The following is my reproduction of Professors Barr's entire letter, which was
sent to me by
Answers in Genesis, Australia. See my notes at the foot of the page.
THE ORIENTAL INSTITUTE [Oxford PUSEY LANE University OXFORD shield] OX1 2LE Telephone 59272 THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD 23 April 1984 David C.C. Watson, Esq., 1300 N. Cross Wheaton Illinois Dear Mr Watson, Thank you for your letter. I have thought about your question, and would say that [probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah's flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the `days' of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.] The only thing I would say to qualify this is that most professors may avoid much involvement in that sort of argument and so may not say much explicitly about it one way or the other. But I think what I say would represent their position correctly. However, you might find one or two people who would take the contrary point of view and are competent in the languages, in Assyriology, and so on: it's really not so much a matter of technical linguistic competence, as of appreciation of the sort of text that Genesis is. Perhaps I might mention that I have another book coming out soon, Escaping from Fundamentalism, SCM Press London, which has some discussion of these questions. Westminster Press in Philadelphia are doing the American edition, perhaps with a different title, I don't know. It comes out in this country on 1st June. Thanks again for your letter and all good wishes, Yours sincerely James Barr [signed]
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