Biblical Paradox and Coinductive Reasoning by Richard K. Min and Gopal Gupta (SBL IM2010 paper)

Biblical Paradox and Coinductive Reasoning by Richard K. Min and Gopal Gupta (SBL IM2010 paper), presented at Society of Biblical Literature – International Meeting 2010, Tartu, Estonia, July 2010.

** Click here to download paper: SBL-IM2010Min

Title: Biblical Paradox and Coinductive Reasoning

Author:      Richard K. Min, Gopal Gupta

The University of Texas at Dallas, Texas, USA


The study of paradox has been one of the most neglected areas in contemporary biblical scholarship.  One of the landmark examples is the Liar’s Paradox (Titus 1:12) with circular reasoning, along with the name of God (Exodus 3:14) and the identity of Jesus (John 14:10).  Yet biblical paradox is one of the most ignored areas in biblical study for the latter half of the 20th century.  The study of the paradox in formal logic and philosophy has been pioneered by Russell in the early 20th century, followed by Tarski in Mathematics and Wittgenstein in Philosophy.  The scholarly consensus and trend since Tarski was to exclude circular reasoning from the formal logic and to negate it as valid reasoning, to avoid a paradox occurring.  The consequence of this mainstream decision has been somewhat devastating, especially in biblical scholarship.  As a result, there was no basis of formal reasoning or logic to support any literary or logical construct of circularity, found in the biblical text.  However, there has been a renewed interest due to the innovative approach and breakthrough in the study of circularity and paradox pioneered by Kripke since 1975.  This paper presents this new perspective and paradigm of coinductive reasoning and its application to biblical texts.  The new perspective and paradigm brings a renewed interest and excitement toward the study of biblical paradox with its linguistic construct, and its modal and nonmonotonic reasoning.

Keywords: biblical paradox; coinductive reasoning; paradox of circularity; modal reasoning; nonmonotonic reasoning

** Click here to download the paper:  SBL-IM2010Min


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