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Author Topic:   Hyperbole in the Bible
PaulK
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Message 3 of 124 (639486)
11-01-2011 2:52 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by purpledawn
10-31-2011 8:08 AM


The obvious question is what makes you think that the Flood story is basically a historical story with elements of hyperbole rather than a myth ?

The creation of the rainbow (Genesis 9:13-14), for instance, is an obvious mythic element.

Indeed why should we be looking at the bible at all for that question, when the Bible story is derived from an older Mesopotamian story ? Shouldn't we go back to the oldest versions of the story we can find ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by purpledawn, posted 10-31-2011 8:08 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by purpledawn, posted 11-01-2011 6:36 AM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
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Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 9 of 124 (639533)
11-01-2011 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by purpledawn
11-01-2011 6:36 AM


According to the OP:


So can we look at the writings with a fresh eye and read the Bible stories like any other book or have we been to tainted by exposure?

This thread is not about what Christianity teaches. It is about what the text says with as little bias from either side as possible.

Why should the flood story be excluded from that simply because you decide that it is a hyperbolic description of a real event ? How we interpret it does depend on the nature of the story.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by purpledawn, posted 11-01-2011 6:36 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Adminnemooseus, posted 11-02-2011 10:35 PM PaulK has not yet responded
 Message 14 by purpledawn, posted 11-03-2011 4:06 AM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
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Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 15 of 124 (639749)
11-03-2011 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by purpledawn
11-03-2011 4:06 AM


Re: Hyperbole in the Bible
quote:

Debating hyperbole within the flood story hasn't been excluded.

Moose seems to think otherwise.

quote:

Debating whether the flood story as a whole is a myth or real event is excluded, which is the point of Message 4.

It shouldn't be, because if we want to do any sort of literary analysis, genre has to be considered.

quote:

Hyperbole within a story doesn't automatically make it fiction. Read Message 12.

Of course, I never said that it did, so this is just a strawman,

quote:

Show the hyperbole in the flood story or if you don't believe there is hyperbole in the flood story, explain why you don't feel the story contains hyperbole.

Rather YOU should support your claim that the flood story is hyperbolic.

quote:

If you need to know whether the story is actually fact or fiction before discussing hyperbole, then you're out of luck in this thread.

Of course it is the question of genre, not a fact/fiction divide that is relevant. But if you think that you can show that it contains hyperbole without taking that consideration into account, go ahead.

{"Flood" opinion withdrawn if not changed. See here. - Adminnemooseus}

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : See red above.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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PaulK
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Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 17 of 124 (639769)
11-03-2011 6:27 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by purpledawn
11-03-2011 6:13 PM


Re: Hyperbole in the Bible
quote:

Noah was 600 years old.

On what basis do you conclude that that is hyperbole ? Given the number of differing implausible ages in the pre-Flood patriarchs is it not likely that this is a mythic/legendary element ?

quote:

All mankind's thoughts were only evil continually.

That seems to be a simplified and not entirely accurate paraphrase:


Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

(Genesis 6:5, NASB)

So, it seems that you can only come up with two incidental details - and one of them requires the very consideration of genre that you want to rule out as irrelevant (and with that consideration it is likely that your assessment is wrong !).

I think that my point is made.


This message is a reply to:
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 Message 18 by purpledawn, posted 11-03-2011 6:58 PM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
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Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 19 of 124 (639775)
11-03-2011 7:12 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by purpledawn
11-03-2011 6:58 PM


Re: Hyperbole in the Bible
quote:

Per Friedman's Documentary Hypothesis, the Redactor put in the exaggerated ages. If you feel that it is not hyperbole, then make your case.

Remember that it is you who insists that this is hyperbole, so it is for you to make the case. If all you have is a "suggestion" that the great ages were assigned to "fill up" the periods that the authors knew to have passed - without any evidence offered - I don't see much of a case. Why can it not be, for instance, a "Golden Age" view, where the distant past was far better than the present day, a view reflected in the stories told, and people simply lived longer ?

quote:

I have no idea what your point is concerning hyperbole

My point is simple. Simply assuming that the Bible is basically an accurate historical text and that anything that seems obviously exaggerated is hyperbole is a crude approach, which seems driven by apologetic considerations rather than any serious attempt to understand the text.


