My newest article, “Why Your Bible Feels Like Fantasy Fiction: Six ways in which the Bible makes more sense if read as a work of fantasy,” is up at On Faith.
Scholars approach the Bible from many different directions. They read its individual books as complete narratives or as collected sources. Many assert that one’s interpretation is framed by the order of the canon, and that we might see the Bible differently if the canon order was changed or if we included some early texts, like Clement of Rome’s epistle. Some embrace it with a wooden literalness, while others approach the Bible as mythological or symbolic or ripe for the garbage can.
In this article, I engage in a bit of reader-response criticism and compare the Bible to fantasy fiction, showing six different ways its world is far more like fantasy than the world we know.
…..3. Supernatural transportation in the sky!
While most mortals are earth-bound, some get to slip its surly bonds. There are flying chariots of fire (2 Kings 2:11), tall ziggurats one can climb to heaven (Genesis 11:4-9), teleportation (Genesis 5:24; 2 Corinthians 12:2), ladders (Genesis 28:10-19), and ethereal lifts (Acts 1:9)…..
…..And yet, as otherworldly as this biblical world is, it also has a distinct earth-boundedness to it. Our human brains, as scientists have noted, enable us to “imagine other worlds” and to create mythological creatures that do not exist in nature. That’s why we gravitate to stories that transcend the mundane. And that’s why — whether we accept it as divine or not — we should try to experience the Bible as fantasy fiction. In doing so, you might discover yourself in the text — and just how human a fantasy world can be…..Read the full article at On Faith…
Image: From Jacob’s Dream by William Blake (c. 1805, British Museum, London): See full image at Wikipedia.