Book: Finding Myth and History in the Bible
Chapter: On Finding Myth and History in the Bible
How do we interpret biblical stories, or better the intellectual world assumed by biblical stories? How to understand biblical sources from a critical epistemological and methodological outlook? How to proceed in order to produce a sound historiography of the world of biblical literature and the past of ancient Palestine? My interest in the present contribution is not to sift history from ideology but rather to investigate whether history can be found behind (or inside) mythical evocations in the Bible or not. Reading the Bible primarily as history is highly problematic since it excludes not only the possibility of grasping the mythic character of ancient Near Eastern stories, but also creates virtual pasts, rationalistic paraphrases of ancient worldviews expressed in those stories. This paper, therefore, attempts to establish an epistemological awareness and as such it proposes only critical observations for doing history and interpreting ancient texts.