Friday, April 14, 2006

Flood Myth Comments

On Metacrocks's blogsite, there is an interesting post called "The Bible Between The Lines."

Metacrock brings up some fabulous points:

1. That biblical literature should primarily be understood according to underlying and controlling narrative, not by a kind of strict, surface-level literalism (see my posts on the Nature of Scripture 1, 2, 3, and 4)

2. Modern skeptics are unable to accept or believe scripture not because biblical texts are irrational, superstitious, flawed, fictional, or outdated, but because modern skeptics are prisoners of their own culture and time-ethnocentric is a polite way of saying it.

But there are some things I take issue with.

First, he says that modern skeptics are anachronistic because they are applying their current viewpoints onto something from a different time period which was meant to be understood differently. But then he turns around and does the same thing. He said the flood narrative in Genesis is myth because "it's just like other texts" (the Babylonian and Sumerian myths) and that those other texts are "much older". So he was applying a viewpoint from a different time onto the flood story in Genesis just like he accused Modernists of doing. Except this time it is not a modern ethnocentricity, it is a "popular universal" ethnocentricity of the ancient Sumerian/Babylonian world. Instead of looking at the Genesis flood story as a Modernist thousands of years after the Genesis story may have been written, Metacrock is looking at it as a Babylonian or Sumerian thousands of years before the Genesis story may have been written. He has become the enthnocentric skeptic he is denouncing--only from a different time frame.

Also, literarily speaking, what makes the Genesis flood story "the same myth" or "just like" the others in the ancient world such as Gilgamesh? Just because it says there was a flood like the others do? That hardly makes Genesis's flood story "the same" or "just like" the other flood stories. There are a vast number of differences between the Genesis flood story and any other ancient flood narrative, which disproves the old "common ancestry" argument. I will probably give a short list of them at some point on my blog.

As to the nature of Genesis' flood story, whether mythic or not, I cannot be certain at this point.


Blogger Joe Hinman said...

this post was written so long ago (now it is feb 2916) it seems absurd to answer but I will. I did not say we can't translate ideas from age to answer I just we must be careful not impose our ideas on the past. We know the Hebrews were exposed tic the story in the exile. The boat is the same. The descriptions are the same even though other aspects differ. So the Babylonian story was a direct influence. This does not mean I believe the bible is the word of God. Read my essay Models of biblical revelation.

12:47 PM  

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