Re: Living and dying with Inaccurate History (fwd)

Rodney Dunning (
Mon, 3 Mar 1997 00:18:41 -0500 (EST)

On Sun, 2 Mar 1997, Glenn Morton wrote:

> I don't agree that Isaiah 58:11 passes the test of prophecy.

You're saying it is too vague, that their are too many possible
"fulfillments" one could claim, and so we can't really know if it passes
or fails, yes? Fair enough.

I won't comment on everything else you wrote, except to say it
seems we misunderstood each other on some points. And I did appreciate
many of the things you said, but I won't us to get back on point.

> So now we are back to Genesis.

Yes, we are. But we are still without a clear basis on which to judge the
text as being a historical chronicle, or if we are I've missed it. The
closest we've come is that a text should answer the journalistic
questions, and we have a reasonable extrapolation from Deuteronomy
18:21-22, that if God is going to inspire someone to write about the past,
they should get it right.

You wrote earlier,

> If this applies to future events, that a prophet whose prophcies do not
> come true is not speaking for God, then why does this not apply to the
> events of the past? It seems to me that a prophet who claims to be
> speaking for God should be able to get it correct in both directions of
> time.

I still agree with this. But as your objection to Is 51:18 shows, there
are times when it is not appropriate to apply the test. Thus, we are left
with the obvious question, which happens to be what we've been talking
about the entire time-

When is it appropriate to apply this test? When is it appropriate to read
a given text, such as Genesis, as a record of literal past events?

Perhaps if we put the question on more formal, logical ground. We agreed
earlier that answering the journalistic questions was necessary but not
sufficient. Consider two texts, A and B. Both of them answer the
journalistic questions. But only A purports to be a historical chronicle.
Now, what literary differences MUST exist between A and B? What
characteristics MUST A possess that B does not?

Now, I think it's time to be frank. We've gone round and round on this
with no resolution. If we can't wrap things up in the next couple of
posts, I think we should just put the matter to bed.

Rodney Dunning
voice: 910.759.4977 or 910.759.4980
fax: 910.759.6142