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Old 10-02-2013, 10:10 AM   #11
semiopen
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Originally Posted by chrislee View Post
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I looked into the view of the early church fathers on Noah's flood a while ago. I didn't find anyone who didn't think it was actual event.

The idea that literalism is a recent phenomenon is a liberal proganda.
No, and it's nothing to do with being liberal either.

Once the Bible was the only source of "knowledge". It was taught as history and (after translation) was where children were taught to read because there was nothing else.

Literalism came in alongside fundamentalism as a reaction against Victorian modernity including advances in scientific understanding.
I guess everybody is entitled to their opinion, but there should be some kind of reference provided for statements like this, especially if one is challenged in expressing themselves in writing as the OP and chrislee seem to be.

If one googles biblical literalism victorian the following comes up.

How Biblical Literalism Took Root... Literally!

bilerico seems to be a LGBT site (dare we say liberal?).

Quote:
in defending or reclaiming the Bible from papists and then liberals, evangelical Protestants made it the very heart of the faith. Hence the ludicrous situation where many evangelical organisations, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, have statements of faith where the first point is the Bible, before any mention of, for example, God. Hence the celebrated idolatrous aphorism of William Chillingworth: “The BIBLE, I say, the BIBLE only, is the religion of Protestants!”.
I don't have a problem with the view that American Protestant biblical literalists are the scum of the earth, but I would hesitate to say that they invented the concept.
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:10 PM   #12
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In terms of modern categories, Ancient Christians were usually inerrantists, they believed that the Bible rightly interpreted was entirely true. They were generally not literalists in the sense of believing that the right interpretation of a Bible passage is almost always obvious. Literalism in this sense is a development within certain forms of Protestantism.

Andrew Criddle
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:18 PM   #13
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I think GakuseiDon is right. Christian attitudes to scripture started as Jewish ones. But already in the Hellenistic period, I believe (straining my memory here), there was an allegorising tendency to some of the Old Testament in Alexandria (possibly reflecting contemporary pagan tendencies towards Homer). So there are two attitudes already possible for the earliest converts to Christianity.

I believe that attitudes in the USA were perceptibly hardened during the 19th and 20th century by anti-Christian polemic in that period, and the general abandonment of the bible by the church establishments in the same period. But none of this happened in the UK to nearly the same extent, and so I think UK Christians probably don't feel obliged to specify precisely their attitudes on this issue in the same way. Both would take the view that the bible is true, as a guide to salvation. How far that could be pushed would depend on other factors.

All the best,

Roger Pearse
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:43 PM   #14
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As a doctrine, Biblical literalism is a modern phenomenon. As Andrew notes, some early Christians have been more literal than others. But most early educated Christians weren't "literalists" in the modern sense. The reason for this I suspect is that most educated Jewish writers weren't literalists, and Christians inherited that intellectual view of Scripture.
Your statement is utterly erroneous. Origen argued that God literally existed.

Origen argued that Jesus was literally born of a Holy Ghost.

Against Celsus 1
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let us see whether those who have blindly concocted these fables about the adultery of the Virgin with Panthera, and her rejection by the carpenter, did not invent these stories to overturn His miraculous conception by the Holy Ghost: for they could have falsified the history in a different manner, on account of its extremely miraculous character, and not have admitted, as it were against their will, that Jesus was born of no ordinary human marriage.

It was to be expected, indeed, that those who would not believe the miraculous birth of Jesus would invent some falsehood.
It is completely unacceptable for you mis-represent the writings attributed to Origen.

Origen was a pure literalist.

Examine the Preface to De Principiis

Quote:
4. The particular points clearly delivered in the teaching of the apostles are as follow:—

First, That there is one God, who created and arranged all things, and who, when nothing existed, called all things into being— God from the first creation and foundation of the world........

Secondly, That Jesus Christ Himself, who came (into the world), was born of the Father before all creatures; that, after He had been the servant of the Father in the creation of all things— “For by Him were all things made” — He in the last times, divesting Himself (of His glory), became a man, and was incarnate although God, and while made a man remained the God which He was; that He assumed a body like to our own, differing in this respect only, that it was born of a virgin and of the Holy Spirit: that this Jesus Christ was truly born, and did truly suffer, and did not endure this death common (to man) in appearance only, but did truly die; that He did truly rise from the dead; and that after His resurrection He conversed with His disciples, and was taken up (into heaven).
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:10 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Roger Pearse View Post
I think GakuseiDon is right. Christian attitudes to scripture started as Jewish ones. But already in the Hellenistic period, I believe (straining my memory here), there was an allegorising tendency to some of the Old Testament in Alexandria (possibly reflecting contemporary pagan tendencies towards Homer). So there are two attitudes already possible for the earliest converts to Christianity.

I believe that attitudes in the USA were perceptibly hardened during the 19th and 20th century by anti-Christian polemic in that period, and the general abandonment of the bible by the church establishments in the same period. But none of this happened in the UK to nearly the same extent, and so I think UK Christians probably don't feel obliged to specify precisely their attitudes on this issue in the same way. Both would take the view that the bible is true, as a guide to salvation. How far that could be pushed would depend on other factors.

All the best,

Roger Pearse
After my post yesterday, where I posted the LBGT link, I think the OP (perhaps unwittingly) is referring mostly to attitudes about homosexuality.

Homosexuality was less of a big deal in medieval (and presumably biblical) times than it was now. Anal intercourse between men was always forbidden but it was quite acceptable to fantasize about sexual situations between men.

