Let me answer using a totally different example, to see if this helps. We have a
tendency to find it difficult to separate the ambiguities inherent in human
language and assume concreteness when it's not necessarily there. I think of
questions of literalness when reading the scriptures, for instance. On Sunday I
kind of lost my patience a bit. My wife is our GD teacher, and she was having the
class read from some scriptures in Isaiah. I can't remember which chapters we
were covering, except that it's in what's sometimes called deutero-Isaiah, the
more poetic writings than the historical ones, and there were all these
references to "I have trodden the winepress alone" and "I
have bled for Israel" and that kind of thing, and no one seemed to be able to
synthesize anything concrete out of it other than a bunch of whingeing on
Isaiah's part. So, against my promise to keep my mouth shut and let my wife teach
the class, I finally said, "Look, everyone, forget the actual words and images of
winepresses and stuff. There's two things going on here, and Isaiah didn't write
the same way the CBC does [referring to newscasts]. First, the metonymy*, or
physical token here, is actually a colour -- purple -- but they weren't as
specific about hue as we are today. I pointed out various examples in the room of
what purple were, from red to blue**, and said they all referred to the same
thing: sacrifice of the son of a king -- a royal prince/heavenly prince --  for
Zion, a type which would have resonated well with Semitic people but is almost
unknown to us except backwards: by means of learning about the atonement. Second,
to apply this
scripture to us, we have to read it in the 'prophetic future past perfect tense'
that Isaiah often uses in this section: we have to pretend that
Isaiah lived after Christ. Why? Because prophets have told us to read it that
way, that that's the only way the messianic typology comes through."

*In retrospect I think the term I should have used is synecdoche
(sin-EK-doh-kay), but whatever...
*My wife was actually wearing a burgundy dress, the picture of the Saviour behind
her had him in a reddish-purple, almost scarlet, robe, and the chairs in the RS
room where the class is taught are a bluish purple, almost violet.

My wife, bless her heart, wasn't upset, but thanked me.

So. A literal reading was wrong, imo. It often is -- do what I mean, not what I

People think Churchill's remark that sometimes a truth is so precious that it has
to be protected by numerous lies is a cynical reading of history, but there's a
lot of wisdom to that. It doesn't matter when Jericho's walls came tumbling down.
It's pretty certain that they didn't tumble when Joshua's account said they did,
but so what? That's not the point.

"John W. Redelfs" wrote:

> After much pondering, Gary Smith favored us with:
> >Archaeology also shows that Jericho didn't have the "walls tumbling down"
> >when Joshua fought it.
> I don't believe archaeology knows what it is talking about.  The scriptures
> say that the walls came tumbling down, so they did.  And that's that.  So
> how do we reconcile the fact that the archaeological remains down show a
> tumbled down wall.  I think it can be reconciled in a couple of ways.  1)
> Archaeologists may have the wrong ruins, that is, they are excavating a
> town that is not Jericho.  2) The have the right town, but all of the
> tumbled wall was used as building materials for constructing another wall
> and building homes.  3) After the walls tumbled, and the town was
> destroyed, it was rebuilt in another location keeping the same name.
> Whatever the case, there has to be a reconciliation.  Or are we to suppose
> that the bible could be wrong about so simple a thing?  If we can't trust
> the bible on so simple a thing as the destruction of Jericho, why should we
> believe the story of the parting of the Red Sea, or the story of Joshua
> stopping the sun in the sky, or the parting of the waters of Jordan, or
> manna falling from heaven?
> I consider it far more likely that archaeologist are wrong than it is that
> the scriptures are wrong.
> John W. Redelfs                       [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> ===========================================
> When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to
> ask is if they ever press charges. --Jack Handy
> ===========================================
> All my opinions are tentative pending further data. --JWR
> /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
> ///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
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> /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“The first duty of a university is to teach wisdom, not a trade; character, not
technicalities. We want a lot of engineers in the modern world, but we don’t want
a world of engineers.” – Sir Winston Churchill (1950)

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
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