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Author Topic:   Hyperbole in the Bible
PaulK
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Posts: 16883
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.9


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 ?


This message is a reply to:
 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

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2395 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


(1)
Message 32 of 124 (639899)
11-04-2011 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by GDR
11-04-2011 2:34 PM


Hyperbole in Fiction
quote:
I don't understand how you can exaggerate fiction. In all of your examples you have taken a truth and exaggerated them.

For example when you say your backpack weighs a ton you are taken a non-fictional situation, which is that the back pack is heavy and exaggerating it.

Fiction is just what it is; it can't be exaggerated or minimized.


The top examples were the examples in fiction. The bottom examples were just examples of hyperbole.

If I'm writing a fictional story and the main character says, "My backpack weighs a ton."; that is hyperbole within a fictional writing.

I've shown that hyperbole can be used within fictional writings.

ABC's of Fiction Writing: Hyperbole
Hiding hyperbole, like in the second example, is usually the best way to incorporate it into your writing. Always stick true to the characterizations you need, and to your audience. If the story is being told by (or to) a child, they may not grasp the meaning of a hidden hyperbole. If in doubt, have someone you trust read over it for you and give their opinion.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by GDR, posted 11-04-2011 2:34 PM GDR has not yet responded

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2395 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


(1)
Message 33 of 124 (639900)
11-04-2011 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by PaulK
11-04-2011 2:58 PM


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

Message 12: Hyperbole is commonly used in fiction, drama, poetry, and common speech.

The whole story doesn't have to be considered an exaggeration just because there is hyperbole within the story.

Message 18: Absolutes tend to be exaggerations.

Message 20: I presented what I would consider to be hyperbole. People do not live to be 600 years old. 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.

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

Message 22: IMO, it (genre) doesn't matter when it comes to hyperbole.

If we read the Bible stories just like any other writing, can we see hyperbole?

Message 26: Hyperbole is used in drama, fiction, poetry, and common speech. (Post contains examples of hyperbole in fiction and non-Biblical examples of hyperbole.)

So when I read Genesis 6:5, I see hyperbole, an exaggeration.

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

It is exaggerated to think that absolutely no person in the land ever had a good intention. The absolutes, IMO, signal hyperbole.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by PaulK, posted 11-04-2011 2:58 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by PaulK, posted 11-04-2011 6:36 PM purpledawn has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16883
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.9


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

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2395 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


(1)
Message 35 of 124 (639906)
11-04-2011 7:30 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by PaulK
11-04-2011 6:36 PM


Re: Why Hyperbole
quote:
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.
Myths can also contain hyperbole.

Hyperbole in English, Cambridge University Press
It is found used in diverse sources; the Encyclopædia Britannica mentions love poetry, sagas, tall tales, classical mythology, political rhetoric and advertising as texts containing hyperbole, illustrating the great range of the phenomenon regarding both time and genre.

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

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


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by PaulK, posted 11-04-2011 6:36 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by NoNukes, posted 11-04-2011 7:59 PM purpledawn has responded
 Message 39 by PaulK, posted 11-05-2011 4:57 AM purpledawn has responded

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 36 of 124 (639912)
11-04-2011 7:59 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by purpledawn
11-04-2011 7:30 PM


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

If you don't have an opinion about this, I'm not sure there is much to discuss. I'm sure that we'd all agree that the Bible does include some hyperbole. I disagree that many of the examples you give from the Bible are clearly hyperbole.

In non-fiction, one clue is that the text may describe something that is not possible to be literally true, and those things are presumably either hyperbole or just wrong. But in some types of fiction, that reasoning is not reliable.

'Faster than a speeding bullet', and more 'powerful than a locomotive' understate the abilities that Superman is depicted as possessing in comic books. Those words are not hyperbole in that context. But a similar description applied Shaquille O'neal would be hyperbole.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by purpledawn, posted 11-04-2011 7:30 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2395 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


(1)
Message 37 of 124 (639922)
11-04-2011 9:12 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by NoNukes
11-04-2011 7:59 PM


Re: Why Hyperbole
quote:
I disagree that many of the examples you give from the Bible are clearly hyperbole.
Why do you feel they aren't clearly hyperbole?

People don't seem to have a problem recognizing hyperbole in writings classified as nonfiction, but apparently do in more creative works.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by NoNukes, posted 11-04-2011 7:59 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 38 by NoNukes, posted 11-04-2011 11:47 PM purpledawn has responded
 Message 40 by Panda, posted 11-05-2011 8:38 AM purpledawn has acknowledged this reply

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 38 of 124 (639933)
11-04-2011 11:47 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by purpledawn
11-04-2011 9:12 PM


Re: Why Hyperbole
purpledawn writes:

Why do you feel they aren't clearly hyperbole?

