Is The Bible A True Narrative Representation? -- By: Steven Collins
Is The Bible A True Narrative Representation?
Trinity College and Seminary
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Steven Collins is Professor of Biblical Studies and Archaeology, and Executive Director of Trinity College and Seminary, Albuquerque Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87112.
John Oller is Professor and Head of Communicative Disorders at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana 70504–3170 (and Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of New Mexico).
A shorter version of this paper was presented at the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting in Santa Clara, California on November 20, 1997. The authors want to acknowledge partial support for the work reported here in the form of a research and travel grant to the first author from the Non-Directed Fund of the Korea Research Foundation for academic year 1996–1997. We are also grateful to Dr. Kunok Kim and Dr. Yongjae Paul Choe who helped to obtain those funds. Our names are listed in the original order of the paper presented at the ETS 49th meeting in Santa Clara, California. Any errors, of course, are our own.
Moisés Silva urged evangelicals to think through [the]. .. fundamental question of the hermeneutics of historical narrative.1 He urged further that this thinking should be coherent and fearlessly comprehensive: No more atomistic solutions.2 What is required, according to Silva, is an evangelical theology that is not motivated by fear and suspicion but by a commitment to the integration of the whole theological agenda.3 We agree, and propose the framework of a consistent, comprehensive, and elegant semiotic theory, more specifically the theory of true narrative representations (TNR-theory), as one venue within which to pursue such an agenda.4
The Bible represents itself to be a true narrative representation from beginning to end. Its main protagonist from Genesis to Revelation is God. Because the events reported are supposed to unfold over time, from God’s creation of the universe, to his redemption of mankind, the whole scriptural message, as a predication or statement from God to man, is a narrative. Because the story claims to be true, it claims to be a true narrative. Moreover, the narrative in question is peculiar in view of the fact that it purports to be comprehensive. It claims to cover all time from the creation to the end of time itself. Throughout, the story is about the seed of the woman through...
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