Evangelikale debattieren über die Historizität von Adam und Eva. Warum sind sie eigentlich nicht konsequenter. Die Zeit ist gekommen, fundamentalistische Verzerrungen des Glaubens aufzugeben. Befreien wir endlich die Bibel vom Korsett einer literalen Interpretation. Mit der Abrahamerzählung sollten wir anfangen, meint Peter J. Leithart in seinem Artikel „Der Mythos von Abraham“. Und dann gehen wir weiter.
Clinging to discredited biblical accounts of Abraham as if these events actually happened makes us look like Neanderthals, undermines the plausibility of our witness, and ultimately overturns the Gospel. To defend the Gospel and uphold the authority of the Bible, we need to reckon with the myth of Abraham.
The historical evidence is overwhelming and need not be rehearsed here. It is sufficient to point the curious reader to Hans Georg Unglauber’s definitive study, popularly known as Die Suche nach dem historischen Abraham but originally published as Abraham: Historie oder Pferd-Geschichte? Unglauber shows that there is not a shred of independent evidence for the existence of Abraham, much less for any of the events recorded in Genesis.
But our faith does not stand or fall on the uncertain deliverances of historical scholarship. Scripture is our rule. The biblical writers deployed the full arsenal of ancient literary conventions, and their texts are full of sly authorial signals that they are not supposed to be taken literally. We can summarize briefly:
*The story of Abraham’s exodus (Gen. 12:10–20) is obviously modeled on Israel’s Egyptian sojourn and exodus (which most likely never happened either). By shaping this narrative to mimic later myths, the author indicates that the episode is not to be taken seriously as history. Genesis 12, like the exodus narrative, teaches that God delivers. It does not matter whether or not God has ever actually delivered anyone. The moral stands: God is our deliverer.
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