1) Was St. Jerome Calling Genesis a Myth, and if so in what sense?, 2) And Mark Shea bungled Mythical with Allegorical ... *sigh* ... 3) History or Myth ... how do YOU describe a "story which really happened" but has "mythical" coherence and greatness?
- Mark Shea* :
- How can Genesis use figurative language, but still affirm a primeval event? It can do it because mythic language is precisely the best way to affirm such an event, an upheaval that inflicted incalculable spiritual damage to the whole of the human race. It’s exactly what the prophet Nathan does when he confronts another spiritual progenitor whose sin inflicts incalculable damage on his descendants too:
- Quotes Holy Bible:
- And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his morsel, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Nathan said to David, “You are the man. Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul; and I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have smitten Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’” David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child that is born to you shall die.” Then Nathan went to his house.
- And returns:
- Is Nathan’s story of the rich man and the ewe lamb false? No. It is a perfectly true account, but it is not told using newspaper language. Genesis’ account of the fall does the same sort of thing.
- My comment:
- Mark Shea has nothing to teach me about what allegory means.
And what Nathan did was make an allegory.
He used an allegory instead of a straight account for a specific purpose : letting King David judge without letting King David's personal bias about what was being judged disrupt his good judgement.
There are ways in which all of OT history is allegorical, it is a prophecy about Jesus and about the Church and even about the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Here there is someone more sinister than King David who had to be kept in the dark.
If God had revealed His plan for saving mankind in so many direct words instead of allegorically, mostly, Satan would have known better than to plot the killing of God and the descent of a soul belonging to the II. Person of Holy Trinity into Hades. Even Satan could figure out it would be ruinous to his domination over the captives whom he was keeping out of Heaven for Adam's Sin.
So, in the account of Creation Week we do find hints about what was going to happen and these are allegorical.
The Church was going to be born from the opened side of Christ on the Cross.
Hence God created Eve from the opened side of Adam.
That was day six, a Friday.
Christ was going to reject the synagogue of Pharisees for bride as so many mooing bulls of Bashan. Also on Good Friday.
Hence Adam had to name the beasts before he went to sleep.
And Christ fulfilled this allegory to the fullest, he named the taunting Pharisees and their crowd of adherents "bulls of Bashan" by citing the apporopriate Psalm of David.
So, the allegory had to be there fully too.
Adam had to be literally one man and literally naming animals created before him.
On the Eve, sorry for pun, or perhaps not, Christ's disciples had been divided into the faithful who were going to Heaven and the traitor who was going to the abyss.
So on day five, God had created both fish which belong down and fowl which go up.
And the traitor had appointed a sign for recognition of the one he was going to betray. He was going to sell the Sun of Justice for the Moonshine of silver coins - thirty, one more than a natural month.
Hence God had on day four (the day of Wednesday on which Judas the Traitor went to the Priests) created both Sun and Moon and appointed them as precisely signs.
I mean, Satan was so busy on these days plotting against the death of the Messiah that he didn't notice he was fulfilling allegorical prophecy.
But even someone as busy as all that might have noticed something if the prophecies had gone like:
"Satan will make Judas Ischariot sell Christ for money on a wednesday, he will part company from the faithful on Thursday and Christ will be killed on Friday and gain His victory precisely when sleeping the sleep of natural death on the Cross."
That is the reason why Old Testament is often allegoric about Christ.
But that doesn't mean the Old Testament is allegoric about its own events.
And allegory isn't the same as myth.
And the reason for allegory was not "this is the best way to tell a story", but "this is the best way to tell the kind of story that someone must not notice being told".
So, if God wants to tell us about Creation, is allegory the best way to tell us it?
We often learn about creation as small children, well before incurring the kind of guilt where King David would have been tempted to judge falsely had he been told the story in the straight fashion.
And Satan had himself watched the creation and so had no need to be kept in the dark about it either. In fact, this is where he showed himself as stupidly tripping himself up by his eagerness to damn and kill, that he forgot to take into account that the crucifixion he was plotting corresponded allegorically to the sleep of Adam.
The one perk of Creation story being also allegorical about creation as such, is when you want to replace the creation myth of Genesis with the creation myth of Darwin and company. Or invent a creation story with Big Bang to replace one in which Earth was created same moment as the most basic space and reality of the universe.
Neither by referring to 390 of the illnamed Catechism of the Catholic Church, nor by referring to the Orthodox, can either Mark Shea or Michael Flynn motivate this new take on the Genesis account.
Catechism of Pope St Pius X would not have any hint whatsoever that Genesis account was figurative or allegorical about its own events, and Orthodox come in two packages.
The ones who reject Creationism are usually referred to as Neohimerites.
In certain national Orthodox Churches most now celebrate Christmas when we do, according to Gregorian calendar. They are called Neohimerites - new calendarists. A minority among them holds fast to celebrating Christmas according to Julian calendar, which by now has diverged 13 days from Gregorian one - when the latter was introduced in Papal States and Spain, the difference was only ten days which it suppressed - so that their December 25 is when we have January 7. Back in 19th C. (before there were any Neohimerites) difference was twelve days, giving rise to canular they celebrate Epiphany instead of Christmas. Now, a Neohimerite is often against Creationism. A Palaeohimerite is usually not. On the other hand, a Neohimerite is often more open to Catholics than Palaeohimerites or Old Calendarists are.
When I was a Roumanian Neohimerite for a few years, my purpose was NOT to be against Creationism, but simply to hold out one hand to Palaeohimerites and one hand to FSSPX and similar Catholic Trads. It failed. I had underestimated both the Neohimerite, imposed by Communism, hatred of Creationism, and the undercurrent of Palaeohimerite objections to Catholicism as something unchristian.
But if you refer to Orthodox in this debate, please to recall the "Orthodox" support of "science" and of a purely "allegorical" or (sometimes they will so abuse language as to mean allegorical when saying) "mythical" understanding of Genesis 1 and 2, is NOT the Orthodox tradition any more than "John Paul II" kissing a Qoran or taking a Tilak on his forehead is traditional as per what Pope St Pius X considered appropriate. Or Pope Urban VIII (need I mention this Geocentric Pope would have most probably been Creationist?) or before he became Pope the Saint Robert Bellarmine.
Mike Flynn has his own problems on the referred to page, he seems to think that "1/2" and "1/4" and "1/8" are numbers, when in reality they are ratios.
- Here is first from his post:**
- "There is, after all, no first number after zero, and however small the sapience, one can always cut it in half and claim that that much less sapience preceded it."
- Then my comment:
- First off, what do you mean by "after zero"?
Zero is not a number.
Second, there is a first number. Either one or two or three. Some would say one, but others deny it the quality of manifold which they consider essential to number. Some would say two, but others say two has not the three essential parts of a number, beginning, middle and end.
So, no, as far as NUMBERS are concerned, there is certainly nothing which is a number and is yet less than ONE.
There are things which cannot be taken apart and divided in halves. Geometric shapes are not among them (and their measures are not numbers!) but having a rational soul very much is among them. Like existing, like living./HGL
- I bid my readers farewell for today.
Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
St Venerable Bede
- Read more (or don't, at your discretion) : New Catholic Register, Does Evolutionary Science Disprove the Faith?
by Mark Shea 09/14/2011
- The TOF Spot : Adam and Eve and Ted and Alice
1-IX-2011 (and not 11-IX-2001 as the other disaster).