The Problem of Myth in the Hebrew Bible
LECTURE IN HONOR OF RICHARD J. CLIFFORD, S.J.
Lecture on March 14, 2012
Presenter: Peter Machinist
Sponsored by the School of Theology and Ministry with the generous support of the Kitz Family, in honor of Richard J. Clifford, S.J.
The word “myth” has been used in many different ways, sometimes positively, but more often, and especially recently, negatively. Many would argue that it has no relevance for the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, indeed would be expressly rejected by the biblical writers. But is this correct? The answer, this lecture will argue, is no – that, in fact, myth is a word and a set of concepts which can lead to a deep and varied understanding of the Hebrew Bible, set against the broader ancient Near Eastern world from which it comes.
Peter Machinist is the Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages at Harvard University.