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Author Topic: Ten Reasons Why the Bible Is Literature  (Read 795 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 13, 2013, 06:39:07 AM »

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Eye rolls, sighs, outraged anger, and accusations of blasphemy are common reactions to the refrain “the Bible is Literature”. Such responses are based on a heady combination of perceptions of the Bible as a sacred text and literature as an art form. It does seems a little churlish though, to claim the Bible is not literature, assuming one accepts the premise that literature tells a good story, has beautiful phrasing of language, depth of meaning, invokes an emotional response, and offers insight into the human condition. Take the following as examples …

http://interestingliterature.com/2013/11/06/guest-blog-ten-reasons-why-the-bible-is-literature/
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 06:54:42 AM »

"The Bible is just literature" would be a problematic/blasphemous thesis.
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 06:55:45 AM »

Absolutely, The Bible is beautiful literature, art. It is also science at the same time. Art and science together are probably the recipe for perfection. Unfortunately, I don't have 10 reasons why it is good science, but I have 1 reason in an article on my blog:

http://romanianorthodoxyinenglish.blogspot.ro/2013/10/if-bible-was-not-masterpiece-of-holy.html
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2013, 08:06:07 AM »

"The Bible is just literature" would be a problematic/blasphemous thesis.

I would agree with this.  It is neither a science book, art book, or an instruction book.  Yet, it has elements of each.
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2013, 08:40:00 AM »

"The Bible is just literature" would be a problematic/blasphemous thesis.

I would agree with this.  It is neither a science book, art book, or an instruction book.  Yet, it has elements of each.

Religion is both art and science, else it is garbage and stupidity. Sure, religion is the art and science of God, it is not that art and science is necessarily religion.
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2013, 09:08:46 AM »

Religion is both art and science, else it is garbage and stupidity.

Why can't it be its own thing?

Science has come a long way since Antiquity. Many use the term indiscriminately to refer to humanities (Geisteswissenschaften), the "liberal arts" and what Germans call Naturwissenschaften (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) or mathematics. Philosophy, for instance, is not science.

Does religion use the experimental method to verify its claims? Is it restricted to the empirical sphere? Are the theories it operates with falsifiable and periodically replaced by new ones? If you call it a science, how come tradition, beliefs and dogmas play such a significant role?

IMO the worst thing that could happen to a religion is for it to be turned into pseudo-science. See scholasticism or scientology...     
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 09:10:45 AM »

"The Bible is just literature" would be a problematic/blasphemous thesis.

The problem, on either side of the divide, is created by people who equate literature with fiction.
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 09:27:41 AM »

Religion is both art and science, else it is garbage and stupidity.

Why can't it be its own thing?

Science has come a long way since Antiquity. Nowadays, you can't use the term indiscriminately to refer to humanities (Geisteswissenschaften), the "liberal arts" and what Germans call Naturwissenschaften (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) or mathematics. Philosophy, for instance, is not science.

Does "religion" use the experimental method to verify its claims? Is it restricted to the empirical sphere? Are the theories it operates with falsifiable and periodically replaced by new ones? If you call it a science, how come tradition, beliefs and dogmas play such a significant role?

IMO the worst thing that could happen to a religion is for it to be turned into pseudo-science. See scholasticism or scientology...    

Well, I prefer not to mix religion with spirituality, even though the two are absolutely related. Spirituality has to do with feelings, love, which indeed is of a transcendent nature and it simply is what it is, or it simply is or isn't. Religion has to do with giving spirituality a shape, a beauty (art) and logic (science). Spirituality has to do with raw feelings, while religion with perfection. Religion must be beautiful and scientifically verifiable as everything that God does and makes up life. I mean we look at creation and we see God's perfect art and science. And, so it should be with inner, spiritual life -- it must have a transcendent beauty and a logic.
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2013, 09:39:46 AM »

Well, I prefer not to mix religion with spirituality, even though the two are absolutely related. Spirituality has to do with feelings, love, which indeed is of a transcendent nature and it simply is what it is, or it simply is or isn't. Religion has to do with giving spirituality a shape, a beauty (art) and logic (science). Spirituality has to do with raw feelings, while religion with perfection.


Spirituality (pneumatikoteta/duhovnicie), in the Orthodox understanding, is the art of spiritual fatherhood and discipleship - (re)forming man in the image of God and healing his passions. All the mystical syncretistic crap that moderns usually understand by that term is alien to Orthodoxy. 

Religion must be beautiful and scientifically verifiable as everything that God does and makes up life.

