Enjoying the silence?

4 02 2011

Sorry to have gone all quiet this week after last week’s burst of writing. I am trying to finish an assignment for my MA. It has to be in on Tuesday. It’s a Hebrew Bible module. I’m writing about historiography and in particular whether it’s possible, necessary or desirable to construct a history of Israel on the basis of the Biblical texts. Don’t think I’m going to say anything particularly ground-breaking. Essentially I think the actual history of Israel is very difficult to recover but that we should read the Bible as literature and look for meaning in the narrative. Whether they existed or not, the events, places and people are always cyphers — a vehicle for the theological concerns of those who compiled the historiography. But that doesn’t mean they’re not profound or sacred.

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2 responses

4 02 2011
Kevin

“The Bible as Literature” — -fiction or non-fiction?

4 02 2011
pompeypioneer

In my view no such clear distinction is either possible or important. These are modern categories that apply to very different sorts of intention than those that might apply to the compilers of each text. I’m more concerned with what the Bible communicates than whether the events actually happened, at least as far as the Hebrew Scriptures are concerned. I think the gospels are still clearly theologically motivated and so each writer shapes their story according to their own priorities. But I do think they’re using oral traditions that have a historical foundation. It’s difficult to say that they’re just straight history because their accounts don’t agree.

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