Old Testament as narrative.

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Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:48 am

I'm going to arrange the Old Testament into a narrative. I have never actually written a novel, but I don't have to write anything -- it's already written... and I am loving this project-in-four-phases.

Phase One:

The narrative elements will be extracted from these books, and the rest will be placed in the appendix:

Genesis – leave in tact
Exodus – for appendix: 21-23:19; 25-31:11; 35:4-19; 36:8-39:43
Leviticus – for appendix except 8-10
Numbers – for appendix: 5-6:21; 18-19; 27-30
Deuteronomy – for appendix: 12-25:16
Joshua – for appendix: 12-13; 15-19
Judges – leave in tact

Job will be braided into Genesis, coming to an end after Genesis 50:21; Ruth will be woven into Judges, coming to an end right before 1 Samuel 16.


I already have some idea of how the story goes, as you can see if you read this page:
http://jesuschristsonofgodsavior.blogsp ... anaan.html


Phase Two:

Synthesis of 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles – narrative only… the rest will be placed in the appendix (see outline in my post below this one).

Jonah and Amos [XI(G)(H)], Hosea [XI(G)-XII(A)], Micah and Isaiah [XI(N)-XII(A)], Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Obadiah, and Nahum (last 4) [XII(D)], Jeremiah and Lamentations [XII(D)-(F)], Daniel [XII(E)2] and Ezekiel [XII(E)3] (in that order) will be interspersed throughout the “synthesis”.

I have already synthesized and am now (tonight) typing up an outline.

Phase Three:

Haggai, Zechariah, and Ezra-Nehemiah will be a second synthesis, maintaining the link between the end of 2 Chronicles and the beginning of Ezra.

Esther will be placed before Ezra’s return to Jerusalem.

Malachi
Joel

Haven't started on this phase. I'm a little worried that Malachi and Joel aren't narrative-ish, but ... to me, that doesn't matter. I love their message. To me it will be like the music at the end of the movie... which foretells of a sequel.

Phase Four:

Genealogies, rules, architectural description, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes will be in the “appendix” – some will be sprinkled in the narrative when relevant.

Job, Ruth, Jonah and Esther will be interwoven with the main narrative (see above), occurring in the appropriate historical setting. The interwoven-ness will give a sense of “transcending the narrative” because it will be mildly out of chronological order -- to show how God works within and beyond the narrative.

I haven't started on this phase, either. The appendix idea reminds me of Lord of the Rings.
Last edited by Ichthus on Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:03 am

If anyone wants to help with phase two, follow this outline... read all the referenced verses... see if anything got left out, or if there's any typos (numbers), or if anything can be arranged better. That's what I'll be doing until I'm done. Don't know how long that will take. I will edit my post to reflect revisions (revisions are in bold).

Only history geeks will probably enjoy this, but, hey... maybe there's some here in ILP?

Outline synthesizing 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles:

SOURCE: I arranged this outline using outlines found in the introductions of 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, and 1 Chronicles -- from Zondervan's NASB Study Bible.

