Literalism vs. postmodernism

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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:18 am

[quote=""Hermit""]
Politesse;683569 wrote:
Hermit;683568 wrote:
Politesse;683567 wrote:
No, that sentence doesn't seem especially illogical when read literally
Thank you. Reading it literally, it indicates that according to the Gospel God sent his son Jesus to earth so he may be killed - serve as a scapegoat, that is - which for some unstated reason was a necessary condition for atonement. Jesus begged: "Please, dad, I'd rather not go through with this dying like a sacrificial lamb stuff, but if you will it, so be it." Dad willed it.
Literally, none of that is present in the passage we are discussing, aside from the sections I bolded.

Are you going to answer my question, now that I answered yours first.
We're not quite there yet. About the bolded bit: What might the "it" in "so be it" be that Jesus was begging? What is this cup he wanted taken away from him? Something figurative? Something symbolic?[/QUOTE]
Well, you're the literalist here. What does the literal text say? Presumably, he was holding a literal cup, like, the ceramic kind, and wanted someone to take it. Maybe it was the cup from the previous scene! You know, the one with the wine/blood/vellum in it that Jesus said would take away our sins?

I dunno, it's not my stupid hermeneutic, you make sense of it.
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Post by Hermit » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:16 am

[quote=""Politesse""]
Hermit;683570 wrote:
Politesse;683569 wrote:
Hermit;683568 wrote: Thank you. Reading it literally, it indicates that according to the Gospel God sent his son Jesus to earth so he may be killed - serve as a scapegoat, that is - which for some unstated reason was a necessary condition for atonement. Jesus begged: "Please, dad, I'd rather not go through with this dying like a sacrificial lamb stuff, but if you will it, so be it." Dad willed it.
Literally, none of that is present in the passage we are discussing, aside from the sections I bolded.

Are you going to answer my question, now that I answered yours first.
We're not quite there yet. About the bolded bit: What might the "it" in "so be it" be that Jesus was begging? What is this cup he wanted taken away from him? Something figurative? Something symbolic?
Well, you're the literalist here. What does the literal text say? Presumably, he was holding a literal cup, like, the ceramic kind, and wanted someone to take it. Maybe it was the cup from the previous scene! You know, the one with the wine/blood/vellum in it that Jesus said would take away our sins?

I dunno, it's not my stupid hermeneutic, you make sense of it.[/QUOTE]What a copout. For someone so keen on laying out figurative and symbolic meanings for us, your sudden unwillingness to tell us what you make of Mark 14:35-36 is rather odd.

On second thought, no it's not odd at all. As all True Christians (nyak nyak) do, you're just wilfully turning tour back on things that don't suit.

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Post by Politesse » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:56 am

[quote=""Hermit""]
Politesse;683571 wrote:
Hermit;683570 wrote:
Politesse;683569 wrote:
Literally, none of that is present in the passage we are discussing, aside from the sections I bolded.

Are you going to answer my question, now that I answered yours first.
We're not quite there yet. About the bolded bit: What might the "it" in "so be it" be that Jesus was begging? What is this cup he wanted taken away from him? Something figurative? Something symbolic?
Well, you're the literalist here. What does the literal text say? Presumably, he was holding a literal cup, like, the ceramic kind, and wanted someone to take it. Maybe it was the cup from the previous scene! You know, the one with the wine/blood/vellum in it that Jesus said would take away our sins?

I dunno, it's not my stupid hermeneutic, you make sense of it.
What a copout. For someone so keen on laying out figurative and symbolic meanings for us, your sudden unwillingness to tell us what you make of Mark 14:35-36 is rather odd.

On second thought, no it's not odd at all. As all True Christians (nyak nyak) do, you're just wilfully turning tour back on things that don't suit.[/QUOTE]

You asked about a literal read, not my take. It's not a cop-out, it's me pointing out how little is actually there from a literal perspective. No substitutionary atonement theology. No statements about death and salvation. Just a guy suffering a crisis of faith in a garden, with very little explanation of what is at stake.

That you now are asking for my figurative interpretation is actually quite interesting, and proves my point that the real meat of the story is in its symbolism, not the literal history it recounts. Whether or not the story is literally true - and how could anyone possibly know that? - the literal truth of the story has little bearing on what makes it meaningful. Because if you are only looking at the literal, there is nothing to make it meaningful at all. Just a guy in a garden with a cup.

You also claimed that a bunch of things were in the text, which demonstrably weren't. Are we supposed to just ignore this, and pretend you made some sort of point? If you think literalism can be defended with the use of these passages, go ahead and try to make sense of them that way. I do not think this will be a fruitful enterprise, but I'd rather you make some sort of a point, over this humdrum nonsense of pretending to wait for me to make mine.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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Post by Hermit » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:12 am

[quote=""Politesse""]You asked about a literal read, not my take.[/quote]Wrong. I asked: "What might the "it" in "so be it" be that Jesus was begging? What is this cup he wanted taken away from him?" So what is your take on that?

The following sentence contained guesstimates concerning how you might be tempted to interpret the verses under discussion. It took the form of a question because I was guessing, as in "will it be...?"

