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Thoughts on Figurative Language

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  • Gale Langley
    I haven t been following the whole Rescued from Fundamentalism discussion, but I found what Jack said interesting.  I don t think every time the Bible
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 1, 2011
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      I haven't been following the whole "Rescued from Fundamentalism" discussion, but I found what Jack said interesting.  I don't think every time the Bible mentions something miraculous that it's a figure of speach, but I do accept that some of the things in the Bible may be.  In talking about numbers of things...we use in-accurate figurative language all the time in English, so it's not shocking that some numbers in the Bible might be exaggerated without having to be called "lies, frauds" ect.

      I can't count how many time I've said "I'll be just a second" when I planned to take much longerthen that.  Or said "I ate tons of pizza last night."   I've long thought that 40 days was probably sort of like saying "a month," and not necessarily exactly that long every time it was used.

      About the use of the word "Myth" - academically, "Myth" just means any story used by a culture to explain something.  In common language it means something that's not true, but when scholars of ancient literature use the term they aren't really talking about whether it's true or false, but are more talking about a literary form.  I've heard professors who I knew were believers in the truth of the Bible refer to the "Creation myth" in this way, and in the context they said it I don't believe they were making a statement about the story's truthfulness, but it's function.

      Gale Langley
      Hewitt, TX



      Posted by: "Jack Kilmon"
      jkilmon@...
       

      jkilmon_2000



      Mon May 30, 2011 11:38 am (PDT)
      Herein lies the crux of most debates about the Bible by modern literate
      Gentiles. There are many that like to float the words “myths, frauds”
      and “forgeries” or worse, “lies.” No one can do exegesis and critical
      examinations of Biblical texts, whether it is the TaNaKh or the New
      Testament, in either translation or from the perspective of modern
      literary styles and praxis. Exaggerated numbers of people, cattle,
      exaggerated ages, time periods, and heights, are all part of the
      literary styles of ancient writings where theologoumenon or fictitious
      accounts are allowed in order to arrive at a moral “truth.” In short,
      the Biblical texts do not give facts, they give (in the perceptions of
      the authors) “truths.  ....

      (POST SHORTENED)




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ian Onvlee
      Gale, finally someone saying something sensible again! Thanks. Ian Onvlee Holland, The Hague ________________________________ From: Gale Langley
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 1, 2011
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        Gale,

        finally someone saying something sensible again! Thanks.

        Ian Onvlee
        Holland, The Hague






        ________________________________
        From: Gale Langley <ecarian@...>
        To: AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wed, June 1, 2011 6:28:44 PM
        Subject: ABH Thoughts on Figurative Language


        I haven't been following the whole "Rescued from Fundamentalism" discussion, but
        I found what Jack said interesting. I don't think every time the Bible mentions
        something miraculous that it's a figure of speach, but I do accept that some of
        the things in the Bible may be. In talking about numbers of things...we use
        in-accurate figurative language all the time in English, so it's not shocking
        that some numbers in the Bible might be exaggerated without having to be called
        "lies, frauds" ect.

        I can't count how many time I've said "I'll be just a second" when I planned to
        take much longerthen that. Or said "I ate tons of pizza last night." I've
        long thought that 40 days was probably sort of like saying "a month," and not
        necessarily exactly that long every time it was used.

        About the use of the word "Myth" - academically, "Myth" just means any story
        used by a culture to explain something. In common language it means something
        that's not true, but when scholars of ancient literature use the term they
        aren't really talking about whether it's true or false, but are more talking
        about a literary form. I've heard professors who I knew were believers in the
        truth of the Bible refer to the "Creation myth" in this way, and in the context
        they said it I don't believe they were making a statement about the story's
        truthfulness, but it's function.

        Gale Langley
        Hewitt, TX

        Posted by: "Jack Kilmon"
        jkilmon@...


        jkilmon_2000



        Mon May 30, 2011 11:38 am (PDT)
        Herein lies the crux of most debates about the Bible by modern literate
        Gentiles. There are many that like to float the words “myths, frauds”
        and “forgeries” or worse, “lies.” No one can do exegesis and critical
        examinations of Biblical texts, whether it is the TaNaKh or the New
        Testament, in either translation or from the perspective of modern
        literary styles and praxis. Exaggerated numbers of people, cattle,
        exaggerated ages, time periods, and heights, are all part of the
        literary styles of ancient writings where theologoumenon or fictitious
        accounts are allowed in order to arrive at a moral “truth.” In short,
        the Biblical texts do not give facts, they give (in the perceptions of
        the authors) “truths. ....

