Convince me on this resource

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Posts 613
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Oct 24 2018 10:50 AM

The Lost World series.

https://www.logos.com/product/166145/the-lost-world-series 

Why would I need these?

Posts 1921
Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 10:53 AM

Basically, Walton attempts to help you to think about the Bible the way the original audience would have thought about it.  That is an oversimplification, but that is basically it in a nutshell.

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

Posts 613
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 10:56 AM

Are there other resources that do this also?

Posts 1921
Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 11:11 AM

Walton has a great grasp on the language and context throughout the ancient Near East, so he is able to shed light on issues which you might not have thought of before.  That doesn't mean that I always agree with him, but he makes you think.  

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

Posts 165
Nick Highland | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 11:22 AM

What Walton does in these books is pretty unique, and generally well-respected.  He attempts to read the stories according to a contextual literary perspective, asking what the stories would have meant for their original ANE audiences, why they are constructed as they are, and how they relate to other ANE stories and religions.  I am not aware of anyone doing quite what Walton is doing.  Several scholars read the stories literarily, and several read the stories contextually, but few have written about how the context influences the literary development and construction of the stories.

If all that sounds dry (it does to me), I would add have found each of Walton's books to be very engaging and interesting.  The only one on there that I haven't read is the Lost World of Scripture... which I'll get around to reading eventually.  I might be doing it now if I wasn't reading Tremper Longman III and John Walton's "How to Read Job."

Posts 4679
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 1:40 PM

Joseph Turner:
Walton attempts to help you to think about the Bible the way the original audience would have thought about it.

This, of course, assumes that there is such a thing as "the original audience", and that they would have a more comprehensible understanding of Scripture than contemporary readers do. It also assumes that the "human authors" understood what they were writing about. There are numerous examples that call these and similar assumptions into question (albeit not in all cases). Daniel, for instance, frequently says he had no clue what the stuff he was writing down meant. What's more, both Daniel and Jeremiah clearly state that anyone who is "the original audience" is entirely out of luck when it comes to developing accurate comprehension of what they have written. This same trap is true for parts of the NT also. Ergo, anyone attempting to "understand" in the way the "original audience" did is both starting from and landing on shifting sand.

Perhaps the biggest assumption of all is that comparing the Bible to history is not only valid but unavoidable, or even more, illustrative. The Bible is a circular argument (this is a good thing), and it has no need to be grounded in history apart from what it presents in its pages. Prophecy is the grounding and glue of Scripture, and history, when used to either justify or challenge the Book, becomes idolatry.

Walton, as Joseph said, provides a different "take" on things than you will get elsewhere. Because he is fairly influential, for good or bad, it helps to know what he's saying. I bought the "lost world" collection while it was on sale, even though I know that I will disagree with much of what he says, because I can't know exactly why he's wrong (or occasionally right) until I actually read what he's said.

Posts 165
Nick Highland | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 2:12 PM

David Paul:

This, of course, assumes that there is such a thing as "the original audience", and that they would have a more comprehensible understanding of Scripture than contemporary readers do. It also assumes that the "human authors" understood what they were writing about. There are numerous examples that call these and similar assumptions into question (albeit not in all cases). Daniel, for instance, frequently says he had no clue what the stuff he was writing down meant. What's more, both Daniel and Jeremiah clearly state that anyone who is "the original audience" is entirely out of luck when it comes to developing accurate comprehension of what they have written. This same trap is true for parts of the NT also. Ergo, anyone attempting to "understand" in the way the "original audience" did is both starting from and landing on shifting sand.

Perhaps the biggest assumption of all is that comparing the Bible to history is not only valid but unavoidable, or even more, illustrative. The Bible is a circular argument (this is a good thing), and it has no need to be grounded in history apart from what it presents in its pages. Prophecy is the grounding and glue of Scripture, and history, when used to either justify or challenge the Book, becomes idolatry.

I presume you recognize that this particular theology of scripture that you describe is far from universal.  In fact, it is so foreign to me that I can scarcely comprehend the implications.  If I sat and thought through it, I am certain I would walk away with a headache.  

That said, you may not agree with Walton's conclusions.  That might be a great reason to read the books.

Posts 992
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 2:15 PM

Joseph Turner:

Walton has a great grasp on the language and context throughout the ancient Near East, so he is able to shed light on issues which you might not have thought of before.  That doesn't mean that I always agree with him, but he makes you think.  

That's what I've found as well. 

