Author John N. Oswalt begins The Bible Among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? with a concise and well-written introduction that whets the reader’s appetite, compelling one to continue reading. He begins by informing the reader that his novel has been in the works dating all of the way back to the 1960s, when he attended the Asbury Theological Seminary. Oswalt quickly points out that one of the main points that the book will focus on is determining if “the religion of the Old Testament [is] essentially similar to, or essentially different from, the religions of its neighbors.”1 Oswalt is swift to acknowledge a major difference between the Old Testament and the religions of the Israelites Near Eastern neighbors. The divine medium of the Israelites’ neighbors was nature. On the other hand, the Israelites relied upon a unique human-historical experience.
Oswalt also brings up that his book will address the ever-increasing amount of skepticism found within today’s society, when it comes to people believing in the validity of the historical facts found in the Bible. It is the classic example of what the Bible refers to of mankind getting “wiser but weaker.” Oswalt argues that even though biblical narratives might not conform exactly to modern history writing, they are still the closest thing that is on record that can give an account to what took place in the ancient world. He basically summarizes the entire literary work by stating, “I am arguing that the Bible will not allow us to disassociate its historical claims from its theological claims, and that our investigations of the history should not assume that they can be disassociated.”2 Basically, Oswalt feels as if the Bible should be given its due credit for the amount of historical claims that have been proven to be accurate. The Bible in Its World
Unlike almost everyone else in the ancient world, Greek philosophers of the seventh through the...