Saturday, January 3, 2015

... on Genre of Genesis

On Philologica and New Blog on the kid : 1) Flat Earth theories - Common Sense or Solar Mythology?, 2) Why were Babylonians so sure Apsu and Tiamat were different substances?, 3) Genesis among Myths - were they meant to be understood literally? Yes

On Assorted Retorts : 1) ... on Historical Adam and Eve, 2) ... on Genre of Genesis

What Kind of Literature is Genesis?
David Funk

Before hearing much:
Not to be taken as literally historical?

That is NOT what the Fathers say!

"Origen was the leader of one of the greatest schools in the world."

Also not a canonised Church Father, plus you were quotemining him.

"hardly anything in between which avoids the vast errors in these systems" ... ok YEC is:

  • extreme?
  • a system?
  • an error?

C'mon, it is staple Orthodoxy over centuries and more than two millennia - Kahanim before Kaiaphas agreed with Church Fathers after Christ that Egyptians vastly overrate the age of Earth when claiming to recall collectively a history of 40.000 years or sth.

And among Gentiles, Greeks and Nordics are other end of the extreme as compared to Egyptians. Greeks thought the flood was a few generations before the Trojan War and Nordics that Odin created the world not so long before he ruled in Uppsala (which Saxo places around the time of Cyrus, I prefer Snorre placing it close to the time of Caesar - and Paul the Deacon denied Odin ever was in those parts, because his real name was Hermes and he lived thousand years earlier in Greece).

1:38 "not only that Genesis was intended to be understood literally as recounting (?) these literal scientific truths"

Oh, mainly historic ones. Though whenever there is a question with scientific implication, that one is also correct.

1:42 "in the same way a scientific textbook or a historical textbook"


A scientific textbook gets at it from the angle of science, i e systematic necessities, rather than history.

A historic textbook contains less of a truth claim. Ι-ςο-ρι-η in the sense of Herodot meant research [what DF did not do properly, that is]. Herodot admitted he could be in error on any given particular, though on any particular he was challenged on he would have argued he was most probably not in error.

When he says the Assyrian army failed to take Israel because mice nibbled up their bow strings (while ignoring their provisions, how valiant mice!) he was most certainly in error and we get the true account in 3:rd or 4:rth Kings.

But Genesis never makes and is by Christian readers never made to make such a principled admission of being only human research in principle open to error.

1:46 "or like a biography"

Well, now we are getting close. Hagiography is usually hoped to be free from error in the main, as touching the holiness and fact of miracles occurring of a saint. It could be wrong on a detail - or it could be wrong because the Church that did the canonisation was not the true Church. As I think is the case with "Saint Peter the Aleut" whom I do not consider as having been martyred by Jesuit Inquisitors at all.

But apart from errors, a biography is meant to be taken as factual truth.

And so are the biographies or parts of someones'es biographies we see in Genesis.

1:59 "but they ALSO believe the claims Genesis makes under this banner of interpretation are true"

Well, so did every Church Father also believe.

What is YOUR reason for disagreeing?

2:09 "but the secular point of view ... is really not any better"

Well, do you expect the synagogue of Satan to be any better than the Church of God?

2:16 "because they make the same basic assumption that Genesis was intended to be read as literal scientific historical ..."

That is their GOOD point.

It was indeed so intended.

2:44 Fundies and Dawkins agree on an assumption which is the same and which is ... discredited? unscholarly?

Depends VERY much what kind of scholar you ask. A Modernist Theologian will certainly agree with you. Someone reading Patristics in certain Modernist seminaries will get a few bribes of Patristic exegesis which happens not to be literal exegesis (since it is not the only one of it, nor the only inerrant one of it) and base an Induction of the matter on a very incomplete Patristic material.

But if you go to secular scholars who put Genesis as written in Hebrew in context of Near East religions, he is more likely to admit the obvious truth that Genesis was as likely as any story back then meant to be read as literally true, and very definitely not as sth merely symbolical.

Breaking off comment to get to analogy.