Will you give me a straight answer any time soon, or have you not yet exhausted your supply of tricks to evade answering a question? Unilaterally declaring "I have answered your question" is just one of them. It's threadbareness is betrayed by your subsequent admission, when pressed again for an answer, "I dunno", which is about as bald as an evasion can be.

So, again: regarding Mark 14:35-36, to wit,

He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

So far you conceded: "No, that sentence doesn't seem especially illogical when read literally" but you stopped short of what it might mean be when read literally. This is why I prompted you by proposing one, namely
Reading it literally, it indicates that according to the Gospel God sent his son Jesus to earth so he may be killed - serve as a scapegoat, that is - which for some unstated reason was a necessary condition for atonement. Jesus begged: "Please, dad, I'd rather not go through with this dying like a sacrificial lamb stuff, but if you will it, so be it." Dad willed it.
You replied that a literal reading stops well short of that. Again, no indication of what you take those verses to mean. This led me to prompt you "What might the "it" in "so be it" be that Jesus was begging? What is this cup he wanted taken away from him?" Your reply, "You asked about a literal read, not my take." simply makes no sense, you having agreed that, as you conceded, the verses don't seem especially illogical when read literally. I want your take on them when read literally.

What might the "it" in "so be it" be that Jesus was begging? What is this cup he wanted taken away from him?

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:32 pm

[quote=""Politesse""]Yes, literalists ascribe both literal and figurative meaning to the Bible. Thank god you have finally caught up to the bus on this.[/quote]

:noid:
Now, what is actually more important?
You ever once addressing someone’s point directly.
The physical parameters of the act, or the symbolic meaning of the act? For instance, if Adam had eaten a tomato instead of an apple, would we now be liberated from sin and death, since the important thing was the literal apple, rather than the symbolic act of defiance against God?
So, once again, in regard to the entire story arc of Adam, Jehovah and Jesus, tell us what is the real (physical parameters of the act) that the symbolic meaning of the act is meant to describe.

Here, I’ll start you (again). Roughly 2018 years ago a guy is killed by the Romans. Now you fill in the blanks. We know the symbolism. The question to you—based on your own pedantry itt—is what is the “real” that the “metaphor” is describing?
Last edited by Koyaanisqatsi on Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Politesse » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:36 pm

[quote=""Hermit""]
Politesse;683576 wrote:You asked about a literal read, not my take.
Wrong. I asked: "What might the "it" in "so be it" be that Jesus was begging? What is this cup he wanted taken away from him?" So what is your take on that?[/QUOTE]MY point is that a literal hermeneutic offers you no clear answer to that question. It can only be answered by employing symbolic or figurative language. Which Koy et al consider to be secondary to literal meaning. Despite the fact that a literal read provides no meaning. You sure are strict about making sure I answer every question, when you have not answered a single question the whole thread, despite the fact that you are the one making grandiose claims about what the Bible means and how it should be read. It's almost as though you realized your original point made no sense, and are now trying to evade this by shifting attention to your conversational partner instead.

And no, I don't have a short quippy answer to the meaning of the sacrifical act, which with figurative language we can apply this symbolic cup to. This is one of the central mysteries of the faith, as you well know, and there are thousands of answers to it. You will leap at the chance to accuse me of "dodging responsibility" thereby, but I'm merely stating the obvious. If I spent an hour typing out my actual reflections on the incarnation and its import, you'd only be vacuuming through the thing for some idiot point to dispute as a sidebar, while Koy whines on in the background about how I am the only Christian ever to think that way so it doesn't count. Neither of you will answer any straight questions in return, and I will be accused of believing things I have believed my whole life only as a cheap trick to evade atheist polemics. I'm not going to invest that much in the exercise. Because it really doesn't matter. My point is that literalism is an absurd and self-contradicting hermeneutic, and I have made that point so thoroughly that now you and Koy both are asking for figurative explanations of a passage that you claimed to be "obvious" from literal meaning alone before this conversation. Loooks like you haven't got a point, unless you're about to make one?

So, again: regarding Mark 14:35-36, to wit,
You replied that a literal reading stops well short of that. Again, no indication of what you take those verses to mean. This led me to prompt you "What might the "it" in "so be it" be that Jesus was begging? What is this cup he wanted taken away from him?" Your reply, "You asked about a literal read, not my take." simply makes no sense, you having agreed that, as you conceded, the verses don't seem especially illogical when read literally. I want your take on them when read literally.
The verses do not explain this literally. They just refer to a "cup". The "it" isn't even there in Greek, it's buried in a participle. From a purely literal read, the contents or nature of the cup are never explained. We would, from a literal perspective in which the cup is not a metaphor, be forced to assume that Jesus was holding one. You know, a cup.

