Whoever wrote the Adam and Eve story in Genesis was “clearly inviting” his readers to understand it as a metaphor.
[The names Adam and Eve] literally are ‘Humanity’ and ‘Life’. Few readers of the English Bible are aware of this connection, and thus they fail to realize how the text itself invites them to see these characters less as historical figures and more as metaphorical representations of the human race. Once one understands the driving metaphor we are expelled from paradise, however, suddenly the remainder of Genesis and even our own lives make much more sense.
Now consider our earliest Gospel, that of Mark:
Jesus = Saviour / Healer (for full details see the article by classicist Professor John Moles linked from here)
Peter = Rock / Stone (See Mary Ann Tolbert’s “Sowing the Gospel” for Peter as leader of the twelve being a personification of the rocky soil of the parable of Sower)
Judas = Jew (that “treacherous race” that crucified our Lord)
Jairus = Awakened (whose daughter was awakened out of the sleep of death)
Capernaum = Village of Comfort (where Jesus performed his miracles of healing)
Bethany = House of Sorrow (where Jesus was anointed for his burial)
Bethphage = House of Unripe Figs (where Jesus cursed the fig tree)
Bethsaida = House of Fishing (where those Jesus called to be fishers of men were)
Bartimaeus = Various (Not all scholars take this blind man’s name as a real name and there are a variety of interpretations for it)
And when Mark writes a nonsense itinerary he is calling out to readers to see he is speaking of Isaiah’s prophetic announcement and not literal history: Mark failed Geography, but great Bible Student.
Kelber shows the metaphoric meaning behind Jesus’ crisscrossing the Sea of Galilee.
Did the author of this Gospel really believe he was writing history or was he signalling to readers that he was writing a metaphoric tale of Christian conversion and the way to enter the kingdom of God? A number of biblical scholars seem to lean to the latter being the case with at least several of the stories.
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