"if we were to read Aesop's fables as literally historic and scientific ..."

Our Lord's parables are a closer parallel than Genesis. Plus no actual definite falsehood would be implied (even outside Narnian talking mice contexts) by taking each of these as literally true.

Housewives that find lost coins (not like pennies in modern currency, but oriental coins that are both ornaments and "the savings") do make parties over it.

Unlike storks and foxes talking ... that would rather be somewhere close by Beaversdam.

3:46 I have never seen foxes and storks sit down for a chat.

OK, I have never seen a snake talk to a woman either - but then I have never seen a donkey talk to a prophet either. These items are neither ordinary behaviour of snakes and donkeys (thus not scientific because anecdotal) nor impossible (thus not unhistoric because not unfactual either). They concern angelology and demonology more than zoology, simple as that.

So, no, someone taking Aesop's fables as scientifically accurate in attributing speech to animals is wrong and this wrongness is NOT re-committed by someone taking Genesis as inerrant, as history without untrue telling and without scientific actual mistakes.

"in our post-Enlightenment world"

Two points about it.

  • Enlightenment DOES change things insofar as presuming author of Genesis was too unsophisticated to convey any prophetic truths by allegories in the narrative. Fundies which get their doctrine much if not exclusively from Locke therefore tend to bypass the allegorical sense - tend to, I hope it is changing.
  • Enlightenment DOES NOT change things when it comes to making Genesis intend to be taken literally - it changes acceptance of literal claims like the Flood, but not the fact of understanding that this claim is made as literally a historical truth in it.

You want to refute me?

Go ahead, read ten scholars who were Christians and lived before Galileo and Newton and then name at least one of them who claims Genesis was meant to be read like Esop or Reineke Vos.

I am waiting but not holding my breath - and citing your priest who miscites Church Fathers will NOT count in my book. Nor will citing Origen. On V Ecumenical Council, Pope confirmed a condemnation of Ibas' 3 chapters, but Bishops voted condemnation of a teen number of Origenistic Theses. After it neither Origen nor Ibas was considered as perfectly Orthodox by what I take to have been the probable Ordinary Magisterium.

"if we don't understand the literary genre a book was written in"

Have you read C. S. Lewis on the Gospels? He cited a Theologian as having said the Fourth Gospel was "a spiritual novel" and "an allegory" and "like John Bunyan" ["or more precisely as Paradise Lost"!]. His [CSL's] response was basically, as a professional conaisseur of literature, that after this no one need ever take seriously what that Theologian said about literary genre. A man comparing John Bunyan to Gospel of St John [or either to Paradise Lost] simply has no literary taste whatsoever.

I am aware CSL considered early parts of Genesis "a myth". But I suspect he was partly wrong about what constitutes a myth. He also misquoted St Jerome on the issue - and he was, like you, under pressure from a bishop who wanted to keep "clear of" the fundies.

  • Atrahasis

    OK, what was its genre? Allegory? Wasn't invented yet!

    My tip is deliberate deception about the back then fairly recent flood history. "Noah" the movie also does some of that. Its author pretty certainly had a chance of still knowing the complete factuality of the events that he found in I know not what words, but which we find in the words of Genesis. And since he was either himself a man or serving a man of the type who had provoked the Flood, and since he knew the straight account implied a one God who BOTH punishes AND saves, while he himself promoted a double cult of three divinities - an old god Anu who has retired, a punishing god Enlil who gets mad for a little noise and a devious god Enki who helps man out, he rewrote the events to fit that agenda.

  • Sumerian King's list

    Deception of the Old Earth type you also find in Egypt and China. Royalty is the past of mankind over millennia (duh!) and submission to royalty main duty of man. Hence kings before Flood get to be not just near thousand (like Adam and Methusalem) but 10.000 years old.