For Appendix -- Genealogies: Creation to Restoration
A. The Patriarchs (1 Chr 1)
B. The 12 Sons of Jacob/Israel (1 Chr 2:1-2)
C. The Family of Judah (1 Chr 2:3-4:23)
D. The Sons of Simeon (1 Chr 4:24-43)
E. Reuben, Gad and the Half-Tribe of Manasseh (1 Chr 5)
F. Levi and Families (1 Chr 6)
G. Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim and Asher (1 Chr 7-9)
I. Historical Setting for the Establishment of Kingship in Israel
A. Samuel’s Birth, Youth and Calling to Be a Prophet; Judgment on the House of Eli (1 Sam 1-3)
B. Israel Defeated by the Philistines, the Ark of God Taken and the Ark Restored; Samuel’s Role as Judge and Deliverer (1 Sam 4-7)
II. The Establishment of Kingship in Israel under the Guidance of Samuel the Prophet
A. The People’s Sinful Request for a King and God’s Intent to Give Them a King (1 Sam 8)
B. Samuel Anoints Saul Privately to Be King (1 Sam 9:1—10:16)
C. Saul Chosen to Be King Publicly by Lot at Mizpah (1 Sam 10:17-27)
D. The Choice of Saul as King Confirmed by Victory over the Ammonites (1 Sam 11:1-13)
E. Saul’s Reign Inaugurated at a Covenant Renewal Ceremony Convened by Samuel at Gilgal (1 Sam 11:14-12:25)
III. Saul’s Kingship a Failure (1 Sam 13-15)
IV. David’s Rise to the Throne; Progressive Deterioration and End of Saul’s Reign
See also 2 Sam 1:1; 2:1,4,11.
A. David Is Anointed Privately, Enters the Service of King Saul and Flees for His Life (1 Sam 16-26)
B. David Seeks Refuge in Philistia, and Saul and His Sons Are Killed in Battle (1 Sam 27-31) (1 Chr 10)
C. David Becomes King over Judah (2 Sam 1-4)
D. David Becomes King over All Israel (2 Sam 5:1-5) (1 Chr 11:1-3)
V. David’s Kingship in Its Accomplishments and Glory
A. David Conquers Jerusalem and Defeats the Philistines (2 Sam 5:6-25) (1 Chr 11:4-9)
B. David’s Mighty Men; Supporters in Ziklag and Hebron (2 Sam 23:8-39) (1 Chr 11:10-47) (1 Chr 12)
C. David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem; Establishment of David’s Kingdom (2 Sam 6) (1 Chr 13-16)
D. God Promises David an Everlasting Dynasty (2 Sam 7) (1 Chr 17)
E. The Extension of David’s Kingdom Externally and the Justice of His Rule Internally (2 Sam 8) (1 Chr 18)
F. David’s Faithfulness to His Covenant with Jonathan (2 Sam 9)
G. David’s Messengers Abused; Ammon and Aram Defeated (2 Sam 10) (1 Chr 19)
VI. David’s Kingship in Its Weaknesses and Failures
A. David Commits Adultery and Murder (2 Sam 11-12:25)
B. War Again with Philistine Giants (2 Sam 12:26-31) (1 Chr 20)
C. David Loses His Sons Amnon and Absalom (2 Sam 13-20)
VII. Final Reflections on David’s Reign
A. Census Brings Pestilence (2 Sam 24) (1 Chr 21)
B. Preparations for the Temple (1 Chr 22)
C. Organization of the Temple Service (1 Chr 23-26)
D. Administrative Structures of the Kingdom (1 Chr 27)
E. David’s Final Preparations for Succession and the Temple (1 Chr 28:1-29:20)
F. Succession of Solomon; Death of David (1 Chr 29:21-30) (1 Kings 1:1-2:12) (2 Sam 5:4-5)
VIII. The Reign of Solomon
A. Solomon’s Throne Consolidated (1 K 2:13-46)
B. The Gift of Wisdom (2 Chr 1) (1 K 3)
C. Building the Temple (2 Chr 2:1-5:1) (1 K 5-7)
D. Dedication of the Temple (2 Chr 5:2-7:22) (1 K 8-9:9)
E. Solomon’s Other Activities (1 K 9:10-10:13) (1 Chr 8-9:12)
F. Power, Wealth and Wisdom of Solomon’s Reign (1 K 4; 10:14-29) (1 Chr 9:13-29)
G. Solomon’s Folly; Throne Threatened (1 K 11:1-40)
H. Death of Solomon (2 Chr 9:29-31) (1 K 11:41-43)

IX. The Schism; Israel and Judah from Jeroboam I/Rehoboam to Ahab/Asa
A. Jeroboam I of Israel (2 Chr 10) (I K 12:25-14:20)
B. Rehoboam of Judah (2 Chr 11-12) (1 K 12:1-24; 14:21-31)

