[asa]The Barr letter( request for some resources)

From: Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Fri Jun 15 2007 - 02:00:10 EDT

The AiG quote *part* of the letter from Barr, who regarded Genesis 1-11
as not a theological story, not science, as one learns from reading
Barr's book, the one mentioned in the letter.
Stephen E. Jones has posted the full letter, as released by AiG
Australia, which reads as follows.

                                THE ORIENTAL INSTITUTE
         [Oxford PUSEY LANE
        University OXFORD
        shield] OX1 2LE
                                                Telephone 59272

                                        23 April 1984

David C.C. Watson, Esq.,
1300 N. Cross
Wheaton Illinois

Dear Mr Watson,

        Thank you for your letter. I have thought about your question,
and would say that [probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of
Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe
that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the
ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the
same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained
in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from
the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c)
Noah's flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and
animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the
apologetic arguments which suppose the `days' of creation to be long eras
of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be
a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such
professors, as far as I know.] The only thing I would say to qualify this is
that most professors may avoid much involvement in that sort of argument
and so may not say much explicitly about it one way or the other. But I
think what I say would represent their position correctly. However, you
might find one or two people who would take the contrary point of view and
are competent in the languages, in Assyriology, and so on: it's really
not so much a matter of technical linguistic competence, as of appreciation of
the sort of text that Genesis is.
        Perhaps I might mention that I have another book coming out soon,
Escaping from Fundamentalism, SCM Press London, which has some discussion of
these questions. Westminster Press in Philadelphia are doing the American
edition, perhaps with a different title, I don't know. It comes out in this
country on 1st June.
        Thanks again for your letter and all good wishes,
                Yours sincerely
                        James Barr [signed]

gordon brown wrote:
> On Thu, 14 Jun 2007, David Buller wrote:
>> I was recently emailed an AiG article that made the following two
>> claims:
>> "Professor James Barr, professor of Hebrew at Oxford University
>> agrees that
>> the words used in Genesis 1 refer to 'a series of six days which were
>> the
>> same as the days of 24 hours we now experience', and he says that he
>> knows
>> of no professor of Hebrew at any leading university who would say
>> otherwise."
>> and
>> "
>> Commentators universally understood Genesis in a straightforward way,
>> until
>> attempts were made to harmonize the account with longs ages and then
>> evolution. "
>> Can you point me to some names I could mention that would refute
>> this? I
>> know that it is very misleading, but I like to have some more names in
>> addition to what I already have
>> Thanks,
>> David
> David,
> Augustine, in The City of God, suggests that it might be impossible
> for humans to imagine what is meant by the days of Genesis 1. There is
> at least one of Hugh Ross's books that has some quotes from early
> church fathers. They were puzzled about what a day would be before the
> creation of the sun. Also some thought that the first day might have
> been a different kind of day from the others since in the Hebrew it is
> called one day rather than the first day.
> Gordon Brown
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Donald A. Nield
Associate Professor, Department of Engineering Science
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142, NEW ZEALAND
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Received on Fri Jun 15 02:00:59 2007

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