Has anyone taken a serious look at this particular part of the RATE project’s work at all? In addition to their work on radiometric dating they had a theologian try to come up with a way of proving statistically that Genesis 1 should be read as strict historical narrative rather than as poetry.
- Statistical Determination of Genre in Biblical Hebrew: Evidence for an Historical Reading of Genesis 1:1-2:3 (PDF)
Now I’m no linguist and I’ve no training in textual criticism, but his approach looks downright weird to me. He takes a single metric—the ratio of preterites to finite verbs—and on the basis of that one metric alone, concludes that Genesis 1 must be historical narrative rather than poetry, akin to the accounts in 1 & 2 Kings, for example. This looks like a Texas sharp-shooter fallacy to me: there must be dozens of other metrics by which we could analyse the respective texts, and I’m pretty sure they would be all over the map. Besides, he doesn’t seem to give any attention to how it compares to other genres, such as apocalyptic literature for example.
Would I be right in saying that his approach here is wildly off-base and even somewhat absurd?