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"inerrant" or "literal" - Page 2

post #21 of 99
Quote:
Originally posted by pammysue
inerrant: "Without error, non-errant. In Christianity, inerrancy states that the Bible, in its original documents, is without error regarding facts, names, dates, and any other revealed information. Inerrancy does not extend to the copies of the biblical manuscripts."
that's a very interesting definition, and not one i have seen many c'ians use in actual practice. in fact there appears to be quite a bit of wiggle room for normal, understandable types of transcription errors and it acknowledges the importance of the original languages.

two questions come to mind: what constitutes "original documents" and - for c'ians - is this level of inerrancy required for both Jewish and post-Herodian books?
post #22 of 99
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post #23 of 99
Thread Starter 
You are placing a lot of weight on the word HAD which does not appear in this story in the Bible in my lap.

Also, the contradictions I mention are far more evident when you read the two stories start to finish and get full context. The places in Chapter 2 where you keep emphasizing HAD are framed at the begining with
Quote:
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth [4] and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth [5] and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams [6] came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- 7 the LORD God formed the man [7] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
It clearly says.. there were no shrubs, no plants of the field, then God made man.
post #24 of 99
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post #25 of 99
Quote:
Originally posted by pammysue
inerrant: "Without error, non-errant. In Christianity, inerrancy states that the Bible, in its original documents, is without error regarding facts, names, dates, and any other revealed information. Inerrancy does not extend to the copies of the biblical manuscripts."
Since we do not have one single original document, this definition/belief is useless.

Some of the tiny scraps of docs of Greek Scripture we do have going back to the 3rd century, differ from the ones in the canon. What then should we do with our errant canon?

Quote:
2)The animals are created as companions
No, the animals are created before Adam and then brought to Adam in the garden. 2:19 says:"Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name."
I wonder, did God create each female animal from the "rib" of each male?



Quote:
3) creating man and woman at the same time, both equally in His/Her image to be His companion and to enjoy the world He has made. ...The animals are created as companions for man but are inadequate so there is the bit with the rib.

1:27 vs 2:21-22
In the first verse it says:"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
BUT the second verses say God created Eve after Adam. The first chapter is an overview of creation and then the second chapter goes into more deatil about the creation of man and woman. So, in the first chapter God is quickly telling us what he created and when and then He retells the same story of how man and woman were created completing the story. The first is looking at creation as a whole and the second focuses specifically on the creation of man and woman. Have you ever told a story quickly leaving out many of the specific details, being vague and then when given more time completed the story with all the details or just the details of one portion of the story? same thing.
Any scholar will tell you these are 2 distinct stories with different agendas, written at different times. Trying to fit them together is a matter of personal need, but has nothing to do with the motivation of the original authors.


Quote:
Woman was created in the image of God using the rib (as the NIV states) of Adam.
The original (inerrant?) Hebrew word would be "side." Your "rib" is a politically motivated mistranslation.
post #26 of 99
Thread Starter 
hhmm... and looking at the specificity of
Quote:
no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth [4] and no plant of the field had yet sprung up
as compared with
1.11-13
Quote:
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Plants bearing seed covers every cultivated crop I can think of. Certainly every early crop, which is what I would take "plant of the field" to mean. ie, an intentional plant as opposed to an incidental one.

It's just that any way I try to read it the first story is far more detailed on so many points that to call it the broad story and the second the 'now we're going back and filling in greater detail' version of the same story just makes no sense to me. And the order is simply different. They each in their own way place emphasis on the importance of man.. but one does it by creating a perfected world and then creating man to inhabit it and the second does it by 'first made = most inportant'.
post #27 of 99

Irving Stone Edition of the Tanach

My Torah says, “These are the products of the heaven and the earth when they were created on the day that HASHEM God made earth and heaven---now all the trees of the field were not yet on the earth and all the herb of the field had not yet sprouted, for HASHEM God had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to work the soil. A mist ascended from the earth and watered the whole surface of the soil. And HASHEM God formed the man of dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the soul of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:4-7
post #28 of 99
Quote:
Originally posted by Philosopher King J(I am of the opinion that Moses is the primary author, but that is a bit of a digression).
Moses is an important point even apart from discussions of who wrote when. the same difficulty that exists with Yeshua also exists with Moshe: none of what we currently consider to be original texts have either individual speaking in their own language. according to the texts we have, Yeshua only spoke greek and Moses spoke Hebrew as much as 1000 years before Hebrew even existed. in particular, he conversed with the egyptian pharoah(!) in Hebrew.

this is a real problem for traditional inerrancy unless the definition is fully enforced and we say that much of what we currently have can not rightly be claimed inerrant and the truly original texts are still waiting to be found.
post #29 of 99
an alternate...

