Re: theology (Was Re: Did Peter walk on water?)

Date: Wed Oct 02 2002 - 07:43:26 EDT

  • Next message: Walter Hicks: "Re: theology (Was Re: Did Peter walk on water?)"

    Walter Hicks wrote:

    > Thanks for the explanations, George
    > george murphy wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > > The term "haggadaic midrash" was used in a passage that I quoted from
    > > Gundry. Perhaps I should have explained briefly what it meant then.
    > > I attempted
    > > to do so in response to Wayne's earlier post. In any case, I
    >appreciate the
    > > difficulty that a non-specialist may have in encountering technical
    > > terminology,
    > > especially in a location where there are few resources.
    > > I would point out, however, that the internet makes a lot of resources
    > > available. A quick look at Google gave something like 12000
    > > "haggadah" and 67000
    > > "midrash" sites. Admittedly one would have to do some hunting among
    > > them to get
    > > an idea of what "haggadaic midrash" might mean but it's not
    > > impossible.
    > Actually it is pretty easy. As you know, I am prone to do it quite
    >often. There were
    > only 61 sites mentioned in Google for the term "haggadic midrash".
    >Perhaps the best
    > for definitions of jewish words was
    > Most of the
    > sites I saw used it strictly as a term describing extra-biblical
    >writings about the
    > old testament. None of the definitions seemed to fit incorporating
    >such writings
    > directly into the Bible.

             From one standpoint the NT _is_ "extra-biblical writing about the OT."
             Of course by this I don't mean to deny that the NT is
    scripture but only that it
    isn't part of what - when it was written - was coming to be
    recognized as scripture,
    like the law & prophets.

    > OTOH several sites refer to the NT gospels as primarily just that
    >(midrash). Most
    > popular was the story of the Magi and the "star". An opposing view
    >was presented at
    > the site

              I'm sceptical about the idea that the story of the story is
    midrash on Balaam's
    prophecy. It's significant that the formula about the fulfillment of
    prophecy used 5
    times in Mt.1:18-2:23 is _not_ used to connect the star with Numbers 24:17.

    > > Actually
    > > I'm pretty old fashioned about such matters & woudl suggest looking at
    > > the corresponding articles in _The Interpreter's Dictionary of
    >the Bible_ or a
    > > similar encyclopedia.
    > >
    > > >What is a poor engineer or scientist to do? If ASA is truly a "Big
    > > >Tent" where
    > > >many members of the Christian Faith may abide, then where would
    >describe the
    > > >relative position of the viewpoint below with respect to the ASA center of
    > > >gravity (to use some "scientific" lingo ;-)?
    > >
    > > I think Bob Schneider's comments (snipped here) are
    > > left-of-center in the
    > > ASA but not in the church catholic. I'd put myself in pretty much the same
    > > position theologically. I know that a lot of people in the ASA
    >regard me as
    > > quite "liberal." OTOH in wider religion-science discussions such
    >as those at
    > > Templeton conferences, as well as in the religious circles I frequent
    > > in general,
    > > I'm often seen as quite conservative.
    > When you live in Kennedyland, anyone from the other 49 states is
    > Even Burgy would be toast in my town ;-).
    > I think that it is worthwhile to note that just because a person
    >does not agree with
    > you or Bob, he is not necessarily a dummy who did not understand
    >what you you have
    > been saying. I feel that you and Bob often act that way.

             I certainly do not intend to say that (& I'm sure Bob
    doesn't) but when one gets
    in the position of having to say "That's wrong & this is right (& not
    just because I say
    so)" then it may give that impression.

    > Actually I take your ideas
    > seriously and research the web for comparison. It is a rare subject
    >that I cannot
    > find pro and con viewpoints on the web.
    > Generally people have some underlying philosophy to what they are saying. In
    > religion they range from atheists to biblical literalists. Can you
    >define what your
    > view of the Bible is in broad terms -- rather than book by book or
    >verse by verse. I
    > do understand and agree with the fundamental nature of the
    >Christian belief and what
    > you have said about starting from the cross. I also realize that
    >the Bible's value
    > is in what spiritual messages it teaches -- not the history.
    >However, that does not
    > automatically make it historically inaccurate or indicate that the
    >author actually
    > knew that it did not happen as he described (I almost said "was not
    >true"). None of
    > that would explain why you would steer away from explanations by
    >Tyndale in favor
    > of "other scholars" whom you prefer. Can you help me to "wrap my
    >arms around the
    > concept"? BTW, I resist any appeal to some scholarly authority
    >because there is
    > always a different expert who takes the other side. It's like a
    >murder trial where
    > one can always buy the opinion he wants.

             Scripture is the primary witness to God's historical
    revelation which culminates
    in Christ, and is the basis for the proclamation of law and
    (preeminently) gospel.
             Scripture consists of many different types of literature -
    historical narrative,
    legal codes, prayer, liturgy, fiction, saga, &c. To a considerable
    extent the character
    of a particular biblical text must be determined by the same types of
    analysis used with
    other literature. But when this analysis has been done it is
    necessary theologically to
    put scripture back together, to recognize that the various parts do
    form a whole, the
    canon, whose unity consists in the fact that it is "the primary
    witness to God's
    historical revelation which culminates in Christ."
             I do not necessarily "steer away" from Tyndale or other more or less
    conservative interpretations of scripture & in fact often find them
    helpful. Because
    they can remain aware of the fundamental purpose of the Bible and the unity of
    scripture, they often have insights that scholars who use
    historical-critical methods,
    and who may be excessively concerned with the analytic task, lack.
    But conservative
    scholars, if they are unwilling to give serious consideration to the
    possibility of
    literary genres besides historical narrative, _may_ (N.B., I do not
    say "must") be so
    focused on a defence of the historicity of a text that they miss what
    the text is really

    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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