Posts Tagged ‘myth’

Self-assertion Started It

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

“Genesis… contains two major parts: the primeval history… which tells how human self-assertion brought the world to the brink of destruction; and the history of Israel’s ancestors” (The Oxford Study Bible, page 11).

Human self-assertion.

That is an interesting way to put it – and by far the most non-judgmental way I think I’ve ever heard to frame these first stories. Human self-assertion. To assert oneself isn’t inherently evil or wrong, and yet to do it in the wrong way, for the wrong reasons… the way we’ve been dealing with the environment for the last seventy-five years, and with natural resources since the whole colonial era, comes to mind. Read more…


Not a Fib

July 21, 2011 Leave a comment

“The divine name that is explicitly associated with [the Abrahamic covenant] is ‘êl šadday. Its sign is the circumcision” (The Oxford Study Bible, page 154).

Does not the word Shaddai mean God’s breast? How strange that God would give Abraham this explicitly feminine name to call her, and then ask him to respond with an explicitly masculine sign. I don’t know, maybe not so strange. Read more…

Sterile Gloves

July 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t like it when people write about the gods and myths of this or that time and place with a tone of superiority, intellectual distance and essential disbelief. Why should I trust anything they have to say? They’re trying to hand me something while refusing to touch it. I don’t need their sterile gloves.

Whose Scriptures Are They?

July 12, 2011 2 comments

Reading this article – “Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church” (Oxford Study Bible, pages 129-140) – I’m struck by how hard these particular early Christians were working to justify the cognitive dissonance engendered by the fact that they had appropriated the heritage of the Jews without actually converting, submitting, to Judaism. The points that get me are these: Read more…

Canon is Community Food

July 11, 2011 Leave a comment

“A canon provides answers to the two basic questions of life – ‘who are we?’ and ‘what should we do?’ – in ever changing circumstances and situations” (Oxford Study Bible, page 94). In other words, canon is myth. No, it’s the literary or oral vehicle of myth, while myth is the story itself. And as long as we’re on definitions, let me add that mythos is the spirit, the ephemeral quality contained in the myth: the content within the content. Mythos is encapsulated in myth, and myth is both carried and stabilized in canon.

This makes me wonder: what is our – my – canon?

And the question following on its heels is, to which community do I belong? For canon is a community food.

Apsu and Tiamat Didn’t Work it Out

February 5, 2011 2 comments

In the beginning there was freshwater Apsu of the abyss and saltwater Tiamat of the deep. When the gods came to exist, Tiamat and Apsu conspired against them, until Marduk, patron of Babylon, fought and defeated them. He cut Tiamat’s body in two. Half of her body became the heavens, and half, the earth. So what began as a world of swirling water ended in a vision of “civilization,” ruled by a champion-turned-king.

Why does the champion become king? Why don’t the people simply Read more…

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Said the Sluice Gate

January 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Ancient Israel was not ecumenical. Their whole mission was to keep from mixing with their surroundings, to preserve a distinct identity in the midst of shifting political currents, lodged as they were in a geographical corridor that lay between powers, a river of trade and influence whose forces threatened to wash them away.

I am ecumenical. This fundamental difference between me and the writers of my holy book seems just slightly problematic. Read more…