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PaulK
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Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 21 of 124 (639808)
11-04-2011 3:03 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by purpledawn
11-03-2011 8:18 PM


Re: Hyperbole in the Bible
quote:

You seem to be creating an absolute position for me that I didn't present.

On the contrary, in the OP you claimed:


The flood story is a good example of exaggeration with the use of the words everything and all.

The fact that you are refusing to support this assertion doesn't mean that you never made it.

quote:

I didn't insist the ages were hyperbole.

I didn't see any indication of uncertainty when you presented it as an example of hyperbole. The more so since you chose it as (presumably) one of the two clearest examples of hyperbole in the entire story!

quote:

People do not live to be 600 years old.

In reality, no. But this is why we must consider genre. Yet, you presented it as a definite example of hyperbole that could be identified without considering genre (Message 16)

quote:

It is an exaggeration to fill in a gap. If the redactor added the ages, they weren't part of the older story and looking at the legends of the same story, the ages didn't continue. He exaggerated the ages for a reason or affect. Why woulldn't that be a hyperbole.

I've already presented one alternative. But filling a gap is not the same as hyperbole, and even that is only a suggestion. We can say that the ages are not a standard figure used as an exaggeration (e.g. "He's, like, a hundred years old!") or even schematic ages like the 40 year periods in Moses' life, so simple hyperbole is not the explanation. We can see that we are dealing with mythical or legendary figures so that we cannot trust the constraints of reality to apply. We can see that the age is not unique to Noah and applies to many patriarchs before and after the Flood - admittedly diminishing after the Flood, but still continuing. The "filling in gaps" explanation has more merit than simply assuming hyperbole, but it still seems to be a strange thing to do.

quote:

That's why I'm confused. I haven't assumed any of the stories are basically accurate historical texts.

Yet you assume that Noah's age is hyperbole simply because in reality Noah could not be that old. You described the extent of the Flood as a definite example of hyperbole without giving any better reason. You don't want to consider the possibility that the stories are myth or legend or even fiction.

quote:

Hyperbole is commonly used in fiction, drama, poetry, and common speech.

Which is not a position I am arguing against. However we cannot use the fact that many genres use hyperbole to jump to the conclusion that we cannot consider genre when identifying hyperbole. Noahs's age is a clear example of this.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


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 Message 20 by purpledawn, posted 11-03-2011 8:18 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 23 of 124 (639818)
11-04-2011 8:50 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by purpledawn
11-04-2011 7:24 AM


Re: Hyperbole in the Bible
quote:

Was that so difficult? You present why you disagree and I can decide whether to rethink my position

The difficulty is in getting you to recognise that this is not a one-sided duty that applies to me and not to you. The fact that your attempts to support one of your new assertions was hopelessly bad and easily refuted does not in any way excuse you from the need to provide support for your original assertion. Which you have been evading throughout this discussion.

quote:

Again you are incorrect. I don't want this thread to be about proving (notice the word proving) that the stories are fact or fiction. Do you understand yet?

I understand that your objection was wrong. I never said anything about proving the story to be fact or fiction at all, all I asked you to do was to support the assumptions underlying your assessment of the text as hyperbolic in the OP. Which you refused to do, and still refuse to do. There is no real doubt that the story as we have it now is largely fiction anyway - a combination of two differing stories, both derived from older sources, which are more different still. So it seems that the objection is thoroughly bogus - and served to shut down a discussion you obviously want to avoid.

quote:

IMO, it doesn't matter when it comes to hyperbole.

It's already been proven that my actual concern for genre DOES matter, so your opinion is either wrong or completely irrelevant.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by purpledawn, posted 11-04-2011 7:24 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
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PaulK
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Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 31 of 124 (639878)
11-04-2011 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by purpledawn
11-04-2011 9:58 AM


Re: I'm Clueless
What I'd really like is for you to live up to your own words.

