Gen 1:6-8.

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Wed Aug 30 18:20:11 EDT 2000

To your last question, very probably yes (though I forget the details of the
individual case). Too many people have been burnt in the past, these days
they are just treated as outcasts, because they have correctly understood
the author's literary, rather than literal, intention, whereas only a
literalist misunderstanding was acceptable to the authorities. For example,
Galileo was condemned (but escaped burning by keeping quiet) for teachings
against the Bible when the Bible actually has nothing to say about the
scientific matters Galileo taught about, except to those who insist on
taking poetry and metaphor literally.

Peter Kirk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ian Hutchesson" <mc2499 at>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2000 5:06 PM
Subject: Re: Gen 1:6-8.

> At 11.36 30/08/00 +0100, Peter Kirk wrote:
> >If you read "the dome of the sky" in a modern English literary work,
> >you as a literalist understand that the author believed that the sky was
> >literal solid dome?
> Why not?
> >Or would you accept that this might be a figure of
> >speech, a metaphor based on similarity of shape and appearance?
> >If you could accept this in English, why not in Hebrew?
> Would accept that, when people in the middle ages referred to the earth
> being flat, this might have been a figure of speech, a metaphor based on
> similarity of shape and appearance rather than the simple, unacceptable to
> modern understanding, belief that it was indeed flat? Was Giordano Bruno
> burnt for a metaphor?
> Ian
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