I would reciprocate by asking the same question except that, bizarrely, you already answered it. And like a typical fundy, you insisted that a bunch of stuff was there that obviously isn't, then refused to justify your bizarre claim with evidence despite the fact that literalism makes the search for evidence pretty straightforward. Either it is in the book, or it is not. It is not.
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Post by Politesse » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:38 pm

[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]
Politesse;683565 wrote:Yes, literalists ascribe both literal and figurative meaning to the Bible. Thank god you have finally caught up to the bus on this.
:noid:
Now, what is actually more important?
You ever once addressing someone’s point directly.
The physical parameters of the act, or the symbolic meaning of the act? For instance, if Adam had eaten a tomato instead of an apple, would we now be liberated from sin and death, since the important thing was the literal apple, rather than the symbolic act of defiance against God?
So, once again, in regard to the entire story arc of Adam, Jehovah and Jesus, tell us what is the real (physical parameters of the act) that the symbolic meaning of the act is meant to describe.

Here, I’ll start you (again). Roughly 2018 years ago a guy is killed by the Romans. Now you fill in the blanks. We know the symbolism. The question to you—based on your own pedantry itt—is what is the “real” that the “metaphor” is describing?[/QUOTE]

What has my personal opinion got to do with anything? You routinely tell me that my point of view does not matter, as it isn't what "Christians" believe, and will do so again no matter what my answer was. Not to matter how shit mad you get when the answer to one of the questions it raises is "I simply don't know", as is true here. So what's the purpose of typing it all out?
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:06 pm

[quote=""Politesse""]What has my personal opinion got to do with anything? [/quote]

Well, gee, since all you (or I or any of us) have pretty much been doing this whole time is presenting personal opinion, you do the math.
You routinely tell me that my point of view does not matter, as it isn't what "Christians" believe, and will do so again no matter what my answer was. Not to matter how shit mad you get when the answer to one of the questions it raises is "I simply don't know", as is true here. So what's the purpose of typing it all out?
Ffs, Poli. You spend almost the entire thread insulting and condescending to me and everyone else about how we don’t understand figurative language or literalism or Christians/Christianity and then when actually pressed to apply what you were condescending to us about you pull this martyr bullshit?

And I have never and would never get “shit mad” if you answered, “I simply don’t know” to any given question, but in this instance you were asserting that you did know and that I did not. So the proper response is not “I simply don’t know.” The proper response would be something on the order of, “I’m sorry I was insulting you, you’re right, what I said about Einstein and how metaphors describe something real really doesn’t apply to this.”

But of course the truly proper response would be, “You’re right, this story is poorly written cult bullshit and the whole of it should be thrown in the trash and never spoken of again for the good of all mankind.” But, you know...baby steps.
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Post by Politesse » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:45 pm

[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]
Politesse;683582 wrote:What has my personal opinion got to do with anything?
Well, gee, since all you (or I or any of us) have pretty much been doing this whole time is presenting personal opinion, you do the math.
You routinely tell me that my point of view does not matter, as it isn't what "Christians" believe, and will do so again no matter what my answer was. Not to matter how shit mad you get when the answer to one of the questions it raises is "I simply don't know", as is true here. So what's the purpose of typing it all out?
Ffs, Poli. You spend almost the entire thread insulting and condescending to me and everyone else about how we don’t understand figurative language or literalism or Christians/Christianity and then when actually pressed to apply what you were condescending to us about you pull this martyr bullshit?

And I have never and would never get “shit mad” if you answered, “I simply don’t know” to any given question, but in this instance you were asserting that you did know and that I did not. So the proper response is not “I simply don’t know.” The proper response would be something on the order of, “I’m sorry I was insulting you, you’re right, what I said about Einstein and how metaphors describe something real really doesn’t apply to this.”

But of course the truly proper response would be, “You’re right, this story is poorly written cult bullshit and the whole of it should be thrown in the trash and never spoken of again for the good of all mankind.” But, you know...baby steps.[/QUOTE]

What's with all the goalpost shifting here? Literalism is the topic of the thread... I think it's an insane hermeneutic that makes no internal logical sense. And I've demonstrated why, and that your own "literal" reading of the Bible is actually nothing of the sort. What I think personally about this passage or that, is entirely tangential to the point.
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Post by Hermit » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:45 am

[quote=""Politesse""]The verses do not explain this literally. They just refer to a "cup". The "it" isn't even there in Greek, it's buried in a participle.[/quote]
Yes, of course. To start with, the cup in "Take this cup away from Me" is a metaphor. What does this cup stand for? What is "it" that god wills to be done?

[quote=""Hermit""]
Politesse;683576 wrote:You asked about a literal read, not my take.
Wrong. I asked: "What might the "it" in "so be it" be that Jesus was begging? What is this cup he wanted taken away from him?" So what is your take on that?[/QUOTE]

Where is my insistence on a literal read?

Please reply already.

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:29 am

[quote=""Politesse""]What's with all the goalpost shifting here?[/quote]

You tell us since you’re the one who made those goalposts out of straw and then kept moving them around to avoid directly addressing questions that sprang from what you posted.
Literalism is the topic of the thread...
And you stating that metaphors describe something real—and how that applies to the Genesis/GMark Passion Narrative story arc in regard to exactly what is the “real” that is being described—is the topic of our discussion within that thread, thus directly related to the OP.

Now that we have pointlessly rehashed the last couple of posts and brought everyone back up to speed, perhaps you will finally address the still open questions (mine and Hermit’s) that sprang from the comments you made?