Posts 4679
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 2:50 PM

Nick:
I presume you recognize that this particular theology of scripture that you describe is far from universal.

Of course.

Nick:
In fact, it is so foreign to me that I can scarcely comprehend the implications.  If I sat and thought through it, I am certain I would walk away with a headache.

No doubt, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take it on. One of the greatest and most profound idolatries humans have is the idea of history. Nearly all humans have a slavish allegiance to it, but there are more than just a couple of reasons why history should be rejected from its primacy of place. First, and perhaps most importantly, it is a phantom that is more than anything a human construct. Agreeing on a simple definition of history is a stumbling block all its own. The main thing, though, is that history IS NOT A CONSTRUCT OF YHWH...i.e. history is NOT truth, nor is it reality.

I'm not the only person who questions the legitimacy of history in attempting to understand the Bible. Christopher Seitz also makes questioning statements about the role history should have for those who accept the truth of Scripture...though I'm pretty sure not to the extent that I do. He feels that "the church" should always "take the Bible's side" [not a quote] in any (unresolvable??) conflict with history.

For me, the headache you suggest is merely a function of YHWH's "unbelievable work" (Hab. 1:5 NASB), which encompasses pretty much everything YHWH is doing as revealed in the Bible. The "in the latter days you will understand" of Jer. 23:20 & Jer. 30:24 and Dan. 12:4, 9-10 (among hundreds of other prophecies) indicate that "the Book" won't be understood until the end, which is one of the significant elements of "the unbelievable work". Of course, one of the unfortunate side-effects of being forced to believe that which you can't bring yourself to believe is...headaches.

Posts 165
Nick Highland | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 3:17 PM

David Paul:

...

I wish this was an appropriate place to carry this discussion a bit further.  I'd be interested in comparing the traditions we both come out of, and how they influence the way we approach scripture.  My guess is that we're from vastly different theological traditions.

If I knew you in person, I'd buy you a coffee and listen to understand how you're coming to some of your conclusions.  Especially because I can see that in a few places, we share the same premise, but reach wildly different conclusions with it.

Posts 6062
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 4:43 PM

Michael S.:

The Lost World series.

https://www.logos.com/product/166145/the-lost-world-series 

Why would I need these?

The series DOES give you something to think about. I’m about to finish the first book “The Lost World Of Genesis...” and I can say it’s opened my eyes to a new possibility when it comes to explaining Genesis 1.  I had never heard his point of view about God creating by establishing functions to his creation and installing functionaries.  Very interesting point of view, indeed.

My next read will be The Lost World of Adam and Eve.  I’m sure I’ll enjoy it as much as the first one.

DAL

Ps. Walton also got me to start reading more my ANET book I have. It was just sitting there taking disk space, but now I find it very interesting and informative.

Posts 6062
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 24 2018 5:37 PM

Besides, they are more expensive when purchased individually: https://www.logos.com/products/search?q=The+lost+world 

DAL

Posts 84
David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 25 2018 2:54 AM

David Paul:

Joseph Turner:
Walton attempts to help you to think about the Bible the way the original audience would have thought about it.

This, of course, assumes that there is such a thing as "the original audience", and that they would have a more comprehensible understanding of Scripture than contemporary readers do. It also assumes that the "human authors" understood what they were writing about. There are numerous examples that call these and similar assumptions into question (albeit not in all cases). Daniel, for instance, frequently says he had no clue what the stuff he was writing down meant. What's more, both Daniel and Jeremiah clearly state that anyone who is "the original audience" is entirely out of luck when it comes to developing accurate comprehension of what they have written. This same trap is true for parts of the NT also. Ergo, anyone attempting to "understand" in the way the "original audience" did is both starting from and landing on shifting sand.

Perhaps the biggest assumption of all is that comparing the Bible to history is not only valid but unavoidable, or even more, illustrative. The Bible is a circular argument (this is a good thing), and it has no need to be grounded in history apart from what it presents in its pages. Prophecy is the grounding and glue of Scripture, and history, when used to either justify or challenge the Book, becomes idolatry.

Walton, as Joseph said, provides a different "take" on things than you will get elsewhere. Because he is fairly influential, for good or bad, it helps to know what he's saying. I bought the "lost world" collection while it was on sale, even though I know that I will disagree with much of what he says, because I can't know exactly why he's wrong (or occasionally right) until I actually read what he's said.

