New Testament Gospels’ “Mythic Past”?

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by Neil Godfrey

Is there any such beast as a scholarly discussion of the ‘New Testament’ gospels and epistles as possible direct continuations of the ‘Old Testament’s’ intellectual world?

I’m thinking of Thomas L. Thompson’s Mythic Past: “Both theologically and referentially, most of the texts that were to become the Christian Bible’s Old Testament belong to an intellectual world that holds the New Testament in common….. Most of the works that belong to these ‘testaments’ reflect a single biblical tradition that has its roots in what is widely understood as early Jewish intellectual history. They relate to each other as older and younger contemporaries within a common discourse. The discussions about tradition that we find in the New Testament are not reinterpretations of a closed past. They are part of an ongoing transmission common to the whole of biblical tradition.” (p.289)

If the literature of ‘the old testament’ is essentially a metaphor (mythic creation?) of ‘a new and true remnant ‘Israel’ replacing an old and failed and vanished ‘Israel’ as part of an identification ‘program’ for an uprooted people settled beside ‘strangers’ who are sometimes godfearing and often antagonistic, then is it unreasonable to explore the possibility that the gospels are essentially an extension of this identification ‘program’ for a post 70 ce generation? And if valid, does such a perspective change or add to any ‘mythic’ portrayal of Jesus as hitherto understood?


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Neil Godfrey

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2 thoughts on “New Testament Gospels’ “Mythic Past”?”

  1. Your link to “Mythic Past” (Thompson) seems to be ‘dead’ (you’re linking to …book=7606408, the NOW actual # is 455766).
    PLEASE keep up the good work – I’ve just ‘found’ you and I’m delighted with much of what I read! THX!

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