C. Abijah/Abijam of Judah (2 Chr 13:-14:1) (1 K 15:1-8)
D. Asa of Judah (2 Chr 14:2-16:14) (1 K 15:9-24)
E. Nadab of Israel (1 K 15:25-32)
F. Baasha of Israel (1 K 15:33-16:7)
G. Elah of Israel (1 K 16:8-14)
H. Zimri of Israel (1 K 16:15-20)
I. Omri of Israel (1 K 16:21-28)
J. Ahab of Israel (1 K 16:29-34)
X. The Ministries of Elijah and Elisha and Other Prophets from Ahab/Asa to Joram/Jehoshaphat
A. Elijah (and Other Prophets) in the Reign of Ahab (1 K 17:1-22:40)
1. Elijah and the drought (1 K 17)
2. Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 K 18)
3. Elijah’s flight to Horeb (1 K 19)
4. A prophet condemns Ahab for sparing Ben-hadad (1 K 20)
5. Elijah condemns Ahab for seizing Naboth’s vineyard (1 K 21)
6. Micaiah prophesies Ahab’s death; its fulfillment (1 K 22:1-40)
B. Jehoshaphat of Judah (2 Chr 17:1-21:3) (1 K 22:41-50)
C. Ahaziah of Israel; Elijah’s Last Prophecy (1 K 22:51-2 K 1:18)
D. Elijah’s Translation; Elisha’s Inauguration (2 K 2:1-18)
E. Elisha in the Reign of Jehoram/Joram of Israel (2 K 2:19-8:15)
1. Elisha’s initial miraculous signs (2 K 2:19-25)
2. Elisha during the campaign against Moab (2 K 3)
3. Elisha’s ministry to needy ones in Israel (2 K 4)
4. Elisha heals Naaman (2 K 5)
5. Elisha’s deliverance of one of the prophets (2 K 6:1-7)
6. Elisha’s deliverance of Joram/Jehoram of Israel from Aramean raiders (2 K 6:8-23)
7. Aramean siege of Samaria lifted, as Elisha prophesied (2 K 6:24-7:20)
8. The Shunammite’s land restored (2 K 8:1-6)
9. Elisha prophesies Hazael’s oppression of Israel (2 K 8:7-15)
XI. Israel and Judah from Joram/Jehoram of Israel to the Exile of Israel
A. Jehoram and Ahaziah of Judah (2 Chr 21:4-22:9) (2 K 8:16-29; 9:14-29)
B. Jehu’s Revolt and Reign (2 K 9-10)
1. Elisha orders Jehu’s anointing (2 K 9:1-13)
2. Jehu’s assassination of Joram and Ahaziah of Judah (2 K 9:14-29)
3. Jehu’s execution of Jezebel (2 K 9:30-37)
4. Jehu’s slaughter of Ahab’s family (2 K 10:1-17)
5. Jehu’s eradication of Baal worship (2 K 10:18-36)
C. Athaliah and Joash of Judah; Repair of the Temple (2 Chr 22:10-24:27) (2 K 11-12)
D. Jehoahaz of Israel (2 K 13:1-9)
E. Jehoash of Israel; Elisha’s Last Prophecy (2 K 13:10-25)
F. Amaziah of Judah (2 Chr 25) (2 K 14:1-20)
G. Jeroboam II of Israel (2 K 14:15-16; 23-28)
H. Azariah/Uzziah of Judah (2 Chr 26) (2 K 14:21-22; 15:1-7)
I. Zechariah of Israel (2 K 15:8-12) (2 K 14:29)
J. Shallum of Israel (2 K 15:13-16)
K. Menahem of Israel (2 K 15:17-22)
L. Pekahiah of Israel (2 K 15:23-26)
M. Pekah of Israel (2 K 15:27-31)
N. Jotham of Judah (2 Chr 27) (2 K 15:32-38)
O. Ahaz of Judah (2 Chr 28) (2 K 16)
P. Hoshea of Israel (2 K 17:1-6)
Q. Exile of Israel; Resettlement of the Land (2 K 17:7-41)
XII. Judah from Hezekiah to the Babylonian Exile
A. Hezekiah (2 Chr 29-32) (2 K 18-20)
1. Hezekiah’s good reign (2 K 18:1-8)
2. The Assyrian threat and deliverance (2 K 18:9-19:37)
3. Hezekiah’s illness and alliance with Babylon (2 K 20)
B. Manasseh (2 Chr 33:1-20) (2 K 21:1-18)
C. Amon (2 Chr 33:21-25) (2 K 21:19-26)
D. Josiah (2 Chr 34:1-35:27) (2 K 22:1-23:30)
1. Repair of the temple; discovery of the book of the law (2 K 22) (2 Chr 34:1-30)
2. Renewal of the covenant; end of Josiah’s reign (2 K 23:1-30) (2 Chr 34:31-35:27)
E. Josiah’s Successors (2 Chr 36:2-14) (2 K 23:31-24:20)
1. Jehoahaz exiled to Egypt (2 K 23:31-35) (2 Chr 36:1-3)
2. Jehoiakim: first Babylonian invasion (2 K 23:36-24:7) (2 Chr 36:4-8)
3. Jehoiachin: second Babylonian invasion (2 K 24:8-17) (2 Chr 36:9-10)
4. Zedekiah (2 K 24:18-20) (2 Chr 36:11-14)
F. Exile and Restoration (2 Chr 36:15-23) (2 K 25)
1. Babylonian exile of Judah (2 K 25:1-21)
2. Removal of the remnant to Egypt (2 K 25:22-26)
3. Elevation of Jehoiachin in Babylon (2 K 25:27-30)
4. Cyrus Permits Return (2 Chr 36:22-23) (Ezra 1:1-3)

