I have to agree with the others. While the original author cannot have understood it as a literal global Flood, they certainly could have understood it to mean that all the land, everywhere, was covered. It is not sufficient to even claim that a local flood is a reasonable interpretation of the text.
I think that we must distinguish between the original events that underly the story and the story itself. For the purposes of arguing against views derived from a literalist, inerrantist view of the bible, all that matters is what the story says. As soon as we take the story as a distorted recollection of historical events we have departed from a literalist and inerrantist view, and therefore strayed into irrelevancy.
It would be better to point out that the fact that the Bible takes an ancient Middle Eastern view of the nature of the Earth is a reason in itself to reject an literalist and inerrantist view.
Obviously, the peoples of the Americas didn't go to Egypt for food.
Obviously there is no reason to think that the writer even KNEW of the Americas, so this is no reason to think that the writer did not mean the whole Earth. If you are going to make good arguments you can't assume that the author had information that nobody in the time and place of writing had access to.
quote: 1) because the assumpion of inerrant inspiration is that the deity knew about the Americas all along and therefore included them in blanket statements regarding "earth," "the whole earth," and "all the earth."
If you are constructing arguments only to use against the inerrantists, this might be a useful point, although I feel that the argument is weak and it would be better to point to lands that the Biblical authors might have known about, like India or even China. But in doing so you cannot also argue that the flood story is a distorted report of historical events because as soon as you do that, you will lose them
quote: 2) because prior to the aforementioned silliness the Christian church denied the possibility that land masses might exist where we now sit.
Where YOU now sit, perhaps. But this is not a good reason for assuming, even for the sake of argument, that the Biblical authors DID know about the Americas. It is an argument that they did NOT know about the Americas.
quote: 3) because there are a number of people who bellieve that Jesus visited the America's in order to bring the gospel to the natives which in their opinion were a "lost tribe" of Israelites. And,
I doubt that there are more than a handful outside of the Mormon churches. And I don't see this as any different from your point 1, other than the fact that if you are targeting them, you need to take their particular beliefs into account.
quote: 4) because fundevangelists assume that the Bible speaks of America and of these United States - which would be laughable if they weren't at the same time gaining political ascendancy in this country and teaching their lies in the name of Bible truth.
I don't think that this is very significant - I think that point 1 already covers pretty much everyone in this group.
quote: 5) because our purpose in this thread is to demonstrate the ignorance and arrogance exhibited by those who then did and do now assert such preposterosity.
But it seems to me that you are more pandering to them than attacking them.
Assuming that the Biblical authors knew of the Americas is pretty much the same as assuming that they knew about the Earth as a planet. I see both as being wrong, and assumptions which cannot be used in interpreting the Bible. If you are arguing that you will only use either for the sake of argument for dealing with people who believe these things then that is different, but it is something that needs care, because it is certainly not the impression I have got from Purpledawn's posts or from your recent posts.
Not quite. I argue that your point 1 is only good because it might lead to an argument that inerrantists are more likely to acknowledge. If you don't care about that then that isn't a reason to consider it/
quote: Do you imagine that I don't?
If you don't care about targeting them then you shouldn't bother tailoring arguments to target them. But I thought it a relevant detail.
quote: It seems to me that you lack an overview of this thread.
Since I am referring to a specific point, made recently, that hardly seems relevant.
quote: If disallowed their biblical fantasy regarding "planet earth" Christians would be hard pressed to justify their imagined global mission to "subdue" and "inherit" the earth.
Except that you can't disallow that simply by pointing out that the Bible authors had no concept of the planet. What you have to argue is that the specific references can't be reasonably understood as referring to the planet (in terms that the authors would understand).
quote: No. It's not. - Sixteenth Century clerics knew about the Americas but they did not believe Copernicus. They did not believe earth is a planet.
How is that possibly relevant ? In both cases you would be attributing knowledge to the Biblical authors that we have and they did not. That is a clear similarity.
quote: And I do not assume that biblical authors knew of the Americas. I can't imagine how you came up with that.
Because that's pretty much what we are discussing. You've given no clear explanation as to how the Americas are relevant which DOESN'T require making that assumption, at least for the sake of argument.
quote: I say again. I believe you lack an overview of this thread. Unless and until you read what has gone before you cannot presume to understand what is happening at present. You would do well to ask questions rather than come in guns blazing as you have today after apparently ignoring this thread during the two years and six months it has been open.
The simple fact is that nothing in the past of this thread can turn an obviously bad argument into a good one.
And to deal with your second post:
quote: Done and done. Which is why you need to read the freaking thread!
Otherwise you are wasting my time.
Actually it makes no difference to my point at all whether you have or have not made arguments which deal properly with the relevant parts of the text in context. In fact if you have it just makes your position even sillier. Why defend bad arguments if you have good ones ?
