Hebrew Bible Stories: History or Myth?

Dear members,

Allan Glazerman PhD in Philosophy will deliver a more than interesting topic about The Old Testament.
This is a topic that many philosophers would like to have the priviledge of presenting and always a challenging one. Please, come with an open mind whatever believe you have and participate in the debate.

Abstract submitted by Allan:
As part of a larger investigation into the nature of myth, I propose to examine several familiar Bible stories that appear in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and discuss whether they should be read as historic, factual reports or whether they should be read as myths. Some of the stories to be considered include the stories of creation, the flood, the binding of Isaac, Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams and the parting of the Red Sea. In particular, I will focus on the considerations, both internal and external, that incline one to read them one way or another. If, as I shall argue, there are good reasons to read the stories as myths, then the appropriate question to ask is not “Are they true or false?” but “What are they intended to do?” And what they are intended to do, I will suggest, is to connect the dots of Israel’s experiences, so that they read as sacred history and, not just a record of past events.

Jes (founder)

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  • Cat

    Yes Allan, "What are they intended to do?" Take for instance this passage from the book of Samuel (15:3) - Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.
    Is this myth about a supposed directive of God actually helpful to humanity? Is this the kind of idea that enhances or hinders harmony between different races and cultures? And is the god depicted a just one?

    February 5, 2011

  • Cat

    Allan's definition of 'myth' as something neither true nor untrue was interesting. Surely things are true, partially true or just plain untrue depending on the facts. Can they be a mixture? Which dictionary did he refer to? Not the Oxford, Macquarie and Webster dictionaries. You can take a child and point at yellow things to teach them what Yellow is, but it's only really valid when the child can see that others think the same thing when they say the word Yellow.

    February 5, 2011

  • Paul

    The new age and post modernistic tendency into our reasoning has a great deal for which to answer. The 'myth is neither true nor untrue' slant relies a great deal on subjectivity, such as; "how does (this or that) accounting of history influence you/your consciousness?". Yet history itself isn't in the least subjective. It OBJECTIVELY either happened or it did not, & subjectivity enters the picture only as to how we might read/interpret/relate to it. We would do well to avoid mixing the two.

    February 5, 2011

  • Alec

    Very few people have the courage to talk and present about religious myths with the clarity that our admired member and PhD in Philosphy Allan Glazerman does, yet showing the appropriate respect to everyone's believes. To differentiate religious myths from history is crucial to theology and philosophy to liberate people from dogmatic believes.

    February 3, 2011

  • Lee M.

    Every time I attend THE PHILOSOPHERS' CORNER - I learn and in such a relaxed and entertaining way. My thanks to our member, Allan Glazerman for such an interesting talk, full of history, facts and perhaps - just a few myths! (An enormous amount of research and time went into Allan's talk and done with passion). Great interaction from the group resulted in an exchange of ideas and thoughts. Sorry about the microphone - we learnt the batteries were flat - not us! And, just to let you know we raised $ 52.70 towards our purchase of a projector, screen and portable mic - so thankyou! And, loved catching up with regular members and to see so many new faces. lee.

    February 3, 2011

  • Amnon

    What a fantastic evening! Dr. Allan Glazerman did a fantastic job in taking on a very difficult and controversial topic. His examples were enlightening, colourful and accurate. Well done!
    The discussion which follows was also very interesting with many good questions. Thank you for yet another great event!

    February 3, 2011

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