Re: Genealogies (was Re: personal revelations)

From: George Murphy (
Date: Sat Mar 08 2003 - 14:46:30 EST

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    John Burgeson wrote:
    > George wrote: " You still seem to be missing the point which I made in my
    > post of 4 the extent I am interested in it, it's because I want
    > to know what theological point Mt was trying to make with this particular
    > arrangement. Of course that is to give him the benefit of the doubt &
    > assume that he had a theological point, & wasn't just careless. When an
    > author says something that seems odd, characterizing all attempts to
    > understand what he or she was getting at as "ad hoc" doesn't seem very
    > helpful to me: It assumes _a priori_ that the passage really doesn't make
    > sense, and that anybody who thinks that it may is practicing eisegesis. Of
    > course there's the possibility that Mt just made an arithmetic error. Smart
    > people have been known to do that & it wouldn't shake my faith if Mt did."
    > 1. No, I got your point. I just did not agree with it.
    > 2. I am as interested as you are if there really IS a theological point to
    > 14+14+14=41.
    > 3. I do not assume a priori that there is not.
    > 4. I wrestled with this sort of thing a lot in the past year. Francis Bacon
    > (or was it Roger) said that what a person wants to be true he preferentially
    > believes. I want the Bible to be inerrant. But I cannot approach that issue
    > deductively -- I cannot presume inerrancy and then force fit what I find to
    > that model. Perhaps it is my science education -- now an innate part of my
    > being -- that tells me the objectivist approach is to be preferred.
    > 5. The fact that the writer of Mt made an error has 0 to do with my faith.
    > On that, at least, we can agree.

       I don't approach the issue in terms of "inerrancy" at all. That term has been so
    compromised by being associated with the idea that narratives can be considered true
    only if they are accurate scientific &/or historical accounts that it just isn't useful
    anymore outside of debates with fundamentalists. & in fact even without that it's clear
    that there are some errors like those in Mt.27:9. So as far as I'm concerned
    "inerrancy" just isn't the issue.
       & in a way the 3 x 14 business is a kind of theological fossil anyway because the
    fact that 14 is the numerical value of dwd in Hebrew has no significance for most people
    today. (Yes, I know there are some on the list for whom such things are vital.) It's
    important for understanding what the writer of the text was getting at but would have to
    be translated into other terms to helpful in conveying the gospel today.


    George L. Murphy

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