Monday, January 12, 2009

Biblical Mythology

Mythology is all around us.  There I was sitting in church this Sunday when I ran across this passage in Acts 14 (here are verses 11-13 from the New International Version):

 11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" 12Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.

What we have here is the temple where Zeus was worshipped.  This temple was built because of two trees that grew here.  You know this story, Baucis and Philemon, the only two who were kind to Zeus and Hermes (both in disguise).  They gave what they had and as reward, the old couple were turned into trees so that they could be together for much longer.  

Here is Paul and Barnabas preaching the gospel and the people assumed it was the two gods again! What is the rest of this story?  When Paul told them they were not gods, the people got so angry that they stoned him and left him for dead. 

I know this is not the only mythology shown in the New Testament.  As we study Paul in class, I'll keep my eyes peeled for more instances.  If you know of any, post a comment!


Anonymous said...

Fascinating. Apparantly in the Old Testament when Moses was furious that the people were worshipping the Golden Bull it was because that was the pagan god when it was the Time of Taurus (think they spanned 1000+ year period not sure) and that Moses represented a Goat - the Time of Aries.

Mark Alford said...

That's interesting. I also saw where some think that the calf was a likeness of the Egyptian god Apis. I looked on for more about Apis and here is what they had to say:

"APIS: We don't want to gore you but this is a load of Egyptian bull. A Memphis bull, to be exact.

When a black bull was born bearing a white triangle on its forehead, a flock of excited priests would swoop down and whisk it away for a life of luxury. As long as this mortal incarnation of APIS was happy, everyone's livestock would prosper.

After treating the fortunate animal with the utmost holy attention for precisely 25 years, they would then promptly drown it and look for another one."