Stuff I still need to work on:
1. In IV(A) and IV(B) is a ton of AWESOME narrative all crammed in there! I must put in more detail.
2. I’m not sure what to do with 2 Sam 21-23:1-7.
3. How do I tie the two accounts of Hezekiah together (2 Chr 29-32; 2 K 18-20)?
4. How do I tie 2 Chr 36:15-23 and 2 K 25 together?

There’s a lot of tying together to do besides that… this is of course just an outline. Guess we’ll see how it goes.
Last edited by Ichthus on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Liteninbolt » Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:12 am

For someone who was a former atheist, you sure are putting a tremendous effort in for Christianity. Do you plan to do something along the same line for the New Testament?
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:55 am

Howdy liteninbolt :0)

For someone who was a former atheist, you sure are putting a tremendous effort in for Christianity.


What did Christ save you from? Does this stuff not interest you at all? I don't think of this as an effort, and certainly not a tremendous one. It's fun. If you said "For someone who is a former atheist, you sure are having a lot of fun in your relationship with Christ" I would say... those who are forgiven more... love more.

Do you plan to do something along the same line for the New Testament?


Nope. It's been done. In my study bible there is a harmonization of the gospels kinda like the above outline. I also have a different harmonization that's all written out and makes Jesus' ministry four instead of three years (I want to read it again this year). There's also a timeline of Paul's life which shows when events mentioned in his letters actually occured, and when those letters were actually written. Plus there's books that go into early church history (I've got one I still haven't dove into) (is 'dove' correct grammar... 'cause I thought it was a bird?).

If what I'm doing has already been done, that's okay. Doing it myself is a lot cheaper, and impresses it into my brain a lot more effectively. Plus... like I said... it's a lot of fun.

And I was kind of hoping others could have fun along with me. It's starting to look like this project is all mine... which is fine and dandy with me. Your loss! :D

I've got corrections to edit into the above outline, which I'll get to right after I submit this reply.

[ Edit ] Hey... I just noticed... we have the exact same number of posts right now (489).
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Liteninbolt » Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:09 pm

.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Anthem » Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:30 pm

Ichthus wrote:I'm going to arrange the Old Testament into a narrative. I have never actually written a novel, but I don't have to write anything -- it's already written... and I am loving this project-in-four-phases.

It's already a narrative.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=162515
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby abowloforanges » Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:53 pm

Icthus,

have you read or heard of Walter Wangerin's The Book of God? It's, essentially, what you're driving at here: the bible as a novel, but i can tell from your outlines that you plan on covering a lot more material than he did. it's been years since i've read it, but you might check it out as a source of inspiration, if nothing else.
A distance behind and a journey ahead
With a friend and enemy beside
And myself betwixt
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:07 am

Liteninbolt... sorry I came across defensive-sounding.

I'm going to have to leave most of your post without a reply because it is way off-topic (my fault), and I've addressed such things elsewhere.

anthem -- Yeah, it's already a narrative, but it is all jumbled together. Your thread, I see, is a belittling of the narrative. This thread is for those who enjoy the narrative. This thread is not a defense of the narrative and does not invite offense. I have plenty other threads for that.

abowloforanges -- thanks. I have that book, I enjoyed it, and probably will use it for inspiration. I want to use the actual verses in the Bible, though... let the Bible speak completely for itself.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:03 am

I've made some changes (in bold) to the original post.

If you're following this and you think I'm leaving out good stuff or leaving in stuff that should be placed in the appendix... or if you have some input on how to put Job, Ruth, Jonah and Esther in with the main narrative... or whatever else... feel free to let me know your reasoning about it.

