The Myth of Exodus Essay

The Myth of Exodus Essay

Length: 1187 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Myth of Exodus


There are many themes running through the Old Testament myth of Exodus – slavery, rescue and redemption, guidance, commandments on how to live, the creation of a nation, and God’s power over other gods. In this paper I will explore what appears to be the chief reasoning behind the creation of the Exodus myth – the explanation of the creation of a monotheistic religion and the similarities of the Exodus myth to the ancient myths, as well as how one should approach the reading of the myth.

First of all, we need to understand what a myth is. William Bascom says in his essay, “The Forms of Folklore: Prose Narratives”, “Myths are prose narratives which, in the society in which they are told, are considered to be truthful accounts of what happened in the remote past” (Dundes 9). Trying to prove the elements in the myth as factual are contrary to the very existence of the myth. In reading Old Testament Bible myth, the question of divine inspiration versus historical truth is often debated. “A myth makes a valid statement about the origins of the world, of society and of its institutions, about the gods and their relationship with mortals, in short, about everything on which human existence depends” (Graf 3).

Further, the context in which the myth was written must be taken into account when reading the story. Bronislaw Malinowski in his essay “The Role of Myth in Life” says that “The text, of course, is extremely important, but without the context it remains lifeless” (Malinowski 201). The context that needs to be addressed when reading the myth are the cultural and sociological components that surround a mythological text. This context, consisting of the understanding of the culture in which the myth exte...


... middle of paper ...


...map of proper behavior for the new society that has been liberated from slavery. Within the context of history, the myth offers future generations a glimpse of a new religions beginnings. As the new code of laws is set into place, a new and more powerful god emerges – a god of great strength, a god that supersedes all other gods, one god above all others.

Works Cited

Coogan, Michael D., ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 3rd Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Dalley, Stephanie. Myths from Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Dundes, Alan, ed. Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth. LA: University of California Press, 1984.

Graf, Fritz. Greek Mythology: An Introduction. Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.

Segal, Robert A. Theorizing About Myth. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The New Identity of Exodus as a Myth

- The New Identity of Exodus as a Myth The story of the tooth fairy has become a part of the cultural tradition of generations. Many American children discover the legend of the tooth fairy at an early age. Furthermore, this mythical tale explains the meaning behind children losing their baby teeth. It marks a rite of passage between infancy and early childhood. In the strictest sense of the definition of a myth, however, the tooth fairy does not qualify as a mythical story. It does not have all of the essential traits....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Strong Essays
1943 words (5.6 pages)

Essay on The Exodus Debate

- The Exodus of the Hebrew people out of Egypt as depicted in the Holy Bible is controversial. A literal, Biblical reading depicts inexplicable supernatural events suggesting the influence of the God of the Hebrews. There are three main theories about the Exodus Event. The first is that the event occurred exactly as accounted in the Bible, miraculous events included. Secondly, that the Exodus did occur, just not as the Bible describes. The last is that the event never occurred. The explanation of these theories will be presented in this paper....   [tags: Holy Bible, Hebrews, Egypt, plagues]

Strong Essays
1470 words (4.2 pages)

Exodus : The Book Of Exodus Essay

- The book of Exodus is the story of God delivering the children of Israel from Egypt and making them his chosen people. Exodus records more miracles of God than any other book in the Old Testament. It’s where we find the stories of the Ten Plagues, the first Passover, the parting of the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments, the Burning Bush and the Golden Calf. Exodus describes how God can deliver those who sin by taking him/her through the difficult times of life, and guiding them to the Promise Land. Israelites are often referred to as the “chosen people,” God chose Israel because he made an covenant with Israel forefather, Abraham, to stray his descendants away from the land of slavery, from the...   [tags: Moses, Bible, The Exodus, Book of Exodus]

Strong Essays
1577 words (4.5 pages)