You are not addressing my point. My point is that you cannot use the Americas to determine what the originator of the story meant because the originator of the story did not know of the Americas. The point is better made by using India or maybe China, which the author could have known about.
quote: I didn't and I don't see that doctrbill did either.
I believe that your argument cannot work unless you do assume it. Remember that you are trying to argue that the phrase translated "all the countries" or "all the earth" in Genesis 41:57 cannot be intended to refer to everywhere. (This is especially important as the real issue is the extent of Noah's flood, and the interpretation of this phrase seems to be your major argument).
Now, unless the author knew of the Americas it cannot have affected his choice of words in that text. So the existence of the Americas cannot be used to say that the phrase does NOT mean, essentially "everywhere" in context. And so without that assumption your argument fails.
quote: I know what the originator of the story meant. I used the Americas to give today's readers an understanding of what the story didn't mean.
In fact you used it to argue that the translators were wrong. Now maybe you can argue that people might take it as referring to the Americas but I would say that is more the fault of the readers than the translators and it is an argument that cannot be used with regard to the Flood. For that you DO need the original text to specifically refer to a restricted area (and preferably for it to only ever refer to a restricted area).
quote: Can you show me that the writers would have known about China or India?
According to Wikipedia the Harrapan civilisation of India was trading with Mesopotamia around 2500 BC. Trade with China had started by around 1000 BC. Since the final redaction of Genesis was likely in the 5th-6th Century BC it is clearly possible for that author to of known of either.
Which only means that they did not think that the area flooded was the surface of a globe (assuming you are correct). That tells nothing about their views of the extent of the Flood, which may well have been taken as covering all land, even lands as yet undiscovered if there should be any.
I think that Juan has a point that the verse refers to the whole world, in some sense (obviously not a spherical planet, but the world as it was thought of in those times). At this point in the text, no dry ground exists, the world is simply the lifeless and desolate primordial ocean, which in Middle Eastern thought is equated with chaos and disorder. This is what the verse seems to refer to.
quote: Although some can accept that the words eretz and adamah do not refer to the planet, they can't seem to accept that the story of Noah's flood was not referring to a planetary flood. I find it baffling.
It really is simple. The fact that the writers did not have the concept of the Earth being a planet does not in itself imply that the Flood should be taken as purely local.
After all it seems reasonable to think that the "dry land" created in Genesis 1 would be meant to be essentially all the dry land in existence. So why can't the Flood be meant to cover all the dry land in existence ?
Perhaps your linguistic efforts would be better focussed on finding the words which WOULD be used to refer to a "universal" flood. If you can show that there are other words that better express this concept you would have a far better case.
quote: Why would it seem reasonable? Creation stories tend to be culture specific.
Really ? How many are interpreted by believers as excluding other areas ? Or better still, explicitly say that they are only about a local area ? The fact that different cultures have different stories, slanted to their own culture is neither here nor there. It is all about what the stories say.
And isn't Genesis 1 as we have it now, essentially monotheistic, recognising only one God as real ? Where would other land come from ?
quote: We can tell the flood story or creation stories any way we want. If we look at Children's Bible stories we see the stories are softened for children and adjusted for an easier read. We still adjust the stories.
That's kinda the point of this thread. As our knowledge increased and the Judeo/Christian religion spread, the audience had a wider visual to draw from than the earlier audience.
Not really. You are trying to push the idea that the reading of a universal Flood is a retelling while your local Flood is the actual Bible story. But from the evidence presented so far it's just as valid to assume that your reading is the retelling. And there is circumstantial evidence in this thread and others which tends to support that (e.g. your use of the obviously invalid argument that since the author of the story did not understand the nature of the Earth as a planet, he must have meant to refer to an explicitly local flood).
quote: The language of the text doesn't support that the storyteller was referring to lands he didn't know of.
That is a curiously vague and oddly worded statement. Obviously we shouldn't expect reference to lands that the storyteller had no idea of. The question really is whether the story is such that it should naturally be extended to include lands unknown (as the Creation account in Genesis 1 is) or whether it should be read as only referring to specific lands. Your own argument elsewhere that the flood story makes universal claims which you believe should be taken as hyperbole tends to support the first alternative implicitly concedes that a literal reading indicates a universal Flood. And given your failure to establish that those claims were hyperbolic, it really does seem that there is a case for universality there.
I also note that you don't offer any argument that the text actually supports a local reading. All you have to do is show that we should expect a story of a "universal" flood to be written differently. Which really is exactly what SHOULD be the case if the author intended specifically to describe a local flood. Why don't you follow that line of argument ?
quote: I don't think you are using a useful definition of the term 'literal'. A literal reading of a text would not require word for word translations of idiom or even hyperbole.
That's something of a nitpick. In context it's quite clear what I mean.
But let's be absolutely clear about the point. It;s inconsistent to argue that there is nothing in the text to indicate a universal scope while also trying to argue that statements in the text are hyperbolic BECAUSE they indicate a universal scope.