Allegory and Texts

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Sat Jan 26 14:18:13 EST 2002


Goodness, thank you.
I don't have a lecture.
I simply hand out the following passages and
have people read the words without prior expectations:
Gen 1:26
Gen 9:13
Exodus 32:17-23
Exodus 24:9-11
Isaiah 6:1
Numbers 28:1ff

Best,
Liz

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Walter Mattfeld [mailto:mattfeld at mail.pjsnet.com]
> Sent: Sat, January 26, 2002 2:31 AM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Allegory and Texts
>
>
> Liz,
>
> Your post is very insightful of the problems existing on this list between
> Jewish and Christian understandings of the Hebrew Bible and the narrator's
> intent.
>
> Could you send me a copy of the lecture via e-mail ? It sounds
> interesting.
> It reminds me of a book I have on how the Greeks using allegory,
> transformed
> the intent of Homer in the Hellenistic mindset. They didn't
> change the text,
> they instead "influenced" via **allegory** how the reader would understand
> the text, drawing conclusions never intended by the original author.

Yes, absolutely! Exactly so. Once Hellenism took hold, or
Platonism, or something, you couldn't have a corporeal god any more,
so everything had to be reinterpreted.

>
> As we are both aware, it was via the employment of **allegory** that
> Christians were able to draw differing conclusions about the
> meaning of the
> Hebrew Bible and God's intent for his Messiah.
Yes. exactly, I've benefitted from the writings of
Daniel Boyarin in this regard.

>
> "The Neopatonic allegorists refashioned Homer not by any interference with
> the text itself, but by exerting their influence on the other
> factor in the
> equation of reading: the reader. In so doing, they pre-disposed subsequent
> readers to expect, and so to discover, a certain scope of meaning in early
> Epics. " (p.xi "Preface." Robert Lamberton. Homer the Theologian,
> Neoplatonist Allegorical Reading and the Growth of the Epic Tradition.
> Berkeley & Los Angeles. University of California Press. 1989)

Yes, and the same thing happened among the rabbis, Hellenists all.
In fact, I think it says somewhere in the Talmud that to interpret the tanak
literally is to create fiction.

Best,
Liz
>
> All the best, Walter
>
> Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
> Walldorf by Heidelberg
> Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany
> www.bibleorigins.net
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried at umich.edu>
> To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
> Sent: Friday, January 25, 2002 6:58 PM
> Subject: RE: ONE AUTHOR Monotheism was: "admittedly syncretistic..
>
>
> > > I suggest that you have a view of the god of the HB that is colored
> > > by Christian and
> > > Hellenistic conceptions. I suggest, respectfully, that you are
> > > falling into the trap
> > > that many fall into, and you are not reading the text that is
> > > printed, but the text that is
> > > in your head. I give a lecture called "What does God Look Like ? the
> > > view from the
> > > Bible." It sure does wake people up to the text.
> > >
> > > Best,
> > > Liz Fried
>
> All the best, Walter
>
> Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
> Walldorf by Heidelberg
> Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany
> www.bibleorigins.net
>
>
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