Annie, I once read (I don't recall where) that RCC doctrine considers that there are four levels for interpreting the bible: the literal; the metaphorical; the allegorical; and the figurative. I never quite understood this. In particular, is the doctrine that each passage can be interpreted in all four ways or that the various passages can be parsed into four groups? I have also never seen definitions that clearly distinguish the last three options (as far as biblical interpretation goes). Are you familiar with this, and if so can you enlighten me/us as to what it means and where it came from?
Thank you. Still leaves a lot of confusion in my mind. Perhaps some examples as applied to specific passages would help if anyone cares to comment. Or perhaps this is dragging us off topic and should be picked up elsewhere. My interest in this goes well beyond the bible and to human discourse in general. For example, I've noticed that most threads in this forum tend to degenerate into name calling or "Why are you misrepresenting what I thought I was saying about what you were trying to assert...", etc. and I see that a lot of this stems from posters speaking from different contexts or levels of interpretations. Perhaps we need to refine our language with additional prefixes or suffixes to indicate mode as well as tense and person. Emoticons are a tiny step in that direction. (Another example: Do we really know if Bush meant 'weapons of mass distruction' literally, metaphorically, allegorically, or figuratively?)
This passage confuses me greatly. It says that anything we believe to be true (and is therefore an element of our 'wisdom') god believes to be false (because it is mere foolishness). If we accept that god really knows what's what with the universe he created and knows everything that is true and that it is true, and everything that is false and that it is false, then the quote says that everything we believe to be true is actually false. This passage seems to be one of those "This statement is false." type statements, for if we believe the bible, including this passage, to be literally true, then it (the bible and this passage) must be false. But this raises the question: Do you believe what I have just written to be true? Does Godel's incompleteness theorem apply to the bible and if so, what would that imply for theology and biblical exegesis?
Whether it makes sense is not relevant. What is relevant is what was intended in the biblical passage. I think most believe that in this instance foolishness means false. I agree that in other contexts it can have other meanings.
Am I reading this wrong, in taking the words 'wisdom' and 'foolishness' to mean quantities of knowledge rather than opposites?
From Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
Main Entry: foolÂ·ish Pronunciation: 'fÃ¼-lish Function: adjective 1 : lacking in sense, judgment, or discretion 2 a : ABSURD, RIDICULOUS b : marked by a loss of composure : NONPLUSSED 3 : INSIGNIFICANT, TRIFLING
The first definition applies to a person who is foolish, not to the foolishness of wisdom. The second definition seems to be pertinent here and says that something that is foolish is not just wrong, but is absurdly wrong. The third definition seems to agree with your interpretation. So it appears that we're both right, both wrong, both wise, and both foolish. Anyone know what the original language text said and its possible interpretations?
Confused in California (and probably a little foolish).
Why are you so stuck on your idea that foolishness must equal false? Its like you're TRYING to make the passage more confusing than it actually is.
If someone were to start a new topic thread with an opening post that began: "The theory of evolution is total foolishness....", would you conclude that this person believes the ToE to be valid, just limited to some extent in its compass? I would conclude that he is arguing that the theory is false.