Re: HYAR'S ARTICLE IN THE JASA, 1984

From: Thomas Woolley <twwoolle@samford.edu>
Date: Fri Feb 20 2004 - 09:54:37 EST

My thanks, too, for pointing out Hyers paper.
 
Tom
 
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Thomas W. Woolley, Ph.D.
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>>> "Don Winterstein" <dfwinterstein@msn.com> 2/19/2004 3:35:54 PM >>>

 Bob wrote:
 
"Thanks for making Conrad Hyars' article on "Dinosaur Religion: On Interpreting and Misinterpreting the Creation Texts" available to all of us."
 
 
I wasn't the one. I just lifted it from someone else. But I agree with you that the article deserves wider distribution. Hyers presents a perfectly acceptable--and probably the correct--interpretation of Genesis 1.
 
Don
 
 
----- Original Message -----
From: RDehaan237@aol.com
To: dfwinterstein@msn.com ; asa@calvin.edu ; glennmorton@entouch.net ; TDavis@messiah.edu
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 3:04 PM
Subject: HYAR'S ARTICLE IN THE JASA, 1984

Don Winterstein,

Thanks for making Conrad Hyars' article on "Dinosaur Religion: On Interpreting and Misinterpreting the Creation Texts" available to all of us. I read it avidly since Ted Davis recommended it so highly. I was not disappointed. It is the best interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis I have ever read. I want to add my recommendation of it to everyone on this list serve.

Below are some excerpts from the article that convey the gist of his argument.

Hyars points out that, "It is always of critical importance to know exactly with what type of linguistic usage one is dealing, and to apply the appropriate canons of interpretation." I think we could all agree to that. He reviewed the historical situation in which Israel lived. They were surrounded by idolatrous nations which had gods without number for every aspect of their lives. He wrote, €*In the light of this historical context it becomes clearer what Genesis I is undertaking and accomplishing: a radical and sweeping affirmation of monotheism vis-a-vis polytheism, syncretism and idolatry.€

He went on to write, €*The fundamental question at stake, then, could not have been the scientific question of how things achieved their present form and by what processes, nor the historical question about time periods and chronological order.€

He summed up his interpretation as follows, €*The issue was idolatry, not science; syncretism, not natural history; theology, not chronology; affirmation of faith in one transcendent God, not empirical or speculative theories of origin. Attempting to be loyal to the Bible by turning the creation accounts into a kind of science or history is like trying to be loyal to the teachings of Jesus by arguing that his parables are actual historical events, and only reliable and trustworthy when taken literally as such.€

Hyars then reviewed each of the days of creation and pointed out that each one of them demolished one of the gods by showing that what was claimed to be a god was actually an aspect of the world created by God. €*On the first day the gods of light and darkness are dismissed. On the second day, the gods of sky and sea. On the third day, earth gods and gods of vegetation. On the fourth day, sun, moon and star gods. The fifth and sixth days take away any associations with divinity from the animal kingdom. And finally human existence, too, is emptied of any intrinsic divinity-while at the same time all human beings, from the greatest to the least, and not just pharaohs, kings and heroes, are granted a divine likeness. And in that divine likeness, all human beings are given the royal prerogatives of dominion over the earth, and of mediation between heaven and earth.€

This paper deserves much wider distribution and reading than it has received so far. Again, thanks to Ted for recommending it and to Don for making it available.

I would appreciate hearing about any other reactions to Hyars' article.

Peace,

Bob
Received on Fri Feb 20 09:55:31 2004

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