        (POST SHORTENED)

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • JosefF
        Hi Gale, I haven t read the whole thing either. The topic when I got involved was the 600,000 Israelite adult males who witnessed the revelation at Sinai.
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 2, 2011
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          Hi Gale,

          I haven't read the whole thing either.

          The topic when I got involved was the 600,000 Israelite adult males who witnessed the revelation at Sinai. This precise number is crucial theologically (at least in Judaism), the issue is that this seems as impossible as Jesus riding a dinosaur.

          This group is biblical history and this implies something precise. If the bible says that Moses was on Mt Sinai for 40 days, what is the historical fact? Should we interpret this as Moses being on Mt Sinai for a while? This leads to problems with exegesis, for example, Jewish exegesis holds that the Israelites miscalculated the 40 days by one which is why they built the golden calf.

          Granting your interpretation, perhaps the precise fact is that Moses went up Mt Sinai for awhile. Despite the claims of the Nitwit Archaelogist (also known as the Ali G of Archaeology, etc) -

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Naked_Archaeologist

          the actual existence of this mountain is dubious.

          Continuing on this line the Exodus itself is also quite dubious, there may be some grain of literal truth in the story but what that might be is mysterious.

          Regarding the creation myth -

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_myth

          is a good example of a tap dance around this topic...

          "While creation myths are not literal explications they do serve to define an orientation of humanity in the world in terms of a birth story. They are the basis of a worldview that reaffirms and guides how people relate to both the spiritual and natural world as well as to each other."

          Basically the key term here is "not literal explications" which I think means that it's not true in the real world. I'm sure if you asked those professors if the Genesis creation myth was a literal explication, their replies would be worthy of an audition on Broadway.

          Regards

          --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, Gale Langley <ecarian@...> wrote:
          >
          > I haven't been following the whole "Rescued from Fundamentalism" discussion, but I found what Jack said interesting.  I don't think every time the Bible mentions something miraculous that it's a figure of speach, but I do accept that some of the things in the Bible may be.  In talking about numbers of things...we use in-accurate figurative language all the time in English, so it's not shocking that some numbers in the Bible might be exaggerated without having to be called "lies, frauds" ect.
          >
          > I can't count how many time I've said "I'll be just a second" when I planned to take much longerthen that.  Or said "I ate tons of pizza last night."   I've long thought that 40 days was probably sort of like saying "a month," and not necessarily exactly that long every time it was used.
          >
          > About the use of the word "Myth" - academically, "Myth" just means any story used by a culture to explain something.  In common language it means something that's not true, but when scholars of ancient literature use the term they aren't really talking about whether it's true or false, but are more talking about a literary form.  I've heard professors who I knew were believers in the truth of the Bible refer to the "Creation myth" in this way, and in the context they said it I don't believe they were making a statement about the story's truthfulness, but it's function.
          >
          > Gale Langley
          > Hewitt, TX
          >
          >
          >
          > Posted by: "Jack Kilmon"
          > jkilmon@...
          >  
          >
          > jkilmon_2000
          >
          >
          >
          > Mon May 30, 2011 11:38 am (PDT)
          > Herein lies the crux of most debates about the Bible by modern literate
          > Gentiles. There are many that like to float the words “myths, frauds”
          > and “forgeries” or worse, “lies.” No one can do exegesis and critical
          > examinations of Biblical texts, whether it is the TaNaKh or the New
          > Testament, in either translation or from the perspective of modern
          > literary styles and praxis. Exaggerated numbers of people, cattle,
          > exaggerated ages, time periods, and heights, are all part of the
          > literary styles of ancient writings where theologoumenon or fictitious
          > accounts are allowed in order to arrive at a moral “truth.” In short,
          > the Biblical texts do not give facts, they give (in the perceptions of
          > the authors) “truths.  ....
          >
          > (POST SHORTENED)
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • richfaussette
          ... Regarding the creation myth - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_myth is a good example of a tap dance around this topic... While creation myths are
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 3, 2011
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            --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "JosefF" <josefifriedman@...> wrote:

            Regarding the creation myth -

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_myth

            is a good example of a tap dance around this topic...

            "While creation myths are not literal explications they do serve to define an orientation of humanity in the world in terms of a birth story. They are the basis of a worldview that reaffirms and guides how people relate to both the spiritual and natural world as well as to each other."

            Basically the key term here is "not literal explications" which I think means that it's not true in the real world. I'm sure if you asked those professors if the Genesis creation myth was a literal explication, their replies would be worthy of an audition on Broadway.