I'd like you to explain WHY you feel that your examples of hyperbole really are hyperbole.

I'd like you to give fair consideration to the context, to genre and to the history of the Bible stories when trying to identify hyperbole.

I'd like you to stop being evasive - if you can't support your original claim just admit it rather than trying to introduce different claims as you did in Message 16

I'd like you to be less quick to shut off discussion just because you haven't even considered basic issues as you did in Message 4

All this really adds up to no more than should be expected in genuine, honest, thoughtful discussion of the matter. Is that really too much to ask of you ?


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 Message 24 by purpledawn, posted 11-04-2011 9:58 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by purpledawn, posted 11-04-2011 6:14 PM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 34 of 124 (639903)
11-04-2011 6:36 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by purpledawn
11-04-2011 6:14 PM


Re: Why Hyperbole
quote:
Message 1: When we read the words all, everything, and forever; we are probably looking at hyperbole. We do the same thing today to express a large number or long period of time.
The flood story is a good example of exaggeration with the use of the words everything and all.

Or we could be looking at a myth, where some or all of those statements are intended to be accepted as literal within the context of the story.

All you are doing is repeating your assertion, and yet again refusing to even consider the possibility that the Flood story is a myth.

In the OP you said:


So can we look at the writings with a fresh eye and read the Bible stories like any other book or have we been to tainted by exposure?

This thread is not about what Christianity teaches. It is about what the text says with as little bias from either side as possible.

Well you obviously can't look at the writings with anything like a fresh eye (in fact you're hardly looking at them at all), nor can you let go of of your bias.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by purpledawn, posted 11-04-2011 6:14 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by purpledawn, posted 11-04-2011 7:30 PM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
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Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 39 of 124 (639947)
11-05-2011 4:57 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by purpledawn
11-04-2011 7:30 PM


Re: Why Hyperbole
quote:

Myths can also contain hyperbole.

Which is the reason I said "some or all".

quote:

Classifying a story as a myth doesn't automatically mean the storyteller didn't use any literary devices.

And I never said otherwise. Now are you going to actually deal with my point, or just continue wasting time ?

quote:

So what tells us to take something at face value or to understand it as a literary device?


So what you're saying is that you're incapable of making this determination yourself? That your repeated evasion is because you didn't want to admit to this limitation? If you'll pardon me from saying so, that's a pretty poor state of affairs.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by purpledawn, posted 11-04-2011 7:30 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by purpledawn, posted 11-06-2011 2:53 AM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
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Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 45 of 124 (640001)
11-06-2011 1:46 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by purpledawn
11-06-2011 2:53 AM


Re: Still Clueless
The basic point is that in myths, "everything" statements can be intended literally. Therefore your argument implicitly assumes that the Flood story is not a myth. How do you deal with this issue ?

It really isn't difficult.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by purpledawn, posted 11-06-2011 2:53 AM purpledawn has acknowledged this reply

    
PaulK
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Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 55 of 124 (640317)
11-08-2011 2:12 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by purpledawn
11-08-2011 8:47 AM


Re: Identifying Hyperbole
quote:

We aren't comparing myths or fiction to reality. We are comparing the wording used in the sentence to convey the image to the audience, to reality.

What precisely is the difference ? Didn't the wording of the claim that Noah was 600 years old when the Flood began, convince you that it was hyperbole ? Because it did not match reality ?

Isn't it true that you need to consider genre and context as well as the wording of individual statements ?

quote:

Declaring a story to be myth or fiction does not mean there are no hyperbolic statements in the story.

And nobody has said otherwise.

quote:

I have provided plenty of links in this thread supporting the various shades of hyperbole and that hyperbole can be found in many genres. I have yet to see any outside support for the mystifying statements of my opposition.

Really, what's mystifying about the idea that things that are impossible in reality could happen in a myth ? If the Greek myths say that Herakles was the strongest man ever, that's not hyperbole, it's a feature of the myth.