  • Epic of Gilgamesh

    Propaganda stunt probably by Nimrod himself. Claim of having met "Utnapishtim" and of "Utnapishtim" being immortal:

    • boosts authority of Gilgamesh (oh, you talked to him?)
    • confuses Noah and Henoch
    • takes the confused memory of Noah and Henoch hostage to the agenda of Gilgamesh promoting worship of his mother [or supposed such] Ishtar.

    So, yes, the "same genre" texts do exist. They were ALSO meant to be taken literally, only they were deceptive.

5:57 Heard you correct "Eridu Genesis"?

Well, two things:

  • Eridu was a temple of Enki. Or had such a temple. Modern Satanist Enki-worshippers have a real nostalgia for Eridu. It can be same name as "Irad" and named in honour of a Cainite [pre-Flood] city. In other words, where "Eridu Genesis" contradicts Genesis, it was probably a propaganda tool for Enki worship. Just as Darwin-Engels "Genesis" is for Atheism, btw.
  • It is OBVIOUS that "Eridu Genesis" and Genesis are not totally independent of both each other and third source.

    A sameness of genre does not follow.

    Superman may plagiarise Golem legend and Jewish angelology and demonology - and yet, unlike rabbinic treaties on the latter subjects, be totally made for entertainment.

    It is in the nature of a Great War that whoever is the worst crook decides on who in post-War world you consider the crooks.

    It is in the nature of an event like the Flood and the Ark that whoever made the Flood is to be feared, whoever helped to get the Ark built is to be confided in. Therefore, suppose that Flood happened, you can see how propaganda texts about Flood come to be written - like deceptions about certain wars.

    This does very much NOT mean the genre can be pinpointed as "propaganda text" for all texts dealing with such events or even with such events with similarities of detail.

    I might just have been wrong about Atrahasis, I maybe should have said "Eridu Genesis".

    But even propaganda deceptions depend on being taken as literal truth or at least possible such, for their effect.

"Genesis 1 - 11 should be read in the same literary genre as the texts it most clearly resembles"

When St Athanasius' biography of St Anthony includes his observation on how demons predict floodings of Nile by watching at Assuan and then RUNNING to the oracles in Alexandria, I am very reminded of Superman and The Flash.

Must I conclude that St Anthony's observation was meant as a fictional pastime and that the real explanation for correct demonic oracles was something else?

No. A similarity of material does NOT by itself constitute an identitity of genre.

Second, I just stated that "Eridu Genesis" and "Atrahasis" and "King List" and "Gilgamesh Epic" were probably - unlike their effect on a post-Enlightenment reader - meant to be taken as literal fact. Or perhaps even better, as totalitarian Big Brother decreed new think "literal fact" ... never mind law of contradiction, you know who really has to state with belief that two plus two are really five.

So, even identity of genre doesn't mean we can write off Genesis as not meant to be taken literally.

I disagree with identity of genre insofar as Genesis isn't given in a series of changes and new versions in same Hebrew culture, unlike the several contradicting versions in the Babylonian one.

But apart from that, even half-identity of genre very much speaks FOR Genesis having been meant to be taken literally.

6:21 "the genre of these texts are not strict historiography"

As said the exact genre for the Babylonian versions would RATHER be propaganda distorsions of a close by not far past and still very very hot topic.

But "not strict historiography" in itself implies "close to historiography" (and yes, propaganda distorsions do try to ape correct historiography as to literary genre).

"like Herodotus' History or like Livy"

They are further from Herodotus' unbiassed often collation of many versions, and closer to Livy's patriotic view of the past.

And for the record, Livy is much more generous in supernatural things. I think some of them did happen. I think Castor and Pollux were sighted - whether God gave angels permission to masquerade so that Romans should recall the value of praying in times of need, so that Constantine should get a vision before Ponte Milvio or whether God gave devils a similar permission for masquerade. And I believe Numa Pompilius was receiving his instructions for augural art from "nymph Egeria" which was probably a devil.

"written like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey"

Homer was a court poet. St Jerome was making the point that Genesis was rather written in the style of a POPULAR poet.

