Don't take it literally

Discussion in 'Theology' started by wil, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Let us see what we can do with this...

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...terally-says-scholar-brought-light-earliest/#

    It seems most folks agree for portions....yes, of course Jesus spoke in parables often... And then yes, this part or that, those are taught as allegorical, or metaogorical..we all know that.

    The question is, where is the line, drawing the differences between literal, historical, parable, allegory, metaphor, myth, or metaphysics in the bible is what has provided us with dozens of bible versions, hundreds of interpretations and over 3000 distinct denominations of Christianity, each knowing they are the ones on the true path.
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,538
    Ah, the perennial question ...

    But in looking at the article, a couple of points, purely for the sake of balance ...

    Does it? Where? The author offers an interpretation according to symbols, but nevertheless is in no doubt about the physical, literal actuality of the fundamental Christian beliefs: The Virgin Birth, the teachings and the miracles, the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension. Rather he points out how these events were prefigured symbolically.

    Ah, no. The author interprets the Gospels as the Fathers did, as having a fourfold-reading: Literal, Allegorical, Moral and Anagogical. Not one or t'other, which is often the contemporary position.

    I rather think they saw the literal history as revealing the analogical/moral/anagogical code.

    Quite, and not in the quite so narrow and deterministic post-modern appreciation.
     
    RJM Corbet likes this.
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Yez.... the metaphor, allegory, metaphysical contained in our own life experiences are worth contemplating...
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    https://www.degruyter.com/viewbooktoc/product/469498

    I do wanna read more...to see where he does take...
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,538
    Or not, as the case may be.
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Yes....There is that old history repeating itself if we choose not to learn from it.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,538
    Absolutely ... but shall we get back on topic?
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,538
    I do wonder why the Dr Houghton and The Telegraph headline: 'Don't take the Bible literally', as the author of this commentary clearly does.

    Indeed, the prior question is why is there a need to draw a line?

    Why draw distinctions? What prevents something from being a whole, from being literal and historical, whilst simultaneously being allegory, metaphysic, etc? Why must there be a dualist interpretation, something which is in itself not Hebraic, and has dogged the interpretation of Scripture from the very beginning?

    To me, the whole story is, according to the Christian metaphysic, the realisation and actualisation of the spiritual in the physical — the union of spirit and matter. Without that, all that's there is just a well-worn ideology ...
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    66 books, dozens of authors...from different religions the only thing that made it whole is the council.

    Almost every name of place and person had a meaning beyond the location and/or individual... Defining the traits the name represented.

    Not Hebraic? They wrote it.
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,538
    OK ... So where's the problem?
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Lol, did I say there was a problem?

    That was all simply description of reality...
     
  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,210
    Likes Received:
    732
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    RJM Corbet likes this.
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,538
    I am pretty certain that if there was one book, one author, there would be issues with that, too. :rolleyes: But all this is peripheral and, in the end, immaterial. How many authors would be your ideal?

    For me, it's the organic process. As prof Huston Smith said, the world's sacra doctrina comprises 'the winnowed wisdom of the human race'. I delight in the Sitz im Leben of Scripture. In the emergence of the Tradition, in the Councils.

    What you see as an impediment, I see as translucent.

    My advice: " thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary." (Luke 10:41-42).

    LOL, and some! Origen was famous for ascribing a symbolic significance to absolutely everything, to the extent that someone once complained that no doubt every pebble along the way of the Good Samaritan had its name and symbolic significance.

    You misread me. I was pointing to the flaw in a dualist reading (which is non-Hebraic) which separates things into 'this' and 'that'; into 'literal history' or 'analogy and metaphor' — my point is, why cannot it be both?

    That's clearly what the text says, and clearly is what the author of the commentary believed.

    If Dr Houghton thinks the Fathers' guidance was that Scripture was 'not to be taken literally', then I wonder if he's read what he's translated!:D
     
  15. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,374
    Likes Received:
    166
    See what the article says here:

    The approach differs from the trend of biblical literalism adopted by modern evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, which interprets the Bible as the literal word of God which is not open to interpretation.

    This has been the basis for beliefs such as the idea that the earth is 6,000 years old and that it was created in seven days.

    I think this is a good example since we all seem to agree our planet is more than 6,000 years old, and so the Bible shouldn't be read at face value on this point.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  16. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,210
    Likes Received:
    732
    Well, it is the KJV. Of course the post wasn't aimed at you, because you are well immersed in faith issues wil. But I posted it to show that in some places the Bible is unashamedly and directly the word of God to man.
     
    Namaste Jesus likes this.
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,538
    Hi Ahanu —

    Oh, I quite agree on that score. The reappearance of a purely literal reading — and English at that — and KJV at that, as if the KJV was somehow a divinely-ordained version of the text — is a modern phenomena and notable for the noise generated by the Evangelical wing in the US. It never seemed to pose a itself seriously in Europe? The creationist thing, that's entirely the product of a right-wing political think-tank...

    If the literalists actually bothered to look in a concordance, they would know that 'In the beginning' is a loose translation, and a more accurate rendition of the text would be 'In principle' (En arche in Greek and Principlio in Latin) — so they're confounded from the word go, arguing a literal interpretation from a non-literal translation.

    The Hexaemeron (Six Days) as treated by the Fathers shows a broad range of interpretation, never dogmatically defined as such — some favour a symbolic reading, some a literal, some both, according to circumstance.
     
    Ahanu likes this.
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
  19. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,374
    Likes Received:
    166
    Why draw distinctions? Seems obvious. What we know to be untrue can sometimes ensue if read both ways. One can argue for a phenomenological view regarding the firmament in Genesis (Genesis 1.6-8; Ezekiel 1:22; Job 37:18; Psalm 148:4). The promoters of such an argument say biblical writers did not really believe there is a solid structure above us - that was only how they described it. A dualist interpretation if I ever saw one. Just one example of many.
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,538
    I was contextualising. Talking specifically about the New Testament, for example, there's the opinion this this bit is an analogy, and therefore not literal, whereas I was asking the rhetorical question, can something be literally true, and analogous of something else?

    D'you think so? I don't.

    If we pick up phenomenology from wiki:
    "... from Greek phainómenon "that which appears" and lógos "study" ... the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness"
    And I agree that the authors of Genesis were phenomenologists, rather than physicists, which is what the modern creationist nonsense is treating them as. But going on with wiki:

    "(Phenomenology) ... is not a doctrine, nor a philosophical school, but rather a style of thought, a method, an open and ever-renewed experience having different results..." (Farina, Gabriella, Some reflections on the phenomenological method. Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences, 2014)

    It all started to get confused when critics began to read Scripture from a Greek rather than Hebraic mindset, and interpreted the texts accordingly, missing the metaphysical insights of the sacred scribe. Western thinking, always dominated by the Greek schools, ended up with a Cartesian dichotomy of 'this' or 'that' and established the grounds for uncertainty, the Kantian 'noumena' v 'phenomena' and so on, and so on ... the western mind, especially under the anglo-american analytic schools of philosophy, is always looking for distinctions and definitions, and thus the sciences become increasing more complex, arcane and myopic.

    Sorry, I miss how that is dualist?
     

Share This Page