is often used as a rite of passage, as a test of an individual's strength and courage, or in religion as a test of one's faith.
The article also mentions that this is done by Eastern Orthodox Christians in Greece and Bulgaria - the only Christian group on the list. Also of interest: reference to judicial trial by fire.

I feel like I've missed some big ones as well (the alternate water/baptismal story of Achilles is implicit in the above). Thoughts?

Date: March 10th, 2016 03:01 (UTC)
steorra: A cross that looks like a star, or vice versa. (christianity)
From: [personal profile] steorra
Interesting. I never saw any but the NIV interpretation of that before either. (And that's a classic instance of the NIV translating over-interpretively.)

Of note:
Origen, Against Celsus, Book 4, Chapter 13:
'But as it is in mockery that Celsus says we speak of “God coming down like a torturer bearing fire,” and thus compels us unseasonably to investigate words of deeper meaning, we shall make a few remarks, sufficient to enable our hearers to form an idea of the defence which disposes of the ridicule of Celsus against us, and then we shall turn to what follows. The divine word says that our God is “a consuming fire,”4 and that “He draws rivers of fire before Him;” nay, that He even entereth in as “a refiner’s fire, and as a fuller’s herb,”6 to purify His own people. But when He is said to be a “consuming fire,” we inquire what are the things which are appropriate to be consumed by God. And we assert that they are wickedness, and the works which result from it, and which, being figuratively called “wood, hay, stubble,” God consumes as a fire. The wicked man, accordingly, is said to build up on the previously-laid foundation of reason, “wood, and hay, and stubble.” If, then, any one can show that these words were differently understood by the writer, and can prove that the wicked man literally8 builds up “wood, or hay, or stubble,” it is evident that the fire must be understood to be material, and an object of sense. But if, on the contrary, the works of the wicked man are spoken of figuratively under the names of “wood, or hay, or stubble,” why does it not at once occur (to inquire) in what sense the word “fire” is to be taken, so that “wood” of such a kind should be consumed? for (the Scripture) says: “The fire will try each man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide. which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work be burned, he shall suffer loss.” But what work can be spoken of in these words as being “burned,” save all that results from wickedness? Therefore our God is a “consuming fire” in the sense in which we have taken the word; and thus He enters in as a “refiner’s fire,” to refine the rational nature, which has been filled with the lead of wickedness, and to free it from the other impure materials, which adulterate the natural gold or silver, so to speak, of the soul.10 And, in like manner, “rivers of fire” are said to be before God, who will thoroughly cleanse away the evil which is intermingled throughout the whole soul. But these remarks are sufficient in answer to the assertion, “that thus they were made to give expression to the erroneous opinion that God will come down bearing fire like a torturer.”'
Edited (Duplicated content; wrong userpic) Date: March 10th, 2016 03:02 (UTC)

Date: March 12th, 2016 18:40 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] helarxe
Two things from IEPaM that readily spring to mind:

It has often been assumed, and with reason, that the cult of the hearth goes
back to Indo-European times.
The hearth fire was the indispensable centre
and defining point of the home. It had to be tended with care and given
offerings at appropriate times. If one moved to a new house, one carried fire
there from the old one. New members of the household, such as a newborn
child or a new bride, had to be introduced to the hearth fire by being led or
carried round it. The custom that the bride circles the hearth three times is
common to Indians, Ossetes, Slavs, Balts, and Germans.

The bringing of fire
is thus connected with the beginnings of sacrificial ritual and of mankind.
The Prometheus myth, though dissimilar in detail, likewise associates the
theft of fire with the institution of sacrifice, when gods and men were first
coming to a settlement and defining their relations (Hes. Th.535–70).

re "it seems close-but-not-quite is worse":

Also, just for dreadfun, two random CYCLOtes:

X. Infernotron, or simply the US pyrodemonism with tentacles spreading
through both thematic theism — the cleansing tide of the cathartic fire
(the Greco-Latin theme chained to Aryanistic purity) — and the messengineering
process of incomplete burning associated with Zippo Jobs in
the Vietnam War and the NAPALM-obsession of the US war machine: 'I'll
go to Hell with a can of gasoline in my hand' (Colonel West).

pre-lslamic times, Salat was performed in a standing position; the face was
kept horizontal, with the eyes gazing nowhere (neither above nor below), and
this communion could last for minutes. The ritual could be fatal; the desert Sun
usually burned tissues rapidly, inducing acute physiologic malfunctions such
as nausea, headaches, nosebleeds, blindness, delirium or abrupt seizures. For
catatonics it could be lethal. This type of ritual suggests that Alah or Elah is a
Mesopotamian-Persian Sun God, inseparable from the desert, and the human.
It connects the desert to the Sun through the intermediating agency of humans
who are destined to be immolated in order for the communication between
the desert and the Sun to take place. From the Sun to the desert and from the
desert to the Sun, the human is always located in the middle, completing the
hell-engineering axis. Unlike Indo-European rituals for communication with the
Sun, which take ascension towards the Sun as a pivotal role, Sun gods in middleeastern
cultures (such as Baal and Moloch) never promise such an ascension.
Such communication is impossible, for the Sun rises as a tide for extinction
before the ascension is completed, before the human can rise towards the Sun.
Communication with the Outside is made possible only by mass-combustion,
permanent visual impairment, and death, not by a cleansing fire (the later cathartic
flame of theism) but by manifestations of Telluro-conspiracies towards
the Sun and incomplete burning. Zurvan, Moloch, Nergal and Baal burn their
offerings before accepting them; their language is either the epic of ash or the
poetry of vapor.

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

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