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

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Tue Jun 19 2007 - 16:11:11 EDT

On Tue, 19 Jun 2007 11:42:28 +1200 Don Nield <>
> I am returning to this ASA thread after locating my copy of Barr's
> book
> . I cite extracts from Barr's book below, between rows of 8's.
> Barr is clearly of the opinion that both the YECs (as represented by
> the
> AiG people) and the OEC scientific concordists have at the outset
> made a
> category error. They have made a mistake in identifying the genre of
> Genesis 1:1-2:4b.
> The OEC scientific concordists have also violated a basic
> hermeneutical
> principle -- that the meaning of a word should be ascertained in its
> context rather than invoking the full semantic range of the word.
> 88888888
> James Barr, Escaping from Fundamentalism, SCM Press, 1984
> <snip>
> p.135. [N]o one in the Bible said, and no one in ancient times in
> Israel
> supposed, that God had told, or revealed, or related the story that
> now
> stands as the first chapter of the Bible. It simply does not say in
> the
> Bible that the material in Gen. 1., of any of the narratives of
> creation, is there because it was spoken or revealed by God. This
> was
> “Wisdom”, the product of men of faith who had observed the world
> with
> such means as they had and integrated into the story of creation
> their
> balanced judgment on numerous theological problems which had best
> the
> religion of Israel. By placing this account at the very start of the
> Bible they gave deservedly high importance to it. But they did not
> regard it as direct divine revelation and nowhere did they say so.
> <snip>

I fear he has jumped to a conclusion too quickly. How often in the Wisdom
books has "God said" been stated? Does he document his claim that this
comes from the Wisdom tradition? I find the phrase noted of messages to
patriarchs and prophets, from Genesis through Malachi. The unusual
evening-morning sequence in Genesis 1 (and, if my memory serves, only one
other place in the Hebrew scriptures) is compatible with the giving of
visions, hence of its being revelation. So I don't think the problem is
solved by Barr's claim. Beyond its apologetic purpose, there seem to be
complications of interpretation.

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Received on Tue Jun 19 16:14:33 2007

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