Essay mark scheme


Critically compare the use of myth with the use of analogy to express the human understanding of God. [35] AO1 Jan 2011 Q2

Candidates are likely to begin by explaining what is meant by myth or analogy before assessing their various strengths and weaknesses. It is important, however, that they address attempts to express the human understanding of God and not just write all they know about myth and analogy.

Some candidates may use this question to demonstrate that they know a great deal about religious language in general; however little or no credit can be given to responses which stray away from myth and analogy.

Some candidates may address myth not as simply a fictitious story but as a route to a much deeper meaning or reality. They may explain that few Christians today would consider Genesis as a literal truth but they would equally say that it point to truths about creation and God’s part in it.

Others may begin by an analysis of the way St Thomas Aquinas and others use analogy as an important way of expressing ideas about God. They are likely to give good account of analogy of attribution and proportion.


Clearly we are not looking for a specific answer in the candidate’s assessment of the issues involved in addressing the question. They do not even have to address whether or not one method has more strengths in helping believers understand the nature of God; they should be aiming to simply compare them in a critical manner.

Responses that concentrate solely on giving a generic account of verification and/or the meaning of religious language should not be credited at higher levels.

Good answers are likely to assess the issues involved in any attempts by human beings to understand God and in the process explore the strengths and weaknesses inherent in both myth and analogy.

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