Showing posts with label new testament. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new testament. Show all posts

25.8.12

Paul of Tarsus on Childishness


ὅτε ἤμην νήπιος, ἐλάλουν ὡς νήπιος, ἐφρόνουν ὡς νήπιος, ἐλογιζόμην ὡς νήπιος: ὅτε γέγονα ἀνήρ, κατήργηκα τὰ τοῦ νηπίου. 
When I was a child — I spoke like a child, had feelings like a child, and I had a mind like a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away those childish things.
Paul of Tarsus, First century A.D.
First Letter to the Church in Corinth, Chapter Thirteen, verse Eleven.

Sculpture of Paul of Tarsus holding a sword in front of the Church of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, Italy
Paul of Tarsus as depicted by a statue of him 
in front of the Church of Saint Paul 
Outside the Walls in Rome, Italy.

Paul in this quote from a letter he wrote to the church at Corinth (circa 56 A.D.) assumes childish things are something to move away from, to discard 
 and secondly, he assumes he has become a man. All grown up. The Greek word for "man" is ἀνήρ which can also be translated as "gentleman". I can imagine Paul wants us to also shed this notion of Christianity as a baby's religion, as something infants do, crying like children to their grown-up silent gods. Paul is a gentleman and assumes his God responds in kind. Paul loved writing letters  and he loved to extoll his own weaknesses as strength. He was a child! He said childish things! Perhaps he pouted when his mother would not take him to bathe in the salty goodness of the sea  or maybe he prattled on like a child in the way children do? But he is a man, now! Paul surely sees children as mewling, puking, and speaking nonsense, having nothing really important to say  as if faith is something only grown-ups do — what children do is make-believe. To have a mind of a child is in Paul's mind to be imperfect  what we mean when we say childish. But Paul informs us that he has become a man  a full-grown person who has evidently discarded such puerile traits such as insouciant idleness and unabashed temper tantrums. I must agree I prefer the mature man to the mewling babe  but I am somewhat suspicious that in a strident act of becoming all childish things are banished.