In this article, I argue that the history of the study of myth in the Hebrew Bible has been, and continues to be, shaped in negative ways by an essentially Romantic Nationalist understanding of the relationship between a people and their traditions. I then argue that more appropriate ways of modeling the construction of the Bible’s myths, combined with new investigations into the historical development of biblical traditions themselves, reveals a surprising continuity between the myth-making activity of biblical authors and editors and that of all those who retell and adapt biblical traditions in extrabiblical materials. I conclude that the existence of large-scale continuities between the adaptation of biblical traditions in different periods allows for a new kind of comparative investigation. By studying the use of biblical traditions in biblical literature, extrabiblical literature, and art, on approximately equal terms, we can gain new insights about the construction of biblical myths themselves, while connecting the study of the Hebrew Bible far more closely to the study of other bodies of tradition, elsewhere and later on.
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