            Regards



            Hi Josef,

            The story of Adam and Eve is an allegory. This is what it means (and I won't disappoint you by tap dancing).

            "When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil the "eyes of both of them were opened and they discovered that they were naked; so they stitched fig-leaves together and made loincloths… and hid from the Lord God." 12
            Adam and Eve open their eyes, cover their nakedness, and hide from God. Discrete variables can be obtained from the Genesis text and arranged in a formula. Here are the variables in the formula for the fall with the corresponding text:

            + Self (open their eyes) = + shame (cover their nakedness) + fear (hide from God)

            The formula for the fall is (+ self = + shame + fear).

            I visualized the formula after seeing its precise variables expressed in reverse in another religious text from another time. I was reading the Gospel of Thomas from the Nag Hammadi texts of the 2nd century when I encountered the following parable. The author of the Gospel of Thomas refers directly to the return from the ontological fall.

            "His disciples said, `When will you become revealed to us and when shall we see you?'
            Jesus said, `When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your feet like little children and tread on them, then [will you see] the son of the living one, and you will not be afraid.'" 14

            Here are those discrete variables in the formula for the return from the fall with the corresponding text from the Gospel of Thomas:

            – Self (see the son) = – shame (without being ashamed) – fear (you will not be afraid).

            The formula for the return is (– self = – shame – fear)

            The author of the Gospel of Thomas portrays Jesus reversing the process of the fall in Genesis to describe the return (gnosis). The discrete variables in the formula are the variables from Genesis but the values are now negative. The self is gone and so are shame and fear.

            The philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich wrote: "Courage is the self affirmation of being in spite of the fact of non-being." The self-sacrifice eliminates the threat of non-being through disciplines that affirm the essential self (the Spirit) by surrendering the threatened self (the body).
            Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." 15
            "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God..." 16

            The self sacrifice originated on the central Asian steppe. It is first seen in the Rig Veda when Agni dons robes of fire and brings the self sacrifice to man.
            It is a very real and practical self discipline, portrayed in allegory in Genesis as the "fall" and the Gospel of Thomas as the "return."

            Regards,
            Richard Faussette
            All Rights Reserved
          • ethels
            ... ========= A parallel application of the formula:) In fact, trying to find my bible quote instead I found this and WOW. My quote was certainly out of
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 4, 2011
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              --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "richfaussette" <RFaussette@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "JosefF" <josefifriedman@> wrote:
              >
              > Regarding the creation myth -
              >
              > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_myth
              >
              > is a good example of a tap dance around this topic...
              >
              > "While creation myths are not literal explications they do serve to define an orientation of humanity in the world in terms of a birth story. They are the basis of a worldview that reaffirms and guides how people relate to both the spiritual and natural world as well as to each other."
              >
              > Basically the key term here is "not literal explications" which I think means that it's not true in the real world. I'm sure if you asked those professors if the Genesis creation myth was a literal explication, their replies would be worthy of an audition on Broadway.
              >
              > Regards
              >
              >
              >
              > Hi Josef,
              >
              > The story of Adam and Eve is an allegory. This is what it means (and I won't disappoint you by tap dancing).
              >
              >
              > + Self (open their eyes) = + shame (cover their nakedness) + fear (hide from God)
              >
              > The formula for the fall is (+ self = + shame + fear).
              >
              > I visualized the formula after seeing its precise variables
              > Regards,
              > Richard Faussette
              > All Rights Reserved
              =========
              A parallel application of the formula:)

              In fact, trying to find my bible quote instead I found this and WOW.
              My quote was certainly out of context.

              Yesterday I discovered by searching for Palestinians and Torah Scroll WOW, Women of the Wall and I'm very upset. Now I just found this and it's stuff never put together for me before.

              No end to the revelations of the Bible in this, the 21st Century.

              http://www.biblebb.com/files/KSS/kss-michal.htm
            • aris hobeth
              Jesus said say to the mountain to remove itelf, and it will be removed . This always annoyed me for my lack of understanding. And the mountains skipped with
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 5, 2011
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                Jesus said "say to the mountain to remove itelf, and it will be removed". This always annoyed me for my lack of understanding. And the "mountains skipped with gladness".
                 
