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

From: <>
Date: Fri Jun 15 2007 - 12:29:48 EDT

It seems like Barr is probably correct.  Why would early church fathers that Gordon mentioned struggle with it if they weren't trying to take it at face value.  But George's earlier comment is well taken and the type of literature critical.

Karl V. Evans

-----Original Message-----
From: Don Nield <>
To: gordon brown <gbrown@Colorado.EDU>
Cc: David Buller <>; ASA Discussion Group <>
Sent: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 11:00 pm
Subject: [asa]The Barr letter( request for some resources)

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. 
  [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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Received on Fri Jun 15 12:30:41 2007

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