Dys-Concordism or Dyscordism?

Concordism has become a four letter word in exegesis. It means, in the negative sense, reading scientific knowledge into Scripture where cannot be found. We have discussed here many times before (Concordism and Genesis 1-2).

For example, some have argued that Genesis gives information about the Big Bang and other scientific findings. This seems to be incorrect. It could not have been the author’s intent. This is eisegesis.

At the same time, I’m seeing an opposite problem. Some seem to read scientific claims into Scripture, in order to say that Scripture is in scientific error. For example, William Lane Craig calls out both Walton and Denis L. for reading geocentrism into Scripture (William Lane Craig On The Babylonian World Map). Similar claims are that raqai must have meant a solid dome. However it is not clear if Genesis is making these claims at all. It seems far more reasonable to read it phenomenologically (by ordinary perception), without any claims about cosmology (A Telling in Six Ordinary Days). This also is eisegesis, but of a different sort.

I feel like we need a new term for this. It is not precisely concordism. I have possibilities in mind:

  1. Dys-concordism
  2. Dyscordism

What do you think? Is this a helpful or clear term? Which one would be clearer? Or would you propose a different term?

@jongarvey @Andrew_Loke @rcohlers @Philosurfer @deuteroKJ @jack.collins

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If you have a primitive audience + phenomenological writing… i would suggest the default setting IS incorrect natural philosophy!

Would “discordism”, by using an existing word (with the “i”), have more punch?

Hooray for your stress on the phenomenological! As I’ve repeatedly argued, you can’t talk about a cosmology centuries before the Greeks invented the idea of “cosmos”.

This was always, to me, the biggest weakness in John Walton’s work on this. He has the great insight of functional application for “create”, appropriates the exce;;ent idea of Gen 1 as temple imagery (hence functional) and then spoils it all by imposing a retrospective materialistic goldfish-bowl cosmology on the text (ignoring the input of Horowitz on how the Mesopotamians thought)).

Instead, if the account is phenomenological, you have the writer inspiredly describing what everyone (of any culture) can see out of their window, in terms of God’s sacred space. It’s not a scientific account - and not “ancient science”, an anchronistic term.


So what’s the difference: dis- vs. dys- ?

Dis- is originally a Latin prefix that means “lack of” or “not.” It is used as a fairly simple negation (as in the instances of “dislike” and “disavow”), removal (as in “dismember”), or reversal (as in “disassociate”) (OED).

The term “disfluency” is similarly used to indicate a type of speech that is merely not fluent. It is a sterile and clinical term that turns our wild forms of speech variation into a simple lack or failure judged against the presumed normalcy and desirability of smooth speech. ‘Disfluent’ hides its values behind an apparent objectivity.

Dys- is originally a Greek prefix indicating “bad, difficult” or “destroying the good sense of a word, or increasing its bad sense” (OED). Unlike dis- , dys- is not a simple negation, but marks a transgression: something has gone wrong, particularly in a moral sense.

Seems more like a DYS than a DIS, right?

This really seems to be a fundamental error a lot of people are making, and perhaps one place that RTB, Kepler, and the Chicago Statements are more correct than the ANE crowd.

Come again? What is Horowitz’s input?

“You say dyscordism, and I say discordism
You say potato, and I say either
Let’s call the whole thing off…”


Horowitz - lots of good stuff, which I cover in three pieces (= links) starting here. Probably best to access them as a resource than try to summarise other than simply saying thhat the goldfish-bowl cosmology is Victorian tosh.

Hi Joshua,

You write that some seem to read scientific claims into Scripture, in order to say that Scripture is in scientific error.

You then list two authors, making it appear as if you are offering them up as examples of people who seem to read scientific claims into Scripture, in order to say that Scripture is in scientific error.

Was that your intent?

Richard Averbeck might be a helpful voice here. His treatment in Reading Genesis 1-2 (which came out of a conference I was part of, and even wrote a chapter in) gave some helpful critique to “the ANE crowd” but he’s not totally outside that crowd himself. I suspect he’s done more work in the area in the past 7 years.

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