Considering this is, what, your tenth evasive post between mine and Hermit’s, I won’t hold my breath.

It is very very simple. You said that metaphors described something real. Never in contention. So, what is the real being described metaphorically in the G/GMPN story arc?
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Post by Politesse » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:47 am

[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]thus directly related to the OP.[/quote]Er, not really. The thread was about an interesting incident at the Moody Institute, til you got upset by my observation that non-literal readings had an extensive premodern history, and thus could only dubitably be called postmodern.
It is very very simple. You said that metaphors described something real. Never in contention. So, what is the real being described metaphorically in the G/GMPN story arc?
The nature of the relationship between God and humankind. As I said in my very first response to you in this thread. I disagree that I have changed my position in any sense, or that this relationship is, or could be made, simple.
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Post by lpetrich » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:51 pm

[quote=""Hermit""]
lpetrich;683477 wrote:I recall Gamera once stating that to speak of God as existing implies that God is somehow subject to Being. Something which left me :d unno:
Ah! I can tell you have not read your Heidegger on Being and Time. This will clarify the matter:

"Das Dasein ist ein Seiendes, das nicht nur unter anderem Seienden vorkommt. Es ist vielmehr dadurch ontisch ausgezeichnet, daß es diesem Seienden in seinem Sein um dieses Sein selbst geht."

and

"Das Sein dieses Seienden ist je meines. Im Sein dieses Seienden verhält sich dieses selbst zu seinem Sein. Als Seiendes dieses Seins ist es seinem eigenen Sein überantwortet. Das Sein ist es, darum es diesem Seienden je selbst geht"[/QUOTE]

Google Translate:
"Dasein is a being that exists not only among other beings, but is ontically distinguished by the fact that this being is in its being for this being itself."

"In the being of this being this is itself related to its being, as being of this being, it is surrendered to its own being, for it is being, for that being itself is concerned with this being."

Bing Translator:
"Existence is a being that occurs not only among other things. It is, rather, distinguished by the fact that it is in his being about this being himself."

"The being of this being is ever mine. In being this being, this self behaves to his being. As being this being, it is his own being overanswered. That being is it, wherefore it will ever go to this being himself."

SDL freetranslation.com:
"The existence is a being, not only among other things being used. Rather, it is therefore excellent that it ontisch this existence in his view this his self."

"This is depending of my existence. In this existent behaves to his. As a being of this being is delivered up his own being. That is why it this being more self-go"

babylon.com: close to freetranslation.com

SYSTRANet:
“The existence is Seiendes, which seems not only among other things to being ends. It is excellent rather ontisch by that it concerns this to being ends in its its this its.”

“Is its this being ends per mine. In its this behaves being ends to its its. As Seiendes this Seins it is surrendered to its own its. Its it is, therefore it this being ends per goes”

WorldLingo: close to SYSTRANet


Autotranslator stumbling? Or philosophical gibberish?

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Post by Hermit » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:38 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]Autotranslator stumbling? Or philosophical gibberish?[/quote]
Both.

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Post by lpetrich » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:49 pm

I am well aware of allegorical interpretation. I am also aware of its long history. Here is a pagan example (Plutarch, Isis and Osiris, 11):
Therefore, Clea, whenever you hear the traditional tales which the Egyptians tell about the gods, their wanderings, dismemberments, and many experiences of this sort, you must remember what has been already said, and you must not think that any of these tales actually happened in the manner in which they are related. The facts are that they do not call the dog by the name Hermes as his proper name, but they bring into association with the most astute of their gods that animal's watchfulness and wakefulness and wisdom, since he distinguishes between what is friendly and what is hostile by his knowledge of the one and his ignorance of the other, as Plato remarks.
But what annoys me about allegorical interpretation is its being used to wave away anything that the interpreter dislikes. If that is not how one is supposed to do allegorical interpretation, then what are the rules for doing so? Where does it end?

For instance, some Jesus mythicists consider the Gospel of Mark to be an extended allegory that later got reinterpreted as literal history.

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:46 pm

[quote=""Politesse""]
Koyaanisqatsi;683596 wrote:thus directly related to the OP.
Er, not really.[/quote]

Yes, really.
The thread was about an interesting incident at the Moody Institute, til you got upset by my observation that non-literal readings had an extensive premodern history, and thus could only dubitably be called postmodern.
From the OP:
So apparently there are those at Moody who hold to a postmodernist understanding of the Bible- which seems to me to be diametrically opposed to a literalist one. ... This dispute both amuses and interests me. If one of the most famous literalist institutions in the US can't seem to hold to its doctrine, whence literalism?
Jobar was very clearly, literally asking “whence literalism” in regard to an institution famous for its insistence on inerrancy. Your response regarding past errantists really had nothing to do with the OP other than tangentially, but it was your comments here that I was responding to:

[quote=""Politesse""]
Poli raised Origen’s and Augustine’s figurative interpretation of Genesis, for examples, but if that’s the case, then what the hell was Jesus talking about in Matthew 20:28 (“the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many&#8221 ;) or in regard to marriage (linked to Adam and Eve) in Matthew 19 or Abel in 23 or Noah in 24? He’s clearly not referring to any of these people as mythical or the events around them as figurative.'
Figurative = non-literal . Figurative =/= fictional. The account in Genesis is understood as true - Augustine's theology cannot by any means be understood without the guiding concept of original sin - it just isn't literal. Whether or not there was a literal talking snake or literal foliage is irrelevant to the divine-human relationship being expressed through the story.

