NoName said:So how Literal do you think us Christians need to take the bible? Is all Literal truth, is some of it litral or is it being medforical?
Sorry for my bad spelling
Ah! That's an excellent and crucial point. The rivalry between north and south shows up repeatedly. Consider this:Jeannot said:The Bible cannot be read as a work of history or science. The writers had no such intentions. Of course, there are works like Kings and Chronicles which do present historical recollections. But even these are highly selective, and are usually presented to prove a point about the Northern Kingdom of Israel, or the Southern Kingdom of Judea.
Finkelstein is the director of the Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, Silberman is director of historical interpretation for the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in Belgium, and is a contributing editor at Archaeology magazine.“The evolution of the highlands of Canaan into two distinct polities was a natural development. There is no archaeological evidence whatsoever that this situation of north and south grew out of an earlier political unity-particularly one centered in the south. In the tenth and ninth centuries BCE, Judah was still very thinly inhabited, with a limited number of small villages, in fact not much more than twenty or so. There is good reason to believe from both the distinctive clan structure and the archaeological finds in Judah that the pastoral segment of the population was still significant there. And we still have no hard archaeological evidence-despite the unparalleled biblical descriptions of its grandeur-that Jerusalem was anything more than an isolated highland village in the time of David, Solomon, and Rehoboam. At the same time the northern half of the highlands-essentially the territories that reportedly broke away from the united monarchy-was thickly occupied by dozens of sites, with a well-developed settlement system that included large regional center, villages of all sizes, and tiny hamlets. Put simply, while Judah was still economically marginal and backward, Israel was booming.
There is no doubt that the two Iron Age states-Israel and Judah-had much in common. Both worshipped YHWH (among other deities). Their peoples shared many legends, heroes, and tales about events in the distant past. They also spoke similar languages, or dialects of Hebrew, and by the eighth century BCE both wrote in the same script. But they were also very different from each other in their demographic composition, economic potential, material culture, and relationship with their neighbors. Put simply, Israel and Judah experienced quite different histories and developed distinct cultures. In a sense, Judah was little more than Israel’s rural hinterland.”
In the wake of Assyria’s campaigns in the north, Judah experienced not only sudden demographic growth but also real social evolution. In a word, it became a full-fledged state. Starting in the late eighth century, the archaeological indications of mature state formation appear in the southern kingdom: monumental inscriptions, seals and seal impressions, and ostraca for royal administration; sporadic use of ashler masonry and stone capitals on public buildings; the mass production of pottery vessels and other crafts in central workshops, and their distribution throughout the countryside. No less important was the appearance of middle-sized towns serving as regional capitals and the development of large scale industries of oil and wine pressing, which shifted from local, private production to state industry.
The question is, where did this wealth and apparent movement toward full state formation come from? The inescapable conclusion is that Judah suddenly cooperated with and even integrated itself into the economy of the Assyrian empire. Although King Ahaz of Judah started cooperating with Assyria even before the fall of Samaria, the most dramatic changes undoubtedly came after the collapse of Israel. As a result, Judah went through an economic revolution, from a traditional system based on the village and clan to cash-cropping and industrialization under state centralization.
Along with the extraordinary social transformation in the late eighth century BCE came an intense religious struggle that had a direct connection to the emergence of the Bible as we know it today. Before the crystallization of the kingdom of Judah as a fully bureaucratic state, religious ideas were diverse and dispersed. Thus, as we have mentioned, there was the royal cult in the Jerusalem Temple, there were countless fertility and ancestor cults in the countryside, and there was the widespread mixing of the worship of YHWH with that of other gods. But after the fall of Samaria, with the increasing centralization of the kingdom of Judah, a new, more focused attitude toward religious law and practice began to catch hold. Jerusalem’s influence-demographic, economic, and political-was now enormous and it was linked to a new political and territorial agenda: the unification of all Israel. And the determination of its priestly and prophetic establishment to define the “proper” methods of worship for all the people of Judah-and indeed for those Israelites living under Assyrian rule in the north-rose accordingly. These dramatic changes in religious leadership have prompted biblical scholars such as Baruch Halpern to suggest that in a period of no more than a few decades in the late eighth and early seventh century BCE, the monotheistic tradition of Judeo-Christian civilization was born
That is a big claim-to be able to pinpoint the birth of the modern religious consciousness, especially when its central scripture, the Bible, places the birth of monotheism hundreds of years earlier. But in this case too the Bible offers a retrospective interpretation rather than an accurate description of the past. Indeed, the social developments going on in Judah in the decades after the fall of Samaria offer a new perspective on how the traditional tales of wandering patriarchs and of a great national liberation from Egypt served the cause of religious innovation-the emergence of monotheistic ideas-within the newly crystallized Judahite state.
Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed-Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of It’s Sacred Texts.
China Cat Sunflower said:Ah! That's an excellent and crucial point. The rivalry between north and south shows up repeatedly. Consider this:
Finkelstein is the director of the Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, Silberman is director of historical interpretation for the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in Belgium, and is a contributing editor at Archaeology magazine.
Quahom1 said:Civil war (of a sorts). That is what is about to happen. Those who teach their children well about the literalness of God and life, vs those that teach their children well about the relativeless of God and life.
Oh, it is coming, and coming fast.
As for me and mine, we're in the hills (literally).
This country is now at a fifty/fifty split. Never before in the history of America (US), has this been. Even the civil war of 1861 was not this evenly devided. Only it isn't North and South. It is neighbor and neighbor, husband and wife, son and daughter.
While we debate, the majority fumes (they all don't have CR to vent on). Let the immigrants in, no keep and kick them out. God's Bible is suspect through all this, to the point that not even the mainstream Christians can say with certainty that all is well, no it is not.
My own son stated he wants to stay in Germany. The soldiers don't know what they are about to come home to...(home to the US).
That is a sad state of affairs.
United States? What the hell is united about us? answer, nothing: just the land we live on. Every damn thing we've fought for has been tossed out the window, and the "liberals" are winning, and are laughing their asses off. You know what? I don't want to defend this country anymore. I've done it for long enough. Let some one else step in, if they have the balls.
I think it is time for me to retire...
earl said:hi Q. though it may be diverting to the thread, was curious re your pessimism re the "liberals" winning (the culture wars?) I tend to agree with your assessment that our nation is quite divided, though not sure we can apply the old "liberal" & "conservative" labels to that as not sure we can agree as to what the labels mean anyway, (however, I'm a fairly proud card-carying semi-liberal). Actually think that the majority of the country feel rather internally conflicted because of the complexities of the issues. For instance, say one is staunchly "pro-life," taken to a fairly literal level (meaning in favor of all that is life-promoting)-might imply stances that are antiabortion, anti-capital punishment, anti-war, etc. But what of "just" wars-wars where we attempt to protect life against cruel forces? Maybe they're OK? And so it goes for people attempting to sort through the complexities of life, often with info filtered through the lens of large-scale media and politicians. Who's winning? Well I hope/think ultimately impulses to be wise and compassionate. Though to assist that process I'd append onto shakespeare's old quote in what ever thing he wrote (didn't like him in high school ) when he wrote, "first kill all the lawyers," to add "then kill all the politicians," most of whom happen to be lawyers. Apologies to any members of the bar and/or Congress who happen to be members here. Have a good one, Earl
Quahom 1 said:United States? What the hell is united about us? answer, nothing: just the land we live on. Every damn thing we've fought for has been tossed out the window, and the "liberals" are winning, and are laughing their asses off.
Jeannot said:Well, Quahom, you've gone off on quite a tangent there. But I don't think the situation is nearly as bad as you say. What you see is ferment, which can be quite healthy, and which is a necessary process. Why should we have a lockstep unity? We're not a fascist country.
And many of those liberals you fulminate against are Christains themselves. Remember, Jesus was quite a liberal in his day. The conservatives were the Sadducean priestly hierarchy, who wanted to keep the Temple sacrifice system intact.
One of my inspirations is Albert Schweitzer, whom you would probably regard as a liberal, since the was one of the German "higher critics" of the Bible. Yet he lived the gospel, going out to Africa as a medical missionary. And of Jesus he wrote:
"WE have no terms today which can express what he means for us. He comes to us as one unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside he came to those men who did now know who he was. He says the same words, 'Follow me!' and sets us to those tasks which he must fulfill in our time. He commands. And to those who hearken to him, whether wise or unwise, he will reveal himself in the peace, the labors, the conflicts and the suffering that they may experience in his fellowship, and as an ineffable mystery they will learn who he is."
