Re: On the Flood Narratives

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Wed Nov 08 2000 - 08:36:07 EST

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    My compliments on stating your position clearly. Agreement with it, of
    course, is another matter entirely. :-)

    I started to craft a detailed reply, but find myself distracted by personal
    concerns. I am scheduled for surgery early tomorrow morning. I know that
    others on this list can carry on from here. Some things that deserve

    1. If the Bible is not uniform in its literary genre, and it surely is not,
    then why speak in terms of a "one method fits all" hermeneutical strategy?
    [You know the line: "If narrative A in the OT is best understood as an
    example of traditional 'storied theology,' then why not treat all narratives
    in the NT in exactly the same way?"] Are we not warranted in treating each
    portion of the text on its own literary and historical terms? Would it even
    be responsible for us to do anything less?

    2. (On Glenn's verboten topic) What does it mean to refer to the Bible as
    the "word of God"? Is it not the case that Christians are often inclined to
    move without sufficient reflection from thinking of the Bible as "divinely
    inspired" to treating it as if it were "divinely written" (in modern Western
    literary style, of course, and with complete access to the divine knowledge
    base)? And is it not the case that treating the Bible as if it were
    "divinely written" is likely to produce biblicism bordering on bibliolatry?

    3. Why not consider the possibility that Christians could benefit from a
    respectful reading of the religious texts of other faiths? Do we really
    think that all other faith communities have been totally denied an authentic
    experience of God's presence? Has God abandoned everyone but us Christians?

    4. We have every right to compare the relative merits of various sacred
    texts, and every right to choose the Bible as our own source of inspiration
    and guidance, but do we have any right to presume that all other revered
    texts are worthless and totally without inspiration by the Spirit of God?
    And when I suggest a "respect" for other texts I am NOT at all suggesting an
    uncritical acceptance of what they say. If I have called for a critical
    reading (use all of your resources for sound interpretation, evaluation and
    application) of the biblical text, I would expect at least that much
    application of critical skills when reading other texts.

    I hope to be able to get back in the conversation in about a week.


    Howard Van Till

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