So, no, there is no "μηνιν αειδε θεα Πεληιαδεως Αchιληος" and there is no "ανδρα μοι εννεπε Μουσα" or "arma virumque cano" either. What was most obvious to an Ancient literary critic (and St Jerome was a youth time fullblown Homer and Virgil geek) was the dissimilarity of style. "Homer? Virgil? Won't do. Most of the audience have no patience with formulas about lavish feasts at lavish courts ... hmm ... how about getting someone with the style of Jesse James was a boy who killed many a man, he robbed the Danville Train ..."

But if the point is that Homer's Iliad and Odyssey or Virgil's Aeneid are not meant to be taken as literal history, you are simply wrong.

I am not sure if Herodotus ever contradicted Homer. If so, he was one of very few who were not convinced of Homer's historicity. Pliny [I meant Livy, of course!] definitely accepts the Aineias of the Iliad as a historic figure and as the founder of the Teucran settlement among the Latins ... which would give rise to Rome a few generations later.

St Augustine starts off his plaidoyer against the Pagan gods by stating that Athena statue in Troy was not a faithful strong protector but a bad debtor. According to the undboubted words of Virgil while describing the fall of Troy.

THAT as opposed to a Modernist reader who thinks there never was a war of Troy or a post-Modernist reader who thinks Schliemann proved modernism wrong but not Homer historically right, reflects how these Epic poets were in fact taken and could also expect to be taken. As biographers and as historians who because of "inspiration by the Muse" were supernaturally protected from error. Which is what we claim for Moses, except his inspirator was the Holy Ghost and not the wiley muses (check out how they fooled poor Hesiod ...!)

6:47 "like the legend of King Arthur"

Which version of it? By Malory, I would say historicity may well have been overgrown with fan fiction. And have you tried to check of Malory and the Welsh versions contradict each other?

If you mean there is lots of supernatural stuff in either, I agree. God has permitted Satan unequal powers of deception in diverse places and times, and I suppose Arthurian times were such that lack of devotion gave as divine punishments not just Saxons but also real powers to some of the witches.

6:52 "mythical sort of epic, it is not so historiographic" ...

In parts I agree. Any scene which Homer or Virgil set on Mount Olympus must by a Christian either be scrapped as mythic addition or reinterpreted as allegorically true of sth else.

First conference among Olympians in Odyssey (or is it only one?) allegorises as best a Pagan could the decree of Providence that Ulysses should go home. And if it mentions Aigistos had been visited by Hermes from them to be told he must leave the widow and the power, well one can see that as referring to guardian angel or his conscience. Obviously Athena giving advice to Ulysses may refer in part to his own way of visualising and verbalising his thought process.

Homer was perhaps involved in it very consciously as co-founder of Homeric Greek religion, whereas real religion during the time of the things was very different, more Hittite. Sterner and more diabolical gods. But even among Hittites and Babylonians, personified human interior processes were a human way of describing the inner life of man. (None of that in Genesis btw).

As for Achilles having a mother who was a goddess, I don't know quite what to do with that. Addition which is erroneous? His mother was really a witch? A wrong guess about how he got his quasi magic invulnerability? Or was he only as "invulnerable" as Francisco Franco on the Rif, i e never ever touched by enemy bullet or sword, except obviously the final poison arrow by Paris, a k a Alexander - who is attested as a historical person. More so, even, than his father Priam, I think, if we mean documentation outside the epic. Hittites correspondence in Amarna ...

Much of the supernatural in the Odyssey is Ulysses retelling what happened or what is supposed to have happened between shortly after the Trojan War and a point in time about ten years later. But we have no other versions to check with, if Ulysses men cannot have really turned to pigs, this could have been a diabolical illusion, same as with his descent to the netherworld (or Hercules' similar one, or Hercules' participation in Gigantomachia, while there presumably was no such giant vs giant war after the Flood, at all).

7:02 "scholars call them epics"

Are you aware that one of Nero's wars was the subject of another Epic? Or that Persian misadventure over Greece was the subject of a tragedy?

