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A myth is a story that may or may not have actually happened, but one
that teaches us a truth.
Some parts of the Jewish Scriptures are described as myth. For
example, it is suggested that; the story of Adam and Eve, the story of
Cain and Abel, the story of Noah and the flood, the story of the Tower
of Babel and the story of Jonah and the giant fish, are all myth.
They are described as myth because they are all individual stories,
which do not link to one another; they all have a beginning, middle
and an end. Also they are all fantastic stories, each with their own
morals to be discovered and taught.
There are always many powerful lessons to be learnt from all of the
parts of the Jewish Scriptures which are described as myth.
In the story of Jonah, which we read on Yom Kippur, we learn that G-d
is kind and forgiving, the importance of prayer and faith, the mercy
of G-d, the importance of repentance and that you can never run away
from G-d. The lessons learnt from this story are appropriate for the
time of year in which we read it. On Yom Kippur we ask forgiveness
Although the stories are suggested to be myth, this does not mean that
the ‘characters’ or people involved did not actually exist. On the
contrary it is probable that they did exist, however it is the stories
which may or may not have in fact occurred, hence the suggestion that
they may be myth.
A problem arises at the proposal of stories in the Jewish Scriptures
being myth. If some stories may or may not have happened, how do we
define which parts of the Bible are mythical and which parts are
literal? This dilemma can raise many questions and doubts about
faith, belief and truth.
Chief Rabbi Herz says; “With the patriarchs we leave the dim primeval
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that by once we reach the part of the Torah which features the
patriarchs (the fathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) we leave the very
old or “primeval” world and enter the definite truth of “full
He is suggesting that the stories before the patriarchs are possibly
myth and that the stories after the patriarchs are continuous,
historical texts, which are factual documentation.
Therefore it is thought that the contents of chapters one until eleven
of the book of Genesis are mythical and that chapters twelve and
onwards contain a different kind of history and not mythical, but
(B) “Myth is not a very important part of the Jewish Scriptures.”
“Myth is not a very important part of the Jewish Scriptures”, is a
very controversial statement.
A myth is a story that may or may not have actually happened, but one
that teaches us a truth.
Some people may agree with the statement because, if it is not certain
that the events described in the story really happened, how can we
learn from them? Surely it seems unfeasible to study a story which
may not essentially be true.
Furthermore, some people may believe that myths are not a very
important part of the Jewish Scriptures because if they might not have
actually occurred, then they cannot have contents of much significance
and therefore they are unnecessary.
Finally, those who agree with the statement may declare that myths
only cause needless confusion because if they may not have happened,
then what other parts of the Jewish Scriptures did not happen? How
can we separate mythical and literal?
However, on the other hand, some may disagree with this and say that
myths are a very important part of the Jewish Scriptures.
Although a story may or may not have happened, this does not mean that
the people in the stories did not exist and lead their lives as
normal. The story may have been adapted to include morals; however
this does not lessen the importance of them.
All of the myths in the Jewish Scriptures contain morals. For
example, in the story of Jonah we learn that G-d is kind and
forgiving, the importance of prayer and faith, the mercy of G-d, the
importance of repentance and that you can never run away from G-d.
These are all vital lessons for life.
In conclusion I disagree with the statement and I think that Myths are
a very important part of the Jewish Scriptures. They contain morals
and give us crucial teachings for life. Without the stories which have
morals woven into them, we would not learn these essential life
lessons. Although the events may not have literally occurred, they
still teach us all very powerful lessons. And they are a fundamental
part of the Jewish Scriptures.