Is That a Metaphor?

I've shared both of these before, but thought they should be circulated again, since I still hear people talking about “Biblical literalists” as though there were such people. Please be more accurate and call them selective Biblical literalists. Otherwise you give them credit for being consistent where it isn't deserved.   [Read more…]

John Dominic Crossan on Literalism

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N. T. Wright on Literalism

From Biologos HT JK Doyle [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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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