N. T. Wright on Literalism

From Biologos HT JK Doyle [Read more…]

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God at Work

There are lots of problems with a literalistic approach to Genesis, and to the Bible in general. But the biggest is that it denies that God so transcends our human comprehension that God can only be pointed to through symbols. The final editor of Genesis presumably understood this. He placed side by side two depictions [Read More…]

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Reading Genesis Literally

There’s a new blog, Scribalishess, written by a Hebrew Bible professor. Here is a quote from the end of the first substantive post, on reading Genesis literally: This is why biblical literalism (in the sense stated at the beginning) fails. It fails to read Genesis 1 literally. It fails to acknowledge the ancient writer’s worldview. It [Read More…]

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Literal or Symbolic?

On Reddit I came across this wonderful bit of wisdom about interpreting the Bible, from an individual whose user name is SleetTheFox: “Whatever is supposed to be literal I interpret literal. Whatever is supposed to be symbolic I interpret symbolic. Whatever I have mischaracterized the intended meaning of, I interpret incorrectly.” That pretty much sums [Read More…]

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I Take The Bible Too Seriously To Take It All Literally

This quotation is often attributed to Karl Barth, but it is verifiably the words of Madeleine L’Engle. Blog reader Eric Funston kindly made the image with the appropriate attribution and shared it on his blog, That Which We Have Heard and Known.   [Read more…]

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Bible from a Parallel Universe

A comment on Facebook yesterday seemed to me it would be a great premise for a science fiction story. What if it turned out that the Bible originated in a parallel universe, on an Earth that was literally covered by a solid dome, and thus really was literally and scientifically accurate – just not when [Read More…]

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Take It With A Grain Of Salt

The Salis Bible. HT Hemant Mehta. And Allan Bevere shared a cartoon illustrating the limits of literalism – and that one possible interpretation is not necessarily the right one: [Read more…]

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Read Genesis Literally

Indeed, I’ve made the case here more than once for Jesus having interpreted Genesis 2 in a decidedly non-literal fashion, as the story itself indicates it ought to be understood. [Read more…]

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According to Google, Literally Literally Means Not Literally

I learned today via IO9 that Google has made it as official as Google can make things: “Literally” now means “literally” but also the opposite. Actually, perhaps I should ask whether literally now literally means “not literally,” or whether literally now still means “literally,” but means it figuratively as well as literally. When people misuse [Read More…]

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Young-Earth Creationism vs. the Plain Meaning of the Creation Stories

Having recently addressed a number of points of incompatibility between young-earth creationism and Christianity as most Christians understand it and have understood it down the ages, I was asked if I could address the common young-earth creationist objection that  “No one simply reading what the words clearly say would EVER suppose God/Moses were describing a development [Read More…]

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Jesus and Paul were not Literalists when it comes to Genesis 2-3

It is interesting how some modern readers simply assume that ancient individuals and authors shared their supposed literalism, and their focus on facts and history and science, all of which are thoroughly modern concerns. If we look at what Jesus is depicted as saying about Genesis 2 in the Synoptic Gospels, he points to the [Read More…]

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