Re: Hyers' Article - Cods Wallop!

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Feb 20 2004 - 12:46:52 EST

Dick Fischer wrote:
> >>My friend, Bob Dehaan wrote:
> >>
> >>I would appreciate hearing about any other reactions to Hyars' article.
> >>
> >>Do you mean something besides just saying it's wrongheaded and leaving it
> >>at that?
> >Of course. But if that's all you got to say then leave it at that.
> Perhaps just saying it's "wrongheaded" is too brief. When I was
> researching my book, I read Hyers', The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and
> Modern Science. I thought it was a load of cods wallop then, I think it's
> cods wallop now. And the article in JASA is simply abbreviated cods
> wallop. Still, he writes well.


        15 years or so ago, in response to something I'd written in a church
publication, I got a letter from a woman who said that she wasn't a Bible expert or
theologian or anything but that she wanted to tell me her theory: Adam wasn't the first
man, but the first man with a soul. I wrote back thanking her and gently pointing out
some problems that that idea might encounter.

        I trust that the similarity between that idea and Dick Fischer's will be
obvious. The differences are also glaring: She wasn't criticizing real biblical
scholars and theologians and didn't try to dress up her naive idea with a lot of
irrelevant data.

        I shouldn't close without pointing out at least one of a number of things wrong
with the accusations against Hyers. This will be as good as any:

> Fair enough. But the parables of Christ were called exactly that! Christ
> himself called them "parables" so we would make no mistake.

        In point of fact, only twice if I'm not mistaken is Jesus represented as calling
what he is going to say or has said a "parable" - Mt.13:18 & 21:33. The other uses in
the gospels are editorial - "He told them a parable" &c. Often Jesus just tells the
story with no designation, by himself or the evangelist, of its literary character -
e.g., Lk.16:1.
        This is not a trivial point. The insistence that a parable has to have a label
"This is a parable" before we know that it's a parable is hardly a qualification for
being a critic of biblical (or any other) literature. It's kind of like the woman who
was surprised that the McDonalds coffee was hot because it didn't say so on the cup.


George L. Murphy
Received on Fri Feb 20 12:50:22 2004

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