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 it up. Perhaps it needs to be turned into a song – “What does Sleet the Fox say?”

 

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  • Marta L.

    Love the honesty in this.

  • markhh

    As a sincere question to help me learn how to think about this stuff – doesn’t the word “should” require either an authority or external standard to apply?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      Are you referring to the “supposed to be”? There is definitely some deliberate irony there, I think, since the last sentence makes clear that which is “supposed to be” which is not something that a reader is always correct about, by whatever standard that may be measured.