Bible And Mythology Creation Essays

Bible And Mythology Creation Essays-9
Admittedly a concept emerged in developed Graeco-Rom. Many have cited this point to support the view that Genesis draws on foreign myth (cf.

Admittedly a concept emerged in developed Graeco-Rom. Many have cited this point to support the view that Genesis draws on foreign myth (cf.

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Eissfeldt contends that “a real myth presupposes at least two gods” (The OT: An Introduction [1965], 35). Sachs have shown how deeply their answers influenced 19th-cent.

Rather, it is the mythical concept of time, whereby the great archetypal events of the past can be “repeated” to give fresh shape or meaning to the present (cf. Myth, in practice, is an extraordinarily complex phenomenon (cf. Few Christians would deny that God’s saving acts of the past become “contemporary” in the sense of shaping, and giving meaning to, the present; but when Eliade speaks of “reactualizing” the Passion of Christ specifically in liturgy, this is a different matter altogether (cf.

Stählin; Sallustius, “On the Gods and the World” in G. The other writing is the Babylonian Epic of Atrahasis. But how direct is the connection, and what significance is to be attached to it?

Aristotle express simultaneous criticism of the traditional myths (cf. In spite of these and other difficulties, it has been argued repeatedly that Genesis reflects borrowings from this source.

If Genesis had genuinely borrowed from the myth of Tiamat, why does it not seem to reflect a conflict theme? Gunkel suggested an answer, and modifications of his theory have been widely held. In Genesis, however, Eden remains “part of a traveled road that cannot be traversed again” (G. It was published in 1872, and is dated by Speiser and Heidel at about 2,000 (cf. Heidel, The Gilgamesh Epic and OT Parallels; and N. It includes the following similarities with Genesis: (1) a divine decree is revealed (XI. Estimates of the significance of these parallels vary. In terms of history, the similarities are more striking than the differences; in terms of myth the differences are more striking than the similarities. c.), and the Ugaritic texts suggest a different source for the , nexus of ideas.

As Childs rightly argues, the new creation contains an additional content above and beyond the original Urzeit (loc. One difficulty about all these conjectures is that the serpent in Genesis 3 enters the scene as a created animal; but chiefly the emphasis of the whole narrative is on man and his responsibility, rather than on the serpent.3. Allusions to a great flood appear not only in mythology, but also in the ancient Sumer. Probably the Epic of Gilgamesh constitutes the best-known parallel to the Flood account (Gen 6-8). Much of it tells of ordinary human life, and might better be called legend than myth; but the famous tablet XI tells of a cosmic flood in the setting of polytheistic myth. Atrahasis, the Babylonian Noah, is saved for his distinctive piety. Lack of space prevents more than a bare mention of other passages which have been said to reflect foreign myth. Gunkel’s theory that all this imagery reflects the conflict theme of Tiamat mythology has met with difficulties (see 1. But there is no evidence that they ever signified something personal and active (cf. By contrast, the following will indicate the main outline of the Babylonian Creation Epic, which often has been cited in this selective way: The epic depicts domestic tensions between the pantheon, with extreme anthropomorphism. “without form and void” () could admittedly denote confusion and waste, or a trackless wilderness. Apart from its being unnecessary, the construction raises difficulties (see E. Rather, it expresses the basic recognition that man stands in solidarity with creation, and yet also transcends it.g. In many Akkadian or Babylonian myths the creation of man brings rest to some of the gods (e.g. In Genesis God “rests” only from the work of creation (but see under Sabbath).h. Valid assessments of the relationship between Genesis and foreign myths cannot be made by comparing pre-selected parallels only. No firm inference can be drawn from this etymological argument.b. As part of the Tiamat nexus of ideas, Babylonian myth contains the notion of a primeval chaos existing alongside the creator, and prior to creation. The older gods are given sleepless nights by the noise of the younger (I. Stories about gods (less characteristically, if at all, about God) which have been narrated in a communal setting as occurrences of permanent significance, and which normally presuppose a given view of the world. On the other hand, some writers admittedly blur this distinction (e.g. They express ideas or events as tales which embody imaginative features; they are never abstract generalizations or analyses.b. In their own community setting, myths possess, or at least once possessed, the status of believed truth. (But see “Problems of Definition” below.) The term “mythology” frequently denotes any body of myths, although more strictly it refers primarily to the study of myths. Problems of definition Definitions of myth are notoriously controversial, and remain acutely relevant to questions about the relationship between myth and the Bible. The popular notion of myth as fabricated fiction is strictly secondary, stemming from the fact that all but their earliest narrators regarded, say, the myths of ancient Greece, as notorious falsehood. Knox insists that “it is precisely this distinction which in mythology is obscured or drops from sight” (op. thought of things which “never happened but are eternally true” (e.g. Many writers doubt whether earlier cultures were also conscious of this distinction. On the other hand, if this is so, it is not an outlook which characterizes the OT, with its emphasis on historical event (cf. The issues at stake, however, are chiefly (1) whether polytheism constitutes an essential, or merely a usual, feature of myth; and (2) whether, given either definition, writers use it consistently and unambiguously.b. Myth presupposes a particular understanding of the world. On the other hand, Mircea Eliade follows Jaspers and Jung in insisting that myth remains fundamentally relevant to modern man (op. But to Emil Brunner (The Mediator [1934], 377-396), John Knox (Myth and Truth) and other writers, “myth” remains compatible with Biblical monotheism. work on the OT from Eichhorn onward (Der Ursprung des Mythosbegriffes in der Modernen Bibelwissenschaft [1952], esp. In this cent., apart from the questions raised by Bultmann, the philosopher Ernst Cassirer has elaborated a view of myth as a distinctively pre-philosophical tool of knowledge and communication.


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