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HTS Theological Studies

On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422


VAN DYK, Peet J.. When misinterpreting the Bible becomes a habit. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2018, vol.74, n.4, pp.1-9. ISSN 2072-8050.

Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) texts should be interpreted against the background of the magico-mythical cosmology of their time, and the Bible is no exception. Earlier scholars were, however, hesitant to recognise this reality as a result of disagreement over how to define myths and because of the problematic idealistic framework that they followed. This framework viewed biblical religion as superior to other ANE religions and thus devoid of myths and the belief in magic. It is, however, argued that the Bible contains both myths and a belief in magic and shares the overarching ANE cosmology. The incompatibility of the scientific cosmology and the magico-mythical cosmology of the ANE causes special problems for modern readers. To prevent modern readers from habitually falling back on their scientific cosmology, and thereby misinterpreting the Bible, it is suggested that a cosmological approach should form the basic framework for all biblical hermeneutics.

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