What distinguishes Judaism and Christianity on the one hand from, say, Buddhism and Hinduism on the other? It is the formers’ reliance on history and the latters’ detachment from it.
Thus those Christians who want to say that it doesn’t matter whether history actually occurred the way the Bible said it did (e.g. Adam and Eve, Noah’s Flood, the Exodus, the resurrection of Christ) are cutting their faith loose from the historical moorings that God has provided. They would be making Christianity more of a philosophy than a faith.
This is an excellent and substantive article, which begins:
While far from universally accepted, even the most strident critic must admit that the Christian New Testament has a great deal of historical relevance. It is correlated in numerous areas by contemporary first century writings and archeology such that even those who regard it as basically a religious text will still lean on it as a historic reference in some areas.
Not so with the Old Testament. A large portion of the contemporary world – academic and non – considers the Christian Old Testament/Hebrew Tanakh to be purely a work of fiction, borrowing heavily from Egyptian and Babylonian myths.
This book review is by G. Kyle Essary of the Apologetics 315 web site. While John Walton and others have argued that Genesis was a reaction to ANE myths, Oswalt makes clear that Genesis was much more than that.
John Oswalt, professor of OT Studies and Hebrew at Asbury Theological Seminary, has attempted to make this case recently in his book, The Bible Among the Myths. He builds on older work of G.E. Wright from Harvard University to make his case, contending that Wright’s work still stands as an efficient critique to the predominant view. Since the data from the ANE hasn’t changed significantly in nearly 70 years.
What are the implications of these distinctions for Oswalt’s argument in regards to Christian apologetics? First, calling the Genesis narratives myth requires redefining the term in a way that devoids it of any value. Second, it means that the distinctions between the Bible and ANE myth are more relevant than the similarities. Oswalt shows that there are many similarities, but there is discontinuity in how these similar forms, ideas, etc. are used between the Hebrew Bible and ANE literature. He says, “it is not unique because it is not part of its world; neither is it unique because its writers were incapable of relating what they say to that world…rather, it is unique precisely because being a part of its world and using concepts and forms from its world, it can project a vision of reality diametrically opposite to the vision of that world.”
And there is this direct quote of Oswalt that is included in the review (I added the underlining):
The fact is that the Bible has a completely different understanding of existence and of the relations among the realms. As a result, it functions entirely differently. It’s telling does not actualize continuous divine reality out of the real invisible world into this visible reflection of that reality. Rather, it is a rehearsal of the non-repeatable acts of God in identifiable time and space in concert with human beings…whatever the Bible is, whether true or false, it is not myth.
Based on the review alone, I’d say that the book is unfortunately titled. For if all one has been hearing from John Walton, Peter Enns, and others is that the Bible is a myth from a land and time of myths, the title alone would not arrest your attention as a challenge to that notion – even though reading the book would!
These are psalms wherein God or the Lord is referred to as King. An example would be “You are my King, O God” (Psalm 44:4) or “The Lord is King forever and ever” (Psalm 10:16). In addition to the psalm number, the verse number of the specific location of “king” is cited.
This list does not include allusions to God being the king – “For the kingdom is the Lord’s” (Psalm 22:28; see also Psalm 145:11, 12, 13), nor “the Lord reigns” (Psalm 93:1), nor “Your throne” (Psalm 93:2). Allusions like these would be entirely appropriate for studying this subject, but would take more time to search out than I have now.
This list can be compared and contrasted with a list of royal psalms (wherein God is mentioned along with a king).