FACTOID # 22: South Dakota has the highest employment ratio in America, but the lowest median earnings of full-time male employees.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Biblical literalism

Biblical literalism is the supposed adherence to the explicit and literal sense of the Bible.[1] In its purest form such a belief would deny the existence of allegory, parable and metaphor in the Bible, however the phrase "biblical literalist" is often a term used (sometimes pejoratively) to refer to those who subscribe to biblical inerrancy. [2][3][4] This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress. ... Biblical inerrancy is the doctrinal position [1] that in its original form, the Bible is without error; referring to the complete accuracy of Scripture, including the historical and scientific parts. ...


In a sense, however, biblical literalism is not synonymous with biblical inerrancy. [5] Whereas inerrancy doctrine deals with the truthfulness of the author's intended message [6], biblical literalism deals with the interpretation of certain passages being literal.


The term has also be used to refer to historical grammatical method in Biblical hermeneutics which is a common practice of conservative Christians.[7] According to the Elwell Evangelical Dictionary, the term literalism describes a practice that "seeks to discover the author's intent by focusing upon his words in their plain, most obvious sense". [8] In this definition, a "literalist" reading of scripture would not take the literal interpretation of allegory, parable and metaphor in the Bible as seen for example in biblical poetry or the parables of Jesus.[8] Biblical Hermeneutics, part of the broader hermeneutical question, relates to the problem of how one is to understand Holy Scripture. ... Conservative Christianity, (also called Traditional Christianity) is a descriptive term applied to a number of Protestant and Roman Catholic groups or movements. ... This article is concerned with Biblical poetry, specifically poetry in the Hebrew Bible. ... The Parables of Jesus are a collection of parables told by Jesus that embody much of his teaching and are recorded in the four Gospels. ...

Contents

History

Biblical interpretations that were considered literalist have changed through history. For example: Saint Augustine, (4th century), claimed that the entire Bible should be interpreted as literally as possible, but his own interpretation of the book of Genesis was made in such a way that would be considered "allegorical" by many modern readers[9] (see Augustine's interpretation of Genesis). St. ... Genesis (Greek: Γένεσις, having the meanings of birth, creation, cause, beginning, source and origin) is the first book of the Torah (five books of Moses) and hence the first book of the Tanakh, part of the Hebrew Bible; it is also the first book of the Christian Old Testament. ... “Augustinus” redirects here. ...


In modern times the term has been used pejoratively. Hyers, professor of comparative religion at Gustavus Adolphus college in St. Peter, Minnesota criticized this as "a mentality [that] manifests itself [not] only in conservative churches, private-school enclaves, television programs of the evangelical right, and a considerable amount of Christian bookstore material; one often finds a literalist understanding of Bible and faith being assumed by those who have no religious inclinations, or who are avowedly antireligious in sentiment. Even in educated circles the possibility of more sophisticated theologies... is easily obscured by burning straw effigies of biblical literalism."[10] A straw man argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponents position. ...


Experts in the field such as Steve Falkenberg, Ph.D, professor of religious psychology, note, "I've never met anyone who actually believes the Bible is literally true. I know a bunch of people who say they believe the Bible is literally true but nobody is actually a literalist." [11] "Taken literally, the Bible says the earth is flat and setting on pillars and cannot move (1 Chr 16:30, Ps 93:1, Ps 96:10, 1 Sam 2:8, Job 9:6). It says that great sea monsters are set to guard the edge of the sea (Job 41, Ps 104:26)..."


Literalism, inerrancy and grammatical-historical

It is commonly taught in the most conservative Christian seminaries[12] that certain sections of the Bible should be interpreted as literal statements of the author and are not intended as parable. These include creation in Genesis, the flooding of the entire world in Genesis, the lifespans as enumerated by genealogies of Genesis, the historicity of the narrative accounts of Ancient Israel, the supernatural intervention of God in history, and Jesus' miracles [13][14] These views however do not contend the literalistic values that parables, metaphors and allegory are not existent in the Bible [15][16] but rather relies on contextual interpretations based on the author's intention. [17] The Christian Right, is a broad label applied to a number of political and religious movements with particularly conservative and right wing views. ... Creation according to Genesis refers to the description of the creation of the heavens and the earth by God, as described in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. ... The Deluge by Gustave Doré. The story of a Great Flood sent by a deity or deities to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution is a widespread theme in Greek and many other cultural myths. ... The genealogies of Genesis record the descendents of Adam and Eve as given in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. ... The Kingdom of Israel (Hebrew מַלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Standard Hebrew Malḫut Yisraʾel, Tiberian Hebrew Malḵûṯ Yiśrāʾēl) according to the Bible, was the nation... Look up Supernatural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... According to the canonical Gospels, Jesus worked many miracles in the course of his ministry. ...


