Book Summary of the Bible Among the Myths

2926 words 12 pages
Introduction Author John N. Oswalt begins The Bible Among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? with a concise and well-written introduction that whets the reader’s appetite, compelling one to continue reading. He begins by informing the reader that his novel has been in the works dating all of the way back to the 1960s, when he attended the Asbury Theological Seminary. Oswalt quickly points out that one of the main points that the book will focus on is determining if “the religion of the Old Testament [is] essentially similar to, or essentially different from, the religions of its neighbors.”1 Oswalt is swift to acknowledge a major difference between the Old Testament and the religions of the Israelites Near …show more content…
Human beings do not lot chaos, and mythology provides humans with an avenue to keep one of their greatest fears at bay. When it comes to implications of continuity, Oswalt writes, “Thus, continuity serves both an intellectual and a practical function. If this world and the other world are continuous, then we can affect that other world by what we do here.”6
Common Features of Myths Oswalt identifies several common features of myths. Most myths will contain the following features: (1) polytheism or many gods; (2) gods represented by images; (3) eternity of chaotic matter; (4) personality not essential to reality; (5) a uniformly low view of the gods; (6) conflict is the source of life; (7) an even lower view of humanity; (8) no single standard of ethics; and finally (9) a cyclical concept of existence. All of these features are much different from what is found in the Bible.
Transcendence: Basis of Biblical Thinking
Common Characteristics of Biblical Thought Just as Oswalt shares the common features of myths, he also points the common characteristics of biblical thought. They include: (1) monotheism, or the belief in one god; (2) iconoclasm: the insistence that God may not be represented in any created form; (3) the first principle is not matter but Spirit; (4) the absence of conflict in the creation process; (5) a high view of humanity; (6) the reliability of God; (7) God is supra-sexual or


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