When you say that comparing the bible to history is unavoidable, you make a classic mistake of assuming that all generations of people have had the exact same notion of what the word "history" meant, and that there was no variation in it. Today, we make a simple equation: fact 1 occurred first. then fact 2 occurred. Each fact is an actual occurrence in history, where the word "history" means actual occurrence in time-space, and which can be verified by empirical evidence. This is a modern understanding of history. One which we western, twenty-first century scientific people have inherited from our post-enlightenment past. It is not the one past civilisations were concerned with. For them, "history" denotes meaning and significance. Something happened, and its occurrence had significance and meaning for them. In contrast, the verification of a particular sequence of events with empirical evidence to verify it had little, if any, interest at all.

Compared to us Germans are more fortunate, because they have several words denoting different aspects of what the concept of "history" means. The one which is equivalent to the one that the ancient Near East meant by the word "history" is Vergangenheit. This means what we should learn from history. Whereas, in contrast. the German word Geschichte means exactly what most of us mean by "history": an actual occurrence in the past. Walton's books seek to make a differentiation between the two different meanings, that for them "history" meant Vergangenheit and not Geschichte, and how that crucial differentiation effects our understanding of books like Genesis. 

The examples of ancient history we have in extant form do not all exhibit modern man's preoccupation with sequences of events. Rather, they show that, for ancient people, the deeper meaning and significance of history is what is really important. When Hegel said that "all that history teaches us is that it teaches us nothing at all", in that we consistently fail to learn the lessons from it, I would say that this is because we are no longer interested in the "lessons" from history. All we seem to be concerned about is whether or not something actual happened. 

Through the agency of the Holy Spirit scripture reaches us on different levels. Understanding how scripture was perceived by the original recipients of the biblical books teaches us something about how those different levels of revelation of God's Word contribute to the sum-total of our understanding of how God speaks to different generations, and what He was attempting to accomplish when He did spoke to them with that limited revelation of Himself. In biblical studies, the technical word for this is "Salvation-History". We might think that the fullness of God's revelation in Jesus puts us in a superior position compared to those who had a more limited one, in that we see more than they do. But studying Salvation-History has important insights into how God acts. It is therefore not without benefit to study it.

As for your remarks about how the original readers of the Hebrew scriptures understood them, and how they weren't really understanding them at all, this is a post-Christian understanding of what the Hebrew scriptures really "meant", where Israel didn't really have any insight into their "true" meaning. Such remarks may be true from a Christian perspective, but it fails to realise that although they weren't given to understand the Hebrew bible Christologically, their "limited" understanding of them was what God intended for that particular generation. And in that limited revelation, God assumed ancient Israel had the human faculties - the intellectual wherewithal - to appropriate it. 

As to the biblical Prophets, and the role of prophecy in revealing the inner secrets of history - there are two distinct levels on which scripture operates: the "plain" obvious level; and the "hidden" level. When history gave birth to the Apocalyptic movement, it was with the second level of understanding that they were preoccupied with. But from the perspective of biblical theology, those generations of God's people who did not know the "hidden" level of scripture will never be judged by Him for not knowing it. None of the New Testament writers judge people in the past for not seeing Christ referenced time and time again in the Hebrew scriptures. They recognised that it is only with the appearance of Messiah Jesus that the "hidden" level of meaning of scripture has been unlocked. So, they did not hold to account those who were not privy to this "unlocked" meaning. To do so would cause violence to our understanding of God's fairness in dealing with us: how would it be fair for Him to judge us according to something which He Himself did not give us permission to see?

Where the New Testament writers do judge people for not seeing the Christological understanding of the Hebrew scriptures is subsequent to Jesus's appearance. It is only subsequent to Jesus' appearance that man will be judged. Not seeing him in the scriptures subsequent to His appearance is one of the ways in which the sheep will be separated from the goats. The goats don't see him; whereas the sheep do. And in that very act of either recognising Him or not recognising Him, they are judged. For to not recognise Him as the Messiah is the same thing as to reject Him. 

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Posts 613
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 25 2018 3:09 AM

So David,

would you recommend these books?

Posts 84
David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 25 2018 3:39 AM

Michael S.:

So David,

would you recommend these books?

Indeed I do. Wholeheartedly in fact!

As an evolutionist, before I read Walton's books, I personally struggled when I was confronted with more literal ways of understanding Genesis. I am convinced that Evolution is the best hypothesis to explain how things have come about. However, in Genesis we apparently have a description of how long it took to create the universe, one which contradicts the claims made by Evolution. If Genesis is not an historical description, denoting actual events in time and how long those events took to complete, then how are we to read it? Not being an Old Testament scholar with any mastery over literary types used in the Old Testament, I had no way of answering such a question.

