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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What every Christian should know
It is hardly surprising that this book created such a furore when it first appeared. Although its ideas are widely taught in the Religious Studies and Theology departments of most non-sectarian universities they have not yet been disseminated among ordinary Christian believers who must find them quite shocking.
The book brings together contemporary understanding of...
Published on 30 Dec 2004 by Celia Villa-Landa

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seeks to reveal the Bible as it was understood then
The book assembles a collection of arguments that compare the past portrayed by the Bible against historical fact, and in doing so reveals that it is misleading to view the Bible as history, or that its purpose was ever to be historical. The book convinced me that most of what I believed to be true was understood as mythological at the time of the Bible's writing...
Published on 19 Aug 1999


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What every Christian should know, 30 Dec 2004
This review is from: The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel (Paperback)
It is hardly surprising that this book created such a furore when it first appeared. Although its ideas are widely taught in the Religious Studies and Theology departments of most non-sectarian universities they have not yet been disseminated among ordinary Christian believers who must find them quite shocking.
The book brings together contemporary understanding of the archaeology of Palestine and current academic thinking on the history of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament, for Christians)and proposes some well-supported theories on the basis of this.
The first part looks at the problems which arise when people try to treat the Bible as history and clarifies its nature - a combination of myths, poetry, sermons, and scraps of ancient literature.
The second part looks at the real history of Israel/Palestine - what we can genuinely discover from archaeology and reliable history - and recognises that there is no evidence at all for Israel's favourite myths of the united monarchy, Saul, David and Solomon, let alone any of the earlier patriarchal histories.
The third part looks at the sociological and theological conclusions that we can draw from this more factual view of the Bible and how it affected the first century thinking that produced the New Testament.
The book appears to be written for the 'layperson' rather than the specialist but while fascinating and thought-provoking, it is heavy going in places. The most irritating thing about it, though, is that it lacks notes, proper references, and an index.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seeks to reveal the Bible as it was understood then, 19 Aug 1999
By A Customer
The book assembles a collection of arguments that compare the past portrayed by the Bible against historical fact, and in doing so reveals that it is misleading to view the Bible as history, or that its purpose was ever to be historical. The book convinced me that most of what I believed to be true was understood as mythological at the time of the Bible's writing. Even showing how the original mythical meaning of the garden story was changed during the Middle Ages to the one generally held today. And although the argument that the Bible was a late development seems rather pretentious, he also suggests that the traditions that the Bible drew upon understood events from the past, but that it is difficult to extract history from myth. Both the New and Old Testaments are discussed, including parallel metaphors in each. But the main message is that if the Bible is viewed as history, its true meaning is no longer understood from its symbolism, which is at the heart of understanding the Bible's theology. Although much more interesting at first, this book could have been 100 pages shorter without any real loss. Another book that tries to explain the source of the myths used to create the Bible is "The Bible Myth" by Gary Greenberg.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad effort., 10 April 2014
This review is from: The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel (Paperback)
Not bad, a worthy addition to any Christian book collection. I did find it a bit irritating when he writes about the bible, as he dosnt believe a word of it, better less atheistic theology, and just get on with the archy stuff and history.
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6 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thompson's Mythic Past is balderdash!, 15 July 1999
By A Customer
This book contains about as much reality as Drosnan's The Bible Code, and that ain't much. Firstly, in 397 pages he has no footnotes that refer to other works. Therefore, if he actually did say something worthwhile, we could never get to the source. This, by itself, is suspicious. His conclusions are preposterous as well. To Thompson, the Bible dates to the second century B.C.E., the Dead Sea Scrolls predate the Bible, the famous betdwd [House of David] inscription from Tel Dan speaks of the Temple of the Beloved... I could go on with lots of other inanities, but people who are familiar with Biblical Studies get the point. Further, any person familiar with Biblical Hebrew knows that certain linguistic features are peculiar to earlier biblical Hebrew and other features characterize later texts. Yet Thompson completely neglects this area of scholarship because he compresses the writing of the Hebrew Bible into maybe the last 2-3 centuries before the Common Era. In short, this book has a multitude of troubling aspects. Thompson writes that he was locked out of academic life in America and had to become a housepainter. It's not difficult to see why.
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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thompson overlooks an important alternative, 18 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Thompson's conclusions are logical given the lack of evidence. He argues that since archaeology has failed to discover any trace of pre-exilic Judah and Israel, then the events described in the Old Testament are fantasies. However I cannot understand why he cannot consider the alternative that the OT story is correct but took place elsewhere, not in Palestine. Anyone who can read can see that the so called "Vision" of Ezekiel was a plan for a theocratic Utopia and not a return to the Old Jerusalem. The Arabian and particularly the Sabaean evidence strongly suggests that the OT occurred in West Arabia.
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3 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misleading, 23 Jun 1999
By A Customer
It is a shame that many people will read this as an introduction to Israelite history and literature. Thompson misrepresents the archaeological evidence and takes a nihilist view of history. His theological reading of the bible then turns oddly romantic, as he tries to redeem it as literature.
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The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel
The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel by Thomas L. Thompson (Paperback - 1 May 2000)
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