                 Something is happening here that I am missing. I guess that the first mountain is a huge burden being endured by a soul (?) Therefore the mountain of Moses can also be the burden of the passover/exodus event (?). I also guess that those mountains "skipping" suggest a visible horrendous disaster of an earthquake, the earth being moved by some sort of natural (?) disaster. Personal, actual, literary? All of the above? plus more meanings? Sincerely, Aris M. Hobeth
                --- On Thu, 6/2/11, JosefF <josefifriedman@...> wrote:


                From: JosefF <josefifriedman@...>
                Subject: ABH Re: Thoughts on Figurative Language
                To: AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Thursday, June 2, 2011, 10:17 AM


                 



                Hi Gale,

                I haven't read the whole thing either.

                The topic when I got involved was the 600,000 Israelite adult males who witnessed the revelation at Sinai. This precise number is crucial theologically (at least in Judaism), the issue is that this seems as impossible as Jesus riding a dinosaur.

                This group is biblical history and this implies something precise. If the bible says that Moses was on Mt Sinai for 40 days, what is the historical fact? Should we interpret this as Moses being on Mt Sinai for a while? This leads to problems with exegesis, for example, Jewish exegesis holds that the Israelites miscalculated the 40 days by one which is why they built the golden calf.

                Granting your interpretation, perhaps the precise fact is that Moses went up Mt Sinai for awhile. Despite the claims of the Nitwit Archaelogist (also known as the Ali G of Archaeology, etc) -

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Naked_Archaeologist

                the actual existence of this mountain is dubious.

                Continuing on this line the Exodus itself is also quite dubious, there may be some grain of literal truth in the story but what that might be is mysterious.

                Regarding the creation myth -

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_myth

                is a good example of a tap dance around this topic...

                "While creation myths are not literal explications they do serve to define an orientation of humanity in the world in terms of a birth story. They are the basis of a worldview that reaffirms and guides how people relate to both the spiritual and natural world as well as to each other."

                Basically the key term here is "not literal explications" which I think means that it's not true in the real world. I'm sure if you asked those professors if the Genesis creation myth was a literal explication, their replies would be worthy of an audition on Broadway.

                Regards

                --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, Gale Langley <ecarian@...> wrote:
                >
                > I haven't been following the whole "Rescued from Fundamentalism" discussion, but I found what Jack said interesting.  I don't think every time the Bible mentions something miraculous that it's a figure of speach, but I do accept that some of the things in the Bible may be.  In talking about numbers of things...we use in-accurate figurative language all the time in English, so it's not shocking that some numbers in the Bible might be exaggerated without having to be called "lies, frauds" ect.
                >
                > I can't count how many time I've said "I'll be just a second" when I planned to take much longerthen that.  Or said "I ate tons of pizza last night."   I've long thought that 40 days was probably sort of like saying "a month," and not necessarily exactly that long every time it was used.
                >
                > About the use of the word "Myth" - academically, "Myth" just means any story used by a culture to explain something.  In common language it means something that's not true, but when scholars of ancient literature use the term they aren't really talking about whether it's true or false, but are more talking about a literary form.  I've heard professors who I knew were believers in the truth of the Bible refer to the "Creation myth" in this way, and in the context they said it I don't believe they were making a statement about the story's truthfulness, but it's function.
                >
                > Gale Langley
                > Hewitt, TX
                >
                >
                >
                > Posted by: "Jack Kilmon"
                > jkilmon@...
                >  
                >
                > jkilmon_2000
                >
                >
                >
                > Mon May 30, 2011 11:38 am (PDT)
                > Herein lies the crux of most debates about the Bible by modern literate
                > Gentiles. There are many that like to float the words “myths, frauds”
                > and “forgeries” or worse, “lies.” No one can do exegesis and critical
                > examinations of Biblical texts, whether it is the TaNaKh or the New
                > Testament, in either translation or from the perspective of modern
                > literary styles and praxis. Exaggerated numbers of people, cattle,
                > exaggerated ages, time periods, and heights, are all part of the
                > literary styles of ancient writings where theologoumenon or fictitious
                > accounts are allowed in order to arrive at a moral “truth.” In short,
                > the Biblical texts do not give facts, they give (in the perceptions of
                > the authors) “truths.  ....
                >
                > (POST SHORTENED)
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >








                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
                First, in this discussion, does shemayim mean heavens or skies? Second, isn’t the Tower of Babylon bible text the same problem in teaching Spanish in public
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 6, 2011
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                  First, in this discussion, does shemayim mean heavens or skies?

                  Second, isn’t the Tower of Babylon bible text the same problem in teaching Spanish in public schools today?

                  Third, there were two trees named in the Garden of Eden, only one of these was forbidden.



                  ethel jks
                  YHWH Baruch/Barack/Benedictus U & USA , shekels&sekhels
                  Father George Washington: Lo, Anee Lo Melek

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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