“My point, once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally.”
― John Dominic Crossan, Who Is Jesus? Answers to Your Questions About the Historical Jesus
John Dominic Crossan is certainly a fine example of the kind of Biblical criticism that poses as scholarship but begins with a presumption and then turns the Scriptures to fit that presumption. He is a product of the age of skepticism in which truth is met with suspicion and presumed to be symbolical language, myth, legend, or fable designed to illustrate a point. It is the Aesop Fable approach to Scripture in which nothing is what it says or seems but is merely a story, a parable, with greater meaning residing in the moral. Adam and Eve, Jonah, Job, miracles, etc... are all presumed to be iconic rather than factual, symbolic rather than historical. And if that seems to presumptive and arrogant, then you make us the bad guys (the 1600 or so years between the apostles who knew it was merely story and beginning of the skeptical age about 1800 or so which got it all wrong). Even the resurrection of Jesus need not be fact in order for it to be true. Yeah, I know, go figure. . .
The ordinary means of approaching Scripture is to presume fact and history unless the Scriptures tell you otherwise. So Jesus tells parables, clearly identified as parables, not to promote the moral of the story but to illustrate the Kingdom of God. In the end, even Jesus becomes merely a moral to the great mythology of God and the only real fact, vague as it may be, is that God is love, tolerance, acceptance, compassion, and mercy. You need not the cross for this God because sin is no big problem -- God just loves it away -- and you need not the resurrection either since death was always normal and the whole goal is to set the spirit free from its imprisonment in flesh. Does anybody think that sounds like something? It sounds like several things but it does not sound like the Gospel.