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3 Bumps

Is the Bible a collection of myths?

DEFINITION OF MYTH:

1. a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, especially one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.
2. stories or matter of this kind: realm of myth.
3. any invented story, idea, or concept: His account of the event is pure myth.
4. an imaginary or fictitious thing or person.
5. an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution.

DEFINITION OF MYTHOLOGY:

a set of stories, traditions, or beliefs associated with a particular group or the history of an event, arising naturally or deliberately fostered

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How does the Bible fit into these definitions? How does it not fit? What is the difference between the stories in the Bible and the stories of other ancient cultures deemed to be just myths? (I'm not looking for the ole' 'I have faith the Bible is not mythology and it's the Word of God') I'm looking for actual comparisons where real conclusions can be drawn.

Answer Question
 
IhartU

Asked by IhartU at 9:29 AM on Jan. 15, 2014 in Religious Debate

Level 27 (31,412 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • It has always fallen under the first definition, same as all other religions with roots in antiquity. The problem is people are ignorant, and are only taught 3-5, so they assume the word is a synonym with lie, even though that's the lessor definition.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 9:38 AM on Jan. 15, 2014

  • Yes, especially since many of the Bible's tales are derived from even earlier myths from different cultures/religions.
    3libras

    Answer by 3libras at 9:52 AM on Jan. 15, 2014

  • In a way, yes. It is a collection of myth, narrative, social/political commentary, eponym, a "usable past" (to refer to Nietzsche's reference to a kind of fabricated history that conveys identity and meaning for purposes of politics or self-identity, but isn't literal) and so forth. It is NOT a literal or historical factual account - even the NT is more theology than biography.

    bandgeek521

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 9:59 AM on Jan. 15, 2014

  • But that doesn't mean that the Bible isn't valuable or meaningful, especially when understood in its actual context (as opposed to being read/interpreted outside of said context). Joseph Campbell spoke to the value of mythos, even if it refers to something that is not "true." The point is to, well, point to higher truths that aren't really rooted in the narratives and analogies used to frame/convey them. It's fascinating, actually, the different things we see when actually looking at the Bible within its context: Cain and Abel representing the agricultural revolution, for example, or the genealogies in the OT understood as eponym to refer to a larger history (sons rising against fathers representing lesser tribes rising against stronger ones, etc). Asimov's Guide to the Bible was a wonderful resource, in delving into the context and looking at the Bible through that kind of lens.
    bandgeek521

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 10:01 AM on Jan. 15, 2014

  • It is just like all the other myths and religions out there. That does not change the way people feel about it though.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:01 PM on Jan. 15, 2014

  • Bandgeek is right on the money, as usual. I always appreciate her articulate, well thought out responses.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 2:53 PM on Jan. 15, 2014

  • yes.
    2autisticsmom

    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 7:09 PM on Jan. 15, 2014

  • To me it's not.
    But I understand others may think it is and I respect that.
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 10:51 AM on Jan. 16, 2014

  • Not myth. If you check history you will find evidence of the events from the Bible. The Exodus from Egypt, the great flood, a man named Jesus, etc. History proves the events. It's a matter of whether or not you believe in God and Jesus as a religion.
    baconbits

    Answer by baconbits at 10:57 AM on Jan. 16, 2014

  • baconbits, there is NO factual evidence for the Exodus, the flood story in the bible is a plagiarized version from the far older flood story from the Epic of Gilgamesh- go read it, and the only evidence for Jesus is non-reliable hearsay. ALL mythology contains smidgeons of factual people, places and events but it's along side tons of made-up bullshit and I still don't see how the bible is any different.
    IhartU

    Comment by IhartU (original poster) at 11:15 AM on Jan. 16, 2014

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