So much for calling ANYTHING "not historiography" just because it belongs to the Epic or Tragic genre of poetry.

Shall we say William Tell and Wallenstein by Schiller are "not historiography" because they are drama? Of course they are historiography. They may be distorted such in any or even each extra-Biblical case, but that is incidental to genre and essential to human fallibility. Like Schiller was a very biassed Enlightenment Anticlerical, I think. Hochhut has been taken excessively as historiography by enemies of Catholic Church.

"Homer did not intend for the Iliad to be read as a kind of historiographic account, he knew that the things he was writing about the Trojan War, most of them didn't really happen."

Oh ... that is not quite how ancients saw his texts.

As. I. Have. Perhaps? Already. Said.

If it comes to major parts of the war in terms of backflashes rather than during the days when the main action is set, some of them might be impossibly huge for merely the Trojan War.

So? Troy was certainly and Greece possibly a kind of satrapy of the Empire that Homer forgot. Hittites. Some of the action would be more explicable if setting Trojan War in the setting of Hittite Empire. Some might even be totally outside it, from Battle of Kadesh rather than from battles outside Troy. Hittites had a nobility, it didn't vanish into nowhere, even if their Empire did when Hattusha was abandoned (and Hittites remembered only in Reges and Paralipomenon books of the Bible). Some had had time to re-localise prowesses made under Shuppiluliuma to prowesses made under Agamemnon - or Priam. But such prowesses were real. Fighting from chariots was real, and it was as real at Kadesh as it Troy, or perhaps more so due to terrain, even if it was no longer done in Homer's hometowns ...

He perhaps knew he was as lost as a blind man when it comes to giving the correct context of each part ... stroke of luck, since he was a blind man he had some experience of reconstructing what he couldn't see.

But that does not mean he knew anything in particular let alone "most" of the events to be fictional (except of course dialogues between gods ... unless he was a false prophet).

7:50 "taking historical things and putting them into a non-literal narrative" ...

I quite bet Homer would have disagreed. If you don't convert, God may call Homer - even if it were from Hell, though let's hope for the best - as a witness against you. And against your priest. And against your bishop. And against people agreeing with them, especially those foreseen by The First Pope (whom you might be calling The First Bishop ...) in II Peter 3:4-5-6.

"and quite often a poetic narrative"

And Pharsalia is also a poetic narrative. So is Wallenstein which like Henry V is written in Blank Verse.

WARS worse than civil on Emathian plains,
And crime let loose we sing: how Rome's high race
Plunged in her vitals her victorious sword;
Armies akin embattled, with the force
Of all the shaken earth bent on the fray;
And burst asunder, to the common guilt,
A kingdom's compact; eagle with eagle met,
Standard to standard, spear opposed to spear.
Whence, citizens, this rage, this boundless lust
To sate barbarians with the blood of Rome?

Perseus Classical Texts : M. Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia
Sir Edward Ridley, Ed.

All of this is quite poetic, but what of it is not literally true? Ah, yes, the word Emathia perhaps ..?

"Emathia was apart of Macedonia, but the word is used loosely for Thessaly or Macedonia."

word used loosely = not literally true if most of the war was outside Emathia proper .... o kayyyyyyyyyyy ... you have kind of a point ...

Not exactly the one you were making, though.

Now, how do we know Pharsalia is poetic?

wars WORSE than CI vil ON ee MATH yan PLAINS
an' CRIME let LOOSE we SING how ROME'S high RACE

Ah yes, unaccented syllable, accented syllable = one iambic. Iambic on iambic five times per line = iambic pentameter. In original we had a dactylic hexameter, no doubt.

But Hebrew is only that fully poetic in hymns - as the psalms. Its "epic" is as prosy as Howard Pyle on Robin Hood.

You know how Hebrew poetry works?

One line = two halves.

One half line = three fully accented words (a somewhat curious parallel to hexameter), not counting prepositions and conjunctions, just verbs, nouns, adjectives, full adverbs.

Keeping the halves together = parallelism. A kind of rhyme, but in meaning rather than in sound.

