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Author Topic:   Where does literalism end and interpretation begin?
Heathen
Member (Idle past 57 days)
Posts: 1042
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005


Message 1 of 96 (292771)
03-06-2006 2:25 PM


Ok... A topic that I would like biblical literalists to comment on.
Subject: Biblical Literalism.

this topic could well be the first of a number from me attempting to understand the extent of biblical literalism.. and an attempt to tease out from the literalists on here where EXACTLY literalism ends and interpretation begins...

As a start I'd like to concentrate on one word.
that word... "Heart"

the word heart appears many, many times in the bible

Genesis writes:

The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his HEART was only evil all the time


Exodus writes:

Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his HEART will be glad when he sees you.


deuteronomy writes:

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart


John writes:

whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.


revelations writes:

Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, 'I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.'

the list goes on.

My point:
Everyone knows what a heart is right?
a bag of muscle that pumps oxygenated blood around the body
You do not feel with your heart
you do not think with your heart
it's a pump.

so, right from the getgo (Genesis) the word 'Heart' is used incorrectly. If I were a true literalist, I would believe that that little 4 chambered bag of muscle beating in my chest is the source of all my emotion, all my feelings, all my love.
we know this is not the case

To me a 'literalist' who does not believe this is already Interpreting the bible.
and thus.. is not a "literalist"

From Dictionary.com:

lit·er·al·ism (ltr--lzm)
n.
Adherence to the explicit sense of a given text or doctrine.
Literal portrayal; realism.

At what point and On what basis do biblical literalists stop taking the word of God literally?

this may seem... well.. Stupid I guess, but I really want to find where the transition between literal and interpreted lies.


Replies to this message:
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AdminChristian
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 96 (292777)
03-06-2006 2:42 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Christian
Member (Idle past 4297 days)
Posts: 157
Joined: 10-16-2005


Message 3 of 96 (292779)
03-06-2006 2:49 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Heathen
03-06-2006 2:25 PM


http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/heart

There are different literal interpretations of the word "heart"


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Heathen, posted 03-06-2006 2:25 PM Heathen has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Heathen, posted 03-06-2006 3:09 PM Christian has responded
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Heathen
Member (Idle past 57 days)
Posts: 1042
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005


Message 4 of 96 (292781)
03-06-2006 3:09 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Christian
03-06-2006 2:49 PM


webster says
The seat of the affections or sensibilities, collectively or separately, as love, hate, joy, grief, courage, and the like; rarely, the seat of the understanding or will; - usually in a good sense, when no epithet is expressed; the better or lovelier part of our nature; the spring of all our actions and purposes; the seat of moral life and character; the moral affections and character itself; the individual disposition and character; as, a good, tender, loving, bad, hard, or selfish

Do you believe this to be true?

This message has been edited by Creavolution, 03-06-2006 03:09 PM


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ReverendDG
Member (Idle past 2152 days)
Posts: 1119
From: Topeka,kansas
Joined: 06-06-2005


Message 5 of 96 (292797)
03-06-2006 4:54 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Christian
03-06-2006 2:49 PM


how can you interpret an object, we know what a heart looks like and what it does.
it pumps blood thats all
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Christian
Member (Idle past 4297 days)
Posts: 157
Joined: 10-16-2005


Message 6 of 96 (292801)
03-06-2006 5:07 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Heathen
03-06-2006 3:09 PM


Re: webster says
I believe this to be one definition of the word heart.
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Christian
Member (Idle past 4297 days)
Posts: 157
Joined: 10-16-2005


Message 7 of 96 (292802)
03-06-2006 5:09 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by ReverendDG
03-06-2006 4:54 PM


Not interpreting an object. Interpreting a word. The word "heart"
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Heathen
Member (Idle past 57 days)
Posts: 1042
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005


Message 8 of 96 (292803)
03-06-2006 5:12 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Christian
03-06-2006 5:07 PM


Re: webster says
So you would agree that when reading the bible, you 'interpret' this word?.. i.e. you don't take it literaly.

because people in those times didn't know much of neuroscience, they very likely thought that the source of blood (as they saw it) was also the source of conciousness. understandable, they had no way to know otherwise. God didn't include a workshop manual in an appendix of the bible did he?


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5584
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 9 of 96 (292806)
03-06-2006 5:20 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by ReverendDG
03-06-2006 4:54 PM


it pumps blood thats all

I'm inclined to agree with Christian on this one. Here is a site on history of beliefs about the heart.

Our modern understanding of the heart as a pump dates from the 17th century and the work of William Harvey.

The argument of the OP makes a good case that the Bible is not a science text book addressed to a modern audience. However, I don't see it making a case on literalism. Literalists are entitled to go by what the word "Heart" meant in ancient times. We may take such meanings as metaphorical, but they were not too far from what was accepted as the literal meaning at that time.


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Heathen
Member (Idle past 57 days)
Posts: 1042
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005


Message 10 of 96 (292809)
03-06-2006 5:31 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by nwr
03-06-2006 5:20 PM


This is the beginning of my point wrt Literalism.

Straight off there is an assumption being made about the meaning of the word 'heart' in the bible.. an interpretation.

the purpose of this thread is to find out how far literalists take little interpretations like that before cutting off and accepting it as written.

I picke 'heart' as a starting point, something which quite obviuosly can have a dual meaning.


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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 96 (292840)
03-06-2006 9:01 PM


A literalist might say that which is written as literal is to be taken literally and that which was not meant by the writer to be literal is, of ccurse, not to be taken literally.

The parables of Jesus, for example, are not meant literally.

So when ancient writers said "heart" in the sense of "the seat of the emotions" or one's inner self, this was intended non-literally. In modern times we also use the word "heart" in this sense.

Political ad from way back: "In your heart you know he's right." (Goldwater, was it?)

This message has been edited by robinrohan, 03-06-2006 08:02 PM


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Faith
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 96 (292842)
03-06-2006 9:07 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by robinrohan
03-06-2006 9:01 PM


As you often do, you managed to say it the way I think it.

The problem with this kind of attack on literalism is it's way too literal-minded.


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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 96 (292844)
03-06-2006 9:10 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Faith
03-06-2006 9:07 PM


Do you take the story about Jonah and the whale literally?
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Faith
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 96 (292857)
03-06-2006 10:36 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by robinrohan
03-06-2006 9:10 PM


Yes.

Thus endeth our agreement.


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ReverendDG
Member (Idle past 2152 days)
Posts: 1119
From: Topeka,kansas
Joined: 06-06-2005


Message 15 of 96 (292872)
03-07-2006 12:32 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by robinrohan
03-06-2006 9:01 PM


So when ancient writers said "heart" in the sense of "the seat of the emotions" or one's inner self, this was intended non-literally. In modern times we also use the word "heart" in this sense.

no it was literal, they believed the heart was where all emotions came from, every early culture thought this. many greek writers thought emotions were caused by bad blood and other body fluids. Thats why they would leech people. thats where the word humor came from - good and bad humors
The writers of the bible being influenced by the greeks just like everyone else during that time also thought the heart was were emotions and thought come from.
so for modern people since we know the heart is not were emotions come from we know when people use it its not literial


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