Subsequent to reading Walton, I now have a deeper insight into how Genesis was read and understood by its original recipients, and a better understanding in what the author of Genesis was trying to say to them. And it demonstrated to me once and for all that all this modern obsession with trying to take Genesis literally, as a scientific, factual, description of God's creation event, is very, very wide of the mark. It simply misses the wood for the trees. In fact, it makes a category mistake in misidentifying "parabolic story", which is one type of literary category in scripture, with what is known as "event management".

This is the technical word used to describe a particular type of literary category in scripture. We have examples of it in many portions of the scriptures, where the concern is a simple description of what actually occurred in time. Such events have little if any parabolic concern. God is not trying to say anything to us about deeper significance or deeper meaning. Genesis is not an example of that literary category. Rather, it is an example of the literary category known as "parabolic story". It has far deeper things to teach us than simple sequences of events which took place in time. And to mistake it for "event management" is to be blind to what it is actually trying to say to us. 

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Posts 1921
Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 25 2018 4:45 AM

David Paul:

Joseph Turner:
Walton attempts to help you to think about the Bible the way the original audience would have thought about it.

This, of course, assumes that there is such a thing as "the original audience", and that they would have a more comprehensible understanding of Scripture than contemporary readers do. It also assumes that the "human authors" understood what they were writing about. There are numerous examples that call these and similar assumptions into question (albeit not in all cases). Daniel, for instance, frequently says he had no clue what the stuff he was writing down meant. What's more, both Daniel and Jeremiah clearly state that anyone who is "the original audience" is entirely out of luck when it comes to developing accurate comprehension of what they have written. This same trap is true for parts of the NT also. Ergo, anyone attempting to "understand" in the way the "original audience" did is both starting from and landing on shifting sand.

Perhaps the biggest assumption of all is that comparing the Bible to history is not only valid but unavoidable, or even more, illustrative. The Bible is a circular argument (this is a good thing), and it has no need to be grounded in history apart from what it presents in its pages. Prophecy is the grounding and glue of Scripture, and history, when used to either justify or challenge the Book, becomes idolatry.

Walton, as Joseph said, provides a different "take" on things than you will get elsewhere. Because he is fairly influential, for good or bad, it helps to know what he's saying. I bought the "lost world" collection while it was on sale, even though I know that I will disagree with much of what he says, because I can't know exactly why he's wrong (or occasionally right) until I actually read what he's said.

The books of the Bible were clearly written to particular groups of people at particularly times.  It is dangerous to try and detach the Bible from its original context and attempt to apply it in ways that it was never meant to be applied.  The book of Revelation is a perfect example.  The reason we have so many outlandish interpretations, i.e. the mark of the beast being microchips, locusts being helicopters, etc..., is because people are willing to argue that it did not mean anything to the original audience, and they treat it as though it was written to us today in particular.  It was definitely written to someone else first.  As Walton says in these books, "The Bible was not written to us, but it was written for us," and as Ben Witherington III always says, "A text without a context is just a pretext for whatever we want it to mean."

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

Posts 2953
Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 25 2018 5:50 AM

Though I do not agree with Walton's points, I do find them interesting reads as it is always good to listen to all the sides.  If I remember correctly, Walton also wrote the NIVAC Genesis volume and you can probably get a feel for his views by reading that.

Counterpoint: https://creation.com/review-walton-the-lost-world-of-genesis-one

Posts 613
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 25 2018 6:32 AM

Mattillo:

Wow, too bad Logos does not have this resource.

Posts 6062
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 25 2018 6:32 AM

Mattillo:

Though I do not agree with Walton's points, I do find them interesting reads as it is always good to listen to all the sides.  If I remember correctly, Walton also wrote the NIVAC Genesis volume and you can probably get a feel for his views by reading that.

Counterpoint: https://creation.com/review-walton-the-lost-world-of-genesis-one

I’m not sure I’d call his exposition “Dubious and Dangerous” like the guy in the article does.  I was actually impressed with his material and the logic behind it.  Whether people agree with him or not, his exposition is sound and can actually be an alternative to teaching Genesis 1.

DAL

Posts 6062
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 25 2018 6:35 AM

Michael S.:

Mattillo:

Wow, too bad Logos does not have this resource.

I think is just a brief article critiquing Walton’s book and not an actual book.

DAL

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