Schweitzer was a Mensch.
Yeah I think I know what you mean by "ultra-liberal." But lately I think Martin Sheen has had his hands too full with Charlie to be quite as political as he usually is Though this probably should go in the politics thread, I will add that I've been so turned off to politicians due to their self-serving opportunism that frankly I've only voted in 1 national election in the past 12 years-a pox on both their houses-Reps & Senators, Republicans and Democrats! (though ain't been feeling very kindly about presidents or candidates for the office during that time either for same reason). God help us all, EarlQuahom1 said:I think my use of the term "liberals" was a mistake. I think however you know exactly who I mean. Ultra left wing...how is that?
Jeannot said:THE FUNDAMENTALS
Some very good people and some very bright people have little understanding of literature and the way it works. And whatever else the Bible is, it is most certainly literature. As literature, it must use the devices of literature to convey its message.
If one has trouble understanding the way literature works, then one may fatally misread a work. Picasso said, "Art tells lies to reveal the truth." The "lies" in literary art are such devices as metaphor, metonymy, personification, hyperbole, allegory, and yes, fiction or myth.
A problem arises when some people see an account, a story, a poem, or a pronouncement as either true or false. Such a distinction is mechanical, and appeals to the most superficial, most irritable, laziest part of the mind. Likewise, some people seem to think that if the Bible is not literally true, then it's a lie. This perception is known as the logical fallacy of false disjunction, or the "either-or" fallacy. It grows out of impatience, a lack of willingness to study a many-faceted matter to see what the nature of the writing is, and what mode of truth it is presenting, or trying to present.
Take, for example, the Book of Jonah. The bone of contention is whether Jonah was in the belly of the "great fish" for three days or not. But to get hung up on that question is to risk missing the story. And it's a great story, very funny in places, with a great comic character at its center. Through the comedy, we get a picture of one aspect of God and one aspect of human nature. I don't think it would ever occur to the writer that he was writing an historical account, and that some people would see Jonah's preservation in the fish as miraculous.
I would guess that if he saw how his story was going to be taken that way, he would have eliminated the fish, and devised some other way to have Jonah come to a grudging realization of his vocation. The point is, it's not important whether Jonah survived in the belly of a great fish or not. What's important is the picture of Jonah's sullenness and recalcitrance, and the way God plays practical jokes on him to teach him a lesson.
Some people will say, But Jesus cited the story of Jonah, specifically the time in the belly of the fish. All right, but so what? Does that prove the historicity of the account? I might say, "Huck and Jim sure had their problems on that raft!" Does that mean that I think Huck and Jim were actual people? We often talk about literary characters as though they sere real people, and incidents in a story as though it were something that actually happened.
The Bible cannot be read as a work of history or science. The writers had no such intentions. Of course, there are works like Kings and Chronicles which do present historical recollections. But even these are highly selective, and are usually presented to prove a point about the Northern Kingdom of Israel, or the Southern Kingdom of Judea.
The difficulty is that a reading of the Bible as literally true keeps us from understanding it and the truth of what it has to say. An "inerrantist" view is a barrier. Most people could not honestly give intellectual consent to it, and the scandal is that some preachers say that you must believe that the bible is literally true or you cannot achieve salvation.
In other words, unless you take the same view of the matter that they do, then your soul is in danger. The result is that many honest people are repelled by Christianity. They see these self-deceived "fundamentalists" as presenting the real face of Jesus' teachings.
"You scribes and Pharisees, you impostors! Damn you! You slam the door of Heaven's domain in people's faces. You yourselves don't enter, and you block the way of those trying to enter." (Matt 23:13)
Christians have to be alert to those who would steal God's kingdom and carry it away by twisted interpretations.
I know several Evangelicals who are very congenial people. I cannot think of these people reveling in the idea that I am going to burn in hell. I see good things in their services – yes, I've attended a few. My son is a preacher in one.
They have many virtues. There is truly a feeling of fellowship among them. They rush to help one another in difficulties. They exhibit many signs of the Kingdom. It only those among them who attempt to preach and proselytize among the "heathen" (read liberals) who are dangerous, and, it seems to me, diabolically misguided.