Kevin DeYoung has asked a similar question to mine about the historical Adam. Essentially his point is that in the genealogies of 1 Chronicles there is no indication from the author that part of the record is mythological or figurative while the rest is historical. You can check it out here.
Just another side note on this issue: after my first post on this a friend questioned whether or not the biblical narrative can be more than history. His question was, in other words, whether the biblical text does more than just relate historical events. My answer was of course yes – the Scriptures are the inspired interpretation of the historical events of God and his people. But that does not make them a- or un-historical. We can recognize both the historical veracity of the biblical record and the inspired interpretation that the Scriptures provide of those events. So when I say “there is no indication from the author that part of the record is mythological or figurative while the rest is historical,” I am not in any way intending to separate the biblical authors’ ability to both relate historical events accurately and interpret history in theologically meaningful ways, but am actually trying to argue that these two things are not separable in Scripture. One can recognize the Bible’s historical accuracy and its ability (or, even stronger, its intention) to interpret history at the same time.
6 thoughts on “Historical Adam 2.0”
Good stuff bro! I think you make a very important point about the interpretation of the historical events. The authors of scripture weren’t giving us a CNN news feed of the things going on, they weren’t leaving us their journals, and they weren’t even writing history in the same way Herodotus or Thucydides would. I like what you said about history and interpretation: these two things are not separable in Scripture..
The authors were giving us the inspired divine interpretation of reality.
So this brings up a questions: who do you think the biblical author’s intended audience was/is?
Great question. I’ve just finished four out of the five chapters of Hays’ Echoes of Scripture and one of his constant points is that Paul viewed the OT Scriptures as being written not only for the ANE audience but also for his own day. Hays compounds on that the idea that our day is included in the intended audience, and I’m prone to agree with him. Scripture speaks both to the “original” and “contemporary” audiences.
Its been a while since I read Hays, but are you familiar with Sailhamer’s “ideal reader?” I’m sure you are, but for the sake of those who aren’t he argues that scripture is written to the one who “meditates on it day and night.” An open ended audience, but one who takes its verbal meaning seriously. I like your Hays quotes in your most recent post about the role of the Spirit filled community.
So, doesn’t this kinda toss the two (or three) horizons idea to the wind?
Wes, I see what you are saying, but I don’t think it necessarily removes certain horizons but only expands the number of horizons available. Of course the question then is whether or not one needs to pay attention to past horizons while interpreting in the contemporary one, which I think is where you are going.
Matt, right! it multiplies horizons, and yet hermeneutics isn’t just the fusing of contemporary horizons with ancient ones, at least its not that simple.
Pingback: Elsewhere (06.17.2011) « Near Emmaus