If I tried to explain general relativity using Einstein's example of the train and platform, would you conclude that general relativity is a lie because the metaphor describing it involved a train and and passenger that in all likelihood never literally existed? Communicating the details of the train station is not the purpose of the story. Even if the person telling it to you happens to actually believe that it was.

As for geneaologies, etc, this only presents a problem if you assume literalism in the first place. No doubt the writers of the gospels, like all Jews of their day, believed themselves to be in direct line of descent from Adam through Abraham. You don't have to agree with them to understand the story, however. Only if someone has already sold you the bill of goods that the Bible must be literally true is this even alarming. It is important that Jesus was a "son of Adam", ie entirely, bodily, human. Indeed, "Son of man/adam" is the only title that he ever accepted. His humanity is important for phenomenological, not genealogical, reasons. It's a book of theology, not a paternity suit.[/quote]

When you say things like, “The account in Genesis is understood as true” and then go on to contradict what “true” means by pointing out that there were no talking snakes or an actual tree with an actual fruit that granted knowledge of good and evil—or, more importantly an actual tree of immortal life that caused God to banish Adam and Eve lest they eat of it too and become “like gods”—then you are saying that the Genesis account could not possibly be true (or “understood as true&#8221 ;) .

Iow, you’ve made an incoherent, contradictory claim that goes to the very heart of the OP.

You then invoked Einstein’s use of the train analogy to illustrate the aspects of his theory as an example of how this works, but again this was incoherent when actually applied to the G/GMPN story, which brings us, once again back to:
It is very very simple. You said that metaphors described something real. Never in contention. So, what is the real being described metaphorically in the G/GMPN story arc?
To which you are now stating:
The nature of the relationship between God and humankind.
Which does not address the question. If the “real” is “the relationship between God and humankind” is the answer, then again the entire story arc of G/GMPN would have to all be real—as in really happened the way it was described and not merely figurative, aka, “non-fictional”—or else what is the “relationship” actually based on?

To apply your comments, just reverse engineer the story in order to get at the real. Take out, for example, the trees and the talking snake. Ok, so there was no actual tree of knowledge or tree of immortality and no talking snake. What about Adam and Eve? Not real either? Ok, the metaphor in Genesis is that man somehow and some point evidently early in its “creation” disobeyed God (aka, “sinnned&#8221 ;) and was punished with death and that’s how/why we all die. Iow, the metaphor attempts to explain a real condition; namely that we all die.

Fair enough? So to invoke your Einstein example here, we could say that the story is meant to illustrate our “relationship between God and humankind” to be one of obedience and punishment for disobedience. I guess.

So, ok, now boot up the conclusion of that story from GMark. Jesus is God’s son, sent to earth in order to be killed as an apparently necessary sacrifice to God to pay for Adam’s sin.

Well, Adam didn’t really exist and therefore didn’t really sin, so from the standpoint of metaphor and figurative language, does this necessarily mean Jesus wasn’t actually God’s son and did not actually exist too? Just another metaphorical character? And if so, how does this further enlighten the relationship between God and humankind? What is the real here that the metaphor describes? That we are to kill our first born sons as a sacrifice to God? I hope not.

That we are now eternal beings, because the sin of disobedience was paid for and thus we are allowed life after death? That is the essential claim of the passion narrative, after all.

So, in light of the spirt of the OP, how exactly does that work out either literally or figuratively if Jesus didn’t actually exist and wasn’t actually killed as a sacrificial atonement and how can it be considered atonement if Adam didn’t actually exist and didn’t actually disobey, etc., etc., etc.?

So—once again—your remarks do not clarify the questions regarding literalism vs. postmodernism; quite the contrary. When applied they only make the whole G/GMPN story arc even more incoherent.
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Post by Politesse » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:09 pm

To apply your comments, just reverse engineer the story in order to get at the real. Take out, for example, the trees and the talking snake. Ok, so there was no actual tree of knowledge or tree of immortality and no talking snake. What about Adam and Eve? Not real either?
But that doesn't explain a thing? Why would magical fruit change the relationship between God and humanity? As a symbol of wisdom paired with disobedience, it makes sense, and you could see how it would apply to the actions and choices that all humans make, not just Adam and Eve. But if you say that the literal truth is what makes it important, you start having to apply magical qualities to apples that they don't normally have, and some really weird decision-making on the part of God. What do you possibly gain by placing the emphasis on the literal rather than the symbolic, when the symbolic is the only element which explains the story at all? Why, literally, should God or anyone else care about apples so much?
Ok, the metaphor in Genesis is that man somehow and some point evidently early in its “creation” disobeyed God (aka, “sinnned&#8221 ;) and was punished with death and that’s how/why we all die. Iow, the metaphor attempts to explain a real condition; namely that we all die.
Exactly. This is a figurative reading, in which the act of consumption is a figure for sin in general, and the expulsion from the garden is a figure for the inevitability of death. Which is why a figurative reading, of an obviously figurative story, is more sensible. Only one of those gets you an answer to these questions at all. I note that even the bit about death is not actually in the original story; that's an inference on your part, an interpretation with no small amount of history behind it. It is "obvious" to you, because that is how you raised to think about it.

