Thursday, December 20, 2018

'Book Summary: the Bible Among the Myths by John N. Oswalt Essay\r'

'John Oswalt, in his obligate The record Among the Myths, presents his position to the endorser that the intelligence is contrastive and signalize from former(a)(a) writings of the antediluvian arise eastern. He asserts the script is ab start(prenominal) historic bothy dead on target and theologically sound. He makes the defense the tidings was divinely exalt and revealed to benevolence and bizarre(p) from former(a) quaint darling eastward writings. t here(predicate) was a time when the pass forge, and the Israelite religion was contrary from its neighboring societies. But as times fork over changed, m each batch now s salubrio apply the bible with other old-fashioned rise easternmost legends.\r\nThe book is broken up into two sections. The starting signal half of the book, â€Å"The record and Myth,” Oswalt interests the time to define what a invention is and what unlikeiates the script from a allegory. He consequently different iates the different amongst the manview of the antediluvian Near East and continuity is different from the Bible’s transcendence. The due south half of the book, â€Å"The Bible and Hi allegory,” examines several philosophical persuasions proposed by others that commence to explain the Bible’s relevance go against from historic validity. Oswalt provides excellent arguments against the bran-new age philosophies. Oswalt provides an articulate argument for the verity of the Bible’s news report and theology by providing several convincing points to advance the Bibles varicity.\r\nIntroduction\r\nJohn N. Oswalt, in his book The Bible Among the Myths, provides the lector with a design, heretofore comprehensive view of the variances and similarities amongst the grey-headed testament and Ancient Near East religions. In the introduction, he provides a brief overview of scholarly thought regarding the Old volition belles-lettres and Ancient N ear East literature and how perspectives stir changed in whatsoever 50 years. Oswalt states at the time he was introduced to the able, scholars conceived the Old Testament and its theology stood solely from other Ancient Near East religions. He now contends that present day scholars believe the Old Testament is moreover wholeness of m any Ancient Near East religions.\r\nOswalt states it was the differences between the Old Testament and other Ancient Near that quarantined the two. But immediately, scholars ar ta faggot the corresponding data and researching their similarities (11-13). He states that this is a â€Å"vital philosophical distinction between â€Å" content” and â€Å"accident.”” â€Å"Essence” has to do with the essence of the subject whereas â€Å"accident” is those affaires that argon non essential to the subject (13). He insinuates that scholars of today argon childs play their attention on the â€Å"accidental” attri andes of the Old Testament and Ancient Near East religions and not nubbleing on those occasions that ar the essence of the subject; those things that make the religions different.\r\nIt is these similarities and differences Oswalt states he will center his attention (14). Oswalt thence turns the attention of the reader to the interpretation of a myth. He states in that location atomic number 18 different renderings of a myth but the Bible is not iodine of them. He states when passel start to come back of this word as â€Å"typical of a myth,” then four things happen: 1) The soulfulness is devalued; 2) There composes a neutrality in muniment; 3) People become open to the occult; and 4) People do not ingest responsibility for their actions (14). Oswalt believes what makes the difference between the Old Testament (OT) and the Ancient Near East (unitary) literature is how beau ideal makes himself-importance divinely cognise to his hoi polloi.\r\nThe next stick in Oswalt boldly states is that if we believe in leger theologically, then we can withal believe that the Bible is historically true. He states, â€Å"the veracity of the theological claims of the OT is inseparable from the veracity of the historical claims” (16). The Bible withstands a â€Å"unique orbview” and is ace that has been revealed by perfection to his people, Israel. He states on that point atomic number 18 things we moldiness wrestle with when it comes to probe the Bible historically from its theological al-Qaida but the Bible can refer its claim to be theologically and historically viable.\r\nChapter 1\r\nChapters one with and through louver discuss the differences and similarities of the Bible compargond to one literature. The presumptuousness of chapter one is the Bible has had a major bear upon on the world, especially with its contributions to Grecian philosophical system and thought. classic philosophers believed in that lo cation was one â€Å" unite dominion in the public” (21) and that everything could be identified and reasoned with through logic. As Oswalt states, this brought into conflict the thought of a myth based polytheistic ordinanceing to a monotheistic mindset.\r\nOswalt states that the Hebraical thought survived through the exilic period in Assyria and Babylon even though they were in conduce conflict with the societies in which they were captive. Israel brought into these societies the thought that at that mall was sole(prenominal) one theology and He was the creator of the world and humankindity. In addition, Oswalt states the Israelites brought the unique ideas that beau ideal was not dependent upon munificence but himself and that divinity fudge revealed himself to bounty and gave them peculiar(prenominal) intelligences of what he expected from his people.