Saturday, March 10, 2007

Christian mythology includes interpretations of the core beliefs of Christianity

Christian mythology includes interpretations of the core beliefs of Christianity, the body of legendary stories that have accumulated around Old and New Testament figures and elaborates upon the lives of the saints, to emphasize, explain, or embody Christian beliefs. The legendary details of the career of the disciple Peter and his founding the Christian Church is a prime example of Christian mythology (i.e., symbolically Peter was known as the "corner stone" and "rock" on which the church was built.) Many of the common themes in hagiographies are among the conventions of Christian mythography.

In the culture of the ancient Semitic and Mediterranean worlds in the context of which early Christianity and its literature arose — even up to the European Middle Ages when further traditions and legends were developed — there often did not exist the separation that exists for many societies in the modern period between fact and myth or between objective truth and speculation or elaboration. Even in the modern period, Christians of many traditions (like those in many other religions) may also hold that the dividing line between "faith" and what is labeled "myth" is less than clear, when it comes to traditional beliefs and understanding.Traditional Christian stories include many that do not come from canonical Christian texts and still do illustrate Christian themes.

Other stories that are intended to foster Christian values, or address specifically Christian spiritual traditions, may be included in Christian mythology. These stories are considered by some Christian journalists, theologians, and academics (see citations below) to constitute a body of Christian mythology. Stories that were once taken as true but are no longer accepted by most Christians are most easily identified as Christian mythology, such as the tale of Saint George or Saint Valentine.

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