Re: Living and dying with Inaccurate History (was:NTSE Report #1 (fwd))

Murphy (
Sun, 02 Mar 1997 13:42:21 -0500

I said in my last post "You can have the last word", but since
your response continues in a mode of ongoing debate rather than summary,
allow me to renege - once.

> Let us assume for the sake of argument that Genesis 6:1-4 is not
> journalistic (although one could also interpret this as being
> inter-religious marriages without much speculation at all.)

IMO this gets to a crucial assumption which you haven't examined
sufficiently - that the biblical narratives are, if at all conceivable,
historical chronicle (or "journalistic" if you wish). Gen.6:1-4 may
tell of mating between homo sapiens and another species, it may tell of
inter-religious marriage, it may (I assume) tell of matings between
human women and real angelic beings - but all as "real history". I.e.,
"I don't know what this refers to, but it is, _a priori_, historical
narrative." The very _possibility_ that it is, e.g., "broken myth"
(Brevard Childs' term) is ruled out from the start.
(En passant, your method has some similarity with that of
critics who say that accounts of miraculous events cannot, _a priori_,
be accurate historical narrative.)
It seems that the only exceptions you make are
a. uses of language so obviously figurative that no one in
their right mind would treat them as real history, &
b. texts that have the explicit label "parable".

But this (b) is not the way people speak or write. When Jesus
answers the question "who is my neighbor", he doesn't start by saying
"Here is a fictional story to answer your question". He just tells
about the Good Samaritan. By your rules we are we therefore required to
consider that account, which is completely "journalistic", as accurate
historical narrative. Not only _could_ it be true (which is obvious)
but it _must_ be. IMO that completely misses the point.
"And that is an end of it" - at least from me.