My thanks to my sister, Lisa Le Donne, for pointing me to this political cartoon:
My own position is not Fundamentalist, if Fundamentalism means accepting as a point of faith at the outset the proposition “Every statement in the Bible is completely true in the literal, historical sense.” That would break down at once on the parables. All the same commonsense and general understanding of literary kinds would forbid anyone to take the parables as historical statements, …. Books like Esther, or Jonah, or Job which deal with otherwise unknown characters living in unspecified period, & pretty well proclaim themselves to be sacred fiction.
Such distinctions are not new. Calvin left the historicity of Job an open question and, from earlier, St. Jerome said that the whole Mosaic account of creation was done “after the method of a popular poet.” Of course I believe the composition, presentation, & selection for the inclusion in the Bible, of all the books to have been guided by the Holy Ghost. But I think He meant us to have sacred myth & sacred fiction as well as sacred history.I think that many Bible professors wish that their students possessed the category of "sacred fiction" as Lewis did. For too many, the category of "fiction" precludes the qualifier "sacred." But until this category is in place, the category of "sacred history" will be misunderstood.
[According to Chamberlain] the German is the specially chosen minister of the Protestant mission, through which Christendom is first made aware of its true content. That the Christian had thoughtlessly chosen the Jew, Jesus, for his savior was surely a bitter pill; it was too late to undo that.
But was it not written in the Gospel that Christ first saw the light in Galilee? And immediately the "instinct of the race" came to Chamberlain's aid and informed him that in just this part of Palestine extensive crossing of races had occurred and, above all, that in Galilee Germanic stocks had settled. Must one not, then, admit that Christ had been a German? It was, in fact, unthinkable that out of "materialism drunken Jewry" a doctrine could come to whose spiritual content the Jewish mind is completely opposed.
Chamberlain revealed an utterly morbid hatred of everything Jewish. He even ventured to assure his credulous readers that a Germanic child, the keenness of whose senses had not yet been ruined or blunted by the prejudices of adults, could tell instinctively when a Jew was near him....To be sure, he based his preference for the Sephardim on the assumption that they were in reality Goths who had been converted to Judaism in large numbers--a recognition which came to the great master of unproved assertion rather tardily, as it first appears in the third edition of his book. How the Goths, those genuine branches of the noble tree of Germandom, in spite of their "mystic inclination" and their inborn sense of "religious profundity," which according to Chamberlain are the heritage of their race, could throw themselves into the arms of "materialistic Judaism" with its "dead ritualism," its slavish obedience," and its "despotic God" remains an unsolved mystery. In this case the "race in their own bosoms" must have failed outright; otherwise the wonder is not explained. There is hardly another work which reveals such unexampled unreliability in the material used and such reckless juggling with bare assumptions of the most daring type.