A piece of news has been getting attention today, about a study of classic myths, some of which we know from archaeological evidence were based on real people or events. The study suggests that the degree to which the relationships in the story mirror real ones – including those one can observe today in social media like Facebook and Twitter – corresponds to the degree of real evidence for the myths being based on historical people.
Should this be applied to the New Testament? It certainly would be interesting to see whether the relationships described there likewise mirror real ones. Presumably there is a lot more testing to be done on this method before anyone should try using it to “prove” anything. And even if it were so applied, it presumably wouldn’t convince the mythicists, who are determined to be denialists, while for mainstream scholars it might simply confirm what the evidence already points to.For those who wish to read the actual study by Pádraig Mac Carron and Ralph Kenna, the title is “Universal properties of mythological networks” and it is published in EPL (Europhysics Letters). It is available online as a pdf (registration required).