Why does Greek mythology ostensibly lack many of the "survivalistic" traits of Jewish holy texts?
January 8, 2007 5:36 PM Subscribe
Why does Greek mythology ostensibly lack many of the "survivalistic" traits of the Bible?
posted by wireless to religion & philosophy (34 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Since reading Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works, I have viewed religious texts as a survival tools -- that is, books that reinforce a set of beliefs that help a particular tribe or society survive. For instance, most of the stories of the Old Testament seem to fulfill a particular need for the Israelites, by providing comfort, understanding, or order. Some examples I notice in the Bible include the way it consoles human beings who have lost loved ones by promising to reunite them in the afterlife; makes a difficult life easier to survive by promising paradise at the end, and keeps people from behaving immorally or counter to the tastes of the tribal leaders through the threat of hell.
However, Pinker's theory does not seem to hold as strongly for the mythology of the nearby Greeks. There is less moralizing, and punishment or reward in the afterlife are hardly emphasized. Does this mean that the Greeks were less "needy" in terms of spiritual comfort or regulation, or was there some other cultural difference? Did Greek religion have a completely different motive? Feel free to prove me wrong on my interpretation of either the Hebrew or Greek texts.