These are the begettings of the heavens and the earth: their being created.
At the time of YHWH, G-d's making of earth and heaven,
no bush of the field was yet on earth,
no plant of the field had yet sprung up,
for YHWH, G-d, had not made it rain upon the earth,
and there was no human (Adam) to till the soil (Adama) --
but a surge would well up from the ground and water all the face of the soil;
and YHWH, G-d, formed the human, of dust from the soil,
he blew into his nostrils the breath of life
and the human became a living being.


(Everett Fox, Schocken Bible)

transliterating the (most) original text yields something like this (any inerrancies to be blamed on the typist (me))...

002:004 ALH TVLDVT HSMYm VHARc BHBRAm BYVm OsVT YHVH ALHYm ARc VSMYm.
002:005 VKL sYX HsDH +Rm YHYH BARc VKL-OsB HsDH +Rm YCMX KY LA HM+YR YHVH ALHYm OL-HARc VADm AYn LOBD AT-HADMH.
002:006 VAD YOLH Mn-HARc VHSQH AT-KL-PNY-HADMH.
002:007 VYYCR YHVH ALHYm AT-HADm OPR Mn-HADMH VYPX BAPYV NSMT XYYm VYHY HADm LNPS XYH.

here's an interlinear (errancies belong to me )...

these are the historical origins of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created in the day of the making of JHWH God's earth and heaven and every bush of the field not yet had come to be in the earth and all the vegetation of the field not yet had it sprouted because not had caused JHWH G-d upon the earth and man was not to cultivate the redness and a mist would go up from the earth and watered all the face of the redness and went on to form YHWH G-d the ruddy-man-earthling of dust from the redness and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life and came to be the ruddy-man-earthling a soul living

whew! and that's an *easy* passage!
post #30 of 99
Hiya. Good thread. Good answers.

Inerrant simply means "without error." But what is meant by it can get complicated. What, exactly, is without error? The original documents only, or also the copies and translations handed down to us? And are they entirely free of error, or only where it's important? (And if the latter, then what are the inerrant parts, and how can we tell the difference?) These questions are answered differently by different bodies of Christians. I could use up two thousand words finessing the similar but varying beliefs of conservative Protestants, Catholics and liberal Christians about inerrancy, citing source documents like Church Fathers, Popes and Councils, and Reformation treatises. But luckily, somebody did it already. Look at this page I found for a pretty accurate treatment of the whole inerrancy thing. Not everything's how exactly how I would have said it (and some of the Latin has been translated a bit off), but it's very civil and fair to all sides without advocating any of them.

As for literalism, I don't know anyone who thinks Scripture should be interpreted literally even when it's meant figuratively. (Just maybe "literalists" don't exist, or if there are people who call themselves "literalists," they must mean something else by that. Will anyone here own up to being a literalist, and then explain it?) Language that employs figures of speech can still be true, even when it's not literally true. Just for instance, I can truthfully say the sun rose this morning, even though for a fact the sun didn't go anywhere but rather the earth rotated into such a position that sunlight reached Kansas this morning. Similarly, poetry, metaphors, allegories, parables, visions, these can all be free of error (inerrant) without being literally true.

Oftentimes, it's obvious where Scripture is being literal and where it's not. ("I am the true vine" is a metaphor.) Other times, it's less obvious.
post #31 of 99
I agree, Sean.

"Christ was born in a temporary dwelling in Bethlehem." I take this non-literally too!

(Christ lives in me, that's the ticket. See, I don't need any of it to be literal. Saves lots of stress. )
post #32 of 99
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Sean
Will anyone here own up to being a literalist, and then explain it?
There are actually many people here who proudly call themselves literalists. I do not know why none of them will help us understand what that means. I really hoped they would. All these definitions are interesting but since this is a belief system we are talking about I wish someone who is a believer would explain it.
post #33 of 99
Quote:
Originally posted by DaryLLL
I agree, Sean.
Really? Cool. But don't do that too often, I nearly choked on my coffee when I read that.
Quote:
See, I don't need any of it to be literal. Saves lots of stress.
Yes, I can see how it would. So you're a, what's the word, an illiteralist? There's certainly something to be said for it.
post #34 of 99
Thread Starter 
NM, no worries my friend. I've been online about 15 years and realised long ago that no response = meaningless, ya know? As in... I don't assume someone is avoiding or snubbing or whatever if I don't get a swift response.