Homosexuality_in_medieval_Europe

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In early Medieval years, homosexuality was given no particular penance; it was viewed like all the other sins. For example, during the eighth century, Pope Gregory III gave penances of 160 days for lesbian-like acts and usually one year for males who committed homosexual acts.[15] During the Inquisition itself, it is unlikely that people were brought up for homosexual behavior alone; it was usually for publicly challenging the Church's stance against homosexuality. Those who did not back down would be severely punished.
Lesbian relationships were less of an issue.

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Sexuality in the Middle Ages was male-centered and revolved around the idea that a man's penis was required to have fulfilling sexual activity.[20] The neglect of notice about lesbianism in the Middle Ages can stem from this belief and as long as a dildo or other penis-shaped object was not used in lesbian relationships, then the relationship was not considered fully sexual.[21]
It may be possible to make a case that the American Fundamentalist movement (or whatever it might be called) came down harder against homosexualism than other groups. It seems dubious, after all, homosexualism was not exactly accepted before Victorian times.

However, this is a case where attitudes today are more stringent (literal?) now than were seen in biblical times.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:43 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by andrewcriddle View Post
In terms of modern categories, Ancient Christians were usually inerrantists, they believed that the Bible rightly interpreted was entirely true. They were generally not literalists in the sense of believing that the right interpretation of a Bible passage is almost always obvious. Literalism in this sense is a development within certain forms of Protestantism.

Andrew Criddle
It may be the case that I did not use the correct terms, but I see literalism used to denote the idea that the stories in the OT are historical facts. If that's still too fuzzy, use Noah's flood as an example. Some liberal Christians keep making the claim that the idea of an actual, literal worldwide flood survived by only those in Noah's ark is a new phenomenon in Christianity, that it appeared as a backlash against the Enlightenment and therefore, presumably, the average Christian before, say, 1700 would not have denounced time-traveler-me to the authorities as an atheist if I told him I don't believe Noah's flood actually happened.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:54 AM   #17
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After my post yesterday, where I posted the LBGT link, I think the OP (perhaps unwittingly) is referring mostly to attitudes about homosexuality.
Did not even cross my mind. I was coming from the angle of YEC contradicting science, especially geology and evolutionary theory, and how some people claim that this is some new phenomenon, and that medieval Christian peasants did not think Noah's flood was literally true.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:00 AM   #18
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Don't forget the Flynn effect.

The mind of people 500, 1000 or 2000 years ago must seem to us murkier, clumsier and concrete than the minds of people today. Even the most powerful minds of ancient times made gross mistakes difficult to believe today, not only because of IQ but because communication among people was very difficult and infrequent, and also criticizing was seen as dangerous crime against society and the State. You did not have many people around you to touchstone your thoughts.

This is a nice explanation of what I mean:




So don't think it strange people centuries before ours were not able to distinguish badly concocted, self-contradicting fiction from "fact", and that they could truly believe in texts they may not have taken literally, with the fanaticism of a literalist.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:38 AM   #19
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So don't think it strange people centuries before ours were not able to distinguish badly concocted, self-contradicting fiction from "fact", and that they could truly believe in texts they may not have taken literally, with the fanaticism of a literalist.
People of antiquity were able to distinguish fact from fiction. Archaeological finds and artifacts prove that ancient writers did know and systematically documented facts.

The writings of many ancient writers have been fundamentally corroborated.

However, It is generally found that Belief in Gods was based on Mythological fables, even today. Essentially, it is known and accepted universally that Religion is "fiction" based.

Please read Lucian's "True History"

See http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/luci...l#introduction

Lucian's True History
Quote:
When I come across a writer of this sort, I do not much mind his lying; the practice is much too well established for that, even with professed philosophers; I am only surprised at his expecting to escape detection.

Now I am myself vain enough to cherish the hope of bequeathing something to posterity; I see no reason for resigning my right to that inventive freedom which others enjoy; and, as I have no truth to put on record, having lived a very humdrum life, I fall back on falsehood — but falsehood of a more consistent variety; for I now make the only true statement you are to expect — that I am a liar.

This confession is, I consider, a full defence against all imputations.

My subject is, then, what I have neither seen, experienced, nor been told, what neither exists nor could conceivably do so.

I humbly solicit my readers’ incredulity.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:19 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by andrewcriddle View Post
In terms of modern categories, Ancient Christians were usually inerrantists, they believed that the Bible rightly interpreted was entirely true. They were generally not literalists in the sense of believing that the right interpretation of a Bible passage is almost always obvious. Literalism in this sense is a development within certain forms of Protestantism.

Andrew Criddle
It may be the case that I did not use the correct terms, but I see literalism used to denote the idea that the stories in the OT are historical facts. If that's still too fuzzy, use Noah's flood as an example. Some liberal Christians keep making the claim that the idea of an actual, literal worldwide flood survived by only those in Noah's ark is a new phenomenon in Christianity, that it appeared as a backlash against the Enlightenment and therefore, presumably, the average Christian before, say, 1700 would not have denounced time-traveler-me to the authorities as an atheist if I told him I don't believe Noah's flood actually happened.
That's how I understood you Barbarian. I've also heard this claim (which is a piece of liberal Christian propaganda), and that's why I looked into what the early church fathers said about Noah's flood. All of the ones I saw comment on the issue believed in an actual flood. And it's not confined to Christians, Jews like Philo and Josephus believed in an actual flood.

And you might also point them to 2Pet 2:5
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if [god] did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;...
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