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Patrick S. O'Donnell

There's certainly stories of rape and pillage in the Hebrew Bible, but I suspect Jesus was referring to Mitzvot (s. Mitzvah), in particular, those having to do with ethical behavior, about being virtuous, righteous, etc. That's not a difficult inference to make. All the descriptive elements in a story are not necessarily at the same time normative or prescriptive and we might therefore apply our God-given faculties (as a theist would say) when reading the Hebrew Bible to discriminate in this manner, just as we would, I would hope, in reading any other text.

I see plenty of horrific violence on television programs and movies but I don't thereby infer that such behavior is condoned, worthy, necessary, proper, what have you. The story may have (or imply, or hint at) a moral or ethical message, or we might derive one therefrom....


Excuse me, but I find nothing but rape and pillaging in the Torah. Jesus must have been reading a different Torah and different prophets when he said, "This is the law and the prophets."

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Thank you Clark. And I've been meaning to welcome you to RLL, so...!

Your theological inquiries and explorations of Christian mysticism sound intriguing and something I look forward to learning more about (I'm sorry to say I'm more familiar with mystical traditions outside of Christianity, although I'm drawn to negative theology and apophatic mysticism).

Clark West

First of all, I love the Shaw quote!! Thank you for a very interesting discussion. It resonates for me in some of my recent work studying the classic ordo caritatis tradition arising out of Augustine and Aquinas, and the difficulties the mystical tradition has often had with fitting the volatile movements of love within such an order (Bernard of Clairvaux's sermons on the Song of Songs for example and his talk about the 'disorderly' movements of divine love).

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