Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Logos, mythos or what?
Karen Armstrong's strong defence of myth in her Short History of Myth takes some reading. This is not because it isn't well written, it is as indeed you would expect of such a well acclaimed author. The reason is that she is putting her finger very close to the heart of the matter for Christian believers. She rightly points out that the inheritance of Greek philosophy has been damaging to western Christian thought, whereas the eastern church has benefited from its warmer embrace of the power of myth. At the very heart of her argument she suggests that
created a myth out of the life of Jesus. This is seen in a very positive way in the Eucharist which both recalls what Jesus did and re-enacts it for present day believers. It does what myth should do. But I set this alongside Philip Pullman's wonderful book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ and I find myself impoverished both by Armstrong's myth and the Greek demand for logical proof. Here is a reality, a man who lived and who reflected as well as any human being ever could the mystery that is God.