What in the Bible is considered rhetoric/symbolic, and who gets to judge?

I have studied and read the Bible and it is full of contradictions. When something is unexplainable it is labeled by Christians as "rhetorical" or "symbolic" Lay people just get the church "dogma" of their denomination. Me, I taught academic religion. It is taught, even in seminary not like Sunday School, but through discussion and debate.

The lay person is given one explanation, but at seminary 2 or more explanations are given and argued for. Who comes up with this symbolic/rhetorical stuff??

Update:

Assume that when Jesus said "Father, father why has thou forsaken me?" while he was on cross, is also a rhetorical question. Then it would follow that Jesus the son is asking a rhetorical question of his

Father, who is really just himself, so Jesus is asking himself a rhetorical question. That would make him neurotic. I would like to know who is qualified to judge whether a question asked over 1000 years ago is rhetorical or not.

In similar fashion when there is something in the Bible that disagrees with what they want it to mean, they say it's rhetorical or symbolic. Here is why Christians have trouble with such explanations--then everything could be called into question and said to be merely symbolic or

rhetorical.

For example, when Jesus says, "Me and the Father are one", perhaps this is also rhetorical. The majority of Christians interprets this to mean Jesus is God. However, it makes more logical sense that Jesus is saying that his philosophy is the same as that of God

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  • Anna
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Everything in there that isn't convenient is "metaphorical". ;)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    1) What in the Bible is considered rhetoric/symbolic

    Almost everything to somebody. Only those things that the bible tells us are symbolic or that are incontestably metaphor, to me.

    2) who gets to judge?

    In most countries, everyone.

    3) I have studied and read the Bible and it is full of contradictions.

    With only 2 exceptions, claimed contradictions are resolved using

    a) the most basic of common sense

    b) a dictionary

    c) the immediate textual context

    If you have read the bible and found more than 2 contradictions, you are not using these 3 tools while reading.

    4) When something is unexplainable it is labeled by Christians as "rhetorical" or "symbolic"

    I disagree completely. Surely, some Christians do so when stumped - but that is a response delivered by someone who has read the bible as carelessly as you have done.

    5) Assume that when Jesus said "Father, father why has thou forsaken me?" while he was on cross, is also a rhetorical question.

    I would never assume such a thing when it is so obvious that he is quoting a Psalm. If the bible you read does not indicate this, you need a slightly better bible (nearly all of them DO indicate this)

    6) "Me and the Father are one", perhaps this is also rhetorical.

    No need to use "rhetorical" for this passage. It is quite ambiguous even when applying an unflinchingly literal interpretation. The obvious question is, "One how?" Since that passage does not tell us how, the passage is ripe for multiple interpretations, all founded on a very literal interpretation of the passage. As is nearly always the case (except in the two situations mentioned in 1), a literal interpretation is quite utilitarian. No need to get all "rhetorical".

    Jim, http://www.bible-reviews.com/

  • HAYAH
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    @"What in the Bible is considered rhetoric/symbolic, and who gets to judge?"

    [No -one].

    It's already determined: The Bible itself tells you, through what The Lord said...some are parables: He already determined that.

    The Revelation, it tells you what the symbols mean: It's already determined.

    It only takes the reader, not to 'skip' over the important parts. You will miss out! Choosing what you want to read, don't give you a clear message.

    It's not the Bible's fault.

    2 Timothy 2:15.

    Romans Chapter 8.

    Having the mind of the Lord is to be "spiritually minded."

    A carnal mind [worldly] will not get the spiritual concept].

    It's the 'understanding' that's in question.

  • 1 decade ago

    you are reading the bible with your own understanding go find a Jehovah's witness to get the true understanding, dont let them tell you what is in it make them show you from your bible

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    anybody can claim something is symbolic. it happens all the time on here. if something in the bible is too weird and yet is in their they say it's symbolic.

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