Walt wrote, in part: "The trouble is, Burgy, that I have not seen anything
Anything? Visit the library of any seminary sometime; there is a wealth of
materials, book, articles, essays, etc. The library (ah, what bliss to be
only 300 feet away from it) here at Iliff in Denver has 1000 times the
volumes I can ever read. (Yes, Terry, volumes from the conservative side,
too, although nothing I see from our ICR friends).
"All I see are statements that it is clearly a myth from you and a
disclaimer from George, who says it is theology."
IIf I said "clearly" a myth, that is probably too strong a statement. The
position that Gen 1-11 is a collection of folk tales, (myth, if you will)
which was collected and put into its present form fairly recently seems
pretty strong. I know there are conservative scholars who argue against
this; I have read many of them. To me the arguments they make are not
persuasive. A myth, of course, may have some -- even many -- points of
correspondence with "real history," and it is an interesting exercise to
identify these. But the history is not the message of Gen 1-11.
"It seems to me that you have the minority opinion in general and it not
even obvious that more than 50% of the ASA members agree with your
The ASA tends to attract persons of a conservative background, and I'm a
pointy headed liberal Presbyterian, so, as far as this list is concerned,
you may be correct. The views I hold on this are probably similar to most
scholars and ministers in the mainline Christian churches. But, of course,
the argument from authority is not a very interesting one. Here at Iliff,
BTW, I am considered as somewhat of a conservative. But diversity is an aim
of this institution, so they put up with me.
"Anyhow, if is not history, then in my mind it is simply an _error_ --
not a myth or theology."
That position is not unusual among my fundementalist friends, of whom I have
many. I think it is a dangerous view, for when it becomes apparent that the
science & history of Gen 1-11 cannot be reconciled with factual knowledge,
then many persons just toss Christianity over the side as a bad deal.
" It is pretty clear that if you read Genesis backwards you are looking at
what someone _thought_ was the history of mankind."
I'd probably agree with this, with the quick comment that "history" to the
ancient Hebrews is not to be equated with "history" to a 21st century mind.
Again, I refer to the statement by my Native American friend.
" If he was wrong, then the Bible in that area is simply wrong."
Here I have to disagree. Jesus told the story of "the Good Samaritan." Would
you say that if Jesus was wrong about him -- that he never existed, that the
story never took place, then the Bible is wrong? I think not.
"...My inclination is to accept Genesis for what most people think that it
is -- history. If I become convinced that it is mythology (and it sure
doesn't look like it me), then I'll just stop paying any attention to it."
That would be a shame. Gen 1-11 has a message to tell. It is just that
history is not part of that message.
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