Is there mythology in the bible?


The simple answer is no.  According to the common, Western idea of mythology, the Bible has no mythology.  The layperson’s definition of mythology is something like this: fictitious stories created by cultures to tell themselves about the nature of reality.  The key word there is fictitious.
If you study mythology in an anthropology class, they might give a definition such as this.  Mythology is stories a society uses to tell itself about reality.  I looked the term up in Webster’s Dictionary and the first definition is “allegorical narrative.”  Note the lack of the word fictitious.  If this is the definition, then the Bible has a creation myth, except that it does not contain fantastic and obviously not true elements in it, as do Egyptian, Greek, Norse and other mythologies.  The stories of Babel and of the flood include both historical aspects (the events actually happened) and allegorical aspects.  I sometimes call the Genesis creation account and the Genesis flood account–in fact all of Genesis 1-11 “true myth.”  They are idealized, partially allegorical stories intended to tell us about God, except that they are different from the mythical material in other cultures in that they are inspired by God and they have actual historical material reflected in them.
If you are talking to your friends, please do me a favor and tell them that I believe that there is no “mythology” in the Bible.  I ask you this because your friends almost certainly use the first definition I gave you.  If that is the definition, then my answer is no.  But if you have time and they have patience and an open mind perhaps you can give the more nuanced answer.
John Oakes

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