c_programmer wrote:LaserGuy wrote:Biblical literalism as it is understood today is a fairly recent phenomenon. Catholic and Orthodox traditions have very different views about inerrancy and literalism that date back to nearly to the founding of Christianity. Although I can't find a good source for it, my recollection is that Jewish tradition has a similar view of the Torah.
I have seen their doctrines but see no reason other than science that they accept certain parts as metaphors. If there is significant internal reason I'd like to see that perspective.
Well, such arguments date back to the 3rd or 4th Century, or even earlier, so presumably modern science wasn't really a factor.
"For example, many early Christian writers were well aware of minor contradictions within the Scriptures, even in the gospels, and did not seem too bothered by it. Tertullian (AD 200) said, "Never mind if there does occur some variation in the order of the [gospel] narratives. What matters is that there is agreement in the essential doctrine of the Faith" (Against Marcion, IV:2). St. John Chrysostom (AD 390) was even bolder (at least to modern ears) to suggest that contradictions in the gospels actually strengthen the conviction that Christianity is true. If the gospel authors agreed in every small detail, then it was obvious that the stories were forgeries by a group of dishonest early Christians in collusion with one another. He even says, "the discord which seems to be present in little matters shields [the authors] from every suspicion and vindicates the character of the writers" (Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew, I:6). Even today, we Christians are far more credible if we admit to minor Biblical contradictions rather than trying come up with absurd, non-realistic stories designed to make the gospel accounts completely harmonize. So without denying the Bible's inspiration or essential accuracy, many Church Fathers recognized minor contradictions and variants in the text."
c_programmer wrote:Having looked further into  that does make sense, I had always been shown it the other way. As for the rest, Jesus spoke of them as fact. The parables were close metaphors to the point, they always were relevant to people of that time. Genesis was cited as history, not a metaphor. Still, they could have just been stories but I see no positive reasoning to interpret it as such. Had genesis been presented as a metaphor there might be basis, but I see no indication that Bible accounts for any of it as anything except history.
Oh, I don't know if the Bible itself treats these events as anything except history. That does not mean that such things have been traditionally interpreted as historical, and, in particular, as literal. I would say that there has always been some tension in religious circles over how literally a passage ought to be treated--if my memory is correct, even Jesus on occasion admonished the Pharisees for focusing on some particular literal element of the text, rather than understanding the significance of the concept being conveyed. Things like dietary laws, doing work on the Sabbath, etc.