Thursday, March 28, 2019

How you read counts

We cannot read the Hebrew Bible as it it were journalistic or academic history such as might be written today. Such reading would compromise the intentions, presuppositions, values, and poetics of the literature and its authors. When we critique the literature, we should critique it in terms of its own guiding criteria rather than expecting it to reflect our own and dismissing it when it does not. When we critique the literature in terms of its emphasis on outcomes rather than events and precise details, it may help us to understand some of what may be considered the foibles of an author like the Chronicler, who, for instance, may have had neither the means nor the inclination to investigate the factual accuracy of some of his sources’ details. The precision of the numbers, for instance, is insignificant—though the general nature of the quantification is not without importance. The integrity of the text is linked to its interpretation of the outcome.—Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, 2nd ed., page 208

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