Historically correct?


Not any more than any one person can speak for any group of individuals. :wink:

Yet, @tafan2 elucidates an important concept (albeit one that I would nuance slightly): the approach of the Catholic Church, with respect to Scriptural interpretation, is not one of fundamentalist-style literalistic rigidity. As such, literal/historical accuracy of the entirety of the Scriptural corpus isn’t the the “hill to die upon” that it is for some of our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters.

Hang on a second – you’ve just moved the goalposts! “Sola Scriptura” doesn’t speak to whether the Bible is to be interpreted strictly literalistically – it means that the Bible is the only rule of faith for the Christian.

Whether or not Catholics are Scripture literalists (we’re not), we’re definitely not adherents to the notion of sola scriptura.

Again… where’d those goalposts go to? :rofl:

The fact that Catholics would assert that the entirety of Scripture isn’t literalistically historical, doesn’t imply that Catholics assert that the entirety of Scripture is “allegorical in nature”.


And, here’s another recommendation: don’t start with Ehrman. His anti-Christian biases, based on his past association with fundamentalist Christianity, skew his academic conclusions.

There we go. Fixed that for ya… :wink:


No doubt. But one cannot have a personal relationship with someone who is hiding above the clouds. The quoted text: "“blessed are the ones…” is in contradiction with the idea that God gave us rationality. To give someone the ability to reason, and then demand us to abandon that reason for the sake of blind faith is a contradiction which cannot be accepted. And the expression of “who have not seen and yet believe” is the perfect description of blind faith.

The word you asked about means “none at the moment”. I was baptized, and was religious, the exact denomination is not important. It was a long and painful road of losing my faith. I was fighting it all the way. I was asking for help, but did not get any. Of course I DID get “help”, but it was insufficient.

This particular thread is one of the attempts. I tried this on other platforms, but it never got anywhere.

The problem is that I take the words of Catholicism very seriously. “Love” is to act in the best interest of the loved one. It is in our best interest to be with God and enjoy the beatific vision. Also God “wishes” that everyone would get to heaven. But we cannot “earn” our way to heaven. I see too many contradictions.

I am not looking for poking holes into your arguments, I am looking for the contradiction-free arguments.

Certainly. So the original question is still there… which parts are literally / literalistically / factually / historically true, and which parts are allegorical?


If you actually want an answer to your question, you’ll need to start reading since your question is enormous. It’s akin to “could you give me a complete explanation as to how a particular type of nuclear reactor works?”

I recommend commentaries - buying/borrowing multiple for each book of scripture so you get a more comprehensive survey. Read one from a secular view, one from the Catholic view and one from another religious view, just for spice.

The first thing you’ll learn is how non-“black and white” it all is…


Thank you for the information about yourself. It helps.

You should assume most ( as in vast majority) of the Bible is neither. That’s the best answer I can think of.


I think Diarmaid Macculloch - a homosexual, ex-Anglican minister who openly flirts with atheism - wrote an excellent survey of Christianity. I recommend you read it and come to understand how baldly ignorant and unbelievably over-simplified your view is.

Christianity - The First Three Thousand Years or something like that.

Great read, but long.

Oh… I’ve fed the troll it seems…


"Adam and Eve: Real People

"It is equally impermissible to dismiss the story of Adam and Eve and the fall (Gen. 2–3) as a fiction. A question often raised in this context is whether the human race descended from an original pair of two human beings (a teaching known as monogenism) or a pool of early human couples (a teaching known as polygenism).

"In this regard, Pope Pius XII stated: “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now, it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own” ( Humani Generis 37).

“The story of the creation and fall of man is a true one, even if not written entirely according to modern literary techniques. The Catechism states, “The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents” (CCC 390).”


So the last supper was a Passover meal or not?


That’s why we look to what the Church teaches, rather than what arbitrary individuals say. :wink:

Whose side? Which fence? :thinking:

Dang. I must’ve missed the memo that advises that Catholic doctrine is up for a popular vote. :rofl:


What else is there?

Last time I heard the Bible is NOT a science textbook, so it cannot be taken as one. And biology is part of science. Not as precise as physics, but more precise as sociology.

What was the actual behind the figurative language?


When Nathan tells David about a man whose sheep was taken away, what was the actual behind the figurative language? It was that David had taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite! Does that mean there was never a shepherd who loved one of his sheep more than others? Is it actually about unjust taxation, taking from those with little to feed the appetites of those with much? Or is it actually about treating women like sheep that we own? Different people will understand different things from the figurative language to the point where we may never know what was the actual behind figurative language.

The whole of the Bible is like that. The evangelists and prophets and other writers are trying to teach us about God, not about a couple of people who lived in a garden 6000 years ago. The event portrayed figuratively in the Adam and Eve story is actually the story of your own first sin, lost in your misty memory of your first years of life. It is also actually the story of the sin of the first human, lost in the misty memory of our history.

The evangelists told the stories of the life of Jesus. They told us what they believed. Does that mean every detail was “actual” in the way you understand actual? Jesus walked on water according to Mark. Does that mean that everyone who saw what Mark described would say the same thing about it? Maybe. Maybe not. Does it mean that when our faith falters, Jesus will help us to stand with him? Undoubtedly. Does it mean that Jesus was not limited to Jewish lands, but crossed into Gentile territories when he preached? I am sure it does.

