I just posted a review of Brian Godawa’s “Word Pictures” over at my film blog if anyone is interested.
The book would have much more value if the thesis was framed in terms of the interplay between literal and non-literal (artistic) expression, rather than word and image. This spectrum would remove all the confusion surrounding Godawa’s categories and retain much of the valuable insights he offers in the book while avoiding some fatal pitfalls. The solution to the use of literal vs non-literal expression would then be to prioritize literal expression, rather than granting non-literal expression equal priority in the comprehension and communication of truth. However, that does not, therefore, mean that there is no value or place for non-literal expression. “For everything there is a season” (Ecc 3:1). Context is key. Gordon Clark offers a helpful explanation:
The Scriptures contain metaphors, figures of speech, and symbolism; for the Scriptures are addressed to men in all situations – situations in which their attention needs to be aroused and their memory facilitated, as well as situations in which plain information must be conveyed. But since symbolic language and metaphor depend on literal meaning, the most intelligible and understandable expressions are to be found in the literal theological statements, such as those in Romans