For the same reason that describing Superman as faster than a human bullet is not hyperbole. The authors intend for us to understand that Superman is able to travel at light speed.

I don't understand why I am required to disprove your proposition before you bother to establish it, but let me select one of your examples to beat on.

Noah was 600 years old.

If the author understood Noah to have lived for 600 years and expects us to understand the same thing, then the author was speaking literally in exactly the same way Siegel and Shuster were speaking about Superman.

It is possible of course that the author wrote a about a fictional Noah, being 600 years old as an alternative to calling Noah "as old as dirt", then perhaps the author was using hyperbole. But I don't see how you'd be able to tell.

As an aside, if Eve accused Adam of being as old as dirt, that might be so slight an exaggeration that it would be pedantic to call it hyperbole.

Any way my point is that looking at the turn of phrase in isolation is not always enough. It is not hyperbole to say that Paul Bunyan created the grand canyon with his axe. It's just fiction. We are not to understand that Bunyan made a mere deep gash in the earth.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by purpledawn, posted 11-04-2011 9:12 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by purpledawn, posted 11-05-2011 10:36 AM NoNukes has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16883
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.9


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:
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Panda
Member (Idle past 2650 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 40 of 124 (639956)
11-05-2011 8:38 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by purpledawn
11-04-2011 9:12 PM


Re: Why Hyperbole
PD writes:

People don't seem to have a problem recognizing hyperbole in writings classified as nonfiction

This is because non-fiction is (by definition) based on reality.
If you claimed that someone "jumped higher than a house" in non-fiction then it would be hyperbole - because it is impossible.
If you claimed that someone "jumped higher than a house" using a trampoline then it becomes difficult to know if it is hyperbole - as it could be possible.
If you claimed that someone "jumped higher than a house" in 1% gravity then it is not hyperbole - as it is easily possible.

PD writes:

but apparently do in more creative works.

The way you judge if something is hyperbole is by comparing it to reality and seeing if it matches.
But this becomes very difficult in fictional works, as it is already established that reality is not being closely followed.

Was Superman "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound" or was he simply able to jump higher than any normal man?


If I were you
And I wish that I were you
All the things I'd do
To make myself turn blue

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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2395 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


(1)
Message 41 of 124 (639964)
11-05-2011 10:36 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by NoNukes
11-04-2011 11:47 PM


Re: Why Hyperbole
quote:
For the same reason that describing Superman as faster than a human bullet is not hyperbole. The authors intend for us to understand that Superman is able to travel at light speed.
The writer has set up the basis for the story. The Superman character is from another planet and it has already been provided in the story that he has different abilities on planet Earth.

The Noah story doesn't have such a setup. Now I can see why we have difficulty reading some Bible stories as we do other stories. The Noah story potentially had three authors over time. We may have lost the storytellers setup for the story.

quote:
I don't understand why I am required to disprove your proposition before you bother to establish it, but let me select one of your examples to beat on.
What is it with you people? I didn't require you to prove anything. You said you disagreed but did provide any reasoning for me to agree or disagree with. Am I supposed to guess which one you disagreed with and why? You guys seem to have some underlying issue you want me to address and I don't know what it is.

I provided my position in the OP

Many times we have examined the accuracy and inerrancy of Bible passages, but how many were simply exaggerations? Although I dislike apologetics, I would like to look at various passages considered by some to be contradictions or absolute statements and see if hyperbole comes into play.

and I've provided links and reasoning for why I feel the verses I shared could be hyperbole.

quote:
If the author understood Noah to have lived for 600 years and expects us to understand the same thing, then the author was speaking literally in exactly the same way Siegel and Shuster were speaking about Superman.
Not really a reasonable comparison. As I said earlier, the author provided a setup in the Superman story. Some authors prepare entire back stories for their characters even though those details don't make it into the story. This helps them stay true to the characters personality throughout the story and is helpful when there are many characters in a story. They want us to see the characters as real within the story. Unless the author sets up the basis for us to view a character as something different than what we know, we go with the norm.

I already conceded in Message 22 that the exaggerated ages, since they were probably added by the Redactor later, probably wouldn't be typical hyperbole. Noah's age doesn't really add anything to the story. The Redactor had his purpose, but it doesn't seem to be an exaggeration to impact the story.

quote:
Any way my point is that looking at the turn of phrase in isolation is not always enough. It is not hyperbole to say that Paul Bunyan created the grand canyon with his axe. It's just fiction. We are not to understand that Bunyan made a mere deep gash in the earth.
Why assume it was viewed in isolation?