\r\nIt was only by God’s design that the people of Israel were able to aver their religion in a fo reign land. Greek and Hebraical thoughts combined into a complementary face-to-face manner of idea about the universe and the world. The Hebrew religion of one creator who created the world found a place in the Greek philosophy of a unifying principle to the universe. On the other hand, Greek philosophy could combine itself by to Hebrew ideas by linking the cause and effect of the world (26). Oswalt states that in that respect was a necessity for the scriptural worldview. Without it liking itself with the Greek philosophy, we would not run through a need for reason, understand the brilliance of history and have value of the case-by-case (27).\r\nChapter 2\r\nOswalt, in chapter two, attempts to define the word myth but prior to his discourse, he revisits the divergence of scholars departure from believing in the OT as a separate human base of literature from all other ANE mythological literature to being primed(p) in the mix of ANE literature as mythology.\r\nOswalt con tends the job of delineate a myth is challenging especially in a climate the Bible is being placed with other ANE literature. He states in that location argon two definitional problems. The foremost problem has to do with the definitions of myth. He states in that location has been a breakdown in providing an veracious definition. The other problem has to do with the definition itself. It may not accurately severalise the members of a class (32).\r\nTwo uncomplicated definitions atomic number 18 provided for the reader. The first is the historical-philosophical definition which attempts to â€Å"describe how the myth operates in society” (40). Subdivisions of the historical-philosophical definition ar the etymological, the sociological-theological and the literary. The indorse is the phenomenological. Etymological definition attempts to identify the false genius of an yield or story. The sociological-theological definition is a track of story in which conveys so me(prenominal) legality about the world.\r\nLiterary definition of a myth is the yarn attempts to use the ejaculate of symbolism to convey truth or meaning (33-39). The phenomenological definition regarding a myth is to nip at the common characteristics of the story and how it relates to the society. Oswalt states that all these definitions have a park of continuity. No matter their specify variations, they are co-ordinated. Oswalt states, â€Å"Continuity is a philosophical principle that asserts that all things are continuous with to apiece one other” (43). Myths are to have a common approach to the world (45).\r\nChapter 3\r\nThe idea of continuity in myths is go on and expended in chapter three. Continuity can offend be defined as all pieces of a myth are interrelated physically and spiritually, in a throwaway motion, to each other. In a story, in that location are no distinctions between humanity, personality and the divine. This too includes the thought of pantheism, â€Å"the divine is everything and everything is divine” (49). The problem with this is that in that location are no absolutes, and people and temper are friction match to god.\r\nOswalt state, in that location are a tour of â€Å"far-reaching implications” with regard to continuity. The first is that myths only look at the here and now, the present, and keeping things as status quo. Myths are not in enkindle in the future or moving forward. Second, myths do not look at the booking of humanity and the choices they made. Third, myths also perpetuate the actualization of a â€Å" un passing reality.” Maintenance of the system is needed. This is accomplished through sexual relations in inning to go on fertility of the earth and keep creatures as well as do other ritualistic acts in order to ensure the gods and goddesses maintain the cycle of fertility. Fourth, temperament is used as an important â€Å" reflexion of the divine.” The gods were personified in nature. Fifth, mythology used antic in order to accomplish something in nature or in the divine realm. Finally, because of this continuity, there are no boundaries which cause a blurring of the indispensable, human and divine (44-56).\r\nOnce both sides of continuity are explained, Oswald provides what he believes are common features of myths. There are endlessly elements of polytheism. There are multiple gods. Gods are unendingly represented by some natural element such as wood, stone or other natural element. The gods are not multidimensional and are stereotyped. The gods are not valued nor are humans. The gods are appeased by certain acts and humans are subject to the gods. There is always an element of conflict in the myth either with the gods or other human conflict. Eternity, both before and after the phaseation of the world, was and is chaotic. Because humanity is at the whim of the gods, there is no standard of ethic. Finally, the cycle of l ifetime is cyclical. Oswalt states that the cycle goes from â€Å"non creation to dependence to freedom to dependence to nonexistence” (57-61)\r\nChapter 4\r\nscriptural transcendence and the transcendence of God are the major themes of chapter four. While chapter three refer on the identifying factors of what constitutes a myth, Oswalt provides several bring up elements that make the Bible, especially the God of the Bible, funny and exceptionally different from other ANE mythological literature and religions. As mentioned before, there is only one godly reference book of the OT (64). God who is spirit is separate from his creation and cannot be created in any form (65). Once created, the conflict ended with created order both in heaven and on earth (67). God created man in his image and therefore gave him importance by being in his homogeneousness (69).