“The Bible Among Myths” by John Oswalt

The Bible Among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature?The Bible Among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? by John N. Oswalt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For one of my Master’s level courses, I was required to write an eleven-page summary of this title. In doing so, I learned a great deal from this intellectually challenging book, and would highly recommend it as a great book on archeology, history, mythology, and apologetics. It excels in theoretical application and cultural definitions. I did not want to overwhelm everyone with all eleven pages, so here is my conclusion page to give you an idea of what it contains (contact me if you’d like the entire document to read on your own):

Throughout the text, the issues of Near Eastern mythology have been evaluated as mythos being continuous in nature, and the Bible being separate from it as transcendental in nature. To this date, there are only three religions that believe in true transcendence: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, and all three rely on the Bible as their single source and framework. The Bible shows G-d’s interactions as unique and non-repeatable, while every other religion, being myth, does not. Every other narrative focuses on productivity through historical retelling of the gods, which has been defined historically as myth. Myth, by definition of this book, is a form of expression that focuses on the continuities between the divine, human, and natural realms, being actualized and expressed. Each realm affects the other, maintaining a cosmic balance.

Where did mythical thought originate? Originally, it was argued that the lack of scientific thought left only one other solution, and that was the extent of the mental capacity of the time. No longer a popular viewpoint, and not possibly resolved from limited information, by which much was available, there is only one other possibility: choice. Throughout history, people have chosen how they think, and it was no different at the time of the Egyptians and Sumerians.

If the biblical narrative were to be deemed not a myth, the inevitable result would be to give up the self-pride and accept that obedience to G-d is the only solution. The alternative is to pursue other myths as reality, which would lead to a nation and world focused on lack of ethics, relative truth, interest in black magic, tolerance, selfish behaviors, denial of responsibility, abdication of the value of history. For a book rewritten merely half a decade ago, it feels prophetic in nature. Many of these symptoms are currently being expressed.

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Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.