So, ask a Hebraic scholar how much of this you find in Genesis 1 - 11.

Of course, a genealogy (more than one of them in Genesis 1 - 11) would include "halflines" like "X begat Y", each name and the verb begat being a fully accented word, but they would not divide the lot into pairs united by parallelism.

And Genesis 1 includes lots of parallelism because of the matter at hand ... but on a larger scale than between two half lines of three full words each.

A genealogy may or may not be boring, but it is certainly not there to boost the action. I suppose the reputation of Iliados Beta of being a later addition rests on two cases: it's too boring for a genius like Homer (who may have included it for historic value, as well as liking the sound of name after name), and "probably unhistoric" (which is an argument against authority from a priori likelihood).

"we can say that epics are non-literal history, ok?"

No. That is not ok. It is poeticised history, it is sometimes biassed history (though Homer was as fair between Greeks and Trojans as Herodotus between Greeks and Persians if not more), it is history rid of problematics of "how do we know which version is true" usually (but so is most history anyway). But it is NOT "non-literal". It may sometimes be "literally untrue" but it hardly ever intends in its main line - that is apart from Homer imitators not sharing Homer's religion in their scenes "set on Olympus" - to be "true but not literal".

8:12 "as opposed to literal history in the same way a biography would be"

I have no or very little doubt Ulysses' return to Ithaca was meant or very nearly (exceptions made for bragging) was meant as true and literal biographic material about the son of Laërtes. Whether you take meetings with Circe and Polypheme as literally true or as his bragging to Phaeacian hosts would depend partly on how much power you think the devil had back then before Incarnation and among Gentiles.

8:15 "like a history of civilisation would be or a history of Rome"

Can you pinpoint ANY difference of style between Pliny [Livy, again!] and Genesis? Except of course Genesis is more flesh and blood biography!

As for history of civilisation, the point is that Christians have believed when we come to its foundations that Genesis 1 - 11 gives THE literally true account. Meaning of course that "Egyptians discovering agriculture" or "Jericho discovering agriculture" whether these things happened or not, are clearly NOT literally THE invention of either agriculture (see Adam) or shepherdry (see Abel) or cities (see Cain).

Actually, they are not history, they are reconstruction. THEN a history which features Egyptians as extant before the height of Hittite power etc. would of course be literally correct - but so is the word of God.

The reason Homer is not a history of civilisation is threefold.

  • 1) He is anachronistic, mixing features from his own time with features from "Homeric times" (i e Hittite and Trojan War times, i e when Eli was High Priest in Israel)
  • 2) He is forgetting Hittites (deliberately or because of his predecessors' deliberate omertà).
  • 3) First and foremost, a monography about an episode in a war (whether Iliad or a monography about Stalingrad) is too short a timeline to make a history of civilisation on.

Nevertheless, he probably mirrors the history of civilisation, of difference between Homeric times and Homer's time as correctly as he could, by painting Homeric times as accurately as he could (except, as said, possibly in religion, where he could have been initiator of a more human and less diabolic paganism, which if so he projected back).

8:24 "more philosophically bent than scientifically"?

Who yo kiddin'?

Classic epic was more historic than either, and Babylonian epic was more propagandistic than either.

8:35 - 8:47 "they are more bent on explaining questions like why do we exist or what are we supposed to do in life ... they are not bent on explaining scientifif or historic truth"


Homer was used as a primer not just of history but of natural science. How do storms behave? Well, if you were a young Athenian age seven in Pericles' time, your knowledge and understanding of storms would come from Odyssey as much as from your preceptors' personal experience of such.

Some Theological eejit has taken his view of Genesis and projected it back to Pagan epics. And something tells me that eejit is more like someone you obey and respect unduly than yourself.

Like a non-orthodox bishop (orthodox used in etymological rather than denominational sense).

8:59 "so because Genesis" etc. if the hypothesis is wrong, your apodosis will be wrong too.

"at least Genesis 1 through 11"

Ah, you somehow admit Abraham was historic?

