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1-18 Personification In Historical Narratives

Q. You mentioned about personification not being used in historical narratives?

A. Yes.

Q. Is this what you would say is a historical narrative or not? Christ says, the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness. Kingdom, which is the kingdom of God, is not a parent, not a person, which has children. There is this personification...

A. Okay, so the question is, if personification is not, if the figure of speech of personification is not used in historical narratives, then what figure of speech, or what did Jesus mean when he said, when he talked about the children of the kingdom? My answer is, yes, that is a personification, but that's being narrated in the context of historical narrative: that's within Jesus's quotation, that's Jesus's language, what he is saying. There is a difference between that, a report of someone's language. Because we use figures of speech in our language all the time, personification, metaphor, all sorts of figures of speech. However, in the historical narrative describing what these people do, no, we don't find personification in that context.

Q. Shall I try one more to see...

A. Sure.

Q.When we read about the waves tossing the people...

A. The waves tossing the people?

Q.Right, Matt. 14:24, " the ship was now in the midst of the sea tossed with waves" , as if the waves were a person, tossing them about. This is very common way of describing the phenomena, and I submit that is personification in the course of this ordinary description.

A. Now, what was your reference?

Q. Matt. 14: 24. There are two words, waves tossing and wind being contrary. Contrary is a human attribute, wind is of course, wind, and is personifying, I would submit, waves and wind...

A. So the question is, that in Matt. 14: 24, we read that the boat was buffeted by waves and wind and buffet is something that people do, and so personification is used in this historical narrative.

Q. Read the next phrase as well, wind...

A. Okay, my New International Version says, " buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it."

Q. The only word there that would be personification would be 'buffet'. Would you accept that as a historical description and buffeting being a human action?

A. Well, it is obviously a historical narrative as far as buffeting, I don't know, I mean, inanimate objects can buffet, can it not, I believe it can.

Q. I'm sure as normally used, it is a word for people's action. I'm submitting that personification is something that is part of everyday speaking, including historical narratives.

A.Okay, I disagree. Back here?

Q.I just to make a comment. The wind and waves are physically moving the boat and that there is no need for personification there. The wind and the waves are physically performing the act.

A. Okay, so Mike's point, I'm speaking into the mic for the transcript's sake, Mike's point is that the wind and the waves are moving the boat, and that is not personification.

Q. I want to pursue the historical use of personification. Could you read 2 Chronicles 28: 23 in your version. I thought I had a good one to ask you, but your version changed the wording. 2 Chronicles 28: 23 regarding the gods of Damascus.

A Okay, 2 Chron. 28: 23 reads: " He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him, for he thought since the gods of the king of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them because they will help me. But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel." Okay.

Q. We all agree that these gods did not exist as gods, right? They were idols.

A. I believe that the gods of the surrounding nations may very well have been demons.

Q. Do you think that when it says these gods smote him, it was in fact personal demons smiting him?

A. I would have to read the context to really answer your question and sit down and read the chapter.

From the floor: Mark, could I make a comment:

Mr. Mattison: Okay, Mike has a comment.

From the floor: Reading that passage, it appears to me that it was Damascus who had defeated Ahaz not the gods. He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus because Damascus was able to defeat Ahaz. Ahaz assumed that it was their gods that had given them that power to defeat him.

A. Okay, my comment is that it was not the gods of Damascus who defeated Ahaz, it was Damascus who had defeated him, and he was thinking of offering sacrifices to them. Now we had a question over here?