Poetry and Accuracy

Lately I’ve been having thoughts about the genre of poetry in the Bible and how people can easily dismiss it as inaccurate or greatly embellished. I found a quote that expresses what I’ve been thinking (and is related to Genesis 1):

Second, “poetry” is not some lesser form of literature that tolerates nonsense. The Israelites did not think, “Well, it is just poetry so we can say some whacky things we would never dare say in narrative.” The opposite is the case. The Psalms were used in worship. The presence of the cosmic battle motif in Psalms actually tells us how important this notion was to them for praising the Lord. He is worthy of praise in part because of the defeat of his ancient “foes.” That is how the Israelites understood it.

–Pete Enns, The BioLogos Foundation

See the rest of the post at the link.

Disclaimer: I’m not familiar with Pete Enns or the BioLogos foundation. For all I know their basic tenets may be against mine. I just like this quote.

HT: Joel

8 Responses to “Poetry and Accuracy”


  1. 1 Mark Traphagen

    If you want to be a true scripture zealot, you should become familiar with both Enns and BioLogos 😉

    Peter Enns was formerly professor of Old Testament and Biblical Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary. He is author of the book Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament (2005 Baker). The book has become a central text in the current disputes over the nature of Scripture.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks Mark. I’ll look into it more.
    Jeff

  3. 3 Joel

    Thanks for the link, Jeff.

    Peter Enns is a fascinating person, to say the very least.

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    You’re welcome. I’m really in the dark on a well known person it looks like.
    Jeff

  5. 5 Joel

    I went ahead and ordered his book – which got him fired, by the way. I think it concerns our present occupation with the Genesis account

  6. 6 Scripture Zealot

    I now remember reading about that.

    I would love to get his commentary on Eccl. if it ever comes out.
    Jeff

  7. 7 Stan McCullars

    I would recommend The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority by G. K. Beale.

    He gives a nice critique of Enns’ view of inerrancy.

  8. 8 Scripture Zealot

    I like Beale.
    Jeff

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