But there is no real case for that kind of division.

"this should make us think about how people approach Genesis not just on the internet but also in real life"

  • 1) Internet is as much a part of real life as TV or papers or telephones, remember
  • 2) what should make is think is the true nature of Genesis, not your false analysis
  • 3) in real life, as opposed to the ivory tower of some theologians, fundies and Genesis bashers are the main camps.

What you plead for is a distraction. Not quite unimportant - it is perhaps of some import that people lacking the courage to defend full historicity of Genesis 3 nevertheless somehow keep the faith, though badly. But not really the most important part of the field either.

Kent Hovind is in prison because one [court or jury] refused to believe a creationist was living like a Franciscan off a "ministry" (though uncanonical) without any personal wages.


The standard view among "non-fundie scholars" is that Genesis 1 - 11, but even more clearly passages of Job and Psalms are "broken mythology" (a technical term I learned from Lita Cosner). I met the view, but not the exact term, when I was thirteen and ma took me away from school one day and to her university studies of Hebrew.

Note that original Babylonian and Canaanean mythologies were meant to be taken literally as praises of their gods - so the broken mythology in the Bible (on this view) would be meant to be taken as at least as literal as one's answer in a bragging contest.

This standard view (except among fundamentalists and integrists and other inerrantists, thus, actually "standard non-fundie" view) can be imagined like this: Canaaneans attributed this or that to Baal. They took it literally. Israelites lived close by. They were - on this view - not enough independent thinkers to say "ha, that sea dragon Baal defeated never existed in the first place", so instead they concluded - or made a Yeshivah consensus, all agreeing to say collectively what noone individually believed as they often do now* - "it was God who defeated the sea dragon" (and we would be dealing with such a "broken mythology" guess in Psalm 73).

I think this view is wrong.

I think dragons, like the one described in Job, exist, and are neither a Canaanean mythology invention, nor a Hebrew mythology plagiarism, even if by way of broken mythology. This said, the "standard non-fundie" view would not imply that Job 41 or Genesis 1 - 11 were not meant to be taken literally. It would imply the inventors were not taking it as literally certain, only as literally probable enough and much more probable than "Baal did it" at least.

As to Psalm 73, it is poetry and a psalm.

[13] Thou by thy strength didst make the sea firm: thou didst crush the heads of the dragons in the waters. [14] Thou hast broken the heads of the dragon: thou hast given him to be meat for the people of the Ethiopians.

Here is the comment by Challoner:

[13] The sea firm: By making the waters of the Red Sea stand like firm walls, whilst Israel passed through: and destroying the Egyptians called here dragons from their cruelty, in the same waters, with their king: casting up their bodies on the shore to be stripped by the Ethiopians inhabiting in those days the coast of Arabia.

And here is Lita's article, from which I got the term "broken mythology":

Leviathan—real or symbolic?
By Lita Cosner

The next question is when did Yahweh destroy Leviathan in a watery judgment? A prime candidate for this would be imagery of the parting of the Red Sea; if this is the case, then Leviathan is embodied by the Egyptian army who were destroyed when the waters came crashing down on them. Such exalted poetic imagery is appropriate for this event because the Exodus throughout the Old Testament is depicted as a prime example of God’s power and majesty, second only to creation.

One could of course also think of the Flood. And making the sea firm might if so refer to aquatic sediments (GC). But traditionally, yes, the passage is referred to Exodus. And symbolising Egyptian army by Leviathan is not all wrong, since in the Moral exposition of Job, St Gregory calls Leviathan a symbol of Antichrist./HGL

* The view makes Pharisees responsible for OT having an expurgated Pagan mythology, remodelled to suit monotheistic concepts, sometimes under Ezra's leadership of the synagogue. I have criticised this view by taking a case like "Apollonius Rhodus is the real author of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey" as a fair parallel (i. e. as equally unbelievable:

Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Imagine Someone Said: Apollonius Rhodus Wrote Iliad and Odyssey

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