Friday, February 7, 2020

Bible and Fantasy (quora)

Ghosts · Bible and Fantasy (quora) · CMI is Bad on Church History · Responding to Keith Nester's Mars / Venus Video, First Half with Time to Give Charles S a Separate Post

Three questions, on quora, one only on fantasy, the surrounding ones also involving the Bible.

If the Bible is fiction, what genre is it? Would it qualify as fantasy or science fiction, for example?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
Answered Jan 4
If historic portions of the Bible are fiction, they would qualify as fake history.

Like Masons claiming to come from King Solomon and Hiram Abbiff are claiming a fake history.

However, the Masons have not renounced a real history, of coming out officially with accepting "brothers" independently of either Anglican or Catholic confessions in 1717, that is why the fake history can be identified as tacked on by a much newer sect.


Lance Berg
Jan 4
I believe the term for what you’re describing is “alternate history?”

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Original Author
Just now
No, fake history.

Novels where Hitler remains a painter are “alternative history”, but statements that say the wrong thing about who was allied to whom and how many were killed are fake history.

They are “fiction not meant to be taken as fiction” = lies or mistakes.


Charles Turek
Jan 4
The Bible is an example of Theology from an ancient time. It is a collection of books promoting Yahweh, the national God of Judaism as the One and Only GOD. It is the product of literate elites, reflecting their convictions.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Original Author
Just now
And I was in my answer adressing the type of books called “historic books”.

If they are not factual history, they are fake history.

The beliefs are reflected in either.

This is by the way also distinct from the theology of the Bible. As a Christian I believe it is correct. I wonder if for instance a Hindoo or Theosophist or Shinto could get away with regarding all of the Bible as factual history and even so discount the theology in it, as I can believe all of Trojan war and return of Ulysses happened without believing Athena exists as a goddess. But often enough at least Theosophists prefer saying this or that historic portion of the Bible is fake history. Atheists, well, they are basically obliged to that move at every miracle.

For fantasy-fiction writers, how would you recommend starting the first chapter of a first book in a long series? How do I properly introduce the world, characters, and plot at the same time?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
Answered just now
I suppose you have already at least outlined the series and outlined the book, or you have made chapters serving as very skeletal outline, you are NOT starting the writing of book and series with a first chapter only, with no precise idea what it can lead up to.

So, it is a question of presenting, not of plotting.

You don’t introduce the world, you introduce a character in it in a place in it, at a point in the plot. Or at a resting routine stretch going to get interrupted by a point in the plot. And from there, you introduce other characters (possibly different races) and other places and other parts of the plot.

Example of starting point : Bilbo on the porch of his hobbit hole.

Example of widening : Gandalf coming along and saying good morning.

An alien race visits earth long after the humans have gone extinct and finds a time capsule which has a copy each of the Lord of the Rings series and the Bible, with an attached note saying one of them is fiction. Which one would the aliens identify as fiction?

[I actually answered as if asked "should" and not "would"]

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
Answered just now
They should find another book, and another book and another book, until they find one which says either Lord of the Rings is fiction or the Bible isn’t fiction.

Or many, since single books may err, specifically many claiming the Bible is fiction.

Moot question, since both the time “long after the humans have gone extinct” and “alien race visits earth” are fiction, but still.

The question if how a particular book stands as fiction or non-fiction is defined by other books or by groups of people stating what amounts to books.

To us (still human and still on earth) it is easier finding a Church claiming to go back to NT times (the Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church and a few more, not too many, make that claim) than a political institution claiming to go back to Numenor or to Gondor and Arnor.