Tuesday, November 26, 2013


From Xenophanes onward, then, the concept of myth has been misunderstood and misrepresented. The shift in thought favoring logic and reason has affected us to this day, to the end that when someone declares something to be “mythical” it is tantamount to saying that it is “untrue.” This, as Doty says, is a result of the “heavy burden of our cultural background” upon us that causes us to give myth the sense “unreal” or “fictional.” Myth has become a disparaging term that suggests an immediate dismissal of the account as credible or reliable. In the field of biblical studies, to be sure, many scholars perpetuate this unfortunate misconception by equating myth with fiction. Garbini, as one example of this sense, speaks of the Hebrew Bible as “a mythic reconstruction of Israel’s past.” It is understandable, then, how the term myth has come to be so sharply contrasted with the modern critical (scientific) notion of history as well. All of this is a logical consequence of equating myth with fiction.—Toward a Poetics of Genesis 1-11, pages 44-45

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nearly a century of Prussian style public education might have something to do with it, too.