Tuesday 15 February 2011

A tendency to mythomania

"Do we not know that tradition always exaggerates and that a tendency to mythomania seems to be a part of human nature? How can anyone with a good education wholeheartedly believe that Jesus walked on water, that he fed five thousand with a few food scraps, or that he restored the dead to the land of the living? Such incredible things seem opposed to ordinary human experience. Similar things do, however, often appear in archaic tales that everybody knows to be fictional... It is no mystery why Reimarus, Strauss, and Bultmann regarded the miracle stories of the Gospels as pious fictions. They were just being reasonable - and treating the Gospels the same way that the rest of us treat the fantastic fables of the Greek gods.

"We need also to keep firmly before our minds that it was a habit of the early Christians to score theological points by inventing fantastic, picturesque stories... [Such stories] are the products of theological fancy in which the history is of homeopathic proportions."

Dale Allison in The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know, we see plenty of talking snakes and talking asses even in this day and age.

    We call them Congressmen.