Don't take it literally

wil

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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.
 

Thomas

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Ah, the perennial question ...

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

... and it suggests that readers should not take the Bible literally.
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.

Lost for 1,500 years, the fourth-century commentary by African-born Italian bishop Fortunatianus of Aquileia interprets the Gospels as a series of allegories instead of a literal history.
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.

The find adds weight to the idea that many early biblical scholars did not see the Bible as a history, but instead a series of coded messages which represented key elements of Christianity, he said.
I rather think they saw the literal history as revealing the analogical/moral/anagogical code.

He said that the Bible had to be "understood in the context that the authors were working in."
Quite, and not in the quite so narrow and deterministic post-modern appreciation.
 
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wil

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Absolutely ... but shall we get back on topic?
 

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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.

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

... drawing the differences between literal, historical, parable, allegory, metaphor, myth, or metaphysics ...
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 ...
 

wil

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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.
 

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66 books, dozens of authors...
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.

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

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

Not Hebraic? They wrote it.
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
 

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Does it? Where?

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.
 
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RJM

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that is obviously not the KJV...I think that must be the message or NIV...

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.
 

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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

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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?

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.
 

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Why draw distinctions? Seems obvious.
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?

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.
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.

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.
Sorry, I miss how that is dualist?
 
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