Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Greek and Hebrew comparison-Helpful? Accurate?
In chapter two of the book History Through the Eyes of Faith, Ronald A. Wells discusses the
differences and similarities between ancient Greek and Hebrew societies. He asks a few intriguing questions and then answers them for each culture. How Do People Belong? What are their Economic Activities? What is the place of Religious Values? What is the Role of the Government? What is the Role of the Individual? What is the Political Theory? He then goes on to answer these questions in a systematic way. But are his conclusions accurate? And is this comparing of cultures from different time periods even beneficial?
Wells’ conclusions about the Greek and Hebrew societies differences and similarities, how they correspond to each other and how the correspond to us today are accurate. Wells’ shows us the importance of the Hebrew society on western civilization in contrast to the importance of the Greek society on western civilization. But we must be careful in say that both are equally valuable. The truths the Hebrews taught, were given to them by God and must be seriously studied. At the same time some of the discoveries of the Greek culture actually lead us to believe, through reason that there must be a creator, even if that is not the way the Greeks saw their evidence.
In answering these simple questions Well’s gives us his perspective of the basic fundamentals of the Greek and Hebrew cultures. This comparing of cultures from different time periods in History is indeed very beneficial. It is helpful in studying any community or culture to have a similar or very different one to compare it to. In analogizing the Greek and Hebrew Societies Wells is able to shed new light on them, in contrast to the other.
Comparing different cultures and seeing how people of today can identify with both also makes it more obvious that man has a common creator and all people are created in His image. One of the points that Well’s makes is the Hebrews stressed community, while the Greeks stressed the individual. In today’s world we can see that a community formed around God is greatly needed, while the need for individual rights is also obvious. Neither should be violated. Wells is very accurate in concluding that the story of the west, in which the Greek and Hebrew societies play an influential part, is the story of the bringing together of the “city of Man” (Greeks) and the “city of God” (Hebrews).