Has it ever occurred to you that there might not be a "The Answer" to the fundamental questions that humans face? I know that you do not, personally, have a satisfying answer to why humans suffer and die. Neither did the ancients, in any culture or time. Myths help us contextualize things and inspire conversation; they can provide useful metaphors and patterns to help us, but they aren't manuals to the Truth, and they are subject to multiple interpretations by their own fundamental nature. The fact that you keep describing 19th century Protestant theologies as "essential" to Christianity is interesting as a historical artifact, but it doesn't reflect the change and variablility inherent to all mythical traditions.
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Post by Politesse » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:31 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]I am well aware of allegorical interpretation. I am also aware of its long history. Here is a pagan example (Plutarch, Isis and Osiris, 11):
Therefore, Clea, whenever you hear the traditional tales which the Egyptians tell about the gods, their wanderings, dismemberments, and many experiences of this sort, you must remember what has been already said, and you must not think that any of these tales actually happened in the manner in which they are related. The facts are that they do not call the dog by the name Hermes as his proper name, but they bring into association with the most astute of their gods that animal's watchfulness and wakefulness and wisdom, since he distinguishes between what is friendly and what is hostile by his knowledge of the one and his ignorance of the other, as Plato remarks.
[/quote]
Yes, none of this is new; this was, in fact, the original point of my remarks in this thread, that it is a bit odd to call such an ancient concept "post-modernist".
But what annoys me about allegorical interpretation is its being used to wave away anything that the interpreter dislikes. If that is not how one is supposed to do allegorical interpretation, then what are the rules for doing so? Where does it end?
Why would describing something as allegory "wave it away"? It's still there to discuss as an allegory. If anything, there's more to discuss, as without the weight of dogma one is free and allowed to discuss it. I do see where it makes it harder to use Scripture as a billy-club to oppress other members of your society, and I'm certain this is why theocracies prefer a very strictly controlled interpretation of sacred texts. You need something solid in order to hit someone with it. But from a philosophical perspective, there is no downside to having the freedom to think critically and agree or disagree on the meaning of a passage. I would go so far as to call it absolutely necessary to the intellectual flourishing of society. I have no use or respect for unconsidered dogma.

I also do not think this means that all arguments are equal. If you think your perspective makes more sense than someone else's, you should be able, even obliged, to rationally support your argument.
For instance, some Jesus mythicists consider the Gospel of Mark to be an extended allegory that later got reinterpreted as literal history.
Although I don't agree with this (evidence?), I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with this perspective, and I would strongly disagree that this would result in "waving away" all of Mark, except by those parties who were already inclined to do so. If it is an extended allegory, then those who crafted that allegory had reasons for creating it, reasons they considered important indeed, not something to be waved away.

Mark is an interesting one, in fact, because many ancient texts reference both a popular and a "secret" Mark, a truer or more complete version that is now lost to us and may never have been written down at all. Not unusual, for a Roman mystery cult. In which case, none of the particular facts in it should be trusted in the slightest, but it still represents the religious beliefs of the time, being intended as something more like a pedagogical tool to prepare the neophyte for the deeper mysteries of the cult. This makes it critically important to understanding the movement, not unimportant.
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:30 pm

[quote=""Politesse""]Exactly. This is a figurative reading[/quote]

We ALL know this. At no point did I or anyone else itt not know what a figurative reading was. Just to be painfully clear.
in which the act of consumption is a figure for sin in general, and the expulsion from the garden is a figure for the inevitability of death. Which is why a figurative reading, of an obviously figurative story, is more sensible.
Ok, great. AGREED. Always have been in agreement on such a point.

Now to the actual question I keep having to ask you for some bizarre reason, APPLY that same understanding to the completion of that figurative story found in the passion narrative.

Since you’ve just clarified that Adam and Eve are not actual human beings and no one ate anything—just the “act of consumption” is somehow a symbol of sin in general (even though that isn’t true; the “sin” was disobedience, not eating the apple), etc. So that means that Jesus was likewise not an actual human being and therefore his being killed by the Romans was what? A metaphor for earthly power? Seems a literal symbol of earthly power to me.

