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Re: [XTalk] Re: thought experiment..

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... Actually, it s what Dio (I believe) said Caligula did in his campaign against the sea, all the while shouting Take THAT, Poseidon! . ... If the
    Message 1 of 45 , Mar 9, 2005
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      Rikk Watts wrote:

      > Indeed, to walk on water is in fact what Yahweh alone does.

      Actually, it's what Dio (I believe) said Caligula did in his campaign against the
      sea, all the while shouting "Take THAT, Poseidon!".

      > But where did
      > monotheistic Christians ever get the idea that this human Jesus was also
      > Israel's Lord?

      If the Caligula story is in the background, we might not need to answer this.  But
      we do need to reckon with the idea that there are competing Lords spoken of here.


      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

      1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
      Chicago, IL 60626

    • Gordon Raynal
      Hi Timothy, Thanks for this nice and most interesting note. Some return thoughts: ... First, I think story tellers of via whatever genre want their audiences
      Message 45 of 45 , Mar 14, 2005
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        Hi Timothy,
        Thanks for this nice and most interesting note. Some return thoughts:
        On Mar 14, 2005, at 12:44 PM, Timothy E. Kennelly wrote:

        > Gordan Raynal has written:
        >> I, of course, think that both the Synoptic and Johannine plots are
        >> theological creations based in utilization of differing key texts
        > and
        >> differing use of key metaphors.
        > Mr. Raynal and other listers,
        > Do you suppose or will you allow that, although your reading is
        > correct and is based on some knowledge of literature, the use of
        > image, trope, metaphor, etc., the more immediate literal reading
        > which takes the text at its face value is nevertheless the intended
        > message for most readers? Will you allow that most readers or
        > listners will not see what your training or intelligence has allowed
        > you to see? (This question has come up about Jonah elsewhere on the
        > list. Why should we suppose that those who were told or read Jonah's
        > story in Christ's time were clever enough on the whole to conclude
        > that it contains trope, unless a teacher says, "this is just an
        > image?")

        First, I think story tellers of via whatever genre want their audiences
        (oral or reading or watching) to get into the action of the story...
        into the drama, comedy, layers of meaning, etc. In regard to this
        acceptance of **the narrative realism** is essential. I'm not meaning
        to be silly at all, but my two grandsons (one nearly 3 and the other 5)
        adore Spiderman. Josh, the younger, is ever toting about his little
        action figures and he will sit through the whole movie! Josh really
        gets into Spidey, but he already knows he can't jump around via webs
        like Spidey can:)! My point, of course, is that whatever sort of
        narrative realism is put forth is necessary to accept to get into and
        understand a story. But that people do that is no sign unto itself
        that they think they are accepting the narrative realism as historical/

        Second, I do think most people, whatever they think about matters
        historical, are adept at some level at understanding metaphor, image
        and trope. I live nearly on top of the shiny buckle of the Bible Belt
        and when I engage, as I often do, in discussions about the Bible the
        discussions are almost always about meaning making (matters of trust,
        love, courage, justice, etc. etc.). Focusing on the image rich
        language of the Bible stories is the key to this. And folks make those
        connections all the time when they listen to music, watch TV and
        movies, sit around and share yarns. And most around here do it when
        reading the Bible. In my experience most church folks don't ask many
        strictly historical questions about the Bible. Certainly not at first,
        at least. They ask about meaning. More below:

        > The most incredible stories will be believed with little question by
        > most people provided they are presented as true and from a credible
        > source. Further, the discovery of even simple metaphor, unless it is
        > exoteric in the most obvious way, will generally not happen. There
        > are a number of teachings from the Scriptures which have been
        > understood literally by the simple masses for centuries. The fact
        > that such credulity might with a little education in one's youth be
        > swept away only indicates that such education is genrally not given.
        > Biblical narratives have been genrally understood literally, by the
        > simple masses, throughout Church history, the exception of a few
        > sages notwithstanding. This only started to change in Europe in the
        > 19th century.

        From the above I'd ask you to think about this from a different vantage
        point. In one sense, of course, modern historiography is an outgrowth
        of the Enlightenment. But actually the debate about how to go about
        reading the Bible does go way back. In the 3rd century we have Origen
        arguing for an allegorical reading of Scripture. And Origen's thoughts
        on the matter were rooted in the earlier work of the likes of Philo.
        So the interest in how to craft the best hermeneutical principles is
        ancient. Now granted, save for the few who got any school house
        education before modern times, I think most folks have always worked
        from the standpoint of accepting stories . But then I think before the
        modernist-fundamentalist debates that began in the last century, most
        folks didn't even think in our terms (is this historical or not). They
        thought in truth terms in relation to religious devotion and
        confession. And it is of course silly to say that "truth claims" are
        tied to facticity. And truth be told, still most people don't know
        much actual history. My daughter who is a whiz at math and chemistry
        needed me greatly to help her pass social studies:)! Yet more below:
        > In any case, this suggests that some of the Bible is self-cosciously
        > written for two audiences. The author of Jonah knew he was telling a
        > story, but he also knew, I suspect, that most people upon hearing the
        > story would conclude that his fictitious tale of the adventures of a
        > real man, is in fact a simple presentation of the man's, Jonah's,
        > actual deeds. I further suspect that the author of Mark held the same
        > opinion about his story.
        From the above you see that I'd frame this a bit differently than you
        do. I very much think the ancient Hebrew story tellers were as knowing
        of their craft as were others from ancient cultures. A good exercise
        in getting in touch with this is to take out a volume like von Rad's
        work on the Exodus narrative and read the different layers of story
        telling. What has been called the the "J" story has a greater
        "normal" narrative realism than do the later layers. I don't think the
        later story tellers had "more facts:)!" I think they had larger
        imaginations. My point is that I think the old story tellers knew
        precisely what they were up to and the hearers understood first and
        foremost the meaning making (affirmations of theology and ethics) that
        were resident in the story telling. The long effect of this has been
        "this is his- (God's) story and this is our story" for Hebrews/ Jews
        and later Christians and Muslims (thinking of their utilization of the
        Biblical narratives). It remains this for persons of the various
        confessional religions/ denominations. So I don't think the authors
        thought about two audiences. I think if Mark were here (or the author
        of Jonah) and he were schooled in modern historiography he would be
        very puzzled that any one would take his imaginative creations
        (whatever the extent of what one wants to assign to that category) and
        say "these are historical remembrances." I think he'd be very puzzled

        Thanks again for your note. I hope this helps sketch out a bit how we
        come at this a bit differently.

        Gordon Raynal
        Inman, SC
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