As a part of Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy[6] conservative Christian scholarship affirms the following:


"WE AFFIRM the necessity of interpreting the Bible according to its literal, or normal, sense. The literal sense is the grammatical-historical sense, that is, the meaning which the writer expressed. Interpretation according to the literal sense will take account of all figures of speech and literary forms found in the text.


WE DENY the legitimacy of any approach to Scripture that attributes to it meaning which the literal sense does not support."


Noted inerrantist Norman Geisler in his commentary on the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics states: "The literal sense of Scripture is strongly affirmed here. To be sure the English word literal carries some problematic connotations with it. Hence the words normal and grammatical-historical are used to explain what is meant. The literal sense is also designated by the more descriptive title grammatical-historical sense. This means the correct interpretation is the one which discovers the meaning of the text in its grammatical forms and in the historical, cultural context in which the text is expressed." [18] Dr. Norman L. Geisler is a scholar, contributor to the field of Christian apologetics, and the author or coauthor of some sixty books defending the Christian faith. ...


References

  1. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Houghton Mifflin; 4 edition (September 14, 2000) defines literalism as "1. Adherence to the explicit sense of a given text or doctrine. 2. Literal portrayal; realism."
  2. ^ Gerald T. Sheppard "Future of the Bible: Beyond Liberalism and Literalism", United Church Pub House (June 1990)
  3. ^ George Regas "Take Another Look At Your Good Book". Los Angeles Times, February 3, 2000
  4. ^ Smith, Rev. R. A. "The Covenantal Kingdom" Christian Liberty Press (January 1996) ISBN 1-930092-23-7 [1]
  5. ^ Vanhoozer, Kevin "The Inerrancy of Scripture" Latimer House (1992) [2]
  6. ^ a b The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1997) [3]
  7. ^ Bartkowski, John "Beyond Biblical Literalism and Inerrancy: Conservative Protestants and the Hermeneutic Interpretation of Scripture'". Sociology of Religion, 57, 1996. [4]
  8. ^ a b Elwell, Walter A. "Elwell Evangelical Dictionary" Baker Publishing Group (May 1996) ISBN 0-8010-2049-2 [5]
  9. ^ http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Bible-Science/PSCF3-88Young.html
  10. ^ Hyers, Conrad "Biblical Literalism: Constricting the Cosmic Dance" Christian Century August 4-11, 1982, p. 823 [6]
  11. ^ http://www.newreformation.org/literalism.htm
  12. ^ http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/
  13. ^ http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/pages/resources/publications/knowingDoing/2004/Miracles.pdf#search=%22miracles%20C.S.Lewis%22
  14. ^ http://www.icr.org/pdf/imp/imp-395.pdf#search=%22Genesis%20Flood%20Whitcomb%22
  15. ^ http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/
  16. ^ Henry A Virkler (1981) Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation
  17. ^ http://www.bible-researcher.com/chicago2.html
  18. ^ http://www.bible-researcher.com/chicago2.html

See also

Biblical inerrancy is the doctrinal position [1] that in its original form, the Bible is without error; referring to the complete accuracy of Scripture, including the historical and scientific parts. ... Legalism, in Christian theology, is a term referring to an improper fixation on law or codes of conduct, or legal ideas, usually implying an allegation of pride and the neglect of mercy, and ignorance of the grace of God. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Biblical Hermeneutics, part of the broader hermeneutical question, relates to the problem of how one is to understand Holy Scripture. ... There is debate between science and the Bible, which usually involves how accurately the Bible describes the physical world when compared to contemporary scientific understanding. ...

Further reading


  Results from FactBites:
 
Reference.com/Encyclopedia/Biblical literalism (554 words)
Biblical literalism is not synonymous with biblical inerrancy.
It is commonly taught in the most conservative Christian seminaries that certain sections of the Bible should be interpreted as literal statements of the author and are not intended as parable.
The literal sense is the grammatical-historical sense, that is, the meaning which the writer expressed.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m