I  2  The Christian myth

The myth: The traditional, mythical interpretation of the Bible states that God created the world and humanity. Humanity rebelled

Karnak, temple from the west
Karnak, temple from the west

against God, so he punished them with the Flood. Later, God chose pious Abraham and placed his descendants, the Jews, under his special protection.

God warned the Jews through Moses and the prophets, but they continued to disobey his commandments. Finally, God sent his son Jesus into the world. Through his son’s sacrifice on the cross, God reconciled himself with all those who chose to accept this reconciliation, i.e. those who joined the new religion, Christianity.

Historiography of the myth: the myth summed up in Thesis 1 is still official Christian teaching. Attempts have been made since the 19th century to verify the myth, now elevated to dogma, in historical terms. In research on the life of Jesus, the historical Jesus and the history of Israel, claims were made that the mythical truths of Christianity are scientifically researched, historical facts.

This gave the Christian myth the all-important scientific seal of approval. Divine interventions in the human world as recounted in the myth were reinterpreted in historical terms as the emergence of religious geniuses like Moses and Jesus, who had links to higher powers and helped humanity to progress.

Only occasionally, e.g. in Jesus’ resurrection, does the old myth still show through the historical interpretation.

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