I don't see that necessity. Religion can and does have many ugly aspects, reflecting the sinfulness and fallen character of those who practice it. As for "scientifically verifiable", that would mean that science is superior and must censure it. Science does have its inherent limits.
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2013, 09:47:53 AM »

Curious what IoanC considers as science.

Romaios seems to be right on this subject. It should be its own thing.
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2013, 09:50:04 AM »

Fatherhood/discipleship has to do with what spirituality may imply.  But there is also Pnevmatology which has to do with The Holy Spirit directly working upon man, His Grace, the union with him through love (theosis).  

God is love; no crap, but the defining aspect of Him. That's spirituality. Also, think of the love/eros between the husband and the wife, The Songs of Songs, and The Bridegroom and The Bride theme in the Bible.

In the other part, it seems that you still assume that science means human technology and ideology, instead of reason, rationality, order, etc.

Well, I prefer not to mix religion with spirituality, even though the two are absolutely related. Spirituality has to do with feelings, love, which indeed is of a transcendent nature and it simply is what it is, or it simply is or isn't. Religion has to do with giving spirituality a shape, a beauty (art) and logic (science). Spirituality has to do with raw feelings, while religion with perfection.


Spirituality (pneumatikoteta/duhovnicie), in the Orthodox understanding, is the art of spiritual fatherhood and discipleship - regenerating man in the image of God and healing his passions. All the mystical syncretistic crap that moderns usually understand by that term is alien to Orthodoxy.  

Religion must be beautiful and scientifically verifiable as everything that God does and makes up life.

I don't see that necessity. Religion can and does have many ugly aspects, reflecting the sinfulness and fallen character of those who practice it. As for "scientifically verifiable", that would mean that science is superior and must censure it. Science does have its limits.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 09:51:49 AM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 09:57:32 AM »

Quote
Eye rolls, sighs, outraged anger, and accusations of blasphemy are common reactions to the refrain “the Bible is Literature”. Such responses are based on a heady combination of perceptions of the Bible as a sacred text and literature as an art form. It does seems a little churlish though, to claim the Bible is not literature, assuming one accepts the premise that literature tells a good story, has beautiful phrasing of language, depth of meaning, invokes an emotional response, and offers insight into the human condition. Take the following as examples …

http://interestingliterature.com/2013/11/06/guest-blog-ten-reasons-why-the-bible-is-literature/
How do you define literature?
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« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2013, 10:12:45 AM »

Fatherhood/discipleship has to do with what spirituality may imply.  But there is also Pnevmatology which has to do with The Holy Spirit directly working upon man, His Grace, the union with him through love (theosis).

Pneumatology as a subdivision of systematic theology is a late (Western) invention. I'm not contesting it, but in the Christian East pneumatikos is the spiritual father and pneumatikoteta - his very concrete craft.      

God is love; no crap, but the defining aspect of Him. That's spirituality. Also, think of the love/eros between the husband and the wife, The Songs of Songs, and The Bridegroom and The Bride theme in the Bible.

Emotional spirituality is a bit of an oxymoron from the Orthodox p.o.v. Surely, the craft of the spiritual father should be holistic and deal with all the aspects of human life. But the Kama sutra would not be Orthodox spirituality. 

In the other part, it seems that you still assume that science means human technology and ideology, instead of reason, rationality, order, etc.

I assure you I don't. Ideology would not be scientific - religious or political, more likely. Scientific theories fail if they become doctrines or dogmas. Technology is applied science. Let's not lump things together - it's neither rational nor reasonable to do so. 
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« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2013, 10:15:59 AM »

Quote
Eye rolls, sighs, outraged anger, and accusations of blasphemy are common reactions to the refrain “the Bible is Literature”. Such responses are based on a heady combination of perceptions of the Bible as a sacred text and literature as an art form. It does seems a little churlish though, to claim the Bible is not literature, assuming one accepts the premise that literature tells a good story, has beautiful phrasing of language, depth of meaning, invokes an emotional response, and offers insight into the human condition. Take the following as examples …

http://interestingliterature.com/2013/11/06/guest-blog-ten-reasons-why-the-bible-is-literature/
How do you define literature?

