THE HISTORICAL TRUTH OF EXO 1–18:
a fundamental methodological criterion
Let us call the two following types of literary classes as “historical classes”:
- the historical report,
- the historical novel (i.e. either a fiction ⁄ tale imitating historical relation, or an intentionally written mendacious history).
Let us note:
- If somebody writes mendacious history, then he does not use any special class of literature, the class being used exclusively for mendacious histories. Quite the opposite – anyone with an interest in lying to his readers, makes everything so that his “work” could be considered as a true story. Now then, to achieve the goal of deception, such a “creator” applies the same class of literature which is used by the authors of the true histories.
- After consideration of the features of the author of the text, one ought to pass to consider the features of the text itself. It should be ascertained: the text of mendacious history does not differ structurally in the literary form (in the class of literature) from the true history.
- After consideration of the features of the author and of the text, one ought to think over the possibilities and not–possibilities of the reader of the text. It should be noted:
- by means of the linguistic criterion itself, reader or explorer never will be able to differentiate the historical relation (i.e. true history) from the historical novel (i.e. imaginary story), because the same grammar and lingual dress appears in both historical classes of literature.
- therefore, in researching of the Bible, one cannot presuppose that the text written in compliance with a convention of historical classes of literature is not a historical relation but only a novel (historical fiction). Many representatives of scientific circles succumb to this methodological error (including Biblicist that use the Redaktionsgeschichte method, although they appreciate the text in its final form).
It is worth recalling what Pope Benedict XV wrote in 1920, in the Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus : “history (…) must square with the facts, since history is the written account of events as they actually occurred” (No. 22).
Then the Pope notes that the Bible does not contain “pseudo–historical narratives” or “such kinds of literature [which] cannot be reconciled with the entire and perfect truth of God's word” (No. 26)
Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus
, Rome, 15 September, 1920. The online editions are for example: