Monday, November 18, 2013
Myth? or History?
[W]e should not confine ourselves to the traditional generic (form critical) categories myth, history, legend, folklore, and so on when speaking of Gen 1–11. This section of Genesis is inherently more complex than any of these categories could adequately account for, due in part to the apparent blending of genres found within it. For example, the language in places appears mythological, though at the same time seems to consider what it is communicating to be historical. Is this myth or history? At times certain names appear to be highly symbolic, and elsewhere they seem to be used more conventionally. Is it literal or symbolic language? Must we choose between the two genres in each of these examples? Could we rather deal with the data in an open and honest way and practice generic nominalism? The following sections will demonstrate, among other things, that the ancient mind often made much less of the distinctions between myth and history and also between the literal and the figurative than we do today. —Toward a Poetics of Genesis 1-11, pages 16-17