Mi project es su project. :-D
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:51 pm

I'm changing where Job will be located, since he existed during the patriarchs. I'll edit my post above to reflect the changes.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Anthem » Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:31 pm

Ichthus wrote:anthem -- Yeah, it's already a narrative, but it is all jumbled together. Your thread, I see, is a belittling of the narrative.

Sometimes the truth is belittling.

And it's not a belittline of the narrative at all.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:47 pm

Well, I've got an outline done which reads through the Bible (not just the Old Testament) chronologically and combines parallel passages. I'm so looking forward to starting it in 2011. I created a website so others can join me if they want to. All are welcome.

http://biblenarrativeproject.blogspot.com
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Humpty » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:22 pm

The narrative of the bible has already been fully provided:

The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:24 pm

rib-woman...lol...I like that.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:54 am

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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby alyoshka » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:08 am

I read your bit on Job. I wonder if you notice that it's not Satan in Job, but the Satan, and what this means for the story. While you are right that Satan works to turn others from God, the Satan is something else, and understanding it contextualizes the book.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Liteninbolt » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:40 am

Since alyoshka brought it up Ichthus, is it your opinion that satan also intervened in Job's thought process as well as being responsible for the physical woes that came upon him?
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:30 am

[Disclaimer: I do not interpret the Genesis narrative of Adam and Eve literally.]

Regarding Satan in the book of Job (alyoshka & liteninbolt), yes, my study notes say it is "the accuser" or "the adversary" ... by 1 Chronicles 21:1 "Satan" becomes a proper name for that character...who (as you say) works to turn others from God. Notice the wife is not considered identical with "the accuser," though she suggests Job curse God and die...so it does not mean any old accuser...but "the" accuser (adversary).

Litenin, I accidentally read past the first chapter of Job and read the second chapter as well (where Satan gives Job boils)...it doesn't say anything about Satan putting thoughts in Job's head. That isn't to say that such things are impossible...just that the text is silent about it in this instance. Of course, the situation he is in influences how he feels and what he thinks about, but that isn't exactly the same thing.

It is fascinating to read the beginning of Genesis and Job together...to compare them. Satan (adversary/serpent) comes up in both of them, up to the same old tricks in both of them. And the humans involved...they always have a choice (freedom is at the center of both narratives--smack dab in the middle of the Garden, even, in Genesis). They both start out "righteous". Adam and Eve have their fruit and they take it, Job has his cursing...but refuses it. Adam and Eve are aware of Satan (the serpent), Job is not. Adam and Eve do not consult God (to which they have access)--Job has a long speech/prayer, though he does not know if God will even answer. And in the end, God speaks to them both, and they both have to live with the consequences of their choices. Adam and Eve chose apart from God and so get separation from him, Job spoke to God throughout his struggle and is restored. And, in the 'real' end (there really is only one), Satan loses, either way. (cross-posting this last paragraph to the Project)

[ The wives are both bad influences, but where Adam allows the influence (even to the point of blaming it all on his wife, who tries to then blame it all on the serpent), Job refuses it. I'm not sure it's necessary to take this any further...just an observation. ]
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby alyoshka » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:37 pm

Ichthus wrote:It is fascinating to read the beginning of Genesis and Job together...to compare them. Satan (adversary/serpent) comes up in both of them, up to the same old tricks in both of them. And the humans involved...they always have a choice (freedom is at the center of both narratives--smack dab in the middle of the Garden, even, in Genesis). They both start out "righteous". Adam and Eve have their fruit and they take it, Job has his cursing...but refuses it. Adam and Eve are aware of Satan (the serpent), Job is not. Adam and Eve do not consult God (to which they have access)--Job has a long speech/prayer, though he does not know if God will even answer. And in the end, God speaks to them both, and they both have to live with the consequences of their choices. Adam and Eve chose apart from God and so get separation from him, Job spoke to God throughout his struggle and is restored. And, in the 'real' end (there really is only one), Satan loses, either way. (cross-posting this last paragraph to the Project)


This is precisely my project, to read Genesis 1-3 and Job together. But I must object to your Miltonian perception of things. The serpent and the Satan are not Satan. These are three distinct characters but that are nevertheless related genealogically.

