Notes on Religion and Myth (bump)

Notes on Religion and Myth (bump)

“…The oldest and most authentic Christian documents are the New Testament.

There are two ways to approach the New Testament. You can come to it with a religious belief, that is to say, you can entertain a mythological view of the New Testament which exists independently of any investigation of what the documents say for themselves. You can treat the New Testament like the “scholars” of the Middle Ages treated the horse’s mouth. Rather than take a look at the real mouth, you entertain religious belief about that mouth and that is the end of the matter. You resolve not to look, not to ask questions, and God forbid that you doubt the religious belief.

The other approach is to see what the New Testament documents say for themselves. This is the scientific method. This is a literary science. It employs not just a grammatical interpretation but the historical interpretation of reading each passage in its historical context. (See my 1983 Verdict essay, The Historical Method.

For instance, you may approach the Bible with the religious belief that it was verbally inspired or dictated by Mighty God, and that for all intents and purposes it dropped straight out of heaven free of all human idiosyncrasies, cultural conditioning, social context, world views etc.

But if you examine the documents on their own terms, you will see the cultural, even educational aspects of the various authors on display, even displaying their own social conditioning, their education or lack of it. That part of literary analysis is easy…”

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