Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Biblical literalism may be dangerous according to Kenneth Kovacs
Therefore, I will make some comments about some of Kovacs thoughts. For instance he states, “It’s [being a literalist] a way of being that is suspicious (maybe paranoid) of anything that smacks of analogy or metaphor, of anything that leaves open the possibility of multiple meanings, of plurality, because according to the literalist, for example, there can only be one interpretation of a text – …” No—I believe it is Kovacs who has the problem; perhaps he could be called a metaphorist?
I will explain. Those who are orthodox in their understanding of both Scripture and theology see the text filled with metaphor as well as plain meaning. The Old Testament, in some places, depicts God as the husband of Israel. That is a metaphor. And a metaphor fills out the meaning of the title God. It adds to our understanding. But we can’t use everything that a metaphor suggests. For example, God did not have a sexual relationship with Israel, but he does care for, tend to and enrich Israel as a husband might a wife.
But notice the word husband is a reality with its own definite meaning. When it is not used as a metaphor it is a reality. Hosea was married to Gomer. Joseph was married to Mary. They were husbands not metaphors.