The art of the (written) word, from the Greek λογοτεχνία. Smiley

The English word, however, derives from the Latin litterae ('things made of letters'), which could include shopping lists and text messages. There is such a thing as 'too inclusive'.
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« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2013, 10:39:08 AM »

We disagree a lot. God is immaterial spirit who is Love which implies a divine eros between "Him" and man. I used quotations because God is not actually a He, but a spirit, a power who has the role of a father. We should put aside earthly conceptions of Him and/or limit Him to an insipid morality, as Fr. Raphael Noica would put it. But, this is a theological problem. I can't convince you of it; nobody can, except yourself. Otherwise, we will keep saying that theology is not important back and forth forever. Fr. Dumitru Staniloae should be a good reference for the theology that I've been mentioning. If he is not good enough, then again, we can pick and choose what we like forever. Yes, this is a matter of what we like, what we choose. We are all subjective and free. It is pointless to keep saying that "this is Orthodoxy, not that" when in fact we only know a little bit of it and it's the one bit that we prefer and/or know to seek. I would let God leads us to His truth and stop trying to force the infinite into a little right&wrong world-view.

P.S. I never said that God practices Kama Sutra on people and that He is immoral. Smiley

Fatherhood/discipleship has to do with what spirituality may imply.  But there is also Pnevmatology which has to do with The Holy Spirit directly working upon man, His Grace, the union with him through love (theosis).

Pneumatology as a subdivision of systematic theology is a late (Western) invention. I'm not contesting it, but in the Christian East pneumatikos is the spiritual father and pneumatikoteta - his very concrete craft.      

God is love; no crap, but the defining aspect of Him. That's spirituality. Also, think of the love/eros between the husband and the wife, The Songs of Songs, and The Bridegroom and The Bride theme in the Bible.

Emotional spirituality is a bit of an oxymoron from the Orthodox p.o.v. Surely, the craft of the spiritual father should be holistic and deal with all the aspects of human life. But the Kama sutra would not be Orthodox spirituality.  

In the other part, it seems that you still assume that science means human technology and ideology, instead of reason, rationality, order, etc.

I assure you I don't. Ideology would not be scientific - religious or political, more likely. Scientific theories fail if they become doctrines or dogmas. Technology is applied science. Let's not lump things together - it's neither rational nor reasonable to do so.  
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 10:42:07 AM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2013, 10:42:57 AM »

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Eye rolls, sighs, outraged anger, and accusations of blasphemy are common reactions to the refrain “the Bible is Literature”. Such responses are based on a heady combination of perceptions of the Bible as a sacred text and literature as an art form. It does seems a little churlish though, to claim the Bible is not literature, assuming one accepts the premise that literature tells a good story, has beautiful phrasing of language, depth of meaning, invokes an emotional response, and offers insight into the human condition. Take the following as examples …

http://interestingliterature.com/2013/11/06/guest-blog-ten-reasons-why-the-bible-is-literature/
How do you define literature?

The art of the (written) word, from the Greek λογοτεχνία. Smiley

The English word, however, derives from the Latin litterae ('things made of letters'), which could include shopping lists and text messages. There is such a thing as 'too inclusive'.
O.K.  Then I would say that the Bible is at the minimum literature, and can be read and studied as literature, but it goes beyond literature.
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« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2013, 10:48:26 AM »

The Bible is obviously literature. Some of the oldest we have. That doesn't mean it's not God-breathed. In the same manner Christ is God and man. The Bible is a product of the mind of God and the mind of man.

Quote from: Proverbs 3:14-19
13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
    those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
    and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.
19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
    by understanding he set the heavens in place;
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« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2013, 10:48:56 AM »

The Greek of the New Testament is far from impressive. I don't think that contemporaries would have been very impressed by its literary quality, but they were impressed by its message.
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« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2013, 11:31:07 AM »

It is pointless to keep saying that "this is Orthodoxy, not that" when in fact we only know a little bit of it and it's the one bit that we prefer and/or know to seek. I would let God leads us to His truth and stop trying to force the infinite into a little right&wrong world-view.

I'm sorry, but you keep on muddling things. You seem to want to turn this into an apophatic discussion about metaphysics.

God has nothing against keeping this world-view of ours clear and grasping as much of His creation as possible. That's what science is for. Spiritual contemplation of God and the unseen world is a different matter. They aren't mutually exclusive, but should be well distinguished.     
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« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2013, 12:34:57 PM »

It is pointless to keep saying that "this is Orthodoxy, not that" when in fact we only know a little bit of it and it's the one bit that we prefer and/or know to seek. I would let God leads us to His truth and stop trying to force the infinite into a little right&wrong world-view.

I'm sorry, but you keep on muddling things. You seem to want to turn this into an apophatic discussion about metaphysics.

