Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"... and the madness of crowds.[0]" (Acts 14)

Ecclesiastical rivals can be persistent. Francis Asbury, the first American-born bishop of the Methodist Church, complained of the Baptists, "They follow us around like ghosts."[1] This, however, was a friendly rivalry when measured against the unremitting hostility the Jews held towards Paul's work.

Paul and Barnabas escaped Konya, barely ahead of the mobs with pitchforks and torches[2]. At Listra, their message was eagerly welcomed. Too eagerly. The villagers assumed they could fit the new thaumaturges[3] into the context of their existing paradigms. When Paul and Barnabas refused to serve as their pet deities, the mood turned surly, then ugly.
Act 14:19 Ne var ki, Antakya ve Konya'dan gelen bazı Yahudiler, halkı kendi taraflarına çekerek Pavlus'u taşladılar; onu ölmüş sanarak kentin dışına sürüklediler.
Act 14:20 Ama öğrenciler çevresinde toplanınca Pavlus ayağa kalkıp kente döndü. Ertesi gün Barnaba'yla birlikte Derbe'ye gitti.
Let's look at a few words:
  • Antakya ve Konya'dan -- Antakya and Konya from
  • gelen bazı Yahudiler -- came / some / Jews
  • onu ölmüş sanarak kentin dışına sürüklediler -- him / dead / supposing / the city / outside / they dragged.
It's interesting how much of the İncil was written in present-day Turkey, happened in that area, and involved people from there.


[0] Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is a classical catalog of human lunacy, as expressed in such fads as the Tulip Mania and the Children's Crusade. Click the link to get your own Project Gutenberg free copy!

[1] When the American frontier opened and land-hungry millions headed west, they left behind the Anglican, Quaker, and Presbyterian churches. The Quakers lacked ambition, and the more formal denominations had lofty standards for their ordained ministers. The Methodists amortized their preachers over lengthy "circuits." One circuit rider on horseback oversaw dozens of churches. The Baptists simply lowered their standards for ministers. Any charismatic farmer could "receive the call" to preach. And find a pulpit, if a church recognized said call.

[2] Poetic license on my parts. Every since the silent horror movies of the 1920s, it's been assumed that peasant mobs equip themselves with pitchforks and torches!

[3] A fancy word that comes into the English language directly transliterated from Greek. It means miracle workers.

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