RE: Is Jonah to be taken literally?

From: Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Date: Tue Aug 14 2001 - 22:33:11 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Is Jonah to be taken literally?"

    There is nothing to suggest that the exaggerations in Jonah, like the size
    of Nineveh or Jonah's minimalist sermon, are supposed to be miraculous. In
    other cases like the big sizes of armies & amounts of wealth in Chronicles
    (which we can see to be exaggerations by comparison with Samual & Kings)
    there's also nothing miraculous. & again we can see this hyperbole as a
    consistent part of the writer's theological method.
    Yes, I should have been clearer in distinguishing exaggerations from
    No. Another reason for questioning a literal interpretation (which doesn't
    apply in the case of Jonah) is when we have two ostensible accounts of the
    same things which don't agree as historical narrative. Gen.1 & 2 or
    Samuel-Kings & Chronicles are examples. Here we have internal evidence that
    both accounts aren't straight historical narrative.
    True, I overlooked internal apparent inconsistencies.
    So, maybe we are dealing with a continuum of stories, from allegory
    toundeniable historical events and, maybe, it's up to us to place each
    storyalong this continuum. As I've mentioned before, maybe it's just as
    This is becoming quite apparent from the various exchanges. A bit
    disconcerting to many, to say the least!
            Yes, there's a continuum. & one shouldn't try to debunk the
    historical character of Bible stories for pre-schoolers. But many will
    start raising questions well before they become geologists &c. As soon as
    they start asking how the dinosaurs fit into the story or something like
    that, it's appropriate to start talking about how stories can tell us true
    things, &c.
    But, depending what they have been told prior to the stage where they ask
    questions, this is precisely where the wheels at times part company with the
    rest of the carriage. Some ask questions and don't like the answer and,
    consequently, abandon the faith (if this is possible). Others never ask
    questions, for example, our "Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition," who
    has publicly stated that he believes that dinosaurs and man walked the earth
    at the same time.
    Thanks for your comments.

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