The most profound story of the Bible.

Nov 2019
228
Memphis TN
I'm not trying to make a comprehensive case that the world was better or worse before modernity, only that great advances come with great capacities for evil, and if there's one thing that the 20th Century has shown us it's that that evil will be unleashed. The Nazis were scientific about their genocide.



I can't speak for contemporary Christian interpretation, but your interpretation (of mankind's abilities if only we unify) falls pretty squarely within the Rabbinic tradition. I can't think of sources off the top of my head, but I have definitely heard that point made plenty of times .



The problem is that your approaching scripture with a very literalist approach (as is indeed the dominant mode of interpretation among Evangelical Protestants and New Atheists).

The story of the Tree is not an attempt at relating a historical event about some fellow named Adam. It's an allegorical commentary on the state of humanity (remember, Adam is simply Hebrew for "man" - his story is all of our stories). If you read the story closely, you see it's a commentary on the link between the intellect and sexuality (man's new intellect is manifested in shame at his nakedness, the snake was a common phallic symbol in antiquity, Adam's first copulation occurring right after the story, etc), the link between man's constant striving to take more than his share and his resultant angst (the ambitions of man require him to now live by the sweat of his brow, etc), and a moralistic lesson on the parallels between spiritual death (disobeying God) and physical death. All that wrapped up in a single simple narrative which even a child can grasp. If that's not profundity then I don't know what is.

We can talk for days about the different facets of the story and how they intersect with one another, and the beauty of it is that the whole thing is cloaked is such deceptively simple form.

You just have to read deeper and you'll see a tremendous amount of profundity behind the stories in the Bible. You don't need to be a believer to see that.


Just throwing g something up there, but the garden story could be just as simple as “ god gave them an order . They ignored it and were punished, and later peoples have added the various deeper meanings..


Not saying that I’m right, just that would likely be the easiest answer.


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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,614
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Job has the most profound dialogue. It's not much of a story, though. It has a little narrative scaffolding at the beginning and end, but that's not the profound part of the book. However I, too, would disagree on the point of the Tower of Babel being the most profound story - I think the Tree in the Garden would win that competition.
Job is remarkable.

Since I love prophets, my favor book in the Tanakh is Daniel. You could wonder why not Isaiah ... it's a personal preference probably connected with the interpretation of the dreams [fascinating matter].
 
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Jul 2019
1,088
New Jersey
Just throwing g something up there, but the garden story could be just as simple as “ god gave them an order . They ignored it and were punished, and later peoples have added the various deeper meanings..


Not saying that I’m right, just that would likely be the easiest answer.


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Is that the way you read Shakespeare? Or any other piece of literature?

Re: Your thing with the witches. I wouldn't necessarily go connecting the Bible's strictures on witchcraft with post-reformation Protestant practices. The story of Saul visiting the witch in Endor to summon up Samuel's ghost shows that the issue was complicated, to say the least. Per the rabbinic tradition (in particular the Mishna, codified c. 200 CE), executions for religious offenses in ancient Israel were vanishingly rare - the death sentence injunctions were far more symbolic than actual, and a myriad arcane requirements needed to be filled to convict and sentence to death (with the effect that religious executions practically never occurred).

Here's the Mishnaic text (Tr. Makkot 1:10):

"A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven years is called a murderous one. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says, 'Or even once in 70 years.' Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiba said, 'If we had been in the Sanhedrin, no death sentence would ever have been passed'; Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel said: 'If so, they would have multiplied murderers in Israel.'"

Bear in mind that these sentiments were voiced 2,000 years ago, at a time when few batted an eyelash at the thought of capital punishment.
 
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Jul 2019
1,088
New Jersey
Job is remarkable.

Since I love prophets, my favor book in the Tanakh is Daniel. You could wonder why not Isaiah ... it's a personal preference probably connected with the interpretation of the dreams [fascinating matter].
I love Isaiah and Micah. They're probably my two favorites.
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,392
Kansas
For profound messages I cannot go past the parable of the Good Samaritan.

A clean clear concise message about how to deal with our fellow man

And a message that has an equally strong resonance as when first put to paper 2000 years ago
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,614
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I love Isaiah and Micah. They're probably my two favorites.
Isaiah is a Lord among the prophets. It's about a personal preference that I prefer Daniel [dreams interpretation fascinates me]. I do know Micah, great prophet, I'm more attracted by Amos. But probably it's again about personal preferences, you know.
 
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MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,392
Kansas
Isaiah is a Lord among the prophets. It's about a personal preference that I prefer Daniel [dreams interpretation fascinates me]. I do know Micah, great prophet, I'm more attracted by Amos. But probably it's again about personal preferences, you know.
If dreams are your thing. I would have thought Ezekiel or Revelations would top picks
 
Nov 2019
228
Memphis TN
Is that the way you read Shakespeare? Or any other piece of literature?

Re: Your thing with the witches. I wouldn't necessarily go connecting the Bible's strictures on witchcraft with post-reformation Protestant practices. The story of Saul visiting the witch in Endor to summon up Samuel's ghost shows that the issue was complicated, to say the least. Per the rabbinic tradition (in particular the Mishna, codified c. 200 CE), executions for religious offenses in ancient Israel were vanishingly rare - the death sentence injunctions were far more symbolic than actual, and a myriad arcane requirements needed to be filled to convict and sentence to death (with the effect that religious executions practically never occurred).

Here's the Mishnaic text (Tr. Makkot 1:10):

"A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven years is called a murderous one. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says, 'Or even once in 70 years.' Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiba said, 'If we had been in the Sanhedrin, no death sentence would ever have been passed'; Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel said: 'If so, they would have multiplied murderers in Israel.'"

Bear in mind that these sentiments were voiced 2,000 years ago, at a time when few batted an eyelash at the thought of capital punishment.
Fables (stories meant to teach a moral) in my experience are not super layered... doing so would kinda pollute the moral it is trying to teach..

The frog and the scorpion is definitely deep, but is it layered with symbolism???


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Jul 2019
1,088
New Jersey
If dreams are your thing. I would have thought Ezekiel or Revelations would top picks
Revelations perhaps, but I can't imagine Ezekiel competing with the four beasts or the kings of the north and south. Daniel is intense.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,614
Italy, Lago Maggiore
If dreams are your thing. I would have thought Ezekiel or Revelations would top picks
Yes, sure. As an aside note, I'd say that there is a slight difference: Daniel interpreted dreams ... Ezekiel and John had overall visions [dreams].