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Modern Jewish Attitudes To The Concept Of Myth

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Chapter Summary

Modern Jewish scholars not only acknowledge mythical imagery and language, but also grasp the thought that a general concept of creation myth, mythology and myth-making (mythopoiesis) exists in biblical stories. Philo of Alexandria showed his doubts about the literal values of biblical text and explained it in an allegorical way. Chaotic earth symbolizes evil deeds and light is the symbol of good deeds and righteousness, both metaphorical for the behaviour of man. However, even within the process of ethical explanation mythical elements are maintained, like the pre-existence of the Torah or Divine Teaching. Hebrew mythology was in modern days discovered or 're-invented' in the Hebrew Bible and to some extent in the stories or aggadoth of the Rabbis. This is how myth was supposed to have contributed to a never-ending creativeness of traditions and beliefs throughout the history and literature of Judaism.

Keywords: creation myth; Judaism; modern Jewish scholars; Philo of Alexandria; Torah



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