Peter Machinist, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages, Harvard University, delivers a lecture on “The Problem of Myth in the Hebrew Bible“, March 14, 2012, at Boston College.
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 argues, 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.