Is the Christmas Story a Myth?
Is the whole Christian story a myth? It probably depends on what you mean by myth. For a very long time now, scholars of religion have had hard and protracted debates on what the term “myth” means, or should mean. I won’t be going into any of that here. Instead I’ll begin by talking about two teaching experiences, one negative and one positive. Negative experience: my first teaching job was at Rutgers University, where I was asked to fill in for a professor of New Testament who had to take an emergency leave of absence in the middle of the spring term in 1984. Her husband had been diagnosed with cancer, he was dying, and she could not continue teaching after giving the midterm exam. Would I be willing to take over her class for the second half of the semester? Absolutely I was willing. And I did so. It was really hard. I had to pick up wherever she left off. Among other things, she was using a textbook that I did not like [...]