Preamble: It seems that at the time the New Testament was written, the basis for a scientific understanding the world was that there were 4 original elements - heat and cold, dryness and moisture. Those pairs were combined in four ways and gave rise to the four elements (στοιχεῖα):
- fire πῦρ (hot + dry),
air ἀήρ (wet + hot),
water ὕδωρ (cold + wet) and
earth γῆ (dry + cold).
Observation: There seems to be some interaction between that understanding of the world and what we find in the New Testament. The most outstanding one is how fire is seen as a change element, and also water.
Disconcertion: I "feel" that I am reading into the text a modern chemistry / materials physics understanding of the world, rather than understanding things in the terms that it was written. For a long time the scientific ideas of the ancient world had not changed or developed much, so people reading the text would have had fairly much the same (pseudo-)scientific presuppositions. We however, have a different set of presuppositions, so I guess we need to actively learn what was previously known, to be able to engage the text in the same way.
Question: Does anyone know of a ready discussion on how those proto-scientific ideas are expressed in the text? Or a brief rundown of the early scientific theories as they have bearing on the way that we understand the text?