Site talk:SS lessons/DC lesson 8
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Pray in secret and vocally
I hadn't really noticed this verse before. I'd be interested in analyzing this verse in relation to the "tension" (your favorite expression, Joe!) in the Sermon on the Mount (and 3 Ne) between the praying in secret and not doing alms before men vs. letting your light so shine.... --RobertC 19:56, 20 Sep 2006 (UTC)
v 16: Abel
Okay, Rob, this just got weird. I was studying some questions related to these issues just ten minutes ago, and I found myself looking at this same verse and asking this same question, and I went to come on here to post something about it, and you had just posted something on it. Let me give a little bit of interesting background/interpretation, and then let's see where discussion goes.
I was running through a series of references to "patriarchal order" in LDS Gospel Library, and I came across a talk by Theodore Burton at BYU in 1966 about the sealing ordinance. He pointed to this verse, and then set it against D&C 107, where Seth seems to be of some importance. What he pointed out--and I like it--is that Seth is set as the first in line from Adam in the patriarchal order's descent, while Abel is here set as the first in line from Adam in the Melchizedek priesthood. In other words, in the order of the Son, Abel comes immediately after Adam, while in the order of the Father, Seth comes immediately after Adam. The two sons who were at some point or another appointed to be the chosen seed are parallel father and son figures. This is perhaps highlighted by the JST for Gen 17:7, in which the Lord explains to Abraham that the people "have said that the blood of the righteous Abel was shed for sins." Abel was the son whose seed was cut off, whose eternal promises were cut short by Cain, who shed innocent blood in accomplishing the deed (a detail mentioned explicitly in this verse--D&C 84 I mean). There is something curious about Abel as the son here, just as there is something curious about Seth as the father. These two orders of the priesthood (the Melchizedek and the Patriarchal) seem to open up some interesting difficulties for thought, but they seem promising as well. --22.214.171.124 15:49, 15 Nov 2006 (UTC)
Two Priesthoods and "Classification"
So, here's the problem with studying library science: I'm thinking more and more about the word "classifying" that you used here, Matt. To what extent does this verse lay out a kind of taxonomy of priesthood? Is such a reading something we all too easily impose on it (not that I know how else to read it!)? It is especially interesting that this first verse would seem to reduce priesthood to the number "two," and yet it lists precisely three: Melchizedek, Aaronic, and Levitical. And this, of course, overlooks what this very revelation will go on to lay out as a third order: the Patriarchal (which is to begin to pave the way towards, but to stop significantly short of, Joseph's comments on the three priesthoods in his Nauvoo discourses). How should this best be approached?
And then this phrase, all too easy to miss: "in the Church." To what extent does that phrase relativize the taxonomy being laid out? That is, does it obscure the existence of a patriarchal priesthood precisely because this last is not a part of the Church (rather of the Kingdom)? But then, what of the Levitical? There is, obviously, a great deal more to think about here. --Joe Spencer 22:49, 14 December 2007 (CET)
Levitical vs. Aaronic Priests
I was thinking about this very possibility just this morning, in an entirely different register, before reading these questions, Matt. Interesting.
Some sort of sense needs to be made out of the high/Melchizedek priesthood business, primarily in terms of how these terms map onto the situation presented in the Old Testament. The Old Testament, on one reading, provides a kind of fourfold (or, perhaps, a threefold-plus-one) structure of the priesthood: Levites, Priests, High Priests, and those of the order of Melchizedek. What is interesting about this structure is that while the first three are all genealogically inherited priesthoods, the fourth is emphatically not (a point that probably deserves more careful attention in interpreting Joseph's statements about the prophets of the OT holding the Melchizedek Priesthood). The three inheritable priesthoods, of course, all have very specific places in the ritual complex of the OT temple: the Levites do the most outward work (of the courtyard), the Priests the next most outward work (of the Holy Place), and the High Priests of the inward work (of the Holy of Holies). Because these three "offices" would seem to exhaust the entire field of ritual work, is there any place left for those after the order of Melchizedek? Or is this exhaustion precisely the reason that those after Melchizedek's order are so tirelessly transgressing that field?
Of course, the massive question to be asked is this: how do these four or three-plus-one offices connect up with the restorative work of the revelations in the D&C? In the end, this is probably a question of nomination: when do what names match up with what structures? This is something that deserves much closer attention. Needless to say, I've not at all as yet begun to unfold it myself. --Joe Spencer 20:31, 15 December 2007 (CET)
Yeah, Robert, that's actually the way I've seen it for some time. More than anything, I'm trying to loosen up some possibilities I'm wondering if I've overlooked before. Much more thinking to be done... --Joe Spencer 23:38, 16 December 2007 (CET)
Those were the precise issues I was identifying as I questioned the use of the descriptive phrases modifying priesthood. I'm glad I haven't been totally off-base. The paradox of assigning the number two to the list of three seems like it has plenty to offer, but perhaps as I read the remaining verses of this first passage closely, some of that will come together? I had also thought about the Patriarchal as being not mentioned here, which poses its own questions.
Where the generational/lineal priesthood is concerned (patriarch, and to a limited extent--at least in this section--[presiding?] bishop) perhaps the "in the Church" phrase can help frame the scope. Although, again, I wonder whether the purpose of describing priesthood in "Melchizidek," "Aaronic," "Levitical," or "Patriarchal" terms might be more a way of describing uses of priesthood rather than categories... But it could be that these uses naturally open the way for a natural "classification" of priesthood...
So much to think about. --Morrisonmj 15:19, 17 December 2007 (CET)
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