Re[2]: Something must change

Gladwin Joseph (
Wed, 26 Aug 1998 16:50:23 -0700

At 02:56 PM 8/26/98 EST, McCarrick, Allan wrote:
>Getting back to the topic of Jonah and history - I am am somewhat
>surprised by the willingness of George and others to drop the entire
>story of Jonah all the way from literal history directly to spiritual
>fable. <SNIP>
Allan Harvey wrote:
The use of the word "drop" here is a good example of what some of us have
been decrying. It implies that if God's message is conveyed via a
"spiritual fable" (less perjorative terms might be "parable" or
"fictional story with a true spiritual message") it is somehow inferior
to "literal history". Following that line of reasoning, I guess we have
to chastize Jesus for so often using such inferior means in his teaching.
I have been following this thread with much interest and
would like to add a few comments/questions. I personally
have no problem whether Jonah is `history' or a `story' for
it has timeless Truth regardless. However,
what concerns me is how we come to decide whether
something is a story or not. Does the traditional
interpretation of Jonah by the Jewish rabbis and early
church father have some authority in deciding that or

I assume we call it a story because of the big
fish, and other technical problems that George raised
with the descriptions in the text. Could some of these
technical `glitches' be the result of `literary licence' by
the author reporting orally communicated history.

In other words does the context of the originally intended
audience give us some clue as to whether it is rooted in
events or not. I would look at the historic interpretation
by the rabbinical commentaries for a start before i jump to
the church fathers.

Any comments on this approach would be welcome.



PS: Jonah sleeping in the boat reminds me of JEsus sleeping
through the storm - both men quite content in the care of
their Father eventhough one thought he could hide from