Paul Keim is professor of Bible and religion at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.
Those of us who no longer live in oral cultures may have lost respect for storytelling as a vehicle of moral authority. Just give us the facts, ma'am. We're data people, and we like it in writing. For us the parabolic arts may be fine entertainment, but they're an unnecessarily messy way of getting at the truth.
The dream of a ladder linking earth to heaven is surely among the most familiar images of biblical literature. From "We are Climbing Jacob's Ladder" to "Stairway to Heaven," the idea has been deeply embedded in our collective consciousness.
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