So walk us through it. What’s the metaphor and what’s the real it describes? We are all now granted eternal life—somehow—by a literal being we call “God” because some guy was killed by the Romans two thousand years ago?
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Post by Politesse » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:25 pm

[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]Since you’ve just clarified that Adam and Eve are not actual human beings and no one ate anything
[/quote]I'm sure that early humans ate things, I just don't see why this would be important. Teaching us about the diet of H. habilis not the point of the story. Nor does it change the semantic thrust of the story in any way whether there was ever anyone literally named Man and Life-Giver. I am not saying that I know that there was not, just that I don't see how it could possibly matter. Insisting that the only way humans could have ever experienced sin is for two particular people to have eaten an apple at some point is irrational, and entirely misses the point. The "real" in the story is the reality of sin, not the reality of apples.
Now to the actual question I keep having to ask you for some bizarre reason, APPLY that same understanding to the completion of that figurative story found in the passion narrative.
I've explained numerous times why I find that question irrelevant, and an attempt to lead us all into a derail where we critique Poli's theology rather than discussing what is or is not a useful hermeneutic.
Since you’ve just clarified that Adam and Eve are not actual human beings and no one ate anything—just the “act of consumption” is somehow a symbol of sin in general (even though that isn’t true; the “sin” was disobedience, not eating the apple), etc. So that means that Jesus was likewise not an actual human being and therefore his being killed by the Romans was what? A metaphor for earthly power? Seems a literal symbol of earthly power to me.
What is a "literal symbol"??? :d unno: Symbolic meaning can be applied to material things, but if you are interpreting something symbolically, you are not interpreting it literally. Do you mean a symbolic reading of a literally accurate event? I really have no idea.

And how could anyone possibly know which elements of the gospel narratives are factually accurate or not? I mean, I tend to apply the normal tools of the historian - do multiple sources agree on an event? does it make sense given what one knows of the overall context of the era? does it show linguistic signs of later tampering? - but that only gives you vague measures of confidence, not certitude, unless one is a fool.
So walk us through it. What’s the metaphor and what’s the real it describes? We are all now granted eternal life—somehow—by a literal being we call “God” because some guy was killed by the Romans two thousand years ago?
This is a subjective matter; there really is no answer to this question that all Christians would agree with (no, not yours either). If you are asking me personally about the moral of the story (and again, I think this is completely irrelevant to the quesiton of hermeneutics, since I do not believe there should be universal dogmas) it is that God himself intervenes on our behalf, ending the practices of blood sacrifice and deaths of atonement, which had been attempts to justify our behavior to God. We always had eternal life, that is our birthright; granted, there are Christians who believe that the life of the sinner's soul is mortal (they are called annihilationists) but they are not many. The question is more about the quality and nature of that life. Perhaps, if you believe in an afterlife, where that life is spent. But not whether one has it.

Jesus, typing on my phone is tricky. Sorry for the typos.
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:44 pm

[quote=""Politesse""]
Koyaanisqatsi;683611 wrote:Since you’ve just clarified that Adam and Eve are not actual human beings and no one ate anything
I'm sure that early humans ate things[/quote]

Is it ADHD or something? A form of dyslexia perhaps that makes you pull things like this out of context to stuff your strawmen? And you wonder why I keep having to note your bizarre evasions. Was ANYONE arguing that no human beings ate anything?
I just don't see why this would be important.
Strawmen never are.
Nor does it change the semantic thrust of the story in any way whether there was ever anyone literally named Man and Life-Giver.
It does change the “semantic thrust of the story,” however, when you APPLY the same analysis to the entire story arc, which you are desperately trying to avoid to now ridiculous lengths.

If the characters in Genesis did not actually exist and the events did not actually happen, then neither did the characters in GMark actually exist and the events did not actually happen. Period. It can’t be both ways. To proclaim the first part of the story metaphorical is to proclaim the ENTIRE story line metaphorical.

Einstein didn’t say, “By the way, I’m talking about a real train station and that matters because it is only through that particular train station that the physics of my theory can work.” The entire story is metaphorical in order to illustrate—as you put it—the “real” condition.

Which naturally, logically brings us to the question of applying your comments to the second part of the story. You have zero problem proclaiming Genesis to be figurative (while at the same time contradicting that sentiment with incoherent nonsense about it still being considered “true&#8221 ;) and yet petulantly refuse to apply the exact same analysis to the end of the story line.
Seems a literal symbol of earthly power to me.
What is a "literal symbol"???
:rolleyes: I guess I should have typed “literally a symbol of earthly power,” but I thought you capable of parsing the irony. My bad.
And how could anyone possibly know which elements of the gospel narratives are factually accurate or not?
Funny how you have zero problem pointing them out in Genesis, but when it comes to the conclusion of that story line, suddenly it’s a song and dance of near historic proportions for you.

Try—TRY—to look at it as one continuous story written by the same author in one sitting. The characters are: God; Adam; Eve; Talking Snake; Jesus. The story line is God created it all; Adam disobeyed his orders; God punished him and his offspring with death and then decided—years later—that he would accept a blood sacrifice from one of his offspring and through that grant all humanity eternal life after death.

NOW what would your analysis be? It’s very simple. The entire story would be fictional (aka, figurative); not actual; no such beings ever existed; no such events ever actually occurred, just as you concluded in regard to the first part of the story. Easy peasy. So why—suddenly—does the conclusion of the story line elude your reasoning capabilities? THAT goes directly to the question of “whence literalism” that Jobar started this thread upon.