Well, I guess part of the question at this point is: Who decides what is "obviously allegory/metaphor" and what is to be taken literally. It seems to me that one of the biggest breaches is the Creation, so I have tried often to make literal sense of it. I simply cannot. To me it is clear that it is a story that illustrates God's love for us, that he wanted us and continues to want us. That it is very much His desire to care for us. I see all that in those stories. I have often thought that the tone, of the first Creation in particular, has a very similar feel to the way parents tell their kids the story of how they met and fell in love and became a family. It is very poetic and loving on that level, you know? What I do not see is any factual basis for understanding how our world came to exist. I know that this seperates me from my literal sisters and brothers. I think I can be, have been, quite clear about how I arrive at this understanding. I have never found a literalist who could take me step by step to understanding that point of view.

From Genesis my next huge issue is usually Job. I simply cannot, will not entertain the idea of a God who would actually treat one of His beloved children that way. Not for that purpose in that context. Maybe that is my flaw.. but that is where I am. I can view it as a parable or an allegory... that sometimes misfortune simply happens. Bad things ARE. But that is a seperate thing from the love of God.

That last paragraph was sort of off the cuff. I got caught up in talking to NM and then after realised .. hey! Public forum! I simply ask that those of you who do not know me as NM does go easy if you chose to go after my Job issues. I reserve the right to clarify my statement when I haven't spent hours slogging thru a driving rain with a preschooler. Thanks.
post #35 of 99
Quote:
Originally posted by Nursing Mother
Ummm thats kind of like I said.
Yeah, it's very much like you said, I was agreeing with you. I think we're all more or less on the same page on that.

I'm sorry I didn't know you called yourself a literalist, Nursing Mother. Maybe you called yourself that in other threads, but I'm new here, and I didn't see 'em. In this thread you did say that you believe in literal interpretation where that's what Scripture intends (which I also believe), but you also said, "A true literalist would be just that ....word for word for word...that would be a mistake and border on the ridiculous," so I thought you were saying you weren't one, or even that true ones don't exist.

I've heard the word "literalist" used before in informal discussions (never in formal writing), by Christians and non-Christians, but always in the negative, as in, "well we don't want to be literalist about it," or, "since when do I have to be a literalist to be a Christian?" So the word "literalist" was, on these occasions, a put-down with an apparently elastic definition, meaning something like "someone who interprets Scripture more literally than I want to." But since that definiton is too subjective to be of any use, I would refrain from characterizing someone's beliefs as "literalist" unless I heard him or her say "I'm a literalist, and here's what I believe..." And until now, I had never heard anyone say that. (But like I said, I'm new here.)

(edited to fix a typographical error)
post #36 of 99
Quote:
Originally posted by Sean
Yes, I can see how it would. So you're a, what's the word, an illiteralist? There's certainly something to be said for it.
You're joking again? I prefer not to be defined by what I am not, but by what I am.

Calling myslef an "illiteralist" (besides sounding perilously close to "illiterate"), would be as ridiculous as calling myself a non-artificial-baby-milk-feeder, instead of a breastfeeder.

The opposite of literalist, as per Freke and Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries, is gnostic. Which means knower. One striving towards enlightenment or the gnosis.

I am also a mystic and a skeptic and an intellectual. Not just a believer. Just not a believer. Unless something is very very convincing. Which the Bible narratives/polemics are not. To me.

The underground stream, the perennial philosophy, which runs thru all sacred literature, however, inspires me in untold ways.

There, how is that for running away from the topic exactly 180 degrees?
post #37 of 99
It is a tangent, DaryLLL, but I don't mind exploring a tangent for a post or two. Especially since NM won't be with us again till Monday. We gotta keep busy somehow, right?

Nobody (and nobody's beliefs) can be defined by what they aren't; but they can and must be described by what they aren't, when it is relevant to do so. Let's look at some hypothetical examples before coming back to personal experience.

Just for instance, let's say you don't smoke. I don't know if you do or not, but if you do, imagine you don't, because we're being hypothetical. Would it bother you to be considered a nonsmoker, (as in "nonsmokers live longer than smokers")? And if it would bother you, what else would you call it? "People who, no matter what their other qualities, happen not to smoke" comes to mind, but it's cumbersome, and still defines the class by what they're not. You might try to strike a more positive note and say, "the opposite of smoker isn't 'nonsmoker', it's 'thinker', because smokers don't think" or some such, which would avoid the whole negative-definition problem (if it was a problem), but only at the expense of accuracy, because that's not what thinker means.

