Who Wrote the New Testament?: The Making of the Christian Myth Short Essay - Answer Key

Burton L. Mack
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Short Essay Questions Key

1. What does Mack say about the Bible in early American history?

Mack notes that the Bible shaped the way America was made, through its instruction of how we viewed land, treated native populations, and constructed all institutions of society. He notes that Thomas Jefferson sought to purge the Bible of myth, that the Bible was used both to support segregation, and to support the demand for obedience of slaves. Poems were written discussing men as children of God, and the wilderness as a new paradise. In addition, the phrases used by Americans to describe themselves, such as righteous, are taken from the Bible.

2. What is the catch-22 Mack finds when discussing the New Testament and the origins of the Christian Church?

Mack finds there is a catch-22 in discussions of the New Testament, because the New Testament is often taken as proof for the conventional concept of the origin of Christianity. At the same time, that same conventional picture is taken as proof of how the New Testament came to be written. The birth of Jesus, written about in the New Testament, is the given origin of Christianity. The New Testament, Mack notes, is the result of and the documentation for the conventional view of Christianity, which causes a circular pattern of authentication.

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