You won't find anyone supporting the idea that there can't be hyperbole in a myth because nobody said it. It's just a strawman that you seem to be fixed on.

And why doesn't the point that Noah's age was NOT hyperbole count as support my central point better than anything you have produced for your central claims ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by purpledawn, posted 11-08-2011 8:47 AM purpledawn has acknowledged this reply

    
PaulK
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Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 61 of 124 (640474)
11-10-2011 2:01 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by purpledawn
11-09-2011 4:19 PM


Re: Context
quote:

Actually I don't feel that anyone has. The issue with Noah's age, which I yielded on, is an odd situation due to possibly being a later addition.

That's odd. It was the many greater ages in Genesis 5 - none of which shows the signs of simple hyperbole - that convinced you. That IS context. (And I would note that the "late addition" criterion is also not part of "comparing the statement against reality" - and doesn't seem to make much sense either).

Do you also feel that all the ages of Genesis 5 are late additions ? What stops you from viewing them as hyperbole ? The statements, compared to reality, appear to be extremely exaggerated.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


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 Message 59 by purpledawn, posted 11-09-2011 4:19 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by purpledawn, posted 11-10-2011 6:02 AM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 66 of 124 (640488)
11-10-2011 7:57 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by purpledawn
11-10-2011 6:02 AM


Re: Noah's Age Again
quote:

Since I've conceded on Noah's age, I am baffled as to why it is still an issue and we aren't moving forward.

We're aren't arguing about whether Noah's age is hyperbole - we are using it as an example of how to identify hyperbole. In large part BECAUSE you agree that it isn't hyperbole, but also because you NOW reject my reasons for saying so but don't seem able to offer any valid alternatives.

quote:

My explanations for yielding are in Message 22 and Message 41. Neither said anything about Genesis 5.

That is either untrue or intentionally misleading. You implicitly refer to the ages in Genesis 5 In message 22.

quote:

The ages are exaggerated when compared to reality.

In other words, by your "comparison to reality" criterion you should consider them to be hyperbole.

quote:

The exaggerated age doesn't seem to be written to stimulate a visual image in our mind's eye. The ages were probably more about filling a gap.

The "filling a gap" explanation seems pretty weak (being short of evidence and reasoning).
But note, that this reasoning is NOT about either a comparison to reality or about being a late addition. Doesn't the fact that your stated criteria need to be augmented to deal with this case suggest that you need to rethink ? Doesn't the fact that you keep referring to the ages in Genesis 5 suggest that they ARE relevant to Noah's age in the Flood story?

And you still leave important points unaddressed. Do you really take the position that acts attributed to God should be limited to what is naturalistically possible ? How do you feel about the creation of the rainbow at the end of the Flood story ? Hyperbole ? Literal fact ? Or Myth ?


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 Message 63 by purpledawn, posted 11-10-2011 6:02 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by purpledawn, posted 11-10-2011 9:19 AM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15324
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 76 of 124 (640559)
11-10-2011 1:33 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by purpledawn
11-10-2011 9:19 AM


Re: Noah's Age Again
quote:

Genesis 5 was not the basis for agreeing that Noah's exaggerated age might not be a true hyperbole as it is used in the story. His age doesn't make a point concerning the story.

And yet your reasons all refer to "ages", plural, not just to Noah's age. And your explanation of "gaps" clearly can't work for Noah's age alone. It is clear that the ages of the Patriarchs given in Genesis 5 ARE relevant to your conclusion.

quote:

As for the rainbow question, if you have a verse you feel I would consider to be hyperbole, please provide the verse.

And yet another evasion. I simply asked whether you considered the creation of the Rainbow to my literal truth, hyperbole or myth. And I gave you the verses way back at the start of the thread. Genesis 9:13-14 Are you going to answer the question ?

And while you're at it, you can explain why you feel that a "later addition" should not be considered to be hyperbole, becuase you still haven't defended that argument.


This message is a reply to:
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