Re: Does the Bible teach a flat earth?

From: Robert Schneider (
Date: Sun Dec 29 2002 - 18:36:18 EST

  • Next message: Peter Ruest: "Re: Probability or Predictability?"

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "jdac" <>
    Cc: <>
    Sent: Saturday, December 28, 2002 9:49 PM
    Subject: Re: Does the Bible teach a flat earth?

    > I think there is a lot to be gained by exploring the parallels between the
    > become flesh in Jesus and the word become literature in the Bible
    > Jon

    Jon's and Michael's comments about the human literature of the Bible have
    been stirring some thoughts that came to fruition as I began to read this
    morning the published copy of my own wife Maria Lichtmann's new book,
    _Poetry as Prayer: Gerard Manley Hopkins_ (Pauline Books and Media, 2002).
    Here's the opening paragraph of chapter one:

         "Poetry was once the language of the sacred. In all the sacred
    scriptures of the world, poetry rather than prose expressed the sacred
    character of existence. Where other words failed, poetry's 'hints and
    guesses,' [T.S. Eliot], its sparseness of words, special rhythms, and use of
    metaphor, came closest to expresssing the inexpressible. The oldest sacred
    stories and words of a people, including the oldest language of the Bible,
    were originally poetic in form. Even the oracles of the prophets were
    filled with the parallelism and rhythm of Hebrew poetry. When ancient
    peoples chose to pray, their speech and song became poetic."

         I believe it was Northrup Frye who noted that for the early Christian
    community up to the reformation, the Bible was a metaphorical construct. As
    I see it, the Bible incarnates in human language the Word of God, and it is
    in the most metaphorical and mystical language of the Bible, in its poetry,
    whether in recognizably poetic forms or in the poetic expressions of the
    mystical Paul, that the Word is most hidden and revealed. When the metaphor
    and ambiguity of the Bible's sacred poesy is mis-taken for the prose of
    scientific language (as so many literalists do), then one not only does
    violence to the words; one does violence to the Word. The meaning is lost
    and the message mis-taken. Just as his disciples (in Mark's gospel)
    misperceive and misunderstand Jesus because he did not fit their
    preconceived notions of messiahship, so does the literalist reader
    misperceive and misunderstand the mission and message of the sacred texts.

         In a poetry retreat Maria and I attended at Gethsemane Abbey in
    Kentucky, poet Kathleen Norris noted that we are living in an incredibly
    literal-minded age. I agree, and think that is why it is so hard for so
    many people to understand our Scripture outside of a literalist framework.
    But in my view it is a framework that imprisions the Word, not reveals it.
    "The letter killeth," Paul wrote, "but the spirit giveth life." That
    sentence can well be applied to the interpretation Scripture generally in
    all times and not only to the interpretation of Torah in his time.

    Grace and peace,
    Bob Schneider

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Mon Dec 30 2002 - 19:31:14 EST