The Bible Among the Myths Summary Essay

3685 Words Jun 16th, 2013 15 Pages

David Strickland Old Testament Introduction - OBST 590 June 1, 2013

Introduction The author, John N. Oswalt, was first introduced to the subject of this book in his seminary studies in the 1960s. Oswalt introduces his book with a narrative of the similarities and differences that exist between the Old Testament and the literature of the Ancient Near East. Prior to the 1960s scholars believed that the Old Testament was unique and did not resemble the literature of the surrounding cultures, but now there has been a shift in thought. Many scholars believe today that the Old Testament is virtually identical to Ancient Near East writings. This issue of differences and
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They have the possibility to include items that may have only one feature in common. Oswalt concludes that

Oswalt, John, The Bible Among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 30-31.



a more narrow definition is required to include those items that have much in common while excluding those that have only a few common features.1 These narrower definitions of myths are called phenomenological definitions. They attempt to describe the common characteristics rather than function or quality. Phenomenological definitions are more descriptive and less analytical. The definitions are based on how they are perceived or understood in human thinking. A disinterest in history is a common feature of myths defined as phenomenological. Reality is believed to reside in the ideal world.2 Events in time and space are of no interest to the mythmaker. The descriptive definitions of myth have one thing in common. They all recognize the central philosophical principle of continuity. Continuity asserts that all things are not only related to one another, but that they are one another. The principle of continuity explains the commonalities of myth. It requires no suspension of intellect to ascribe human personalities to natural forces if indeed nature and

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