Posted by: Mark Nielsen | December 17, 2012
Hey Hey, Holy Grail!
Reblogging an old entry above. Lately I've been chewing on archaeology, and Scripture (especially postmodern textual analysis, where the culture, linguistic nuances, and origin of primary sources matter as much as the content itself). I've always noted the contrast between historical "facts" versus spiritually useful "concepts". For example --from an even older biblical period -- Anita Diamant's choice in the excellent novel _The Red Tent_ (about Jacob and his wives and concubines) to turn Rachel and Leah's "servants" into sisters. Maybe they were cousins, but according to Genesis, definitely not sisters... but as members of Jacob's "clan", and valued more than modern or more recent servants, I can see why Diamant did this. Modern readers necessarily see things like servants and holy objects in such a different light than ancient people... so I can at least tolerate (usually) the choice to "dress up" or "dumb down" what seems mundane or foreign to us, especially if there's a larger point to be made. Conjecture and conflation is not necessarily anti-biblical, at least if it's done carefully.