As for Paul Bunyan, I can't address the actual sentence you're thinking of, but there is hyperbole in them tall tales also.

Hyperbole
Paul’s clothing was so large they had to use wagon
wheels for buttons.

IOW, he's a very big man. The tall tales got taller over time. The idea that Paul's dragging axe could create the Grand Canyon is another exaggeration of how big he was.

Flood stories can develop the same way. We don't know how long the stories were told orally before they were put to paper.
Jewish Legends

I have shown support that hyperbole can be used in fictional works and I've shown examples of hyperbole in fictional works. Deeming a work fiction does not negate hyperbole within the story.

Edited by purpledawn, : Added link


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by NoNukes, posted 11-04-2011 11:47 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by NoNukes, posted 11-05-2011 3:19 PM purpledawn has responded

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 42 of 124 (639975)
11-05-2011 3:19 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by purpledawn
11-05-2011 10:36 AM


Re: Why Hyperbole
The Noah story doesn't have such a setup. Now I can see why we have difficulty reading some Bible stories as we do other stories.

Why doesn't any the enumeration discussion in Gen:5 of Noah's ancestors living to be many hundreds of years old constitute setup? In my opinion it surely does.

I have shown support that hyperbole can be used in fictional works and I've shown examples of hyperbole in fictional works. Deeming a work fiction does not negate hyperbole within the story.

Yes, and I agree that there can be hyperbole in fictional works. That doesn't mean that everything extra-ordinary thing in the Bible is a mere literary device. It's certainly no evidence that you are correctly identifying when literary devices are used.

purpledawn writes:

quote:

Paul’s clothing was so large they had to use wagon
wheels for buttons.

IOW, he's a very big man. The tall tales got taller over time. The idea that Paul's dragging axe could create the Grand Canyon is another exaggeration of how big he was.

Wrong. Paul Bunyan was a fictional giant who people told whoppers about. Nobody was trying to describe a human being who was simply bigger than most people.

If you call the stories about Paul hyperbole, then your definition of the word is different than mine. Perhaps we can leave things at that.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by purpledawn, posted 11-05-2011 5:16 PM NoNukes has acknowledged this reply

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2395 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


(1)
Message 43 of 124 (639982)
11-05-2011 5:16 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by NoNukes
11-05-2011 3:19 PM


Re: Why Hyperbole
quote:
Why doesn't any the enumeration discussion in Gen:5 of Noah's ancestors living to be many hundreds of years old constitute setup? In my opinion it surely does.
There's nothing to tell us that we should view the humans in the story as different from ourselves, IMO. So the ages would be viewed as exaggerations, IMO.

quote:
Yes, and I agree that there can be hyperbole in fictional works. That doesn't mean that everything extra-ordinary thing in the Bible is a mere literary device. It's certainly no evidence that you are correctly identifying when literary devices are used.
And I didn't imply that it did. That's why I said in the OP: I would like to look at various passages considered by some to be contradictions or absolute statements and see if hyperbole comes into play. I haven't declared that all contradictions are absolutely hyperbole. I only listed a few to start the debate. We're looking for hyperbole in the Bible. We would have to actually look at verses in stories to determine what if any literary device is being used.

quote:
Wrong. Paul Bunyan was a fictional giant who people told whoppers about. Nobody was trying to describe a human being who was simply bigger than most people.

If you call the stories about Paul hyperbole, then your definition of the word is different than mine. Perhaps we can leave things at that.


The idea that there is hyperbole in the Paul Bunyan story is not deemed so on my authority. I provided links to support that conclusion and here is another.

Mrs. Dowling's Literature Terms
Hyperbole is common in tall tales. Here is an example:

At three weeks, Paul Bunyan got his family into a bit of trouble kicking around his little tootsies and knocking down something like four miles of standing timber.

Edited by purpledawn, : Fixed link


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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2395 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


(1)
Message 44 of 124 (639990)
11-06-2011 2:53 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by PaulK
11-05-2011 4:57 AM


Still Clueless
Since you feel that I still haven't addressed your point, I apparently still don't know what your point is. Sorry.

Edited by purpledawn, : Fixed typo


This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by PaulK, posted 11-05-2011 4:57 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by PaulK, posted 11-06-2011 1:46 PM purpledawn has acknowledged this reply
 Message 46 by Panda, posted 11-06-2011 2:10 PM purpledawn has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16883
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.9


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:
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