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

From: George Murphy (
Date: Thu Oct 03 2002 - 07:45:38 EDT

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

    Walter Hicks wrote:
    > george murphy wrote:
    > >
    > > 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
    > > saying.
    > I guess that I feel very comfortable until the last sentence --
    >then I get very
    > uncomfortable.
    > Being historical (I would use the word "factual" --- as in really
    >happened as a event) does
    > not detract from scripture in my mind. (I don't mean "just
    >historical" like you don't mean
    > "just a story"). I view factuality as a positive thing and a lack
    >of it as somewhat
    > negative. If Jesus never said some of things that are attributed to
    >him, or events
    > (concerning Jesus) that are cited never really happened, then I
    >question the validity of the
    > conclusions.
    > So, if Jesus really said or did something, it carries a lot
    >(infinite) of weight in my mind.
    > If, however, it is a theological treatise by somebody, it is open
    >to question no matter what
    > the motivation of the author and how wonderful his theology might
    >be. It is a non-trivial
    > distinction (IMO).

            Please note my qualifications in that final sentence. "If
    they are unwilling
    ... they MAY be ... ." It is possible for a person to be so
    concerned to show that
    Jesus really did turn water into wine that he/she forgets the meaning
    of that story -
    or, to be more explicit, forgets the meaning of the event - of what
    the gospel calls a
    "sign." This of course does not mean that emphasis on its function
    as a sign requires
    ignoring the question of whether or not it really happened.


    George L. Murphy

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