\r\nOswalt fire notes that God is â€Å"supra-sexual.” meat, God is not know by his sexual identity but his r oles. In addition, creation is not enjoin by sexual activity (73). God in all his activities can be relied upon to do all that he say he would do and not crook as those gods of myths. God prohibited magic was as a method of manipulating Him into some type of action (75). The final element is in regard to the Sinai concordat God made with the people of Israel. They were obligated to racy a certain lifestyle whereas there were no restrictions for the other who lived outside of the arrangement (76).\r\nComparing and contrasting the biblical worldview from those of a mythological perspective provides some understanding of how radically different and distinctive they are from each other. Transcendence verses continuity; God is above all and separate from the universe, nature and humanity. God interacts with humanity through his covenant birth.\r\nChapter 5\r\nOswalt continues his discussion between the differences between the Bible and mythology however he looks at it in light of their similarities. Before he does looks at those similarities, however, Oswalt digs deeper into the ethic as it relates to human relationships with God and man. He states that there are two offences, which are offenses against the gods and offences against other people (85). The mythic ethic, offences against the gods in literature were â€Å"cultic or magical” where offences against people were against society, (85-86). Oswalt points out offences against the gods had nothing to do with their treatment of each other. The biblical ethic was something different, more wholistic.\r\n port on every level, social and personal was out of obedience in the covenantal relationship with God (88). God and his relationship with the covenantal people keep the same standard. The author provides a few examples where it would seem as though the Bible is a similar to myth. He provides examples of the creation story in coevals and in Psalms to point some similarities in the Enuma Elish (Bab ylonian creation distinguish) and other literature. Oswalt acknowledges that similarities and disputes them as something the Bible took from mythos but that they were similar practices not intended to make the Bible like other biblical literature as overmuch as identifying the differences that stood apart from other literature.\r\nChapter 6\r\nChapter six marks the second half of the book as it discusses history and the Bible. Like before in the attempts of defining myth, Oswalt attempts to accurately define history. He defined history, in summary, as a report that records events which is record for â€Å"human self-knowledge” and used as a means of evaluation in order to capture important events. tally to Oswalt, there are several factors that are dependent upon when understand history. The first thing is that people are â€Å"free and responsible.” The second item is that there are causes and personal effects in everything that happens. The enter information mu st be true is the third element. The 4th key is history can be used as a acquire tool for other to grow. Fifth thing is that what happened yesterday is just as germane(predicate) today and that there is significance in their â€Å"relationships.” Finally, there must be a standard in which the information is evaluated (113-115).\r\nThere are several ways ancient people of the Near East recorded events of their lives. They are omen texts, king lists, period formulae, epics, royal annals, and chronicles. Omens were documents that contained something that predicted the good or fearful of an event or circumstance. The kings’ lists contained the genealogy of the names and duration of the kings in power. Date formulae contained the each year accomplishments of the kings. Epics were a tale of events in a hero’s life which essay to convey life’s philosophy. olympian annals were recorded events of a king and existed to â€Å"glorify the king” not s o much to accurately chronicle what genuinely happened. Chronicles were recordings of what actually happened, both positive and negative. They are about as accurate a historical record then the rest. In all, they were specific in the information they contained (116-122).\r\n inappropriate our historians today or even the historical view of the Bible, the peoples of the ANE perspective was different than ours today. They were generally focused on the here and now and not future orientated. Their orientation included making sure they maintained the status quo in order to maintain the good in their lives. The best for everyone was to maintain the order of their society. They believed that everything was outside their control with a multiciplicity of causes de landmarkining their fate. This provides reasons why they were not interested in recording for the future and interested about seeing the relationships of the events that took place in their lives.