Friday, February 03, 2012

Thought for the day

I read this comment in "The Life of Jesus Critically Examined" by David Friedrich Strauss, first published (in German) in 1835:
"The earliest records of all nations are, in the opinion of Bauer, mythical: why should the writings of the Hebrews form a solitary exception?"
The quote is in section 8 of the introduction, the reference is to G.L. Bauer "Hebraische Mythologie des alten and neuen Testaments" (1802).

When it is put so bluntly, you realise that it is a totally valid question. There is so much in the Old Testament which is similar in style to the myths of all the other cultures of the ancient middle east. Why, indeed, do we consider the bible to be a special case? If it is inspired, why is it inspired to look like everyone else's myths?

2 comments:

Mike McQuaid said...

I think only Christians require it to be a special case. If you think Genesis is literal you'd probably assume the same if born into any other religion.

The stupidest thing is it isn't clear that the Bible even claims things like Genesis and Exodus to be any more than myth and I'm not convinced it's important either way.

Claire said...

Whether or not the Old Testament texts were inspired, those stories were told by Middle Easterners, so it is hardly surprising that you see that. These are not supernaturally produced texts. They are very human and that is a good thing.