Merlin (with spoilers) talent and not using it, heading rapidly off topic

Charles Butler hannibal at
Wed Jun 4 06:10:03 EDT 2003

> But the real point here is that parables are not meant to be taken
> (Oops!  I've just taken the reins of my hobby horse.  Better get on before
> bolts).  One can usually get people to see this with New Testament
parables, but
> it's amazing how many won't see it with those in the Old Testament.
(Reins in
> hobby horse and guides carefully back to stall)

Which OT ones do you have in mind, Philip? (If the OT isn't too, er, OT.)
The one Nathan used to tick off David about Bathsheba seems pretty clearly
metaphorical, for instance, and I'd be surprised if anyone had difficulty
seeing that. But then there's a narrative frame to mark it as such. Perhaps
you're thinking of books like Job and Jonah, where people might be reluctant
to take the metaphoricalness of the whole thing on board, though (says he as
a cards-on-the-table nonbeliever) they seem to me to fall clearly into the
category of the exemplary fable. But this is quite different in turn, of
course, from taking any bit of the Bible one finds inconvenient (because
scientifically and/or morally dubious) and drawing its sting by labelling it
as 'just a parable'. That must be quite a temptation here and there, and I
can see why people might find it a questionably tactic.


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