Something is blocking you from simply applying the exact same analysis you so easily apply to Genesis to GMark.
I mean, I tend to apply the normal tools of the historian
Yet, once again, NOT the “normal tools” of the literary critic that you’ve applied to Genesis with ease. Do you just not see this or refuse to face it, because it certainly appears from every dodge you’ve posted so far that you are refusing to face what should be as obvious to you as your analysis of Genesis.
So walk us through it. What’s the metaphor and what’s the real it describes? We are all now granted eternal life—somehow—by a literal being we call “God” because some guy was killed by the Romans two thousand years ago?
This is a subjective matter; there really is no answer to this question that all Christians would agree with...I think this is completely irrelevant to the quesiton of hermeneutics, since I do not believe there should be universal dogmas)
So, again it’s Genesis, no problem. GMark, :argh: And no, it goes directly to the question of hermeneutics! What is fictional and what is non-fictional? What is figurative and what is literal? How do you determine it? You personally or “you” in the general sense of any given individual. Incredulity seems to be your sole guide. “Talking snakes? Pshaw!” Well, walking on water? Just as bullshit as a talking snake. Driving out demons? There’s no such thing, so was that a first century author inventing psychology through figurative language? Resurrection from the dead? F.O., but if a real human being did not actually resurrect from the dead, then what is that a metaphor for? Symbolically rising from a figurative death??

Or this nonsense:
it is that God himself intervenes on our behalf, ending the practices of blood sacrifice and deaths of atonement, which had been attempts to justify our behavior to God. We always had eternal life, that is our birthright; granted, there are Christians who believe that the life of the sinner's soul is mortal (they are called annihilationists) but they are not many. The question is more about the quality and nature of that life. Perhaps, if you believe in an afterlife, where that life is spent. But not whether one has it.
How (and why) one applies any kind of analysis to a fictional story that others claim to be non-fictional is the very essence of “whence literalism”—of hermeneutics to begin with—and the fact that you universally dismiss the characters and events in Genesis as purely figurative (while still noting that some nevertheless consider it “true,” no matter how incoherent is such a contradiction) while hedging and hawing about the conclusion of that story line in GMark (it’s complicated; it’s personal; who could know?, etc) is a perfect demonstration of the questions Jobar raised in the OP.

Without perhaps realizing it, you are a living demonstration of the problem, easily dismissing one part of the story as figurative while nevertheless still clinging—vaguely and with great reservation—to other parts of the story as....what? The “real”?

It is this problem that is at the heart of the discussion; how one can dismiss talking snakes as obvious fiction, but then still maintain an “understanding” that the story is nevertheless “true.”
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Post by lpetrich » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:27 pm

My favorite symbolic names in the Bible are from the Sodom and Gomorrah Story. Names like "Cruella DeVil" from 101 Dalmatians. She's the villain, someone who wants to make a fur coat from the skins of those dogs.

Sodom -- "burnt" or "scorched"
Gomorrah -- "heap"
King Bera of Sodom < Ben Ra -- "son of bad" (the original sense, not the recent assertive sense)
King Birsha of Gomorrah < Ben Rasha -- "son of mischief"

"Son" and "daughter" and "child" are often metaphorically extended in the Old Testament / Tanakh, so these can mean "people who try to do bad things" as well as "sons of bad people".

Thus, the kings' and towns' names are roughly

King Bad of Burntville
King Mischief of Rubbleheap

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Post by Politesse » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:29 pm

[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]If the characters in Genesis did not actually exist and the events did not actually happen, then neither did the characters in GMark actually exist and the events did not actually happen. Period. It can’t be both ways. To proclaim the first part of the story metaphorical is to proclaim the ENTIRE story line metaphorical. [/quote]That doesn't logically follow in the slightest. I mean, I didn't make either of those claims, but even if I had, I see no reason why the status of one book should be our guide to whether another one, written five hundred years later in a different culture and language, has the same status. I'm not sure who you took History 101 with, but that sounds absurd to me.

I don't "pick and choose" when to be a literalist. I'm just not a literalist. Not about Genesis. Not about Mark. I find that viewpoint absurd. It isn't how books work, whatever book we're talking about.
Incredulity seems to be your sole guide
You're not even reading my posts, are you? I don't even care about the question you're asking, let alone use "incredulity" to settle it. And I don't think anyone else should either, it's a blinkeringly stupid way to approach an ancient text.
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:35 pm

[quote=""Politesse""]I see no reason why the status of one book should be our guide to whether another one, written five hundred years later in a different culture and language, has the same status....I don't "pick and choose" when to be a literalist. I'm just not a literalist. Not about Genesis. Not about Mark.[/quote]

:hitcomputer:
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Post by Politesse » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:30 pm

[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]
Politesse;683629 wrote:I see no reason why the status of one book should be our guide to whether another one, written five hundred years later in a different culture and language, has the same status....I don't "pick and choose" when to be a literalist. I'm just not a literalist. Not about Genesis. Not about Mark.


:hitcomputer: [/QUOTE]

Well, dude, my position hasn't changed. And you continue to misunderstand it. What more are we to type? I have never in my life "dismissed as figurative" anything, nor treated any written document as certainly "literally true". To make the former claim misses the importance of symbolic language and how it functions, to make the former misunderstands what a document is, and that all documents have authors, biases, and constraints placed by linguistic framing and sociopolitical ends.
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