God has nothing against keeping this world-view of ours clear and grasping as much of His creation as possible. That's what science is for. Spiritual contemplation of God and the unseen world is a different matter. They aren't mutually exclusive, but should be well distinguished.      

I agree. But you can only keep it clear in as much as you are working with the right and complete knowledge. If you have wrong and incomplete knowledge, then your clarity will lead you in all sorts of false directions. Hence, knowledge and experience go hand in hand. It is at the point of knowledge that I find that our views start to diverge, but it's not a real separation, but a perceived one because in reality we are working with very different sets of information, yet appear to be drawing the same concrete conclusions.
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« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2013, 12:37:36 PM »

It is pointless to keep saying that "this is Orthodoxy, not that" when in fact we only know a little bit of it and it's the one bit that we prefer and/or know to seek. I would let God leads us to His truth and stop trying to force the infinite into a little right&wrong world-view.

I'm sorry, but you keep on muddling things. You seem to want to turn this into an apophatic discussion about metaphysics.

God has nothing against keeping this world-view of ours clear and grasping as much of His creation as possible. That's what science is for. Spiritual contemplation of God and the unseen world is a different matter. They aren't mutually exclusive, but should be well distinguished.      

I agree. But you can only keep it clear in as much as you are working with the right and complete knowledge. If you have wrong and incomplete knowledge, then your clarity will lead you in all sorts of false directions. Hence, knowledge and experience go hand in hand. It is at the point of knowledge that I find that our views start to diverge, but it's not a real separation, but a perceived one because in reality we are working with very different sets of information, yet appear to be drawing the same concrete conclusions.

Also, another thing is that only God can leads us to His divine knowledge. That's why none of us can be a full and definitive source of anything. At best, we can indicate good reference points and levels.
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« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2013, 01:02:36 PM »

But the Kama sutra would not be Orthodox spirituality. 

Oh come on!  Kama sutra predates the Chalcedonian schism; therefore, it's part of the patrimony of the undivided Church. 
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« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2013, 01:08:40 PM »

But the Kama sutra would not be Orthodox spirituality. 

Oh come on!  Kama sutra predates the Chalcedonian schism; therefore, it's part of the patrimony of the undivided Church. 

Just like Mother Earth, I suppose.  Wink

I remember Whoopi Goldberg impersonating an Indian and calling it "our sacred book of love". Youtube won't help me find it, though...
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« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2013, 01:13:39 PM »

But the Kama sutra would not be Orthodox spirituality. 

Oh come on!  Kama sutra predates the Chalcedonian schism; therefore, it's part of the patrimony of the undivided Church. 

Just like Mother Earth, I suppose.  Wink

I remember Whoopi Goldberg impersonating an Indian and calling it "our sacred book of love". Youtube won't help me find it, though...

You trying to force me to become a eunuch?
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« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2013, 01:28:10 PM »

Religion is both art and science, else it is garbage and stupidity.

Why can't it be its own thing?

Science has come a long way since Antiquity. Many use the term indiscriminately to refer to humanities (Geisteswissenschaften), the "liberal arts" and what Germans call Naturwissenschaften (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) or mathematics. Philosophy, for instance, is not science.

Does religion use the experimental method to verify its claims? Is it restricted to the empirical sphere? Are the theories it operates with falsifiable and periodically replaced by new ones? If you call it a science, how come tradition, beliefs and dogmas play such a significant role?

IMO the worst thing that could happen to a religion is for it to be turned into pseudo-science. See scholasticism or scientology...     

We can sink his claim in one blow by pointing out that religion is a heq of a lot older than science.
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« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2013, 01:32:00 PM »

The Greek of the New Testament is far from impressive. I don't think that contemporaries would have been very impressed by its literary quality, but they were impressed by its message.

Far from impressive from what standpoint? It's not the kind of prolix blithering that Greek fanatics think is so interesting?

And what about the OT?
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« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2013, 06:43:20 PM »

I remember Whoopi Goldberg impersonating an Indian and calling it "our sacred book of love". Youtube won't help me find it, though...

You trying to force me to become a eunuch?

For Whoopi's sake or that of the Kingdom?  laugh

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« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2013, 06:50:12 PM »

I remember Whoopi Goldberg impersonating an Indian and calling it "our sacred book of love". Youtube won't help me find it, though...

You trying to force me to become a eunuch?

For Whoopi's sake or that of the Kingdom?  laugh


LOL.
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« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2013, 02:33:51 PM »

Quote
How do you define literature?

How do you define "define" ?
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