The serpent, for instance, isn't "up to the same old tricks" unless by this you mean its trying to share its knowledge with Eve. That's all the serpent is doing. It's not trying to deceive them (as Satan would).

What you need to understand is that the serpent is a good creature, and Satan is evil, and something terrible happens in between these. The Satan (of Job) is the missing link.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Liteninbolt » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:07 pm

Hi Ichthus. I would also like to place a disclaimer. People's interpretations of the Bible are their own. I try my best not to judge anyone's thoughts (even to exclusiveness of my own private thoughts concerning others those interpretations) of their beliefs on scripture. God knows I have my own logs in my eyes to contend with. When questions arise in my mind, it is mainly due to what seems plainly evident on the language of the Bible. Such as, "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. ('me' referring to Jesus)" for example. When something I see that flies into the face of counter scripture, then I will question somenone's level of comprehension. This disclaimer has nothing to do with what has so far been discussed in this thread thus far.

I have given thought on the response you've made in this thread. I see parallels between Adam & Eve, Job and the fall of satan from Heaven. If you know of a text which shows concordances or parallels in Bible scripture, I would be most appreciative for the suggestion.

It is possible that satan wheedled some amount of doubt upon Job's mind. The only thing that deters my reasoning from that is because God Himself told the devil on the outset that Job could not be turned from God's Favored Eye. In my best reckoning, the greatest harm Job exercised was questioning The Creator's preponderance for what befell him. While it cost him his family and material possesions, the greatest thing he retained was his spiritual connection with God. Whether this is perceived as an allegorical, parabolic or literal dissertation, the message of this in the pages of the Bible appears the utmost important aspect of all of this. The wisdom gained by Job if it is a literal translation far out breachs any suffering he sustained for the good it contains for all mankind in my opinion.

In regard to the wives of these two incidents, they were no more guilty or innocent of trangressions that were made. They having minds and conscience of their own might have fallen into the same situation if the tables were turned. Gender in my opinion is only applicable to this world, not within the confines of God's realm.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:22 am

Alyoshka,

The serpent (not that I interpret the creation narrative literally) is deliberately deceptive. In 3:1 he asks Eve "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?" Why would the serpent ask Eve if God said they couldn't eat from "any" tree of the garden, when actually God said they COULD eat of any tree of the garden, save one? 1. To make them feel restricted from eating from ALL the trees (since they couldn't eat from ALL of them), not just 2) to make them feel restricted from eating from that particular tree. Double wammy. Crafty, indeed. But it's just the beginning. In verse 4 the serpent says, "You surely will not die!" But, they surely do. Physical death is not the central point here (as some young-earthians might think), but separation from God (a worse, more ultimate kind of death). Strike two. The final blow comes when the serpent tells them his version of God's motive. Rather than telling them the truth--that God wants them to KNOW only good, he puts a massive spin on it and tells them God doesn't want them to be as wise as he is. Bull-oney. The only "wisdom" they ever got out of the deal was a loss of innocence. Before they fell in the serpent's trap, they were naked and unashamed, like any innocent kid or wild animal...able to have loads of innocent fun together without all the gender war-game crap. The serpent is definitely a bad guy here. Same one referred to in Job, 1 Chronicles, Revelation ("that old serpent" 12:9), et cetera. He is already considered terrible by the writer of Genesis. Which narrative was 'told' first? Do you know?

Liteninbolt,

The fall of Satan from heaven is referred to by Jesus in Luke 10:18--he is not talking about a literal fall from a literal heaven, but about a rapid decrease in Satan's power because of the 70 disciples Jesus sent out.

The point of Job is not any wisdom he gained, or what he did or didn't do wrong. Job is a counter-argument against those who would say that the only reason to be "good" (to love what is good, to love God) is for selfish reasons...family, possessions, health, acceptance (definitely not a "prosperity gospel")--Job never cursed God despite all his loss and pain, but instead wrestled with God, like Jacob did--that is relationship. [ Of course family, possessions, health and acceptance are not bad...that isn't the point, either (hence, Job is restored). ] And Genesis and Job both deal with theodicy...Genesis deals with why things are so screwed up, Job deals with the issue of bad things happening to good people...it all comes back to the ultimate purpose, our freedom to love. "Wisdom" without love is a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal.

Seems we've had this sort of discussion earlier in ILP.

