Posted: Oct 10, 2010 4:11 am
by TimONeill
quas wrote:
TimONeill wrote:I would have thought it was perfectly clear that I've said precisely the opposite. Some other things, however, (the ressurection, the miracles of Jesus) have traditionally been taken literally. If you ask a Catholic theologian how they know which things are meant to be taken literally and which are to be interpreted in other ways they will explain that they are guided by "tradition".

You don't suppose you know why the tradition is so? Why is certain events interpreted literally, while others not?


Because to interpret everything in the Bible literally leads to having to believe things that are demonstrably not the case. If we know for a fact that the Earth is not flat, then interpreting passages that seem to say it is literally leads the interpreter to have to deny reality. Which is what Augustine was warning against. Even modern literalists can't be consistent in their literalism - confront them with the bits in the Bible that say or imply the sun goes around the earth and they'll tell you that these bits are poetic or symbolic or figurative. The early Church Fathers simply recognised this and applied it more widely than modern literalists.

As for why some things which are clearly absurd - like people walking on water or raising people from the dead - are interpreted figuratively when geocentric passages aren't, that seems to be because those things can be seen as single instance suspensions of normality - ie miracles.

And yes, I know that doesn't make much sense but it does make marginally more sense than outright literalism.