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Re: [XTalk] Re: Re; refuting bad apologetics

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  • Gordon Raynal
    Hi Bob, ... I m not exactly sure what you mean by this statement, but, of course, most all stories, save surreal ones, are told with narrative realism. Said
    Message 1 of 15 , Feb 9, 2007
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      Hi Bob,

      On Feb 9, 2007, at 3:36 PM, Robert Griffin wrote:

      > Hi Gordon,
      > From what I've read, I believe most such 'metaphorical' usages are
      > intended to be read as straightforward narrative.

      I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this statement, but, of course,
      most all stories, save surreal ones, are told with narrative
      realism. Said realism gives us absolutely no indication that said
      story is a historical or biographical account.

      > Some examples from
      > the far fringes:
      > My favorite: When Yogananda claims that his parents saw the man who
      > was to become his guru several hundred miles away from where that man
      > actually was, Yogananda appears contextually to be claiming that
      > something extremely unusual happened.
      >
      > When the Ahmadiyya (Qadiyani) Muslims claim that Jesus survived the
      > crucifixion, fled through Galilee, Nisibis, and Afghanistan to settle
      > and die in Kashmir, they go to a lot of trouble to treat this as non-
      > metaphorical history.
      >
      > The various claims that Jesus visited India, Kashmir, or Ladakh (or
      > Tibet) are handled by their propagators as non-metaphoric fact.

      Many traditional stories, once generations removed, are regarded by
      those later as factual remembrance or essentially factual. But the
      ancients just like the moderns knew how to spin myths, legends,
      parables. And the creators and hearers/ readers knew what they were
      doing in such literary creations. That later readers/ generations
      historicize such stories, of course, doesn't turn creative fictions
      into facts.
      >
      > All of the above can be neatly and nicely treated as metaphor, but
      > the literary context makes it clear that this is not the authors'
      > intent. I understand you probably disagree with me on this. I'd be
      > interested in a demonstration with regards to any of the above.

      Yes, we quite disagree. I'm not quite sure what would count as "a
      demonstration" for you. If you want a list of Bible stories that I
      think are creative theological fiction, well... let's start at
      Genesis 1, proceed on to the 2nd chapter... and go right on down to
      through the Gospels. This is not to say that I believe there are no
      instances of historical reference... remembrance of some actual
      persons, some deeds, some words ... some underlying accounts of
      events that did occur. But I don't at all think the vast majority of
      the Bible stories are historical/ biographical materials, but rather
      as a whole are better understood in terms of the poetics and creative
      narratives of explicitly theo-ethical communication. It has only
      been in very modern times that the questions of scientific
      historiography have been asked of these and such stories as you
      sight. And to this day most all people in all cultures don't study
      much history and for the most part could care less about it. To say
      the least the theological/ ethical and communal value for all
      societies is not based in "the historicity" of narratives. I don't
      for a minute think, for example, that the powerful story of Jonah has
      any thing to do with the accounting of some guy named Jonah who was
      swallowed by a big old fish and later vomited out. Neither do I
      think the author of said story thought he was crafting a story to
      remember such a set of events. But that in no way at all suggests
      any diminished value to the story. Quite the opposite, actually. To
      understand a story in terms of genre is absolutely important in terms
      of understanding the very nature of the communication. And so with
      that judgment about Jonah, it remains theologically and ethically
      one of the most profound stories. That the majority of church folks
      in SC think it is a remembrance doesn't exactly work to push me to
      think they're on to something;)! But at the same time it is not hard
      at all to engage such persons in conversations about the theological,
      ethical... and human meanings is such story telling. To do so one
      precisely points to the matters of thought and poetry in such a story.

      Should you want to entertain this alternative to your position, I'd
      suggest you read Thomas Thompson's, "The Mythic Past." Thomas, has
      now and again, actually written a few notes on this list. And then
      again, if you have not, read such as Crossan, Mack and the Five
      Gospels by the Jesus Seminar, they will provide other resources for
      thinking about this alternative.
      >
      > A somewhat similar modern American phenomenon is UFO material. We
      > can get a lot of inspiration from treating it all as metaphorical,
      > but is that an appropriate approach to the literature?

      Pardon, but I don't at all get your point about this. I don't at all
      think the production of cultural/ communal theological and ethical
      craftsmanship... speech and writings that connect persons across
      generations in terms of theology, ethics, communal and personal
      praxis... is at all on par with UFO stories. And who is going to get
      what sort of inspiration??? Unless you are meaning this as a joke
      that I'm just missing, what is the relevance of this to the crafting
      of the the TANAK, the Christian Scriptures, the Koran, the Gita,
      etc? So, you'll have to clarify the point here.

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC
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