The Bible Among Myth

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STUDENT ID: 22379938
DATE SUBMITTED: 03/03/2013

The author, John N. Oswalt, begins his introduction, speaking in regards to the differences between the Old Testament, religions and cultures of the people from the Ancient Near East. As The Bible Among the Myths begins it is the assumption that while there has been no change since the 1960’s, there has been a shifted. Before then, Scholars believed that the Old Testament was true and not compared to any other, however, now scholars questioned this belief and have begun to believe that the Old Testament writings are similar to the other religions of its day. [1] Oswalt continues by discussing a most important philosophical difference within the Old Testament and its contemporaries. He states that there is a clear distinction between “essence” and “accident.” [2] Oswalt states that an accident can be something as similar as hair, while self-consciousness is an essential. To remove an accident will not cause change but to remove an essential, this thing will cease to be itself. [3] -------------------------------------------------

The author establishes to the reader the conception of myth also imitating the option that scholars continue to differ greatly on this definition; Oswalt insists that this ought to not dissuade the individual from seeking a good definition of the word. In order for him to define this word, he list four basic characteristics of a myth. 1. John N. Oswalt, The Bible Among the Myths, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009, 11-12 2. Ibid, 13.

3. Ibid.

The first characteristic; mankind having little or no intrinsic value and the second characteristic was the relative lack of interest in historical studies. The third is the practice of magic and involvement with the occult. The fourth is the refusal to accept responsibility for individual actions. [4] Oswalt concludes his introduction with a substantial claim. He emphasizes that theological claims are inseparable from historical claims. [5] Oswalt states that trustworthiness must be contingent upon both the theological and historical claims. If the historical claims are patently false, then no credence ought to be given to the theological decrees, In the end, I am not advocating a “the Bible says it, and I believe it, and that settles it” point of view, although those who disagree with me may argue that to be the case. What I am advocating is a willingness to allow the Bible to determine the starting place of the investigation. [6] CHAPTER ONE

The first chapter discusses the Bible in milieu of its surroundings and contribution to society as a whole. Oswalt mentions that there are many contributions to way the Western world views reality. The Bible, however, is the most important contributor. [7] 4. Ibid, 14.

5. Ibid, 16.
6. Ibid, 17.
7. Ibid, 21.

Greek Thought:
The Greek philosophers of the early centuries brought in this way of thinking that was to have a profound effect on the western world. The belief, in a “universe” instead of a “polyverse,” adding, simple cause and effect, as well as non-contradiction were three of their most significant contributions. [8] Hebrew Thought:

While the Greek philosophers were struggling to express their point of view, the Hebrews were also articulating their beliefs by way of the prophets. Their beliefs were as follows: There is only one God, God is the sole Creator of all that is, God exist apart from creation, God has made himself known to his people, God has made his will known to his people, and God rewards and punishes people for following or disobeying his will. [9] Combing Greek and Hebrew Thought:

Oswalt states;...
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