Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How Not to Read the Bible, Part 10

From the NY Times book review:
One purpose of “How to Read the Bible” is to recapture the Bible from literalists, and Kugel certainly succeeds.

As the previous posts in this series should help show, Kugel hasn't succeeded.
His tour through the scholarship demonstrates why it makes no sense to believe that every word of the Bible is true history.

Scholarship, of the sort they find persuasive, starts with a position of doubt and ends there because of it.
Piling on, he also contends that modern Bible literalism, that brand of six-day-creationism favored by fundamentalists, is wildly out of step with traditional Christian interpretation.

I'm an Old-Earth Creationist. But saying that six-day-creationism is wildly out of step with traditional Christian interpretation is a bit much. Now, nuances of historical thought on the matter should be examined, but this seems plain wrong to me. And I believe the Earth is billions of years old.
Such monomaniacal focus on the Bible’s literal truth is a relatively new phenomenon. It’s not so much that readers of yore didn’t believe the Bible’s truth; they just didn’t waste a lot of time trying to prove impossible events like the Flood.

I'm not sure if this statement makes sense. "Monomaniacal" seems to be poisoning the well. People believed the Bible as true. Maybe they didn't waste time trying to prove things because events weren't challenged.

But I like how the Flood is described as "impossible" from the outset. As far as I can tell, the flood was universal in nature in regards to humanity but confined to a particular region of the world. But those who view things differently are prevented from even presenting evidence for their case in the first place. Why? Because such an event is "impossible."


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