Re: the tradition that Abraham engaged in astronomical studies

From: George Murphy (
Date: Thu Jun 26 2003 - 08:25:35 EDT

  • Next message: Terry M. Gray: "Re: Concordist sequence--why be a concordist?" wrote:
    > In a message dated 6/25/03 10:35:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
    > writes:
    > > I didn't say it was your personal opinion. Eli Barnavi & other Jewish
    > > scholars
    > > are right in citing it as tradition but are wrong in thinking it to be
    > > theologically
    > > sound.
    > >
    > > Shalom,
    > > George
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > Eli Barnavi does not present it as being theologically sound, nor does he
    > present it as theology, nor did I, but as post biblical tradition symbolically
    > positing the 2 great religions of the time and showing Abraham abandoning them
    > for monotheism. Again, no astronomy except what is absolutely necessary to
    > present the metaphor, which brings up another point. Is it appropriate to consider
    > extra canonical Old Testament texts and post BIblical Jewish texts when
    > trying to understand the Old Testament? IN tyhe same vein, is it appropriate, for
    > example, to use the Nag Hamadi texts to understand early Christianity?

            There are other versions of the story in which astronomy plays little or no
    role. The central idea is Abraham's discovery, from his observations of the world &
    reasoning, of the unity of God.

            As to your latter question, my answer would be that it is appropriate if:
            a) the distinction between canonical and non-canonical texts is maintained,
    albeit with recognition that historically there has been some ambiguity about the status
    of some books, and
            b) one is careful to practice some "tendency criticism" in studying these texts.


    George L. Murphy

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