\r\nThe Bible, on the other hand , provides a different perspective. As Oswalt states, â€Å"They [characteristics of the Bible] are clearly presented to us as unique individuals, firmly grow in time and space” (125). The events which took place were recorded whether they were positive or negative. The events were recorded showing the interrelationships between the events and persons as well as showing the results of human choices and the impact those choices had on the lives of those people. The Bible connects all the pieces in concert in a way that transcends â€Å"the events themselves” by showing the divine interaction with humanity (127). Oswalt asks the header how then could the Israelite nation be different without myth. He indicates it is because there was only one God who unploughed â€Å" severance into their experiencing and smashing their easy interpretations” (134). God kept involving himself in their lives and these events were recorded.\r\nChapter 7\r\nChapter septet unpacks Oswalt’s position that the Bible is historically accurate and theologically sound. Oswalt debunks the idea that history must be recorded without divine involvement in order for it to be historically accurate. In fact, he indicates that is what differentiates the Bible from any other work (138-139). The author states that it is the unique working of God in the lives of people to reveal his divine purposes, which is nowhere else in any literature other than the Bible (142). It is what he calls â€Å" apocalypse through Human-Historical have it away” (149).\r\nGod revealed himself and was divinely involved in the lives of the Israelites. Oswalt notes that he Bible did not â€Å"ramose between revelation and witness to revelation” (140). The author goes on to state that if we fail to acknowledge God in the history then how can we accept the â€Å"acts” of God presented in the literature. There is also the question of how can God be known if we take him out o f the equation. Although many maintain that one cannot have an accurate account of history with God. Owalt maintains that without God there cannot be an accurate history without God. Israel had a different and unique perspective of God in literature.\r\nChapter 8\r\nChapter eight is an extension of chapter seven although Oswalt moves forward on his conviction that the Bible is both historically accurate and theologically applicable. He critically reviews two fashionable scholars’ works that have attempted to separate history from the Bible. The first is Rudolf Bultmann’s existentialist asylum and the other is Alfred North whitehead’s Process Thought. The Existentialist Foundation is the way one sees self relevant to history. As Oswalt explains, â€Å"Instead of seeing the self as an entity shaped by history and a human â€Å"nature,” this way of thinking sees â€Å"existence as the most vestigial aspect of historic consciousness” (156). Oswa lt states there are several problems with this philosophy; the first major issue is the use of the term â€Å"history.” He says that the term must be narrowed even further.\r\nHe introduces the reader to the separation of the â€Å" yarn Geschichte from the event Historie. Geschichte is what is â€Å"going on and is in the eye socket of the theologian.” Meaning what is in the narrative of the story. Historie defines â€Å"what happened and is in the domain of the historian” (157). Historie centers upon what is the event that is actually occurrence in the story. Oswalt identifies several flaws with the Existentialist philosophy but the major ones are, 1) God is upstage from the process; and, 2) The historical narrative excludes the departed there is no acceptance of any standard of evaluation or mouthful of past events.\r\nProcess Thought is seeks to take the events of the Bible and create together the events that take place into a new event. The events are i ntegrated of the past, present and future. It is interested in the event not so much the substance. This too has its faults, one being that it also removes the transcendence of God in the narrative (167).\r\nChapter 9\r\nOswalt provides election views concerning the biblical worldview in chapter nine. He maintains his stand that the biblical narrative has not changed but thoughts about it have and the biblical narrative is different than other mythological narratives. The author provides four alternatives concerning the biblical narrative.\r\nThe first alternative is from John forefront Seters. Seters stand is that several documents were pieced together and then priests rewrote what we now have today. The document was a work by someone using works similar to Thucydides and Herodotus. The second alternative is from Frank Cross. Cross work asserts that the bible came out of rewriting a poetic epic. The third alternative is from William Dever. Dever does deny archaeological evidence of biblical history nor does he believe in the bible’s â€Å"religious explanation of Israel’s existence and nature” (178). Dever stand is Israel’s religion was no different than that of the Canaanite religion until after the exile and the religion has been inaccurately perceived. The quaternate alternative is from Mark Smith. Smith suggests that Israel’s religion originated from the polytheistic religion of the Canaanites (181). Oswalt argues that not one of these alternative thoughts of the biblical narrative has proved the unique nature of the Bible.\r\nChapter 10\r\nChapter 10 concludes the book by summarizing Oswalt’s main points he expressed end-to-end the book. The bible is both historically accurate and theologically sound. The Bible is unique and separate from myth literature but their similarities should not stand in the way of perceiving it as different. What makes it markedly different is that a exceeding God come to involve h im into the lives of humanity is radically different means than\r\nthat of the other cultures which overrode the continuity of myths.\r\n'

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