Or, moving juuuuust a little closer to our real topic: suppose you were visiting a foreign city seeing some foreign sights, and suppose your guide were to explain at some shrine that, "Muslims are allowed to enter this site, but non-Muslims may not enter." Would it really chafe you to be considered a 'non-Muslim' in that context? Would you object that he should instead have listed all the faiths whose adherents aren't allowed in? That would take all day, and he'd still probably never get around to mentioning yours. And why not say non-Muslim when you mean non-Muslim?

So, then, to induce a general rule from the specifics
  • Sometimes it becomes necessary to classify people into mutually exclusive (non-overlapping) sets, based on some relevant descriptor.
  • The two sets which result from such a classification will be (1) those for whom the descriptor is true, and (2) those for whom it is false.
  • Sometimes English terms will exist which accurately describe each of the two sets (e.g., Jew & gentile, female & male, living & dead).
  • If such terms don't exist, the second set will just have to be described by its negatory relation to the first (e.g., nonsmoker, non-Christian, unwed, unemployed).

And finally, to apply the rule to our topic (if we still remember our topic): some people may be literalists. I still don't know how that word would be defined, but let's hypothetically say literalist means "one who interprets all of scripture literally." Its negation, I think, would have to be nonliteralist, meaning simply "one who does not interpret all of scripture literally."

When I said "illiteralist," I was trying to coin a term for a subset of nonliteralists, that means "one who interprets none of scripture literally," and yeah it was kind of tongue-in-cheek. There's probably a better word for that somewhere. I don't think "gnostic" is it (with apologies to Freke and Gandy), because while some gnostics may feel that way, some other famous gnostics believed some scripture (especially their own gnostic texts) should be interpreted literally.
post #38 of 99
Quote:
Originally posted by Sean
[B]It is a tangent, DaryLLL, but I don't mind exploring a tangent for a post or two. Especially since NM won't be with us again till Monday. We gotta keep busy somehow, right?
Um, yeah.

Quote:
Nobody (and nobody's beliefs) can be defined by what they aren't; but they can and must be described by what they aren't, when it is relevant to do so. Let's look at some hypothetical examples before coming back to personal experience.
There you go with your logic again. Sean, I do not find it very appealing. It just doesn't suit my personality or area of interest. No offense.


Quote:
"Muslims are allowed to enter this site, but non-Muslims may not enter." Would it really chafe you to be considered a 'non-Muslim' in that context?
No. But I only call myself non-Xtian when I am afraid I will get judged for saying neo-pagan/gnostic/mystic. I prefer to be more specific on mdc.

Quote:
When I said "illiteralist," I was trying to coin a term for a subset of nonliteralists, that means "one who interprets none of scripture literally," and yeah it was kind of tongue-in-cheek.
As far as I can tell at this point in my research, I am willing to concede 18% of the Greek Xtian gospels are historical, as the Jesus Seminar has found. Ie: Jerusalem and Pilate really existed in 30 CE, that kind of thing....

Quote:
There's probably a better word for that somewhere. I don't think "gnostic" is it (with apologies to Freke and Gandy), because while some gnostics may feel that way, some other famous gnostics believed some scripture (especially their own gnostic texts) should be interpreted literally.
I would be curious as to whom you refer. As I have learned gnostic students (as Jews today) were encouraged to write their own gospels and midrashes as part of their education. So many gnostic writings are so fanciful and complicated, you'd have to be high on shrooms to take them literally.
post #39 of 99
Quote:
Originally posted by DaryLLL
There you go with your logic again. Sean, I do not find it very appealing. It just doesn't suit my personality or area of interest. No offense.
None taken. I apologize for being so logical (to you and to anyone else who finds it unappealing but hasn't said so), but that's just how I go sometimes. Feel free to ignore the logical parts; I hope it doesn't mean we can't be friends.

Quote:
As far as I can tell at this point in my research, I am willing to concede 18% of the Greek Xtian gospels are historical, as the Jesus Seminar has found. Ie: Jerusalem and Pilate really existed in 30 CE, that kind of thing....
I would say the Jesus Seminar isn't interpreting any of scripture literally, either (so they're "illiteralists," too). They aren't even interpreting scripture, so much as judging it. They're deciding what's true and what's not, based somewhat on other documents such as Josephus's Antiquities and the gnostic texts, and mostly based on a priori assumptions about what they're conception of Jesus is likely to have said or done. They are gracious enough to concede that 18 percent of Christ's words are likely to have been said by Jesus, but that's a far cry from scriptural interpretation of any sort.

Quote:
I would be curious as to whom you refer.
Marcion. Others. I'll get back to you on that, my wife wants me.
post #40 of 99
delete.
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