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Old Testament Survey

Decent Essays
BOOK SUMMARY: ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN THOUGHT AND THE
OLD TESTAMENT BY JOHN H. WALTON

Old Testament Introduction OBST 510
May 4, 2014

Part 1 – Comparative Studies
Chapter 1: History and Methods
History: Walton begins the chapter with the “rediscovery of Egypt which began in the eighteenth century AD and of Mesopotamia in the mid nineteenth century AD.” There were discoveries of tens of thousands of texts that were excavated, translated and studied. Many of these tablets and texts did coincide with the Bible. Walton outlines comparative study which is the study that attempts to understand things when compared to their broader cultural context. The goal in this case is to understand the Old Testament compared to the ANE. There have
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If other beliefs of the ANE were based on Myth, and Hebrew belief was radically different, then Oswalt questions how we include the Bible as a myth. The real question is how to define myth?
The Problem of Definition: In this chapter Oswalt discusses the many accepted definitions of a myth. He combines the similarities of all the definitions to establish what is consistent in order determine a true definition of myth. There must be consistency in the definition for it to be accepted. Oswalt shows that if the definition is too broad it loses validity. E.g. Automobiles are moving objects with wheels. If this is true, is a wheel barrel than considered an automobile? Oswalt further explains that the nature of the definition must describe and not evaluate the credibility of the meaning. Broadening or judging the definition to answer the unexplained does not answer the question or define if the Bible is a myth.
Historical-Philosophical, Etymological, Sociological, Literary, and Phenomenological: There are many approaches to describing what a myth is and Oswalt reviews each accepted theological definition. They all have differences and similarities in how they define what a myth is. Oswalt believes in order to really define a myth we must narrow the definition and not use speculation or opinion to get a true definition.
The Centrality of Continuity: In summary all the descriptive definitions and approaches to define a myth lead to one
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