Exodus : The Book Of Exodus Essay examples

- The Book of Exodus encompasses several of the most significant individuals, as well as events. In the Book of Exodus, Moses was a prominent character that was discussed seemingly throughout the text (Harper 's Bible Dictionary 1952, 655). The Book of Exodus is a segment within the Pentateuch, which covers the first five accounts of the Old Testament. There are three noticeable premises that are accentuated in Exodus, which are deliverance, the covenant, and the Promised Land. The opening section of the Book, which is separated into two parts, is the first eighteen chapters, which review Moses’ lifetime, the dilemmas that the Israelites’ met whilst in Egypt, and the events and plagues that dr...   [tags: Moses, Bible, The Exodus, Israelites]

Strong Essays
915 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on The Theme of Growth in Exodus

- The Theme of Growth in Exodus  Exodus, by Leon Uris, is a novel of genuine Affirmation. One of the most prevalent of the affirmative themes is the idea of growth. Many of the characters learn a lot about themselves, and change tremendously in a positive way. Earlier in their lives, these characters decided to live their life one way, but throughout the book they change, and join each other to unite. Fighting for their common religion and fundamental rights brought them together in a way that is barely imaginable....   [tags: Exodus]

Strong Essays
1611 words (4.6 pages)

Exodus: Movement of Jah People Essays

- Rastafarian people share similarities with their role models, the Israelites, from the Biblical Book of Exodus. They are connected through Rastafarianism, a postcolonial religion the Jamaicans created, where the oppressed people sought to return to their ancestral promised land. Songs from Bob Marley such as “Africa Unite,” “Buffalo Soldier,” and “Exodus” display the Jamaican’s overcoming the European colonialism, how urgent it is to unite as one African body, and to return to Ethiopia. This is just like the Book of Exodus when Moses led his fellow oppressed Israelite community out of Egypt from the harsh ruler and returned to Israel....   [tags: rastafarian people, bible, exodus]

Strong Essays
1009 words (2.9 pages)

The Book of Exodus Essay

-            The book of Exodus is the second book of the Pentateuch, or Weelleh Shemoth according to the Hebrew Bible. The books main theme is the removal of Hebrew people from Egypt. The book is meant to be a continuation of Genesis. Moses is believed to be the author of this book. During the period of Exodus Israel had been in Egypt for about 215 years. The book begins with the birth of Moses. The book then goes on to talk about the life of Moses and the things that he did throughout his life. The book also explains how the Hebrews were enslaved and then let free....   [tags: Introduction to the Book of Exodus]

Strong Essays
845 words (2.4 pages)

What is the Significance of Exodus 31:12 - 18 in Relationship to Jewish Beliefs?

- Within Exodus 31:12 - 18 Moses is told the importance of the seventh day by God, he is reminded that it must be kept holy. The significance of the sabbath is of clear importance to the Jews who are told, “Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death”. (Exodus 31:14) For Jews, defiling the Sabbath day is one of the top sins, only outranked by those of idol worship and murder, historically people have been stoned to death for committing this sin....   [tags: sabbath day, Moses, jews, exodus ]

Strong Essays
1511 words (4.3 pages)

The Myth Of The Universe Essay

- Before science, in ancient times people used creation myths to explain the origin of the universe. Since we humans are and always have been very curious creatures, at all times we always needed explanations and answers about the universe. These early humans made stories and creation myths to appreciate where their precious resources and where they, “ came from.” Since creation myths and stories do not have any scientific backing, with people using only what they know of, these are called, “masks”....   [tags: Universe, Earth, Creation myth, Time]

Strong Essays
949 words (2.7 pages)

The Power of Myth Essay

- The Power of Myth In the texts that we have recently read, we have seen the importance of myth in giving meaning and understanding to life. In the Beginnings of the Western Mind we read about the importance of myth in the consciousness of the oral societies of pre-classical Greece; in Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs we read about the myth of the "West" in the U.S. and its influence on the thought of many Americans; In Things Fall Apart we see the power if myth and the consequences of the break down of those myths and stories upon which a culture is structured on....   [tags: American Myth Myths Essays]

Free Essays
1296 words (3.7 pages)