First of all, thank you both for a very interesting and engaging podcast; I really enjoyed it.
I can see studying the Bible as ancient literature and Tyler brought up some really interesting takes on why it’s written as it’s written, but as Tom pointed out again and again, that doesn’t make it good literature by today’s standards. It’s academically fascinating to people who are academically interested in it. Others find the Hindu Vedas fascinating in the same sense and spend their lives studying and analyzing them.
I guess the real problem is that the vast bulk of people who read the Bible, believe it, and take it as the word of God, don’t do it with anything like Tyler’s level of contextual analysis (forget the people who believe it and take it as the word of God without ever having read it). To understand a Bible story or point of law the way Tyler does takes a tremendous amount of setup and academic back story, which I find very interesting (and kind of wish Tom would interrupt a bit less), but that’s not the way 99.9% of the people who tout the Bible as the inerrant word of God understand or present it. If Tyler’s hermeneutical analysis is correct, and I have no reason to believe it’s not, then what we’re getting from believers and preachers and our own academically unaided reading of the texts is a thoroughly misunderstood version of what the authors were trying to convey. The Bible as perceived and interpreted by most people is exactly what Tom says it is and, without a great deal of academic investigation, remains something you believe simply because you believe it or something you simply can’t believe because it makes no sense, or makes all the wrong kind of sense.
If you don’t have Tyler’s insight into what might have really been going on in the Elisha she-bears story, and therefore accept the story, as read off the page, as the perfectly just word of God, what does that say about God? What does that say about you?
In most cases, whether you believe or can’t believe, it’s all just a big misunderstanding.