From: Robert Schneider (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Sep 19 2002 - 21:59:31 EDT
See my comments on Walter's below.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Walter Hicks" <email@example.com>
To: "John Burgeson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2002 7:12 AM
Subject: Re: The Flood Hoax
> John Burgeson wrote:
> > I have no "bias" against miracles in either of the testaments. But both
> > Jonah and Job read like literature -- not as history. To hold that they
> > -- either of them -- actual literal history seems no more likely than
> > someone were to tell me to take CINDERELLA as literal history. That
> > historical events may have been the cause of the stories as told is not
> > unlikely, of course.
> To many the entire Bible reads like a "story" and that is why they don't
> Now I do not claim that Jonah is a true story because I simply do not
> I know many who do know whether or not it is a true story. Unfortunately
> know that it is true and many know that it is not. Those who know it is
> base the claim on the accuracy of God's word. What I was hoping for was
> good reasons from those who know it is not true.
Once again, I come to the defense of the word "story," which has been so
denigrated in our time, especially by many believers. Why should anyone
_not_ "believe" a story? Every story has within itself a claim of truth,
whether that story is history or parable or short story or of whatever
genre. One of the frustrations I often experience with my students is that
for many of them, story = falsehood, or , "a story is not true," and I have
to spend time convincing them that stories are not to be dismissed as
nothing more than "pleasant tales" or "fairy tales" but to be valued as
vehicles of the kind of truth that can enrich and even change one's life.
I take it that Walt is using the phrase "true story" to mean "historical
account." I have to say, Walt, that you will get no good reasons from me as
to why Jonah is "not true." I think it is true in the deepest sense of
truth. We both agree that Jonah teaches theological truths, as you pointed
out in another note; what we disagree on is whether Jonah is history or
parable, not whether Jonah is true or not true. To limit the notion of the
truthfulness of a story to whether it "actually happened in history" is to
misunderstand the nature of "story." I often explain to my students that
most of the truths we encounter in our lives are not historical truths; they
are theological, philosophical, moral, psychological, and poetic truths. I
recall Aristotle once saying that poetry is truer than history because
history is about particulars and poetry is about universals.
I also assert that one cannot not convince others about the truthfulness
of the Bible by insisting that certain texts that are literary texts must be
understood to be historical accounts. Rather, believers need to lead
unbelievers to see the truths that every story in the Bible proclaims.
One more thought: in a previous post on this topic, you wrote: "I don't
accept "authority of scholars" since I can I can always find a counter
opinion from a counter scholar. When it comes to scholars
one can pick any scholar that supports whatever conclusion one wants to
believe." Would you examine the reasoning of scholars? Would you carefully
consider the information that they present to support their conclusions?
Would you be willing to read and compare different conclusions of different
scholars, see how they arrived at their conclusions, and then make up your
own mind? That would call for your being willing to let your beliefs be
challenged--not your belief in the Bible but your beliefs about the Bible.
Grace and peace,
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