I hope you'll join me at the Project this year.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby alyoshka » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:30 am

There is your reading of the text, where the serpent is crafty, and there is my reading, where the serpent is just sharing its knowledge. Your arguments only show the possibility of your reading, they don't discount mine. (And to be perfectly honest, I think both readings are true: but mine comes first.)

Look at it this way: where does God say, prior to Genesis 3 where the serpent (or in your reading Satan) appears, "Let there be Satan"? Why isn't Satan mentioned beforehand?

What God does say is "Let there be creatures that go upon the earth," which is clearly what the serpent is, and that "these creatures were good." So what else could this possibly mean than that the serpent is good and, according to my reading, is only sharing its knowledge? How do you turn what is clearly a good creature evil? Where does this happen in the text?

I say your reading is true since once the serpent deteriorates (genealogically) into Satan, then the story can be reread such that the serpent is Satan, and it works perfectly well. (So well that, well, it is the dominant view! As per your reading's popularity...)
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:20 am

This isn't a literal story. It's packed with symbolism. Really, we are not talking about an actual event, but a story someone told--we are discussing the intentions of an author. If a people changes in how they understand (write about) something, does not mean that something has changed [and if their understanding (never) changes, it does not mean that thing (never) changes]. Some say Satan disguised himself as a serpent (wolf in sheep's clothing type thing), interpreting the dust as death and the heel-biting as symbolic of the struggle between us and Satan. Others say it reads like all the other creation myths of various cultures that explain why a certain animal/constellation got the way it is and so doesn't have to make perfect sense (perhaps you are half right and the serpent is not yet "the adversary" or Satan, but is 'taken' to be after those concepts are more developed, but it seems the elements are all there for him to be the same "adversary character" referred to in Job). Some say both. Whichever way, there is no doubt the serpent is portrayed as deceptive in the narrative. I have a feeling your argument that the serpent is good is not even a position you actually hold (if you do hold it, do you think Eve was lying when she said "The serpent deceived me"?...God does not accuse her of lying, but proceeds right to the curse).

My reading is only true if it 'is' true, and my reading certainly is not the dominant one (which, too, is only true if it 'is' true, which the findings of science contradict), taking into account that I do not interpret it literally. It would seem now you want to discuss epistemology?...I am still in the process of studying it, but see my blog (ichthus77.blogspot.com) and forum (ichthus.yuku.com).

Shall we move on? There's a whole year of Bible ahead of us.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby alyoshka » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:49 am

Ichthus wrote:I have a feeling your argument that the serpent is good is not even a position you actually hold (if you do hold it, do you think Eve was lying when she said "The serpent deceived me"?...God does not accuse her of lying, but proceeds right to the curse).


Oh, I hold it alright. It's the only conclusion to draw given what we're told in Genesis 1-2, where we're told that the creatures God created were good. I still don't know how you get around this... I don't get where Satan comes from for you... Was it just always there with God, prior to creating?

(Also note that the serpent is described as the craftiest creature, but the word used, arum, means sensible, wise, etc, and is often used as a desirable quality in scripture (though it is an ambiguous term nonetheless).)

Was Eve lying? Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. And let's be fair: the serpent was involved and so holds some of the blame. All three are responsible. Although the serpent was just sharing its knowledge, that is a dangerous game, and Adam and Eve clearly weren't ready for it.

Also, I don't know why you keep stressing that this wasn't a real event. I'm talking about the story. I don't care if it happened.
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Re: Old Testament as narrative.

Postby Ichthus » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:04 am

Only conclusion? What of the wolf in sheep's clothing interpretation? The Genesis narrative is not 'about' the origin of Satan (especially if you are right that the serpent is not yet "the adversary" or Satan, but is 'taken' to be after those concepts are more developed)--you expect too much of it. Where do I think Satan comes from? He was not there prior to 'all' creation, for sure--that would make him God. Other than that--I have no idea.

Interestingly, the word translated "crafty" is translated that way in Job, as well, and with a negative connotation:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible/passage.aspx?q=job+5:12;job+15:5&t=nas

It is otherwise used only in Proverbs, and only 8 times (desirably, yes):
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/nas/aruwm.html

I would say that doesn't count as "often" enough to outweigh all the evidence in the text that the serpent's sort of "crafty" is a (decidedly) deceptive one.

Who is ever ready for their innocence to be lost?

Be well.
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