The quest to uncover the meaning in Sacred Scripture is not really about knowing if Jesus walked on water or other facts like that, for the most part. What is important is why the stories were told to us. Why did God inspire Mark to tell the story of walking on water, out of all the other stories that might have been told? Did Mark want us to look for footprints on the Sea of Galilee? Or was he most concerned about telling us about God and how present God is in our lives?


That is the point we have been trying to make throughout this thread. You seem to think that the only two options are the extremes: a bible passage is literally, historically true or that it is allegorical. The fact is that much of it was certainly written as a history, and most stories actually happened, but the details as presented would not hold up to today’s historical methods.
I will give a quick example, which I mentioned above. The three synoptic gospels all refer to the Last Supper as a Passover meal, they do so very explicitly. Did the Last Supper occur and do we believe we have a good idea of what happened at it? yes. But are the synoptic version literally true in the details, even details that are stressed? Possibly not, since the Gospel of John explicitly says that the Last Supper was not a Passover meal. If the synoptics are accurate, then the Gospel of John is not.


But it is. Miracles would only be the way to point to divine origin.

And the question is not limited to the life of Jesus. The Genesis describes one couple, a talking snake or serpent, and an explicit description of a “disobedience”, a literal expulsion from a magical garden… Whether it is supposed to teach us anything is not the point. (By the way, WHAT is it supposed to teach?) If the text would explicitly admit that it is just a story, that would be one thing.

Of course I realize that such questions are irrelevant for you. The first part of the saying: “for those who believe no evidence is necessary” is true, even though the second part is blatantly false. (And not just false, but extremely insulting!)

Unfortunately for me, he did not help at all when my faith started to falter. Moreover, when we (who lost our faith) try to refer to “ask and you will be answered” and “knock and the door will be opened” - and NOTHING happens, the apologists (not personally, but generally YOU) turn on US, and chastise US for treating God as a “vending machine”. The problem is not just the lack of fulfilling the promises. The worse parts is to be blamed for the lack of results!

I am sorry, but this kind of example is not what I am looking for. The questionable things are the “miracles”. It does not matter how many people were fed using one loaf of bread and one fish… the question is this just a story, or does it describe a historical event? Walking on water, resurrecting dead people would substantiate actual divine origin. Stories about such alleged events do not.


Most Catholics would accept that all of the miracles you mentioned really happened. I certainly do.
But that does not mean that everything in the Bible literally true. You use terminology that we do not use. Another example, was Jesus’s ministry 3 years or 1 year in length? That’s a pretty big discrepancy for a book that is suppose to be literally, historically true (down to the verse, no less). This is why we are talking past each other.


You can only accept miracles as a matter of historical fact if you have faith that inspires you to do so.

They’re miracles. So if we could test or recreate them on demand, then they wouldn’t be supernatural events. They’d be natural events. and thus not miracles.


Thucydides and Herodotus argued about what the point of writing history was. I think they agreed that teaching us something was the point, though Herodotus was a bit more emphatic about it.

So why do you read Scripture? Do you think it is inspired by God? Why would God do that, except so we could learn?

Miracles can add to your trusting Scripture’s accuracy, but they can also make you want God to intervene for you in the same way. They can obstruct your vision of what God wants for you. I cannot tell you how frustrated I am by the discussions on the existence of Adam and Eve! The historical facts, for which we have no evidence, are nowhere near as important as what people have learned from the story. It is not “just a story.” It is your story and mine. If it just told us facts, it would be just a story. “1300 years before Christ was born, Tutankhamun had breakfast.”

And I will take the complaint personally, since I just dismissed the desire for miracles, ie your desire for miracles. I would not compare it to a vending machine, but close enough. I want you to realize how much more God has given you than just the answers to your questions. If I could express that without dismissing your need for something tangible from God, it would be better. I will try to do better on that in the future. Thank you for the criticism.


Many of them won’ t have been able to “write anything down” or read anything complicated, although most would have probably been fluent in several languages.


Overstated. Literacy among Jewish males at the time of Christ was very high. All boys went to synagogue school (I read once there were 400 of these in Jerusalem alone) and learned to read. Now, reading and writing were considered different skills in those days, not all boys were taught to write. But they would not have been able to read “anything complicated” is the part that is overstated.


I take the first sentence in the Bible to be an absolute truth. In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. The rest of the Bible is a life time journey trying to understand and to be inspired by.

If God can create the universe from nothing, then every other miracle is child’s play. God created Adam from no life; so raising Jesus from the dead or a virgin birth should be easy by comparison. God gave us a voice, so he could easily give a snake a voice.
We have the knowledge of flight, and how to make hovercrafts, God is the greater engineer, so walking on water should not be a challenge to God.

I don’t know how any of this happened, but I just accept that God did it for a purpose.


Sure. Its estimated ancient literacy hovered around 10%.

Since the Jewish religion was unusually text based, Jews might have had an astonishing literacy rate for the time. Maybe 20%!

Naturally the divide would have fallen along lines of familial wealth for the most part. Shepherd kids getting enough training to know what the texts were, elite kids actually being able to read them.

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