Friday, April 15, 2005

Ending the historical method

I'm continually enjoying our ongoing learning in New Testament. Perhaps the biggest cause for reflection has been how we explain the hope that is within us in spite of recognizing that the gospels are not exactly corresponding historical accounts.

First the temptation is to combine them into one big synthesis. However, this means prioritizing and ignoring, and we can't have that. in fact, the Church even condemned that approach which was tried by Tatian with his Diatesseron.

But why condemn this approach? Simple - it forces us to believe some of the gospels and/or their pieces and not believe others.

No, clearly the gospels are all interpreted histories, and are all trying to get something across. But what's the something? Well, that would indeed be too deep to cover on the blog.

I really like Dr. Andrew Louth's suggestion that we take the stories themselves as authoratative. Hey, it's not like we have a way to check and see what's historical and what's not. Besides that, if our faith is nothing but a list of historical events, then they lose the power to form us. Inasmuch as that's the case, they also lose the ability of God to speak to us and form us through their interpreted message.

So, we're actually blessed with an anti-history. Most of the prophets would have been laughed right out of a serious history class. Think about it... no it wasn't really the Babylonians who destroyed your city, it was God! It just looked, felt, appeared to be, and later turned out to be the Babylonians, but in fact it was the unseen hand of God rising up against you. haha, yeah Jeremiah, nobody sane really thinks that?

Precisely, and since all great things depend at some level on irrational men Jeremiah would indeed have the last laugh. Such a great way to speak about God (through story). Time will pass away and time will guard her secrets, but God's word will always be there to bring the Holy Spirit and allow the listener to enter the story. You are invited to be the seed of Abraham, if only you will accept the offer and let go.


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