Question Concerning Inspiration (Jack Baker)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Mon Dec 11 20:55:51 EST 2000

>> I have always argued for a serious treatment of the OT/HB.
>P.S.---Ian, would you be so kind as to describe what you mean by the above

It was loosely spread over the paragraphs following the statement you cite:

I have always argued for a serious treatment of the OT/HB.

It's those people who wilfully persist in making literal readings of complex
texts -- whose contexts (ie purposes for writing, time of writing, audience,
etc) are unknown --, who don't attempt to give a serious treatment to the

When you don't know the genre of a text then a literal reading could very
easily be a wrong reading. (Try reading Gulliver's Voyage to Lilliput
without an understanding the politics of Dean Swift's time, and a literal
reading will make the text seem like a nice little children's book and the
significance has gone way over your head.)

So let's get going on a serious treatment of the OT/HB and stop with the
literal readings.

A serious treatment of the OT/HB involves working at recovering contexts for
the individual documents, contexts which include "purposes for writing, time
of writing, audience". (A context may in itself is rather complex, depending
on whether a text has gone through more than one recension.)

(A serious treatment of literature found in the OT/HB cannot simply involve
a literal reading of the text -- as I indicated in the previous post and
cite above.)

Recover contextualisation (to any discrete degree) and you are able to get
more serious with the treatment of a text.

How do you treat the second half of the book of Daniel when you know that it
was written in Palestine during the Hellenistic crisis? What is the value of
the citations of King Belshazzar in a literal reading? The resurrection
material in ch12 comes into a wider context of literature of the period
including 1Enoch's Animal Apocalypse and 2 Maccabees which also both reflect
the period of the Hellenistic crisis. How does one read this sudden interest
in life after death at such a time of extreme hardship, a theological notion
that was not a traditional Jewish one?


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