Glenn Morton wrote:
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On
> >Behalf Of Shuan Rose
> >Sent: Monday, July 01, 2002 8:55 AM
> > I would say that the author in this case was not a biologist and was
> >unconcerned about such things as how many legs an insect had, or whether a
> >bat was a bird or flying mammal. His concern was telling the
> >ordinary person
> >of his time which animals were clean, and which unclean.
> It is time for an assumption check. I would challenge anyone to prove what
> 'his concern' was. We don't know, we can't know, but one thing is
> certain--all sides seem to KNOW what the writer's concerns, purpose,
> intention and will was. I wish I could be issued my time machine and go
> back and talk to that writer.
This is a bit overstated. We often can tell (though we may not be able
to provide a strict proof) what the concern of a writer is. E.g., the concern
of the writer of the 2d creation account of Genesis is to say that humanity and
other living things originated from the work of the God of Israel. At least if
that wasn't his concern he succeeded amazingly well in doing it while trying to
accomplish something else.
What we _can't_ do is say
a. that the writer had no other concerns or,
b. negatively, that the writer's concern _wasn't_ something.
e.g., say that the writer of Genesis 2:4a-25 had no interest in scientific
questions simply because he was using the science of his day to address his
primary concern. Whether or no inspiration, "inerrancy", authority
&c extend to
these other concerns is another matter.
In the case of the texts in question, it takes no deep analysis to say
that the concern of the writer was to distinguish between clean and unclean.
That's simply what the texts do. But we can't say that the writer had - or
didn't have - any extraneous interest in questions of biological
classification. Given the interest of this school in maintaining proper
boundaries ("A place for everything & everything in its place" in the words of
Mary Poppins), he probably did. But the fact that his classifications don't
always agree with those of Linnaeus shouldn't be too surprising.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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