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The Problem of Literalism

August 31, 2010

Peter Enns has started a new series at BioLogos on Literalism. First he starts with the logic of literalism (and if you want to see me visibly upset, and perhaps solve confrontations the way I used to in hockey

–Yes, that is me on the left–then try to associate literalism with a ‘high’ view of Scripture.), then begins with the problem of literalism. Should be a good series.

Literally not literal? “After the death of Joshua, the Israelites inquired of the LORD, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” The LORD said, “Judah shall go up. I hereby give the land into his hand.” Judah said to his brother Simeon, “Come up with me into the territory allotted to me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; then I too will go with you into the territory allotted to you.” So Simeon went with him.”

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2010 9:40 am

    Thanks for pointing out the biologos article. It’s a good article, Enns has a way of discussing the issues without fueling the fires of conflict.

    And google is fun… Great photo!

  2. August 31, 2010 10:51 am

    I noted and blogged this one also as I am becoming quite a fan of Biologos.

    Much to my surprise the issue of Biblical Unicorns has arisen, of which I knew nothing about, however, the Answers in Genesis website sure do, and argue that this was indeed a true animal as they hold to the literalist view.

    Has anyone else ever come across the issue of unicorns before? I’m not sure what to make of it.

    Someone also pointed toward this Wiki page.

    Morbidly fascinating stuff….

  3. atimetorend permalink
    August 31, 2010 12:02 pm

    I blogged on the AiG unicorn thing a while back, I may have actually found the AiG link in the comments here.

    That quite the example of bad literalism. The interesting (and maddening) thing to me about the AiG article is they *require* the biblical author not be mistaken about unicorns. It seems reasonable to think the author *may have* been referring to a creature that really existed, either a now extinct unicorn, or to another creature with one horn. But they disallow that the author may just have believed that mythical (and not real) unicorns existed. As though that would change the word to Job one bit…

    I guess a big problem with literalists is that they tend to require that others hold the same interpretation they do.

  4. rising4air permalink
    August 31, 2010 12:17 pm

    Is that you going to the sin-bin or you with the overhand right? 🙂

  5. AddedOne permalink
    September 1, 2010 5:36 pm

    Are you fighting Steve Passmore in this picture? He’s from the same small town in BC as me, if so I’m not disappointed to see you landing that right on him.

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