Early Christians had the benefit of Greek thought, of course. I believe I have seen Christianity described as resting on a synthesis of Judaism with Greek philosophy. And indeed, they did not take the OT all literally.
Early Christian thinkers knew their Greek myths and were familiar with allegory as a literary device. (I usually quite Origen at this point, but you've seen the quote before.) Anyway, suffice it to say that these people were not stupid.
The ancient Jews didn't take the stories literally either.