The Hierarchy of Truth

Narratives wield a power measured not in historical accuracy but in effect on the reader. In many cases, the values expressed in a narrative, and especially the way that narrative moves us to thought and action, outranks the relationship of that narrative to history. In fiction, truths such as love, loyalty, following principles and defending freedoms shine even more clearly as they are unencumbered by the complexities of reality. But when we are reading Lord of the Rings, we know that we are reading fiction. We don’t expect the accounts to match up to history. What about scriptural accounts, where in many cases the accounts did not literally happen, were not intended as historical truth, but where readers are deeply invested in current literal interpretation?
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